Gwar – Ready to Destroy Winnipeg

by Gil Caroll

Intergalactic metal warriors Gwar have been ruthlessly pummeling audiences here on Earth for years now. The band and fans grieved the tragic falling of long-time guitar player Flattus Maximus in 2011, but now Gwar is ready to destroy Winnipeg once again on their “Fate or Chaos” tour. In preparation for this travelling gore show, Stylus caught up with Gwar vocalist Oderus Urungus at the band’s Antarctic HQ for a revealing telephone interview.

Stylus: When I told my friends that I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Gwar one of them clarified that I would be interviewing one of the most legendary metal bands of all time. Would you agree with that statement?

Oderus Urungus: Well yeah, sure of course, yeah that’s a given. It didn’t happen overnight. Takes a lot of work to become the most legendary band of all time, but you never call yourself that or no one else ever will, or it’s a lie. When other people say that then it’s true. If we ever had the chance we would just talk shit about ourselves. We told everybody one time we recorded a record over the phone but really we recorded in a multi-billion dollar recording study on the fucking Moon. We were never into selling records or being a success. That shit is for pussies.

Stylus: This is your third time in the past few years making a stop in Winnipeg. What is it about the city that keeps you coming back and wanting to play shows here?

OU: Because people are fucked up there. They have money, they give us money. They want Gwar to come there. It’s like Halloween, Christmas, tooth fairy, big foot raping ma, everything all at once; Easter bunny, Santa Claus, like Santa Claus fucking a damn rabbit.

Stylus: You’re playing at the Garrick Theatre which is a beautiful local venue, but recently a few Winnipeg music venues have been shut down. What are your thoughts on how to run a successful venue and to keep people coming and make money as a local venue?

OU: You have to have someone extremely smart running the place. They need tons of money because chances are you are not going to make any. You need to be able to bribe the local authorities, you do not want to be a crack head.  If you’re a crack head chances are it is going under. You need to bring together some good acts and good agencies. You can’t be a sucker. You need to negotiate well. Never say money first. Never negotiate from a position of weakness. People don’t give a shit you broke your leg. They are happy you broke your leg because they are faster than you. Someone with a hot girlfriend always helps.

Stylus: Neil Young is playing in Winnipeg the night before Gwar is here. Would you ever considering a Neil Young collaboration of some sort here in Winnipeg where Neil grew up?

OU: I didn’t know he was from Winnipeg. Certainly we would collaborate with Neil Young, he has always been one of my favourite guitar players. The night before…we have a night off, we go to see the show and maybe Oderus can do a number with Neil. “Cortez the Killer” has always been a favourite. Oderus could do the vocals well, I am all for it. Lucky for Winnipeg, getting Neil Young one night and Oderus Urungus the next… Always good things going on up there. When Gwar was first busting out we did much better in Canadian shows and still to this day some of our biggest shows are in Canada. I don’t know what it is, the water, the temperature or something, but people are definitely hungry for blood up there.

Stylus: How do you get the guitar sound that Gwar loves?

OU: Pustulus plays in the style of the Maximus which is lead heavy metal fucking guitar. He can play it all but has his own style. Pustulus’ sound is a bit more growly on the bass, a little more timbre in there, the leads are very strong.

Stylus: You guys tour quite a bit, how do you survive on the road?

OU: The road is a bounty of treasure that is constantly offered to us. Every city we go to we are showered with gifts and love. All year people wait for Gwar to come to their city and when we do they welcome Gwar in the best way they can. So basically we rebel, fight, eat, drink, be merry, slaughter, slay, slam, sex, drugs, rock and roll and we do the show and always much too soon we are out the back door in the helicopter and off to the next show…  A Gwar show, while it may go as smooth as a Sammy Davis Jr show, always has an element of chaos. I am just the singer of a rock and roll band and want to sing my songs, but then you have some asshole who is trying to rip out my scrotum. I don’t think many other metal guitarists have had to worry about that happening. Dimebag did get his head blown off though.

Stylus: When you are on the road and travelling do you listen to a lot of music? What kind of music are you into outside of your own circle?

OU: Older music, heavy music lots of Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, older Rush. Don’t know so much about the music of the last five years. It takes a lot for a band to stand out to me. There are a lot of bands that are very similar and uncreative now, because how many ways can you play a metal song which is evident to death? When 20 years ago the music before that sounded like when Beethoven played it, but then 20  years went by and the music sounded the exact same from 20 years before. Tell me something incredibly dramatic didn’t happen, it did!

Stylus: Stylus magazine covers a lot of new local music. Are you into any of the acts from your hometown?

OU: Well I didn’t really have a normal childhood but the Richmond (Virginia) bands are pretty good like Lamb of God and strike anywhere.

Stylus: Gwar tours quite a bit. Do you ever have trouble crossing borders with all your gear and get ups?

OU: Absolutely no troubles. We fly 30,000 above it all in our helicopter, we recognize no international borders. We don’t own passports. We have no fear. The military lets us go where we want when we want to. We generally don’t have to fight an armored suits division. We have had a truce with the human race over the past few weeks, but I am sure all that will change on our upcoming tour.

Stylus: Well that’s great. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to Stylus. Would you like to say anything else about your show in Winnipeg?

OU: Well, the response we received from Canadian fans after the tragic passing of Flattus was the strength that kept this band alive and we are coming back  at you with a new character Pustulus Maximus who has just enough of everything to make you love him and take you to new places. And we have a brand new show and we are going to set some shit straight before the Mayan apocalypse. Do not miss the next Gwar show, it is going to be fucking awesome. Thank you, Hail the Gwar followers of Winnipeg. Hail Gwar. Hail Sabbath.

Gwar is playing live in Winnipeg on November 17th at the Garrick Theatre.

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