Q&A: We Shake Hands With Oderus Urungus Of Gwar
The Westcott Theater in Syracuse was steaming from all the body heat in the packed venue on a muggy summer night. On stage, Gwar, the metal band comprised of aliens, was slamming away on their instruments, their elated minions thrashing around in the crowd, dripping with sweat as they screamed.
Behind the band other aliens fought, ripping limbs from one another’s bodies, leaving blood-squirting stumps in their place. During one song, an alien was wheeled out strapped to a board. SawBorg Destructo, a creature with a circular saw in place of his right hand, slowly dismembered his helpless victim, pulling his innards out like threads as he worked up towards the unfortunate’s head. Each new stage of dismemberment produced another round of projectile blood.
Gwar has been creating graphic scenes like this one since 1984. Handshake web editor Justin Sondel had a chance to catch up with lead singer and guitarist Oderus Urungus, whose real name is Dave Brockie, on his tour bus before the blood began to fly.
Handshake: You guys formed Gwar in 1984. Did you always wear the costumes or did you start off as just another metal band?
Brockie: Gwar was a theatrical band from the very beginning. We started off trying to make a sci-fi movie and someone said, “What if we played music as the characters?” We’ve been doing it now for 25 years.
Handshake: Don’t you guys get hot in those suits on stage?
Brockie: It was so f***ing hot the other night. It almost felt like I was f***ed up or something. It felt kind of cool. You try to leave certain areas open for ventilation.
Handshake: You guys have worked with a lot of different artists throughout the years. How does the costume-making work?
Brockie: Well we spend about half the year on the road and half the year working on the costumes back home. We work with Hunter Jackson, but there have been about 15 to 20 artists we have worked with throughout the years. People with all different interests were involved. Everybody brought something different to the table. Some people were into sci-fi, some were into wrestling, some were into horror.