GWAR are a band that needs no introduction. Well known for their appearance as well as their on-stage antics, it would be an easy mistake to forget that they have also released 14 studio albums along the way! Their most recent album The Blood of Gods was released on Friday October 20th 2017, via Metal Blade Records. However you couldn’t fault GWAR if this album never came to light, as it is the first after losing their long-time leader Oderus Urungus in 2014.
OVERDRIVE was able to get to speak to Pustulus Maximus about 48 hours before he and the rest of the Scumdogs of the Universe went on tour to celebrate the newly released album. Maximus explained that we were fortunate to speak to him before he went on tour because, “Once we hit the road, I’m just in a full blackout stupor the WHOLE time; so you get the coherent Pustulus today!” The first topic of discussion was about the upcoming release date of The Blood of Gods and having it finally arrive. Maximus went on to express that, “It’s a good feeling. It’s been a long time coming!” before giving more of a detailed insight into the mindset behind the scenes:
“We’ve been anticipating this for a long time. We finished this around May or June, something like that. There was a lot of anticipation just within the creation of the album, so the fact that everybody gets to hear us… you’d never think that anybody would be so excited to have people talk shit! But that’s exactly what is going to happen. Everyone’s going to tell you that ‘You’re awful,’ that it sucks and ‘You’re nothing without Oderus’ and shit like that, but that’s to be expected. At the end of the day, we’re happy with the result!”
As mentioned in the intro, The Blood of Gods was the first album without long-time leader and last remaining founding member of the Scumdogs of the Universe Oderus Urungus. Maximus explained that it wasn’t all negative vibes or heavy hearts in the recording studio this time around. If fact it was quite the opposite.
“It was definitely a positive thing (getting back into the studio); we had made some necessary changes in the way we operate. One of the biggest ones was that we got a producer for this album. We got Ronan Chris Murphy. He probably owed us some drug debts or something, so we collected on them and forced him to come out and cut this record for us. What we needed was a shot in the arm, no pun intended, to keep us going. He basically helped assemble us and wrangle us into a room, as all GWAR does is shout, fuck and fight each other all the time! He helped us focus a little bit; he actually had the nerve to tell me to put my beer down. Usually I’d get upset at that, but it was meant along the lines of ‘stop drinking and start shredding’ so he managed to get things done. Man, I barely put it down when I’m shifting gears whilst driving down the road in stolen cars to get to the store to get more beer, just stealing cars, helicopters, anything that moves as long as I can fit in it! I usually stick to stealing school buses, but only the ones that have all the retarded kids, as no one is gonna complain that they’re missing!”
With the loss of their leader Oderus Urungus, GWAR also lost their vocalist. This problem was rectified by the return of Blothar the Berserker to GWAR. Having not been alongside his Scumlord brothers since We Kill Everything in 1999, The Blood of Gods marked the perfect time for his return. Pustulus mentioned how, “When we lost Oderus Urungus, we were leaderless,” before touching further on Blothar’s return:
“We needed to move forward in some fashion. We didn’t want some slub off the street (no matter how talented!) to just come in and fill this gap. Blothar was a welcome addition because he was a familiar face, plus we almost needed some sort of spiritual guidance. He was more like a shaman to help guide GWAR into the future. We needed that support and he was there to provide it! It was good to make a record together because it was familiar. GWAR has always been a tight-knit group. I’m another Maximus related to the Maximus clan, you know that Flattus and I are cousins. You know what they say: if you can’t keep it in the pants, keep it in the family!”
GWAR played at Warped Tour earlier this year and on their first performance of the tour, they debuted ‘Fuck this Place’ as a tribute to their fallen leader. This interviewer was curious as to whether it was always written as a tribute to Oderus Urungus, or if it evolved into one over time. Pustulus gave OVERDRIVE a very huge insight into the mindset of GWAR and how they were feeling after the loss of their leader:
“It was a little bit of both. It’s a statement as to how GWAR feels being stuck here without him! The world grows very cold when it’s missing people that are near and dear to you. The Scumdogs don’t care about much, but when you lose somebody who owed you $50 it really hurts because you’ll never get that money back. That’s basically what ‘Fuck this Place’ is. It’s just a statement that literally says, “Fuck this place,” because we don’t want to be here anymore and we want to leave too. Eventually we’ll get off this planet, but for right now we just have to stick around and keep making rock records. America keeps defunding the NASA space program, so I’m never going to get to hitch a ride out of here! ‘Fuck this Place’ is just a testament to feeling stranded and left behind. I want to get off the ride after all these years. Most people on Earth annoy GWAR, except for you Aussies, as you guys are alright. I heard you guys are all criminals, so there should be some sort of honour amongst thieves!”
Excluding ‘Fuck this Place’ had GWAR played any other songs off of The Blood of Gods or were they making them wait for it to be released? Pustulus explained how they only played one other new song before the release of the new album, as well as giving a good insight as to why that is:
“On the Warped Tour it was just ‘Fuck this Place,’ then at RiotFest in Chicago, we debuted ‘El Presidente’ live. On this upcoming fall tour, we’re going to play a majority of this new record. The whole record tells the story of what has happened to us. From the rise of humanity trying to defeat GWAR, the trials and tribulations without Oderus Urungus and how we even sold out and did a jingle for a fast-food restaurant; all this and more to be revealed in the show. So if you buy the record, what you will see on stage is just that in action, with full penetration of course. If you pay your hard earned money to see GWAR, you’re going to see poles in holes!”
Touching further on the crowd’s reaction to ‘Fuck this Place’ at Warped and ‘El Presidente’ at RiotFest, Pustulus went on to mention how, “There’s always a shock and then an awe factor at the Warped Tour crowd, mainly because we were exposing ourselves to a much younger audience. It felt great and liberating to see their faces as we dangled our musical talents in front of them. Chicago has always been kind to GWAR because of their huge lust for murder. Chicago is highly becoming a murder capital for the United States, so of course they love having GWAR. It was a great crowd at RiotFest which led to a great crowd reaction to ‘El Presidente.’ Nobody who paid money to go to that show loves Donald Trump, so of course we killed him during that song!” A small comment was made by the interviewer about how lucky GWAR are to have landed in the US, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get in because of the wall, which led to Pustulus proclaiming, “We’ve got pogo sticks, so I could get over that wall if I wanted to. Shit, let me borrow a kangaroo and I’ll just fucking hop over that motherfucker! The wall is fucking stupid and retarded, I don’t understand what it’s going to accomplish apart from wasting a lot of money. Maybe he has something in common with us though, as we love wasting money!”
This interviewer wanted to know what Pustulus personally enjoyed recording most during the creation of The Blood Of Gods and what he was most excited to perform on the upcoming tour. He explained that, “I’m very partial to ‘I’ll be Your Monster.’ I think that’s going to get a lot of mixed reactions once people get to hear it. But as much as people like it or dislike it, it is a very GWAR-ish song. I’m just partial to rock’n’roll, as you can tell by our AC/DC cover. That was a lot of fun and I had a great time doing it! I also had a great time recording ‘Auroch,’ which has a very Slayer vibe to it. Honestly, I really enjoyed making the whole thing. There wasn’t anything on this album that I dreaded. Well not entirely!” he laughs. “It was a great album to record, to state the least.”
Touching further on the AC/DC cover because of Pustulus’ comment earlier about how “Australians are alright,” Pustulus gave OVERDRIVE the full insight story on how it came to eventuate:
“For those that follow GWAR closely, the backstory is that we started doing cover songs about four or five years ago for this show called The A.V Club’s A.V Undercover Series. They would pick a number of songs and pre-selected songs. The first year we did it, we got stuck with ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’ by Kansas. It was the last song on the list and we were the last band asked to perform it. Later on, they gave us shittier lists with shittier songs. Eventually we stopped choosing from the list and started choosing our own songs! I’m blown away that we were all actually able to agree to do AC/DC’s ‘If You Want Blood.’ Coincidentally enough, not only did we want to do it, but it was something that Oderus would always joke about us doing. I think out of all the quintessential rock songs, ‘If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It’ very much speaks to GWAR, so why wouldn’t we not only share that with the world, but pay homage to one of the greatest rock bands in the history of the genre! You know, it takes a couple of years for an arm to grow back if we lose one during an argument.”
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