By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Sitting in my dining room on an uneventful Tuesday night, I anxiously awaited the call from the blood spitting, costume-wearing freak show that is Gwar.
The phone rings. It’s coming from GWAR’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Five seconds in and it’s already obvious it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to talk to these guys.
“Hi. This is Pustulus Maximus, formerly of GWAR.”
“Yeah, I just quit, like 30 seconds ago. Well, we figured if we broke up after Riot Fest, maybe they’ll pay us more money to reunite and play again next year.”
Ah, I see where this is going. I play along and ask more about this excellent blackmail scheme.
“We really are ‘breaking up.’ Nah, I mean, if Jawbreaker can go from, you know, playing in a bar to headlining Riot Fest, why can’t GWAR?”
It’s a valid and very timely plan. Gwar’s new album The Blood of Gods is set for release on October 20 through Metal Blade Records. It’s their first album in four years, as well as their first album without front man Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus), who passed away in 2014 after forming the band in 1984 and spearheading them ever since. As for their sound, GWAR performs a mixture of thrash and death metal heavy on the shtick.
“If he could hear it, I think he’d be blown away,” Pusty says about his fallen bandmate.
“Doing a record without Oderus Urungus didn’t come without its difficulties, of course. You know, we had to make the record with the band that we had, not the band that we were. And I do think that this record reflects the band that we are, the band that we wanted to be. I’m happy with it; it’s great.”
Since joining GWAR in 2011, Pusty has had an increasingly larger role in the band, especially when it comes to songwriting. There are a few tracks on The Blood of Gods that stand out for him specifically.
“’El Presidente” stands out a lot. “I’ll Be Your Monster” and “Phantom Limb” are some of my favorites as well. I contributed heavily to this record, as we all did. Beefcake and I wrote all the music for “El Presidente.” I wrote all the music for “Monster.” “Phantom Limb” was definitely a collaborative effort that came kind of at the last minute. I feel really strongly about that one, as far as a song that really shows our maturity. And really the whole record sort of speaks to that. It definitely feels more thought out and the biggest thing we wanted to avoid was putting out something that sounded rushed, which is why it took so damn long.”
This interview just keeps getting better and better. But what about all of the happy and excited fans that show up to GWAR’s live shows, Pusty?
“Yeah, and of course that’s not the intention. We don’t really want them to be happy. We just want their money and their drugs,” he explains.
“But you know, unfortunately there’s a trade-off there, so if we must be labelled as entertainers, I guess I’ll take it.”
Even though Gwar has been around for over three decades, Pusty doesn’t think they’ll ever turn into a legacy act that plays the casino circuit as cash grab.
“I don’t really see it happening to us because, quite frankly, our music sucks and that’s why we just kill shit the whole time we’re onstage. So I think as long as we keep reinventing a good show, we won’t have to worry about that. We start by not writing good songs.”
Now if that doesn’t sound like a good time, then I don’t know what does.
GWAR plays November 8 at the Pyramid (Winnipeg), November 9 at Saskatoon Events Centre (Saskatoon), November 10 at Union Hall (Edmonton), November 11 at The Palace Theatre (Calgary) and November 13 at the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver).Commodore Ballroom, GWAR, Reunion Tour, Saskatoon Events Centre, The Palace Theatre, The Pyramid, Union Hall