It was twenty years ago when the other punk rockers and metal heads around school started sharing GWAR with me. We watched Live in Antarctica, Tour de Scum, Phallus in Wonderland and Skulhedface together. We knew all the best lines and we quoted it all relentlessly. Hell-O, Scumdogs of the Universe, America Must Be Destroyed and This Toilet Earth were all on high rotation, but I’ve got to admit that I didn’t quite get it at the time. I loved the humour, the art, the gore and twisted music; but it was so very varied. Too wide and unique for my young mind to grasp. The bizarre mythology shot straight over my head like a blood gushing load from Oderus’s Cuttlefish of Cthulu and quite frankly, I had no understanding how huge of an impact this band would have on my life.
And then there was RagNaRok. The album that set the fire burning. The album that set them in stone for me. From the punch your face stomper Meat Sandwich to the sweet and ever so dear ode to life on the road None but the Brave, the album laid claim to my heart and soft impressionable brain. I got it. It all made sense. It was fucking stupid, and that was half the point. Ball tearing music, fun times, social commentary, weird irreverent characters and a style that threw caution to the wind and farted on it. That album will forever be a classic in the wild and scattered discography…
At this point there was no turning back, and surprisingly the new albums kept on flowing. Carnival of Chaos was this weird punk rock trip that ended up being the most vocally melodious of all GWAR albums. If you’re looking for a sing along, this is the place. Scallop Boat, Hate Love Songs and the always classic Pre-Skool Prostitute, this album is just as strange as the next. I bought We Kill Everything from Sanity at Charlestown. The devastation of discovering I had bought an eight song censored version of the album near broke my heart. I returned it as quick as I could and refused to take no for an answer. If the album didn’t open with Babyraper, it was not for me. It was real now. GWAR flooded through my veins. I got it. I was a fan. I needed more… and then it seemed like they disappeared.
Looking back now it was only two quiet years, but without the internet as it is today, there was no news, no info what so ever. Maybe a small pic in a metal mag here and there but still no one outside of the old school friends knew or cared about the Lords and Masters that were quickly competing to be my favourite band. Heck, the fuckers were still yet to step their monster feet on our continent. Still, my fix was satisfied by new films here and there and the We Kill Everything companion It’s Sleazy is by far one of my top faves of all their vids.
Luckily enough I bumped into a friend who was keeping his fingers on the pulse. GWAR had a new album and by fuckery it was heavy, at least by GWAR standards so far. Violence Has Arrived. Slymenstra was gone and this masculine metal idea had really taken a hold of what was now my favourite band. Kurt Cobain had shot himself in the arm and head, RHCP’s grew lamer with every new release and Faith No More had the common sense to bail on a high… still GWAR raged on. And holy shit did they rage. The album is a statement. A call to arms. They had finally found their sound and it was metal. Still a little thrash/punk, but the stage was set for almost all that would follow.
It was here that it became obsession. Some money found it’s way into my wallet and I started spilling it all on the catalogue. I have never regretted this decision. For a short time in my life I had expendable money… and I blew it on GWAR. All the dvd’s, cd’s, side projects and comics; anything I could get my hands on. I can’t fucking wait to dig through all this awesome shit over the next few weeks. It was real now. I got myself a tattoo to seal the deal. It was GWAR. They had won the battle of my teenage years. All the other bands had died, failed and bailed. GWAR stood atop them all and I longed for everything they could shit on me.
Enter Corey Smoot. Holy mother fucking shit balls on metal tits. War Party arrived and dicks were split. Complex, mad, heavy fucking metal. It was real. The band had truly shaken off all their buffoonery and replaced it with an even sharper sword. I was keen. How the fuck did this band keep dropping such impressive albums? It blew me the fuck off my feet. And then the fucktards backed it up with Beyond Hell! Shit my pants, these two albums are companions. Arm in worm arm after harm. GOLD. A beautiful time to be a GWAR fan.
A few more years passed and by this point it was well known that I was obsessive about these jerks. Barely a day went by when I didn’t celebrate their madness. It consumed me. They became a part of my everyday life. They had been there for so long by this point. They were family I would never meet or see and I didn’t care. I was inspired and influenced. The fact that these madmen built an empire of blood, guts and metal astounded me. It was everything I wanted to be. Rude, crude, admired and plethoric.
Next up Lust in Space dropped and the opera returned just a little. The themes and stories reigned supreme once again and the metal madness kept shredding all the way. It was a strange time for me, as each album kept dropping I could never quite believe they were still there for me. How on this mud ball does the worlds most disgustingly notorious band continue to bust nuts like this? My dick was getting sore from being so damn fucking hard for so many years now. Surely something’s gotta give… and it didn’t.
Bloody Pit of Horror revealed itself with the most unbelievable news this bohab could ever face. GWAR was coming to Australia. It seemed too good to be true. Why now? After so many years!? I had made peace with the fact that I would never see them… and all that was about to change. There was only one thing I could do.
I followed GWAR up the east coast of Australia catching every show I could afford. Driving solo in my car, 4,000km’s in five days, I caught three shows, one in each of the east side states of Oz and that show in Sydney will be one of my finest memories. Standing in that crowd with all my old school friends. None of us had really kept in touch. None of us knew if the others were going to be there, but sure enough. Heads rolled, dicks spat and the blood ran free. So fucking cool to experience that show with the friends I had enjoyed those early years of discovery with. Too fucking cool.
It all turned out quite well. Somehow my favourite scumdogs not only withstood the test of time, but they also made it all the way to the land of Oz. Life was good. I was reinvigorated. The band had kicked cunt for 25 fucking years by this point and I was signed up for eternity. My official slave membership card stated it as fact. What on shit could they deliver next!?
What they delivered next was devastating. Flattus Maximus - Corey Smoot had died of heart failure while on tour. What the fuck? A member of GWAR died. Not just epic guitar shredder Smoot, but Flattus fucking Maximus. The first ever retired character of GWAR. Was it possible? Were they just human after all!? I didn’t believe it for a moment and Oderus made it clear. Flattus had returned home to the planet Scumdogia and a distant relative would soon fill his spot.
And he did. Pustulus Maximus came and made proud his fallen soldier and GWAR returned with their most important album since the original coming of Smoot. Battle Maximus is classic GWAR. It’s metal, but the punk rock thrash comedy ethos of old comes seeping back through. A celebration of life and death. Of humour and sorrow. Looking death in the face and laughing at it all away… until that second last track.
Falling. Brockie’s farewell. A song for his fallen soldier ironically ends up being his swan song. It’s beautiful and melodic. Layered, insightful and sincerely touching. Everything GWAR will never be known for.
And now I’ve got to face the fact that my biggest, weirdest hero on this fucked up mud ball is gone. His art splatters my body in ink that will never fade. My girl and I cry for our loss like selfish bohabs. I can never dream to appreciate how hard this must be for everyone at the Slave Pit Inc. I can’t imagine life without GWAR and Oderus Urungus. The baddest most slickest fuck up this side of Antarctica. My heart goes out to all wise enough to get it. This planet has lost the most unique mad man we could ever hope to celebrate. Raise Hell fucker.