Revolver has teamed with GWAR for an exclusive white vinyl 2LP edition of the band's 30th anniversary reissue of Scumdogs of the Universe, limited to just 350 copies worldwide. Order yours before they're gone!
Pandemic. Natural disaster. Social upheaval. These are conditions one would expect an intergalactic barbarian warlord to revel in.
"It's pretty much business as usual for us. It looks like GWAR has done their job in the world a little too well. Everything's on fire," the band's vocalist Blothar tells Revolver, before the enthusiasm in his voice wanes ever so slightly. "Good work, humanity. The truth is we can't claim any of it."
Bored and unable to tour, the ancient Berserker has even abandoned GWAR's Antarctic fortress sanctuary as of late, embracing a journey familiar to many an elder human.
"It's very cold there, in case you haven't noticed," he says, "so I swam to Sarasota, Florida, which is where I hang out now, living the life of a luxurious rock star, hanging around with Brian Johnson, doing karaoke, living in my toilet paper fort — here in Florida."
GWAR isn't laying entirely low, however: This year marks the 30th anniversary of their breakthrough album, Scumdogs of the Universe, and the band is celebrating with a remixed, remastered cut. It's a recording deemed so vulgar, so vile, so virulent ...
Wait a second — Blothar wasn't even part of its making.
"But I was very close — some might say a little too close — with Beefcake the Mighty, who was on that record," he says. "I got firsthand reports about the goings-on from him, so I could probably answer any of your questions about it."
AS RUMOR WOULD HAVE IT, I'VE HEARD BEEFCAKE IS YOUR SON. I'M WONDERING IF YOU'VE GOT A LITTLE BIT OF PRIDE IN THE FACT THAT GWAR HAS REACHED THE POINT THAT IT HAS ALL THESE YEARS AFTER BEEFCAKE INVENTED MUSIC BY STRETCHING DINOSAURS' GUTS ACROSS THE GRAND CANYON.
Yeah, you're right. I do have a father's pride — but also a healthy dose of disappointment, as all fathers have. I just wish that he had focused on country music, because then he would've made some money.
SCUMDOGS REALLY SAW GWAR HIT ITS STRIDE. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE BAND'S PRIOR MUSICAL ENDEAVORS BEFORE THAT ALBUM?
I'll never forget the universal disappointment when we all heard what they managed to crank out with Hell-O. There are some good GWAR songs on that, [like] "A-E-I-O-U," the way that wound up being recorded on that record is good. It's a fitting sound for that.
But you know, that was a record that was recorded over the telephone by Kramer in a studio called Noise New York. It was absolutely terrible. I mean, Kramer, he had no qualifications be a recording engineer. As far as I understand it, now he's a mastering engineer, which to me is the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my life!
It was a terrible recording experience. But what came out of it was this is GWAR as a punk band, playing some punk songs. It certainly lacked the carefulness of production that Scumdogs had, which definitely managed to be a sort of fried-chicken-and-cocaine-fueled extravaganza. As a matter of fact, some of what this re-release is about is removing some of the fried chicken and cocaine from the mix!
PROMOTING SCUMDOGS, THE BAND GOT TO APPEAR ON JOAN RIVERS. WHAT HAS BEEFCAKE TOLD YOU ABOUT EXPERIENCES LIKE THAT WHILE PROMOTING THE ALBUM?
Obviously, we all watched from our intergalactic television sets as the tiny Joan Rivers interviewed Oderus and Beefcake. By all reports, she was a wonderful woman. She was a robot — not very many people realize that. Just a tiny little robot.
I remember Beefcake told me that he thought that she would be much larger. He watched her on the Carson show. Apparently, she wore a lot of shoulder pads back then, like NFL-sized shoulder pads. She was an odd little lady. She truly liked GWAR.
SCUMDOGS IS ALSO THE FIRST ALBUM THAT JIZMAK DA GUSHA APPEARED ON AS DRUMMER, AFTER BEING BROUGHT IN TO REPLACE ORIGINAL DRUMMER NIPPLEUS ERECTUS, WHO DIED DURING THE ALBUM'S RECORDING. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD CLEAR SOMETHING UP ABOUT HIS DEATH, BECAUSE I'VE READ THAT IT WAS EITHER THE RESULT OF HIS DISSOLVING IN HYDROCHLORIC ACID AFTER TRYING TO BATHE IN IT, THINKING IT WOULD GIVE HIM HALLUCINATIONS SIMILAR TO LSD — OR THAT HE DRANK A GALLON OF BLEACH THINKING THAT IT WAS LIQUID CRACK AND DISSOLVED FROM WITHIN. WHICH OF THOSE WAS THE CULPRIT?
It was the acid bath. You know, Nippleus wasn't on the straight and narrow anyway. He was on probation from the band. He actually had left the band shortly before we recorded, and he was making biscuits at Hardee's. We sent for him and said, you know, "Hey, look, we're getting ready to record an album." And I guess he, thinking that this was his chance to get back into music, figured that he needed some inspiration, so he would take some acid. But unfortunately, he took the wrong kind of acid.
IT SEEMS LIKE THINGS HAVE GONE PRETTY WELL SINCE THEN WITH JIZMAK AS DRUMMER, THOUGH.
Oh yeah. He's fantastic. A good drummer, truly.
HOW WOULD YOU RANK THE FOUR VOCAL PERFORMANCES ON THIS ALBUM, BETWEEN ODERUS, BEEFCAKE, SLEAZY AND THE SEXECUTIONER?
Well, GWAR is fortunate to have had some really good singers over the years. But really, it's just pure luck. There's no reason why Sleazy P. Martini should also happen to be a hilarious lyricist and a pretty darn good vocalist. Or even Techno Destructo, who doesn't sing on that record but who is a good vocalist. And yet GWAR, whereas most bands can't even find one good vocalist, apparently everybody in GWAR is a good vocalist. Aren't we lucky?
Anyway, I really think that Sleazy did a bang-up job with "Slaughterama." It was always one of my favorite songs to play live, even though it was incredibly repetitive and boring. It was also hilarious.
And then "Sexecutioner," that song is just pure heavy. It may be the best song that Oderus — Oderus actually wrote the music to that song on a bass guitar, which is something that not a lot of people know. It was probably, next to "Cool Place to Park," the heaviest song that Oderus ever wrote. He also wrote the music to "Cool Place to Park," and those are great songs, both of them. And yeah, they have different vocals.
I think Beefcake did a good job with "Cool Place to Park." I don't think I could do that. I don't think I could sing that. That's a lot of screaming going on. That's a young man's game. But "Sexecutioner" is hilarious, it's a heavy song. "Slaughterama," for my money, is probably the best sort of "guest vocal" that GWAR has had. And by guest, I mean somebody who's not a musician that's singing.
SPEAKING OF "COOL PLACE TO PARK," WHAT IS THE COOLEST PLACE YOU'VE EVER MANAGED TO PARK THE DEATH POD, AND WHAT CONSTITUTES A COOL PLACE TO PARK?
That's a good question. The Death Pod. I will say, first of all — proving that GWAR are really just nothing but a bunch of comic book geeks — the legend of the Death Pod. We'd like to believe that it's real, but unfortunately it came from Oderus Urungus' sort of World of Warcraft gaming interests, and he actually created a little Death Pod for his character, Dr. Mechano, who's another GWAR character that hasn't made an appearance in many years.
The idea of "Cool Place to Park" just simply came out of the experience of riding around and hearing someone actually say those words, "I'm trying to find a cool place to park." What does that mean, a cool place to park? Like, it can't just be a place to park that's close. I mean, I suppose a cool place is some someplace close, but at the same time, it's someplace where people are going to see you park.
I think probably the coolest place to park that I've ever seen was when, in Richmond, Virginia, I saw Flava Flav, after a Public Enemy show, come pull up into the parking lot of a Shoney's. He drives up, he tripled parks this Corvette that he's driving, just across spaces. And then he gets out, and he starts saying, "That's right, it's me, Flava Flav! I'll take your pictures! Take pictures! Take pictures! Come on!"
And then he walked inside of whatever nightclub he was going to and left his car there. I remember all the people running after him going, "They're going to tow you! They're going to tow you!" He didn't even respond. Now that's a cool place to park!
AT THE END OF OPENING TRACK "THE SALAMINIZER," ODERUS DECLARES, "THIS DELI TRAY IS UNACCEPTABLE!" WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ACCEPTABLE DELI TRAY ON GWAR'S TOUR RIDER?
Well, there isn't really a deli tray that's going to be acceptable, ever. Ever. There's never going to be an acceptable deli tray. You can just ask Nigel from Spinal Tap about that.
But to answer your question, I think that you want your lunch meat. You want fruit. You want fresh fruit. You want cheese, of course. And then you're going to want, like, an actual deli, an actual delicatessen, sitting on the tray. I don't know how you do it. You make it happen.
THE SONG "HORROR OF YIG" HAS SOME LOVECRAFTEAN INFLUENCE TO IT. WHICH OF THE ANCIENT ONES SHOULD WE ASSUME GWAR HAD THE MOST FUN KILLING?
Well, I mean, we don't kill the ancient ones. We hang out with them and party. We are the ancient ones, as a matter of fact. Chthulu, Yog-Suckoff — those were our buddies, man. GWAR are the ancient ones, we're not killing ourselves.
And you know, Lovecraft was a rare human with vision, who could see the world as it really is, which is a place of perpetual yet indescribable doom at just a loop coming around the corner. What a happy guy he must've been.
SO THE SUCCESS OF SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE CAUGHT THE MASTER'S ATTENTION, AND HE SENT THE DESTRUCTOS AFTER YOU ALL. WHY ALL THESE YEARS AFTER YOU FINALLY DESTROYED THE MASTER ARE THE DESTRUCTOS STILL COMING AFTER YOU?
Well, I mean, it's debatable whether the Master is actually destroyed. We believe he's pulling the strings in some way. He's a cosmic energy. He's not just going to vanish from the world or from existence.
But you know, these guys, it's like Gilligan's Island, right? You try and you try and you can't get off, every time. And it's the same thing over and over. They're used to attacking us, and I think that's all they know.
At this point, we've just sort of said, "Look, they're harmless. Just let them come up here and raise a stink for a little bit, and then we'll move on with our business. Give the man a microphone. Let him sing a song. Let's get this over with so we can get back on the tour bus and do cocaine."
YOU'D THINK AFTER A FEW MILLENNIA, THEY'D KIND OF GET OVER THE WHOLE MIX-UP WITH FLAB QUARV 7 AND FLAB QUARV 6.
[Laughs] Boy, you know your stuff! You would think that they would, but they don't, you know what I mean? And you're right. Who are they? They're truly samurai with no master. They're out there just sort of freelancing at this point. I think that they're serving their own purposes.
But yeah, you'd think they would get over it. It's force of habit at this point for 'em.
IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN EXPECT FROM GWAR IN THE FUTURE WHEN THIS PANDEMIC CLEARS UP?
Well, certainly in the future, yes, we will. We're going to have a lot of stuff going on. I'm not going to get specific dates because then we would actually have to do the work, and we don't want to do that.
So in the future, vaguely, I can say that, yes, GWAR will be doing a live drive-in performance at some point where people can drive up their cars and watch the band — the greatest band in rock & roll history — perform. We're also going to do a livestream GWAR event. At some point, we're working on a new comic book.
We've got a bunch of new products coming out. Most of them are intoxicants, exploiting human vices in one way or the other. Our own line of sex toys, which may be released.
We've got a lot of stuff going on, let me tell ya. At some point, we're going to have to record an album, which we hope will be out towards the end of next year. In the meantime, we have an acoustic EP that we're working on and trying to get that out the door.