ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 14, 1991
By Steve Newton
Sugar and spice and everything nice—that’s definitely not what a concert by Gwar is made of. Simulated decapitation and dismemberment, phony entrails all over the place, fake blood dousing the crowd, and a numbing type of thrash metal that incorporates lyrics even more violent than the on-stage activities—that’s closer to the truth. Try to recall your most disgusting, violent nightmare…no, better yet, just check out Gwar at the 86 Street Music Hall on Saturday (March 23).
Barf bags are optional.
The heavy-metal equivalent of a George Romero horror flick, Gwar is a no-holds-barred concept in shock entertainment. Even when being interviewed, the band members stay in character with their vile on-stage personalities. Vocalist Oderus Urungus mouthed off to the Georgia Straight from the group’s cave somewhere in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica, and explained the band’s preoccupation with violence and gore.
“It’s not really glorification of violence so much as what we do to pass the time,” claims Urungus. “It is my destiny to destroy the entire human race and therefore I kind of see it as a job—a public service, if you will.”
Urungus explains that the name Gwar does not mean anything in particular, and this scribbler’s guess that it might stand for “Gee, what a racket!” doesn’t go over well with him. “No! That’s another pathetic human attachment to putting some kind of label upon Gwar! It was actually the first word that we uttered when we awoke from our Antarctic tomb. We were actually called Gwaraggllgarglle for a while, but it was too long for flyers.”
Urungus has his own reasons for the fact that Gwar’s latest album, the appropriately titled Scumdogs of the Universe, hasn’t been racing up the charts of late. “Well, it has been racing up the charts—that’s just another lie! It’s gone quadruple platinum already! I understand that the government’s trying to keep it all suppressed, and it’s making me very angry. I’ll have to kill and kill again.”
The first and only time that Gwar played Vancouver, a couple of years back at Club Soda, the nightspot certainly did run red with imitation plasma. The band was also scheduled to bring its blood-spattered show to 86 Street last year, but never made it.
“We cancelled our show there last time for no reason whatsoever,” boasts Urungus. “Just a mere passing whim. In fact we’re probably gonna cancel the show at the last second this time as well—just ’cause you called!”