Oderus Urungus Speaks Forth...

GWAR! GWAR! GWAR! GWAR!

When GWAR’s vocalist Oderus Urungus (in another world known as Dave Brockie) answers the phone I am treated to his best Australian impersonation – admittedly it’s closer to Cockney than Australian but what the hell; within seconds his voice morphs into upper class English before settling into the “devilishly sexy voice” of Oderus that we know and love. Apparently he’s ‘having a poo on the loo’ and is just wiping his bumhole. An inhuman roar blasts out of the phone as he does so and he explains that he’s on the toilet in Milwaukee (which he describes as “the land of cheese-curds and Jeffrey Dahmer...”). It’s an often disjointed conversation but a hilarious one nonetheless..

So, Oderus, you’ve been a constant member since GWAR’s beginnings (or should that be grand escape?) back in 84/85. You’ve seen a lot of line-up changes, including 5 incarnations of Flattus Maximus, what’s your attitude to this revolving door membership? “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I deny everything – they’re all the same guy! You’re like one of those guys who insists that I wear a costume – but this is not a costume – these are my clothes and I’ve been wearing them for over fifty million years. A lot of people are like ‘God! Oderus, aren’t you just sick of yourself by now?’ and I answer ‘No! No, I’m not’. I feel like I’m a part of this world; I’m kind of like an anti-Santa Claus. A lot of kids look up to Santa Claus and I’m like Santa Claus for adults, kind of like an adult party clown who is also in a metal band who is also a cannibal necrophiliac.”

His response pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the interview. I’m definitely interviewing Oderus and not Dave Brockie so I rip up my serious music journo questions and just let the conversation flow.

So how goes the petition to have GWAR as the half-time entertainment at the 2015 Super Bowl? “Oh, it’s a fuckin’ failure! They’re never gonna get anywhere with it. It seems to have topped out at around 40,000 signatures and now it’s just putting along but I understand why the humans are so enraged – they’re forced to watch these fuckin’ horrible acts and are forced to deal with Bruno Mars and The Black Eyed Peas – I mean, you can’t even call that fuckin’ music! So what better way to underline the insistence for change and insist that GWAR comes in there and cleans up the place? So that’s what we’re gonna do. I don’t care how many petitions there are, or how many signatures are on the petitions, we’re gonna show up there and do what we do – I’m not so interested in playin’ the half time show; I’m more interested in playin’ the game and winning the Super Bowl; killing everyone in the NFL – including the cheerleaders - and then dropping the Super Bowl trophy into the Mariana Trench. So that’s what I’m all about. I couldn’t give a fuck about the 43,000 people that signed this fuckin’ thing!”

I loved GWAR’s recent cover of Billy Ocean’s Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, complete with The Who’s Baba O’Riley as an outro, are there plans for more covers? “Well, we’ll see. We could do a whole covers album – the one thing about doing covers is that you don’t have to spend any time writing the song yourself; somebody already wrote it for you, and we certainly put a GWAR feel to it because it certainly doesn’t sound anything like Billy Ocean – or The Who for that matter." Oderus is actually a Who fan. Whallop! Oderus fact, right there...

And how is Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason, Cannabis Corpse) fitting in? “Oh, he’s great! He’s loud, he’s obnoxious, he’s violent, he breaks stuff, fights monsters, plays really, really good guitar; pretty much everything we could ask for in a guitar player.”

And Battle Maximus (GWAR’s 13th album and the first that Pustulus has played on); talk that up, please. “I think he did a great job. We were a little shell-shocked after we lost Flattus (Corey Smoot), after Pustulus had defeated everyone at the Battle Maximus, we kind of let him run wild and as you know, he started making amazing songs and we started recording them in the studios and we rallied behind our new guitar player and bust out our new album. It’s for others to judge how good it is but I’m pretty fuckin’ happy with it! And it’s still GWAR; it’s got the same kind of shit on it that the other GWAR albums do.” He adds “It’s got a song called Raped at Birth which is totally disgusting; that’s one of my main contributions and it’s all over the world now. Battle Maximus has been released world-wide by Metal Blade Records and we’re getting a good reaction from everyone, everywhere we go. So I think that Pustulus is fitting in great and we’re ready to tour for the next year straight to support this thing and ram it down everybody’s throats.”

GWAR is touring the US this month and next month but are there any plans to take a break before heading to Australia for Soundwave 2014? “Yeah, there’ll be a little break where we return to Antarctica to hang around there for a bit, play with the penguins, involve ourselves in some fiendish diabolical experiments and then it’s back to Australia for the Soundwave festival. It’s our second appearance there down under and we can’t wait to get back, a lot of people saw GWAR the first time through and ever since then they’ve been begging us to return so we’re doing just that.” He adopts a radio broadcaster voice to announce “We’re heading you way again Australia with Battle Maximus and the sickest band in the history of shock rock.”

Do you have any concern the heat might wilt your giant cuttlefish? “Oh no! God, No! It’s so big that even if it wilted a considerable amount, it would still be huge. I’m not worried about the cuttlefish at all; we’ve been through hell and high water together: zero gravity; we’ve swum through suns together – I even chopped it off once in a group act. He’s my best buddy and he’ll always be there for me.”

Do you get much trouble with customs when touring?  “No, generally they let us in. Or we destroy them. In fact, we don’t even really need customs because we can just fly the bat-shaped helicopter (which is crack powered, dear readers) to the city we’re playing in and land on the stage. Now we try to play by the rules but if they don’t want to play by the rules, they can play by our rules which means a fucking battle axe through the skull and we’re coming through customs anyway.”

What are GWAR’s future plans? “Touring, touring, and more fuckin’ touring. It will be relentless. We’ll go for about a year straight of touring with the Battle Maximus album and then after that, I don’t know. I can only always see about a year into the future of GWAR and so far that’s all I can see.”

And what’s your attitude to touring? He gets very enthusiastic. “Oh, I love it! It’s a great chance to get out and meet the fans, suck their souls, grind them into pulp in our meat grinder, play with a lot of cool bands. We love touring – it’s the greatest – it’s how we keep goin’. We especially love touring overseas and we can’t wait to get back to Australia. We had a great time there the first time and absolutely can’t wait to return.

I ask about GWAR ‘s behaviour on tour and he responds that “It’s heinous; Eating small children,.destroying things nightly; every night we’re out there on stage spewing our shit over everyone, we’re fighting various mutated monsters and creatures from outer space, beating up celebrities, killing religious figures – and through it all playin’ savage metal music. So it’s a good time for all.”

Amazingly you’ve been quoted as the voice of reason on the Tim Lambesis/As I Lay Dying situation? (and he cracks ups laughing as he explains) “Yeah! At first it was a great opportunity to get off some cheap shots and get some laughs, but after that I came to realise people just dove in on this guy without any proof whatsoever – and I thought that was kinda lame. I’m not saying he didn’t hire somebody to kill his wife but I don’t know that he did and I’m not gonna have a judgement about it until I know that he does.” He adopts a morally superior tone and puts forth the proposition that “I was a little surprised that the metal community, which prides itself on being open-minded and supportive of each other , threw him under the bus so quick. So yeah! Once again, despite all the odds, Oderus became the voice of reason.”

Was that a first? “Meh...well, somebody had to do it and it wasn’t gonna be anybody but me...”

I saw you in the late 80s on the news, chasing an unsuspecting family around a local park; are you still indulging in such fun? “Oh yeah! We love scaring them; it’s great. But I also crave a kiss from the babies – I like a baby as much as anyone else – as long as that baby realises he’s going to be made into a soup, or perhaps even eaten whole. A living baby is a cute baby. I like the feeling of a baby’s lips kissing my cheek but also I like the feeling of a baby being swallowed whole. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in; baby could live, baby could die.”

All this talk of baby-kissing – have you ever thought about moving into politics? “No, not really – though I think I could do very well at it – I could certainly do it better than any of the politicians you guys seem to have...”

And what is GWAR’s political stance? “Oh, they’re all the same! It doesn’t matter to me. I was maybe bamboozled by this Obama character, thinking that maybe things were going to get different in America but it’s the same fucked up mess it’s always been over here so. Democrats or Republicans they’re both just the same...opposite sides of the same coin. They can suck my cuttlefish in hell for eternity...”

He likes the idea when I suggest that could be his political campaign slogan.

And suddenly our time is over. But as we depart Oderus says “I look forward to seeing you, sir!” – and I’m utterly charmed to have been called ‘sir’ by the great beast Oderus. He finishes with the equally charming “And I’m looking forward to returning with my band of mutant brothers to the land down under, to Australia on the mighty Soundwave festival...”

And with that he’s off to kiss (or possibly eat) another baby.