An interview with Oderus Urungus. The Oderus. I requested it without even thinking about the consequences and now, waiting for the clock to finally announce that it’s time, I have a case of nerves. It’s not like I haven’t been nervous before. Certain artists have a reputation for being awkward to talk to, but with Oderus it’s not awkwardness, you just need to keep your wits about you, keep sharp and not fall behind… and suddenly I am very worried about being left behind! We’re talking here about an alien possessed of a cuttlefish so mighty it has been known to penetrate sea-going mammals.
A self-created entity that makes the persona of Marilyn Manson look not unlike Mr Rogers, Oderus is none other than Dave Brockie, leader of the seemingly unstoppable GWAR, a band riding high on the brilliant ‘Battle Maximus’ album, and part of the problem lies in the fact that you never know exactly who is going to be speaking at any given point. What makes this interview a little more awkward is that Oderus is just slightly aggravated that the last GWAR UK tour was cancelled, leading him to conclude that Europe is, en masse, in league with Lordi – an assertion that causes no end of embarrassment.
What follows is the full transcript of our interview, and beware that it is not for the faint of heart – as your humble interlocutor I hope you enjoy the interview, but for now I’m off to lie down with a vat of Krokodil, the experience was somewhat exhausting!
Greetings – my name is Phil…
[Interrupting] I don’t care what your name is…
[persevering] Fair enough – I’m phoning from SonicAbuse
Oh ‘fair enough’… OK so you’re making the rules here, Phil? Anyway who are you trying to get in touch with?
I’m hoping to get in touch with Oderus
Oh, wrong number!
Are you sure?
Apparently my number and Oderus’ number are one number apart. But what we do a lot is that I just pretend that I’m Oderus.
Well, that sounds like the easiest way to deal with it.
Yeah it’s actually a lot better because Oderus is a complete asshole, he’s not very fun to talk with and no sense of humour. No wit, no intellect, no powers of elocution.
That’s tragic I’d heard he was a witty, elegant man of style and substance
[indistinct muttering which sounds anything but complimentary] I AM Oderus! Ha ha!
I’m so smart. Well I’d love to do the rest of this interview, but as I fooled you there I’m going to have to throw myself a surprise party so, ha ha.
Oh wait, no one came.
Ok let’s get this over with as I have 800 interviews today…
[Interrupts] GET ON WITH IT!
The first question…
You sound European or Australian or something…
Australian? I don’t have criminal tendencies… [dear people of Australia – before you flame the hell out of SonicAbuse please consider the comic tone of much of this interview!]
Well, where the fuck are you from?
Ah, England, lovely England!
Absolutely, the home of Shakespeare…
When is England going to become part of Europe anyway?
I’m pretty sure the government won’t allow me to answer that question definitively.
Yeah because every time I’m there everyone seems to love being part of Europe…
We like to think we’re subtly different…
Well you guys think that – the rest of Europe hates you! What the fuck’s the problem?
It’s a difficult question…
Also, what the fuck are you giving the Queen that has been keeping her alive for so many years?
The same thing we’ve been giving to Lemmy!
Aaah, very interesting, you think the Queen and Lemmy might ever go out on a date?
I’m pretty sure it’s happened but national security would preclude the mention of it in the press.
I think they’d make a cute couple. Who’s older?
The Queen, I think.
She’s got to be, what, 3-400 years old now?
She’s getting on that way, Lemmy is not far behind though. The Queen’s recorded fewer albums.
Well, let’s give it a shot, he needs cheering up, I understand he’s not been very well and life without Lemmy is not worth living, so basically… Lemmy, I think, England should proclaim him a national treasure and just do whatever. I mean he could finally move out of that crummy apartment he lives in in Hollywood, stuffed with Nazi war regalia.
He’s a worrying chap
I wonder if he’s like most England people and hates the Germans…
Well… we are planning to declare him a national treasure…
Well hurry up before he’s dead….. [ line goes dead completely]… dead…
… are you there?
[break for trying to sort communications mess]
I lost you completely there
Yeah, that’s alright, people do lose me completely..
I actually have a couple of questions for you about your new album
Well that’s why I’m here so spit ‘em out!
Over the years of GWAR this sounds to be, probably, the heaviest album you’ve released. How much of that is down to the turmoil you’ve experienced as a band and how much is down to the arrival of (new guitarist) Pustulous Maximus?
Well, aren’t you perceptive? Flattus… cajoled us back. After our brief period of playing experimental music… and a lot of people are like, ‘oh GWAR hates those albums’ – I do not hate those albums! I love those songs! I love ‘fish fuck’ and ‘fucking an animal’, you know? We had to check out every type of music that you humans were doing. But it was Flattus that bought us back to metal and ever since the albums have been getting heavier and heavier and so when we lost Flattus and he was called back to Metal Metal land, immediately we thought it was like a new ball game, but we wanted to stay in the same direction. We didn’t want to start playing jazz or something, so after about 14 milliseconds, we had a new plan and we knew right there that we had to make the most ass-kicking record that we ever had made, first and foremost to honour our scumdog brother in metal metal land. Unless we made an album that flatus thought was awesome, it wouldn’t be right. So that’s why we went to the Maximus clan, and they all fought each other, the last one standing being Pustulous, who claimed the job. And with the first songs that Pustulous gave us, and the first songs the other guys wrote, I knew right there that the other Maximus members who came back to give us a kick in the butt, there were so many people on our mission that I knew we could not fail. I mean I’m an eternal optimist but I was a little surprised by how well our record was received and all of a sudden I’m taking calls from Europe and we’re getting actual good reviews. So, all of a sudden, as GWAR rediscovered our metal direction, the metal community has embraced us and pretty much realised that we do know how to make fucking killer albums and ‘battle Maximus’ was our greatest challenge yet, not just to somehow pay tribute to Flattus and make him happy, but also to continue to evolve as a band and keep getting better. And that is for fate to decide, I would not make up my mind on that myself, but, so far, signs are good.
As a band there’s obviously a comical element, but musically this album is incredibly tight…
[Connection drops again]
As a band there’s obviously a comical element, but musically this album is incredibly tight…
As I was saying to you before we were cut off… first, that is a statement, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that… I agree…
You could agree and elaborate…
Oh, is that what you want? Elaboration?
I would love elaboration!
Yeah, despite what the more moronic and ignorant members of the human race might think, the music was always the most important thing about this band. A lot of people are just like “you’re just a bunch of costumed clowns!” First of all, we are not fucking clowns, alright? This is not a costume. I was born in this shit. I dropped out of the womb, fully armed and armoured, into a gladiatorial arena, where sword beasts tried to rape me. They threw me a sword and it was either kill, or be raped. So when you’re living a life like that. When you’re living hard like that, like I’ve lived life, I’ve lived life hard, music is a great comfort and a great inspiration. It has been the single greatest love of my life. So for some idiotic journalist, who couldn’t even play ‘happy birthday’ on a one string fucking Ukulele, to write about GWAR’s music being shit, fills me with boundless wrath. They talk about GWAR, they talk about it being a big joke. Yeah, you think you’re still going to be laughing when my dick is ripping your ass out? We are dedicated to the destruction of the power blocks, of the human race. [Working up a towering rage] We will liberate the masses. This is not about music, this is not about costumes, this is not about comedy. This is about world breaking, edifice smashing, revolution, destruction and overthrow. The only way your race can be saved is by obliterating everything and starting over again. You don’t think I’ve got a political agenda? And you think that Oderus [briefly calms down] and I’m not talking about “you”, I’m using “you” figuratively here[returns to rant] is an idiot and that GWAR’s stupid, then I submit to you that you’re one of those guys who takes metal sooooo seriously, and you’ve got your stupid jean patched jacket with every stupid fucking metal band and every stupid metal band singer who are a bunch of stupid fucking motherfuckers, and I hang out with them all the time…. They think, just because they’re in a metal band all of a sudden and people are listening to them, they think they’re smart. They probably dropped out of school before kindergarten. They’d be lucky if they could spell their name with a crayon on a fucking piece of toilet paper. They don’t even fucking use toilet paper. I have the most boundless intellect in rock ‘n’ roll – people that don’t get GWAR don’t have a fucking sense of humour and that is my one criticism of the European metal scene: it’s humourless. It’s HUMOUR – LESS and you guys would rather bow down to Mr Lordi than Oderus and GWAR? What the fuck?
How can you say we’re humourless when we have Genesis?
They’re not a fucking metal band bro!
But you have to admit there’s humour there!
The metal community in Europe don’t like GWAR because they know that GWAR is making fun of them and we are… but you know what? We’re a metal band and it’s self-deprecating humour, which I thought most Europeans would understand and, in fact, there are more funny people in England than anywhere else in Europe, so that does seem to be the last stronghold of GWAR domination in Europe, even though we had to cancel our last English tour because no one was buying tickets! What the fuck is up with up with that? We’re talking about GWAR here… it blows my mind.
[stuttering] One of the things I was wondering about…
You should be all stammer mouthed and marvel mouthed. You should feel shame for the European metal community and the way they’ve embraced that hack, Lordi.
We are slightly ashamed of Lordi…
I cannot express to you my disgust! It’s shit! It sounds like Billy Idol playing to play metal!
Wait – Billy Idol’s not metal?
Ah fuck it, get on to the next question!
One of the things that makes up a GWAR show is the element to shock and the perception is that it’s easier to shock American audiences than European audiences – is that true?
Yes, American audiences aren’t as jaded and as fed up with stuff. Europeans have been around a lot longer – they’ve fucked everything and in every hole, they’ve seen it all and done it all and they know how to do it better than we do. So Americans still have this wide-eyed amazement about the world because it’s a young country and it’s a mixed bag of people over here. You’ve got tons of Europeans from every country in Europe, hell we’ve got people from every country in the world. Then you have the people who were enslaved and bought here to fill this country. Then you have the people that lived here before those people got here and who had genocide committed on them and then built gambling casinos. So it’s an interesting mix because it’s way more wide open.
I don’t know if shock is the word anymore. I don’t know if we’re trying to “shock” people – I don’t think what we do is particularly shocking. Everyone knows what GWAR does – but it’s like, if you saw some of the stuff that GWAR did off stage – that would shock you! Like for instance, having sex with a blue whale; not a lot of people know I’m into that – I hate human women, they break so easily, a blue whale is the only animal on the planet with a vagina big enough for my penis, so that’s part of the show that you don’t get. So, maybe, I don’t know, the next tour of Europe I’ll fuck a blue whale on stage and maybe people will get. It’s like Mr Lordi and that shit [sadly it is impossible to imbue my writing with the same degree of loathing Oderus places on the word ‘shit’] that’s entertainment. He’s not trying to shock you, he’s trying to entertain you… like Fred Estere. That’s not what GWAR’s about – it’s about destroying the fucking world.
Isn’t part of the problem with trying to destroy the world that the internet has come along and removed a lot of the surprise factor that came hand in hand with a GWAR show?
But the internet has given me a platform to broadcast my political agenda from. Anything the internet has taken away, like album sales, it has given us back most generously in terms of free publicity.
…and also in merchandise – surely GWAR is second only to Kiss in terms of product available?!
Oh dude, I just saw the coolest new GwAR product – we just got them today. They’re bandanas, kinda like gang members wear to cover their lower faces, but it’s got Oderus’ face on it, so you can put it on up to your eyes and right below your eyes, Oderus’ face starts – it’s awesome. There’s going to be a rash of bank robberies on this tour… “apparently Oderus has been robbing banks across the United States…”
You’re not related to Gene Simmons are you?
No! The only reason… Gene Simmons is much like Mr Lordi in that he’s in entertainment, he’s not a revolutionary. He’s a marketing genius. And he did it to make money. I come from the punk rock school – and that was never the idea: to get rich off of GWAR – No, no no no – that whole idea is fairly nauseating to me so we’re worlds apart. But, at the same time, GWAR does need money to survive. Money to us is a tool to create fucked up and obnoxious spectacles for you humans to gape in awe at.
You did mention that Europe doesn’t have much of a sense of humour, but there are similarities between you and, say, Rammstein bouncing around with a giant penis canon…
I would say Rammstein is an exception. A definite exception and they’re awesome and I love them. I think they’re one of the best bands in the world and I’d love to play with them. I wish I had their budget. I wish I had their kind of money. Not so I could blow it on hookers, NOT so I could live in some fancy house in the Hollywood hills. If I had that money I would spend it on our show and I would have giant flaming chariots and 30 ft long penises and fucking blue whales and all that shit – that shit takes money!
Is it gratifying to know you paved the way for this?
Aaagh – we paved the way for rammstein in the way that Kiss and Alice Cooper paved the way for us. A lot of these guys are quick to distance themselves from GWAR. I see ourselves as being part of the same tribe, the Monsters of rock if you will, and that’s what monsters do. They fight each other – I mean Oderus falls out with Mr Lordi, I got nothing against Mr Lordi, but he’s a monster. Monsters fight monsters – no need to get all butt-hurt about it – jeez!
I don’t know if they use that phrase in Europe much, but it’s a big one over here: ‘butt-hurt’!
It’s something new to me
Ah you can use it – like the next time you say “hey I can’t make it tonight,” and your friend is like “dude? Really??” Then you can say: “dude – don’t get all butt hurt about it!” that’ll shut him up!
I think I’m getting old!
I know you’re getting old. I’m a scumdog of the universe, I age backwards. That’s another thing not many people know about me. I was born fully grown, I’ve been going backwards in time ever since, I’m now -13, which means I’m just entering the beginning of the end of puberty. So Oderus is getting more rowdy as he gets ‘older’.
If you’re going backwards, how come your cuttlefish is getting bigger?
Well that’s just the mystery and the fact behind the answer to that question… which is a riddle. A conundrum which I cannot reveal because if I did the shocking… impact it would have on your life would explode your head and this interview would be over.
I kinda like my head
Yeah, I like your head too. I think this is a good interview, I’d like to see it get published, so I’m not going to explain to you why my cock is getting bigger all the time.
The artwork for the album, for GWAR, seems surprisingly tame…
It seems a bit more relaxed than usual compared to previous releases…
Well, we did that on purpose – we wanted to make the art very simple on this record to really let the music do the talking. There’s a fuck load of lyrics and I wanted everyone to read the lyrics because I wanted everyone to know about Battle Maximus and the whole story of Mr Perfect and the coming holocaust and all that shit and we wanted people to fucking pay attention to the fucking music. Besides, who buys… do you people actually buy vinyl anymore? And I can tell you it looks fucking good on vinyl. In fact, there’s so much music on the album we had to release it as a double set which looks beautiful. But it smooshed the way you get album art down so small, that it’s almosyt pointless to put a lot of effort into it. It’s better to concentrate on stuff like t shirts and posters and things that are actually presented in a format that’s apt and has some size to it, rather than the size of a book of matches.
Are Oderus and the GWAR guys record collectors and music collectors because I imagine it to be that way…
Well, of course I’d love to tell you that, but even Oderus succumbed and got an Ipod. I mean, guess what, I can’t have a turntable in my bunk on the bus! If I could, I would, but instead I got a pair of headphones and an iPod. In fact my iPod is on my iPhone upon which I’m doing this fucking interview so you should be happy about it, punk!
Why has there never been a GWAR movie?
GWAR is an underground phenomenon and movies cost a lot to make.
Sonic Youth did it on ‘Dirty’…
Yeah – but back then money had value! How hard is it to film a bunch of junkies sitting around banging on their instruments? Hahahahahaha! I think GWAR’s movie would have better production values thank you very much – I think Rob Zombie could easily step to the plate, but he’d rather pick at GWAR’s bones like a thanksgiving turkey – take the bits that he thinks he could use in his movie and then cast his terrible actress wife…
Has there ever been a time when you’ve had to self-censor yourselves?
Oh fuck no! The only question is how far can we go! You never stop and this is a general attitude to life, I mean, you’ve never gone far enough. You never go far enough, you’ll know when you’ve gone too far because you’ll be dead! I never think about that shit, no, I’m always trying to push the limits and nothing is off-limits to GWAR, nothing! We’re all about taking out everything that is sacred, profane, scary, hairy or in any way, shape or form causes controversy to the humans; bringing it up on stage and kicking the living shit out of it. To show people that, guess what! You don’t have to be afraid! You don’t have to be afraid of everything. You don’t have to be afraid of new ideas. We can take care of each other. And also we can [roar] smash the elitist fucks that run this planet!
Can we expect you back in the UK?
Man, I sure fucking hope so! I love the UK, I love playing in the UK and Europe. I do not understand why it seems like they turned their backs on us but I’ve been doing tons of interviews with people in Europe about the new album and we’re back on Metal Blade in Europe now, so that’s really good and we’re getting a really good response from Europe where basically, apart from the odd festival performance, we had stopped going and that was very alarming. So rather than try to suck up to Europe and tell you how much we love you, and of course I’m going to talk shit because I’m Oderus, what you guys prefer Lordi to GWAR?? What the fuck?? You guys need to be on Krokodil…
Errrr – what is ‘Krokodil’?
It’s that fucked up drug they do in Russia. You buy over the counter, very mild Codeine Aspirin and then wash it out with, like, eight different kinds of industrial solvents – it turns into some kinid of super-concentrated acid that melts your flesh but gets you really fucking high!
Surely everybody would end up looking like Oderus if they took that?
Oh they could never be that good looking!
That’s a challenge!
You could take your face, inject Crocodile into it for a year. Then take a huge plate of fish and chips and stick your face in, for about a day, then go home and fry that and you would still be nowhere near as pretty as I.
Maybe the Scottish dish, a deep fried Mars bar would do the job?
Well the Scottish are crazy and they love GWAR and we haven’t been there for a fuck of a long time. We haven’t even been to Ireland! Come on Europe, step up, get GWAR back in Europe, you guys need it man, you need it more than ever, you guys don’t even know what Krokodil is, come on man! You’re listening to Lordi and you’re just shooting regular heroin man. I’m telling you, GWAR and crocodile man!
The most important thing I have to say to the people of Europe is that I love them, we love them and we love touring there (despite all my obnoxious comments). It is true, European metal fans take themselves far too seriously, they need to lighten up a bit, but demand your fucking ‘Battle Maximus’. It’s the greatest album GWAR have ever made, it’s a stunning accomplishment considering everything this band has been through, and I don’t know if you guys have checked your watches or calendars recently, but we’ve been doing this for almost 30 years straight. It’s only two years away, our thirtieth anniversary. And we didn’t take five year breaks, we didn’t stop putting out albums, so we know that GWAR are immortal legends of rock ‘n’ roll and it takes a bit of commitment to be a GWAR fan. You run the risk of looking silly, you run the risk of your cool friends telling you that you’re an idiot because [attempts terrible English accent] ‘GWAR’s music is shite!’ Those people can be saved – just throw on ‘battle Maximus’, don’t tell them what band it is, play them the first song and they’ll be like ‘woah! I guess I’m a right cunt!’
That’s definitely closer to English than ‘butt-hurt’!
Yeah you can use that – if your friends are like ‘Dude, I can’t believe you played me GWAR!’ you can say ‘dude – don’t get all butt-hurt!’
I don’t think GWAR has the bad reputation you imagine, at least not in the UK
I’m just trying to figure out why we haven’t toured Europe in the last four years and why my last English tour was cancelled two weeks before we showed up! I read everyone’s emails – I know we got tons of fans over there – I just don’t understand what the fucking problem is!
Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe it’s me – we’ll look into that!
Nooo – you can do some research – but I’m not convinced!
We’ll do some research and maybe it’s me – maybe one of my cousins. Maybe it’s crocodile, maybe the Russian mafia… the Queen… could the Queen be involved?
I think the Queen could be a GWAR fan…
Well, could you please talk to her and Lemmy and get that hooked up?
I’m not convinced that the Queen or Lemmy would acknowledge my existence, far less…
Dude – you lack confidence man! If you think you’re not going to get an audience with the Queen then you’re not going to get one. But if you think, ‘fuck yeah!’ ‘I’m going to call up, man, she’s going to talk to my ass,’ then she probably will!
Well, I like to think positive!
There you go. You’ve got something out of our conversation today – besides the phrase ‘butt-hurt’. Now I’m going to hang up on you!