Music News

GWAR Seeks Crack: The Whiff and Wisdom of Oderus Urungus

Oderus Urungus' language is as colorful as the fake bodily fluids he spews on his audiences. The singer of theatrical splatter-metal band GWAR — the intergalactic crew of sinewy beasts (read: costumed former art students from Virginia) that's been wreaking havoc on heavy metal for a quarter-century — describes GWAR's Earthly adopted home of Antarctica as "Pretty boring, with just some Norwegian scientists and giant penguins, but we get great drugs and bologna burgers, and we love that shit."

Urungus likes the leap from icy Antarctic to the dry, hot desert. "Phoenix is great," he says. "It's a wonderful place to burn the venereal diseases off your genitals."

Now that he's got the pleasantries out of the way, Urungus, speaking by phone from a robot whorehouse in space (read: hotel room in the Midwest), talks about the story behind GWAR's 11th and latest studio album, Lust in Space. The black-humor cracks about sodomy and eating babies are still all there, wrapped up in GWAR's thunderous rhythms and melodic metal choruses (which often includes references to sucking something), but there's been a new development in wacked-out concept land.

Having been marooned on Earth for 25 years, GWAR finds a Scumdog ship that will send the band back to its home planet, but one of its nemeses, the buzz-killing Cardinal Syn, returns and plans an attack on our fair planet.

To make matters worse, GWAR can't find any crack in space, so they must return to Earth for their favorite drug. Oh, and to save us from Cardinal Syn, whom Urungus says is "coincidentally showing up the very night we play Phoenix."

"It's going to be an epic battle," Urungus says of the inevitably goofy-gory stage scene. "Hopefully, I kick his fuckin' robot ass across the stage, through the dressing rooms, and into the urinal."

GWAR's known for its giant sci-fi costumes and elaborate props, as well as the uh, wild and wet nature of their act. Patrons of the mosh pit can expect to be doused with a kaleidoscope of spewing fluids. "A lot of people are like, 'Why did you piss on me?'" Urungus says, not providing any answer besides an insidious snicker.

Well, we'll boldly argue that it's some kind of art, and Urungus (a.k.a. Dave Brockie) is some kind of sick genius. Sure, GWAR's a total geek-gimmick, but how many gimmicks are articulate enough to land a regular spot, in full character as an "intergalactic correspondent," on Fox News' Red Eye?

Urungus chalks that gig up to his extraterrestrial insight (read: satirical social commentary on what a shithole Earth's become). "Now that Michael Jackson is dead, I'm the only accessible space alien on the planet," Urungus says. "I've got the wit and the urbane-yet-laconic charm to worm my way on."

"A lot of people are saying the Mayans are prophesying the end of the world. If Oderus is on Fox News, it might come a lot sooner," Urungus adds. "Some people are chefs, some people are brain surgeons, and some people bring the apocalypse. That's how I roll."

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea