RIP Dave Brockie, we miss you.
Johnny Pluckman of Alternative Control, along with Alex Gilbert of New Noise Magazine, had a sit-down with “Dave Brockie” at Toad’s Place on 12/28/13 a few hours before he removed his human suit and transformed into Oderus Urungus. Here’s some of what the interstellar diplomat had to say about New Haven, music, the World Maggot, and the new GWAR album Battle Maximus.
AltCtrl: The new album is really phenomenal; you guys have outdone yourselves again, the way that your guys’ sound just organically changes from album to album. I wanna ask you what it was like, working in the new studio, working with Pustulus now instead of Flattus, how did you guys interact differently during the writing process?
Oderus: Well y’know, we were very much still getting to know each other, so there was a lot of yelling, a lot of breaking of stuff. A lot of guitars getting smashed, and chopped in half. We basically had to build a guitar factory in the Antarctic Fortress just to keep up with the amount of them we destroyed every single day. It’s like me and iPhones, they just don’t go together well.
AltCtrl: So you’ve mentioned Toad’s Place is probably the venue you’ve played the most often during your career, why do you keep coming back to New Haven? Is the crack better here?
Oderus: Oh the crack is great here. You guys know students need that crack, man. Yale runs on fucking cocaine. They buy powder, but they rock that shit back up in their dorm rooms, y’know.
AltCtrl: Speaking of those poofsters at Yale, they’re trying to get this place shut down, what do you think about that?
Oderus: What, Toads!?
Oderus: (lip disdain noise) That’s pathetically horrible.
AltCtrl: They think it’s “too loud.”
Oderus: …It’s a rock and roll club. Y’know, conflict like that is bound to occur anytime you have a giant hulking, megalopoloid school that basically is, y’know, the biggest thing about this town is probably Yale and the city makes tons of money off of it so of course they’re gonna listen to the city. But with a place like Toad’s you have a piece of living history here. It really should be fucking declared a historical site. And if I was the guy who owns this building, and I’m sure he is, I would be working on that. Good luck closing this place down, it’s not like it’s just been here a couple years. This place is a fixture of the community. It’s a fixture in the international music scene, everybody from all over the world fucking plays this place. So you know, I really hope that doesn’t happen, that would be very very fucking sad.
AltCtrl: So I always love to look into GWAR’s lyrics, cause I know there’s just so much fodder there. One particular lyric from the new album is very profound: “Have you ever felt you haven’t when you found out that you had?” What does that mean?
Oderus: Well it just means, I mean literally, it just means, you know. Something you thought you had, and then you found out that you never did.
AltCtrl: Is that like when you drink too much, and you wake up the next morning in a cell, and they tell you what you did?
Oderus: And you might’ve thought you had control of yourself, or thought you didn’t have control. So, you found out that you haven’t, then you found out that you had? So that means you did have, you didn’t think you were doing something. So yea, you didn’t think you were completely wasted, but yea you wake up the next day in a cell yea you found out that you had 15 beers and shots, and you used to have an automobile but it’s wrapped around a telephone pole. Hopefully a family van full of people on their holiday didn’t burn alive as a result of your drunken idiocy.
You found out that you had a 4 count vehicular manslaughter, so yea sure. Like a lot of the lyrics, I write them in a kind of open-endedly, provocative manner. So you can apply it to your own life, your own situation. And you can come to your own conclusions about what the fuck they’re about.
AltCtrl: Kind of like a cosmic mirror.
Oderus: Sure. I mean that’s an artist’s role, isn’t it? To hold a mirror up to society. And everyone takes a look. And sometimes the mirror’s distorted, or sometimes someone puked on it. Or maybe it just hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. Maybe its crystal clear, and you look at yourself and you’re like “Is that me?”
AltCtrl: So when you think the band sucks, it’s really that you suck?
Oderus: I don’t know, I can’t decide. It’s weird, it’s like sometimes when I think I have the worst performances, those will be those shows that I come off stage everyone’s like “Great show tonight!” I’m just like, so confused. Does that mean all the night’s that I thought I was having a good show I really sucked?
I mean I guess it could always be better, but how people feel about things is always going to be decided by them, and what I do and what we do in the show, if any one member is having a crappy night you tend to not even.. First of all, the audience isn’t there to see you fail. You can play the song completely wrong and they’ll still be like “YES!!” They don’t notice that stuff so much; even if they do they’re not going to admit it. So it’s like, the golden rule of any performer is: no matter how fucking fucked up things are going on stage, part of you is trying to figure out what’s wrong with it, and solve it and move on with the set. But the other part of you is just like “Don’t fucking worry about it.” I’ve seen musicians just, rookies, or guys that just don’t have their shit together on stage just lose it. Y’know, “OH MY GOD MY PEDAL DOESN’T WORK!!” The whole show comes to a screeching halt; everyone’s just standing around like “Uhhh” Like a player being injured in a fucking football game or something. No, you just don’t let it ever slow down; you just keep going.
AltCtrl: Have you guys heard from the World Maggot recently? Are you still trying to escape from Earth?
Oderus: He had his fill a couple tours ago, ate many a young lass. Some of them actually got lost inside of him. That’s a difficult proposition; it’s a lot easier to feed girls to the Meat Grinder. Basically they just get lifted up and put into those giant whirling fucking metal jaws, and then they go. Whereas the World Maggot like comes out from underneath the fucking drum riser, and telescopes out to about 15 feet long and slews madly back and forth. And then, some poor woman, you’re like “Yea, go in there!” This poor girl has got to crawl in between the fucking front mandibles, you know this thing’s moving around. And then gotta go through this fucking rubber tube, or disgusting maggot esophagus, you know crawl through that fucking thing, in pitch blackness, smoke everywhere. Chicks would get lost inside of it; they would just give up and just start crying. There’d be like a big bulge in it, it was like a snake had just eaten. We’d find girls in there after the show, just like curled up in a fetal position, weeping.
But you gotta let the World Maggot out every now and then, he has to feed or he’d fucking ruin our temple, he lives underneath it in a big cave. So he’s down there sleeping, hopefully he’ll sleep this off for at least 4 or 5 tours, and then he’ll probably be back. And this whole fucking bloody mess will start all over again. Right now we’re just rolling with the Meat Grinder, it’s a lot easier for the slaves to deal with. And using this method, we can grind up 10 or 15 chicks in that song. None of their fucking fat boyfriends!
Rare video footage of the World Maggot
AltCtrl: What’s GWAR doing for New Year’s?
Oderus: Nothing, we’re done! (laughs) Actually, we’re fuckin, uh, not doing a New Year’s Eve show. New Year’s Eve shows, you’d think would be like one of the best shows of the year, but they always end up being a pain in the ass, and we never get it right. We never get the countdown right. We even have a clock on fucking stage, y’know, like big LED things, and something always fucking happens and we always fucking end up missing it, so…
AltCtrl: Well Dick Clark messed it up last time, too.
Oderus: Well, Dick Clark is just messed up. I mean, I’m all for employing the physically challenged, y’know, but… Dick… (laughs) I mean really, are we gonna see him every single fucking year, as just gets more and more fucked up, but like has more and more plastic surgery to like cover the fact that he’s old? Which is, y’know what, Dick, there’s nothing wrong with that, dude. Just roll ‘im out there and go [unintelligible]. We love you, man. Don’t be pretending you’re fucking forty years old, you’re not.
But anyway I guess I’d rather see a crippled Dick Clark than “Ke$ha” or whoever the fuck they’re gonna get up there this year, cuz they’re gonna… Ryan Seacrest or whatever… Give me fucking crippled fucking Dick Clark any day, even after he’s dead.
New Noise: On a perfect day, what would a GWAR breakfast, lunch, and dinner be, if you had to choose?
Oderus: Well, there’s no really breakfast, lunch, and dinner – it’s just eating stuff whenever I feel like it, basically. I like to be able to wake up in the morning and pull a little string […] and have a giant bird-like creature just like come down into my face and like vomit up – y’know, like a mama bird feeding a baby – just open my mouth and just like a, just, an avalanche of eyeballs and elephant semen and fuckin pieces of metal… A canoe… Just like, Aaaaargh! Y’know, while masturbating frantically – and it’s already three in the afternoon at that point, so you can’t really say it’s like morning time. And I don’t really sleep anyway, I just kinda lay there and y’know, stare at porn. But um y’know, I’m always eating, always drinking, always sleeping, always conscious, always everything at once, y’know? I actually get most of my grub on during the show. That’s when I get it, though, because it’s nice and hot, and everyone can see it. […] Lots of brains, washed down with blood and pus… But I still have time, y’know, I’ll still enjoy a fucking cheeseburger, what can I say?
New Noise: I gotcha. I guess last question I have is if you were to make a dream tour, what would it be?
Oderus: Mmmmm. I always wanted to do a tour where we played in a gigantic ship, right? […] Well, it wouldn’t just be port cities because this ship would have wheels. And so we would like, we’d come up to the town, and we would like – a landing craft, like in World War II, y’know? And the front of the boat would come down and boom, there would be a GWAR stage like, right there. And people would all come down to the beach. And we’d just do that at every single fucking beach city, every port in the fucking world. But as I said, the boat does have wheels – so once we were done with the coastal cities, […] we would drive up the beach, totally crushing everyone in front of the boat and […] just basically start doing stuff inland. So yeah, I would have to say the ultimate tour would be GWAR on a giant stage boat with wheels.
Oderus: Oh, also —
New Noise: No boundaries on that one.
Oderus: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, the Butthole Surfers, Slayer, and about fifty or sixty other bands that are really awesome would be opening up for us.
Oderus: And it’s free! It’s free… Free…. Free beer – Free everything.
AltCtrl: Free drugs?
Oderus: Free drugs, yea totally everything free.
New Noise: Perfect.
AltCtrl: Let me end with one more. This is a question of behalf of the readership of Alternative Control – this is important to them. I know you’re not working with him currently, but what can you tell us about what it’s like to work with Devin Townsend?
Oderus: Oh, Heavy Devy is my favorite, one of my favorite fucking humans. He’s brilliant, prolific… And he’s hilarious. He’s one of the few humans Oderus can hang with and not wanna choke the fucking life out of immediately. Never seen a guy work like him – went up to Vancouver to do the vocals for Beyond Hell and we would track all day and then we would go back to his house where he had another studio. And uh, we’d go straight downstairs and I’d sit down there, I was sleeping on the couch in the studio – well, not sleeping; laying, staring, masturbating – and he didn’t give a shit about that. He’s just like, try not to spunk on the board, y’know? And he’d work all fucking night! And this dude does not do drugs. Does NOT do drugs. And he would work all fucking night, and maybe he would get a couple hours sleep, and then he would be ready to go again.
He’s truly a guy that lives and breathes and loves music more than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. […] What I really appreciate besides – there’s plenty of talented, hardworking musicians out there, hats off to them – but what really separates Devin for me and makes him a favorite is his sense of humor. He never takes himself too seriously and he’s just like, he’s got a razor fucking sharp wit, and uh, yeah — he’s a great motherfucking guy, so I’ve decided to let him live a little bit longer.
****** UPDATE: Hear Devin Townsend’s response ******
To hear additional banter about GWAR’s 30th Anniversary, this summer’s GWAR-B-Q, healthcare, and more, listen to the full interview below!