I’m 31 now and I’ve listened to GWAR for the last 19-20 years. That’s probably something my friends and family didn’t want me to admit, but I haven’t listened to any other band for as long, or as consistently, as GWAR. Here I was, an impressionable Catholic School kid going to public school for the first time before I headed overseas to live in France for a few years. I made a friend (who will remain nameless) who introduced me to Pearl Jam. One night, we had a sleepover and he wanted to know if I wanted to see something absolutely crazy. Sure, why not. He showed me one of his older brother’s VHS tapes of a band called GWAR. I didn’t know what to think. They were absolutely insane. I didn’t quite understand them, but the first thing I thought to myself is how does a horror junkie like myself not know about this band?
At that point, I did whatever I could to get my hands on all of their music – even suckered one of my family members (again, remaining nameless) into buying me Scumdogs of the Universe. I was hooked. Sure most people think they suck, but you have to admit, they have staying power and longevity.
When the Internet came along, I was able to find pictures of all the members without their costumes; what their real names were; and the fact that most of them were art students. I even did a project on GWAR my senior year of high school. I also got the chance to interview the lead singer when I was writing regularly for a few music magazines. That was a very entertaining (and interesting to say the least) interview. With bands like GWAR, the mythos built around their personas are much more dastardly than the real thing once you get to thinking about it. Hell, lead singer Oderus Urungus used to have a guest spot on a show on Fox News and is now writing a football column for a hard rock website.
GWAR is definitely an acquired taste and you really need to appreciate the shock and theatrics involved with their music. If you’re not, they’re probably not going to be your cup of tea. I think it’s also a must to not take them too seriously, because when it all boils down to it, they’re a bunch of art students in costumes playing heavy metal music. They found something that makes them stick out and makes them marketable and they stuck with it.
So, why am I posting about GWAR on my Halloween blog? Well, besides the fact that they look like extras in a B-movie horror flick, they always tour around Halloween and always make a stop at one of the worst clubs in Detroit every year without fail. When October rolls around, I start thinking about Halloween, which eventually segways into thinking about GWAR. It’s been ten years since I’ve seen them live. I’m hoping to break that dry spell this year. We’ll see. Happy Halloween!