I still remember the day. I think it was around the beginning of 1990 when my best friend Stefan put on "Horrors of Yig", a song on the then current Gwar album "Scumdogs of the Universe". I liked it. I saw the cover with Gwar on it, and I liked it even more.

I have never really been into Gwar the way I was into some other bands, but I have consistently bought their albums and went to some length to get their debut "Hell-O" (an OK album but not as good as the rest). I even bought their videos, which were all very entertaining to say the least.

But I had never seen them live, something that was to change on Wâldrock, July 9th 1994. And while I was there I thought, "What the heck, let's try to interview these guys."

So that's what I did.

Of course I first had to do a bit of finding out and talking. I had spotted their separate dressing room tent on the far side of the backstage area, but I had been told the actual members of Gwar weren't there yet. As it would later turn out, they had been around all the time - a confusion easily made, as one tends not to recognize people who are normally performing with masks and other 'bits' of outfit.

I had a talk with their road manager, Matt Miles, asking if perhaps one of the guys - or several - would be willing to talk with me. For a moment he disappeared into the tent, after which he came outside again to lead me in.

On the outside the tent had been a bit like "M*A*S*H". On the inside it could have been, too, hadn't it been for the guitar cases that were lying around, a large white fridge filled with Heineken cans and a fairly large chest fille with various Gwarapharnalia, most prominent of which was Slymenstra Hymen's spiked bra (I could not help but notice).

On the far side two people were sitting, playing a board game unknown to me and involving six-cornered tiles on the board and a lot of small cardboard bits. To my left sat a stringy guy wearing an RKL T-shirt and army boots with red-stained socks in them, red-stained hands and short hair combed back. He turned out to be Gwar's 'manager', Sleazy P. Martini, generally represented on stage as a dude with tight purple or black polyester clothes, platform shoes, a Presleyesquely exaggerated hairdo and a ridiculously big dollar sign collarred around his neck. Two other guys walked in, interested in seeing what was going on, who turned out to be Sexecutioner (co-vocalist) and Jizmak da Gusha (drummer). They sat down on the opposite side of a Jackson guitar case on which I put down my recording equipment as I started the interview.

I still felt uncomfortable. Previously I had been nervous, thinking perhaps these guys would be truly insane and would do unspeakable things to poor me. That nervousness had disappeared instantly when the relaxed atmosphere in the tent and the appearance of the guys told me they were probably a lot more sane than, to name but an example, Entombed. Now, however, I suddenly became a bit anxious whether I'd come across as a good interviewer. If you act like Gwar acts on stage without actually being like that in true life, you've got to be pretty intelligent and totally sane. That can make you, an interviewer, feel just as ill at ease.

I noticed Sexecutioner was wearing a bandage around his elbow. How come?

Sexecutioner: I get to be an old man, breaking things all the time.

I couldn't help but notice that he, too, had hands stained red. Obviously the blood goo they use is pretty difficult to wash off. I asked him how days of the year he walked around with those red hands?

Sexecutioner: Usually the whole tour plus the month before and the month after, about six months out of the year.

I would like to know a bit about the true background of Gwar. I've read quite a few interviews with Gwar and all of them were filled with humanity being scum-ridden, the earth sucking, and them being millions of years old and all that kind of thing. I would like to know the true story behind the people in Gwar.

Sexecutioner: We wanna destroy the myth right now that Gwar is art students. A few of us went to art school. We're students of the arts still, but we don't like to use the A-word.

Jizmak: Hey, we're big rubber monster from out of space. That's all there is to it.

I'd like to have answers beyond the standard image-related stuff, though.

Jizmak: That's not funny though, nobody wants to hear that boring old drivel.

Sleazy: Anyway, 400 billion years ago...the universe as you know it is totally different anyhow...400 billion light years ago...

Sexecutioner: (To Sleazy) Hey, that's not what he wants to hear.

Sleazy: Next question.

Sexecutioner: You guys just do the interview and I'll burp and fart.

What are your real names, for example?

Sleaz: Mine's Don Drakulich, (pointing to Sexecutioner) Chuck Varga and (to Jizmak) Brad Roberts.

And when were you born, in reality?

Sleazy: We're all 20 to 30 something, that's close enough.

Jizmak: I was born in nineteen boo-boo-boo-boom!

What did you do before Gwar

Sleazy: We were actually just various people still making art, you know, but hanging out doing other odd jobs in Richmond, Virginia.

Sexecutioner: Trying to find a career.

Sleazy: Basically, yeah, in that moment after college where you're trying to define what your next step is gonna be.

How did the concept Gwar come about?

Sexecutioner: Essentially, Hunter Jackson and Chuck Varga were working in this large building called the Dairy, and they were working on what was gonna be a movie. And they were making a set right there within their studio, they were making, like, whacky costumes, and it so happened Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus, lead singer, ED.) was playing in a band called Death Piggy and they happened to rent a practice space there. They kinda cross-pollenated, you know, they were, like, going back and forth between studios checking out what each other was doing. Hunter used to go and see Death Piggy, Dave would check out with Hunter what he was doing in his building, and basically they said, "Hey, where are these constumes for the movie?" And he was shown, and eventually it took off from there.

Is Gwar a full-time job now?

Sleazy: Yeah.

Also when you're not touring?

Sleazy: Yeah.

Jizmak: When we're not touring we're making videos and costumes...comic books. Chuck and Don and Dave write and draw the comic books, and Hunter and a few others. We do all the Gwar art - all the T-shirts and all the comics.

Who actually designs the constumes?

Jizmak: Everybody. A lot of the artists design their own costumes.

What are they made of?

Jiz: Rubber...latex...

Don, how much does your wig weigh?

Sleazy: I'd say about 3 to 4 pounds. (To Chuck) Pick it up, it's right behind you.

Chuck, after making a great show of lifting the wig, hands it to me. I am allowed to put it on. Upon me creeps part of the character of Sleazy. I take it off again before I suddenly start talking with an American accent and having a weird pencheant for dollars.

Sleazy: It's not as light as a feather. It's made out of latex with polyfoam casting.

The dollar sign, too?

Sleazy: No, that's fibreglass-something I think.

What kind of stuff is the blood stuff? Why doesn't it wash out easily?

Sleazy: Maybe you're getting way too technical there.

Jizmak: We can't, you know, give our secrets away, you know.

Sleazy: We bleach, pal, you need something with a bleaching effect to get it out.

Are there multiple costumes for one band member?

Sleazy: Yes, some members wear more than others.

Sexecutioner: The costumes are always tuned up, made better, look better, look more horrendous, take the next step.

Sleazy: If you're talking about the musicians who are on stage the whole show, they actually have one costume, with a few extra parts.

How many Cuddlefishes are there?

Sleazy: Three or four have been made. They got lost or destroyed.

Sexecutioner: A lot of them get chewed to a stubble actually. Like, the other night the eyeballs got bitten off by some girl in the front row.

Oderus is your front man. How much does his entire costume weigh?

Sleazy: (To one of the guys playing the board game, one with a skinjob hairdo and huge tattoos on arms and back) Dave, how much does your costume weigh?

Oderus: Eighty tons.

Sleazy: He says 80 tons, but I guess it would be closer to 30, 35 pounds.

Do you do fitness exercises just to be able to move around on the stage wearing all that gear?

Sleazy: We're the hardest working band in showbusiness, no doubt about it.

Have there been changes in the line-up? Obviously, behind the masks you could have changed a zillion times and, to be honest, Oderus' voice sounds quite a bit different on "Hell-O" (the debut album, ED.) than it did on later albums.

Sleazy: It's still him. Only Dave Brockie, the lead singer, is an original band member. Most of the rest of the members were left over from "Scumdogs", the second album.

When did you come in?

Sleazy: I came in before "Hell-O". I joined full-time in 1986. The first gestations of Gwar started in '85.

Would you take your parents or grandparents to a Gwar concert?

Sleazy: My parents been to a Gwar concert. They worried about the subject matter but they appreciated the amount of effort.

Will you ever take off the masks, like Kiss?

Sleazy: Well, that would be doubtful, because there are more artists in the band than musicians, so I can't really picture Gwar like that.

Would you think the media and the members would lose interest?

Sleazy: I wouldn't presume that. But Gwar is largely made up of artists and when there's no art to be made there wouldn't be any point in having them around.

What was the budget for "Phallus in Wonderland"?

Sleazy: Roughly a hundred grand. It's very low. Most bands will make one small music video for 100 grand. Maybe it will look good but it'll be only 3 minutes long, whereas we bassically tried to do something that's like a movie, with sortof a narrative throughout the entire video as well. Something that the Grammy organisation noticed and that's why it was nominated for a Grammy as longform video. You didn't know that?

No. That's amazing, considered the fact that the Americans are so stuck up.

Sleazy: Well, they weren't too stuck up to appreciate the effort.

Will there be another Gwar product soon?

Sleazy: Sure, I mean we got a new album out, "Toilet Earth", and there's a longform video coming that going out in mid September, it's called "Skulhedface". Then there's a "Jack the World" single video and there's going to be a "Saddam A Go-Go" single video. As to these on CD single, I'm not sure.

At this moment, the interview becomes really difficult because NOFX starts playing in the back. The recorder is located somewhere in the middle of the tent so that all sounds can be picked up, but now I have to relocate it closer to us. Thankfully, Don knows he has to speak up more now. On to a totally different question.

Is Clinton any better than Bush?

Sleazy: I don't know how the Europeans feel about Clinton. I've heard that they feel that he's shown a lot of, say, incompetence in terms of foreign affairs, but the man definitely has made some inroads into, say, more social programs. He is more interested in the social welfare of the American, you know, the lower class. And maybe you don't realise this, but after 3, 4 terms of republicanism straight, the lower class has suffered.

Have you ever run into problems, for example when a customs officer checks out your luggage and suddenly finds Oderus' enormous prop penis, the Cuddlefish of Cthulu, looking at him?

Sleazy: No. They really haven't fucked with our props at all.

Are you still banned in some countries?

Sleazy: We had some problems in England for a while. We couldn't get the best venues, but we still went in there and played. We had harassment, I'd say, but as far as banning... nothing. We were banned in North Carolina for a year. The Cuddlefish of Cthulu was confiscated and our lead singer was arrested. That inspired the plot for "Phallus in Wonderland".

What music is the band inspired by?

Sleazy: I can't really say it for the rest of the band, because I'm not a musician, but...em...I think it's a healthy cross-breed of old school punk and, you know, speed metal. A wide variety of music though.

What's your favourite book?

Sleazy: I never really thought about that. favourite book is "Alien Viewpoint". I don't remember who it is by. It's a collection of essays from five UFO-ologists and basically they have some pretty hard-core conspiratorial viewpoints on what alien visitation is all about - its intents and purposes, and design. I wouldn't expect anybody to be interested in it unless they'd be interested in the subject already. I myself have some strong feelings about alien visitation.

What's the film that made most of an impression on you?

Don: Recently? (I nod) Well, I like this one "Army of Darkness" because...em...because it had a big epic look, you know, very ambitious but at the same time used very cheap effects. And it pulled off a merger between the two: Having a big, epic look, you know, with cheap effects.

What's your favourite Gwar song?

Sleazy: I think "King Queen", which is not one that is played very often.

I read in the media that, after you would have toured for "America Must Be Destroyed", you would quit. Why didn't that happen?

Sleazy: We never said that. We were definitely misquoted. We probably meant "After the next tour we're going to stop...and do a video and an album." This is common, you know, you go through a tour cycle and then you record. As far as I know, nobody ever said this band was gonna quit or break up. That's never been a serious discussion.

Are there any taboos left for the next album to expose?

Sleazy: I don't know if we exposed any taboos to begin with, really. I'd probably expect Gwar to be a little bit more sophisticated about what it choses to do. You'll see in "Skullhedface", there's some taboos in there too. That'll be out in September - if it comes out in Europe at all, which I hope it does.

Now for the question that everybody dreads the answer to: Are Gwar songs wholly or in part autobiographical? Because if they are...

Sleazy: Only in small, small occasional references, but, no, I wouldn't say so. We're basically half-decent people. You can see (looks around, spread his arms) they're not out of their mind on drugs, they're playing a board game, you know. We're not strangling cats, not burning people at the stake, not exposing genitalia. They've got their clothes on and they're playing a board game. They're just like good little children.

What do you think is the most underrated aspect of Gwar's music?

Sleazy: I would say the melody in the songwriting, of the vocals. Compared to, say, a lot of bands that go "dah dah dah dah dah", and the fuckin guitar goes "chuck chuck chuck chuck".

Would you agree that "America Must Be Destroyed" and "Scumdogs of the Universe" are more melodic than "Hell-O" and even your new album "This Toilet Earth"?

Sleazy: I might agree with that. I don't know. I think "America Must be Destroyed" was more melodic.

Was "This Toilet Earth" a conscious decision to go more back to your roots?

Sleazy: Hm...well, I guess that could be conscious. I don't think we'd actually say it; the music just went that way.

Well, now for some words to react to. MTV.

Sleazy: Rich (grins), powerful, and I wish they would play our videos more. Also, I'd say, pretty commercialised as well. But that'd maybe sound like sour grapes, because they don't play our videos as much as we'd want to. But Beavis and Butthead play our video and they love it. We're in their video game that's coming out for the Sega Genesis. We're at the end.


Sleazy: The first album was pretty cool, it just seems like they lost it after their first album, they became so slow. They don't seem to be able to put together anything as good as their first album. Sophomore jinx kindof thing.

Michael Jackson.

Sleazy: I think he's very funny. I...I happen to think he probably has some problems with children. That's just my opinion, and I think it's very funny the way he sets them up to be a champion of their cause and he turns out to be, you know, a hypocrite. That's funny to me, because society does that to us every so often. People are not who they seem to be, you know.


Sleazy: Fortytwo what? The year?

Just '42'.

Sleazy: (Thinks intently for rather a while) Charlie Taylor, wide receiver of the Washington Redskins.

Green Jelly.

Sleazy: Friends of learners, and really lucky that they had a hit record. It enriches you so that you can do more things.


Sleazy: I think about it quite a bit, but I'm not into any religion. I don't know how anybody else in the band feels.


Sleazy: Money is freedom, that's the way I look at it. I don't look at money as materialism, I'm really not into buying things and having things around, but I do appreciate money because it allows you to do more of the things that you wanna do. Create, build, and money definitely helps you to do that.

But with the money you earn you help to destroy things, people might say, such as decent moral values and religion.

Sleazy: I think deconstructivism has its place, but I hope that a message that we hopefully get across is what you can do with hard work, because that's what we do, if you consider the large amoung or production that goes into Gwar. And the amazing thing is that it's self-generated and not artificially supported by subsidy, not much.

The Real Morality Squad.

Sleazy: PMRC (Parental/Parent's/Parents' Music Resource Center, ED.), is that what you wanna know about? Well, the Real Morality Squad is a lot more sophisticated right now. Essentially they're working through distributorships in America and instead of trying to fight you legally they basically are putting pressure on individual retail chains and whatnot to boycot them so those retail chains will, rather than risk that confrontation, refuse to carry objectionable material. We had a situation where we had to change one of our albums because it was just not gonna get out in the stores. That was "Toilet Earth", and we had to do a version without "Baby Dick Fuck". It would otherwise not have been released throughout a lot of stores in the States, including most of the big ones. Is it not against the very grain of Gwar to go for those kinds of concessions?

Sleazy: Yeah, it goes against the grain but it's not that big a deal to us. First of all because I don't think we set out to offend people so much as we set out to entertain them. What's entertaining to us is what's offensive to other people. There is entertainment in offending people anyway. People like to be offended. It's like a rude joke.

Jacques Cousteau.

Sleazy: That's a question that is definitely answered better by our lead singer, but as far as I'm concerned: A wrinkled old man.

Milli Vanilli.

Sleazy: Long gone. Another example of people being totally different from what they represent.


Sleazy: A very complicated, subtle disease that is probably being misdiagnosed and definitely a lot of money is being made off of. I think it's probably a natural progression of AIDS virus mutations. What you have is a planet crowded with 5 billion people and you have tons of different anibiotics and drugs for curing diseases, and the diseases got to mutate to survive. It's just a natural progression. Venereal diseases in particular are an excellent way to pass on a disease. So you get that many people, you get a lower morality, and you get the right situation where a disease like AIDS is logically likely to happen. And unfortunately it's so sophisticated that it's probably easy for a lot of doctors to misdiagnose. They already did it with AZT, which is really nothing other than something that brings upon the demise of the patients faster than the disease itself. If you just ate well you'd do better, probably.

Gwar fans.

Sleazy: If they're just fully into it, when they buy our products and come to the show, they're up front, they're enthusiastic, they have a good time, but they're not destructive to us, you know, and hopefully not too destructive to the other fans, I would say that's typical. I don't know what they do at home.

Are you all now very rich?

Sleazy: No, very far from it.

Sexecutioner: (Looking up from some sowing of his costume padding) We're below poverty level.

But why do you do it then?

Sleazy: Because we love it.

A great phrase to end this interview, I should think.


The various members of Gwar go about their business, but I take my chance to ask if perhaps Slymenstra Hymen is around. Chuck is so friendly as to fetch her from the tour bus during which time I am alone in the Gwar tent. I don't know why, but it's a weird experience of some kind. I find myself gazing at Slymenstra's spiked bra next to the prop coffin, have to tear off my gaze.

After a while she walks in, a totally normal girl with tangly medium-length hair and a zany giggle bordering on the nervous. She seems not very sure of herself, quite on the contrary to her stage presence (this total antagonism between reality and stage presence made me wonder about the true penis size of lead singer Dave "Oderus Urungus" Brockie <grin>). Chuck sits down with a large notebook, doing some drawings on a concept he has for an upcoming tour with a few other bands called (I seem to recall off the top of my head) "Organised Chaos". And Gwar pales when he describes the two other bands that will be on that tour - one of them with something involving vicious machines hurling pig carcasses and some other machines incinerating them while in the air. Really weird.

I leave Chuck to his brainstorming and have a very short talk with Ms. Hymen, faithfully captured on tape.

What's your age?

Slymenstra: I'm 26 million years old.

So you're 26?

Slymenstra: Yeah <giggles zanily>.

What's your real name?

Slymenstra: Danielle, but sometimes I spell it D-A-N-Y-E-L-L. It's French. My father is from France. You know, Americans always say they're from somewhere.

We continue talking in short about some of the video game projects, and after that she goes off to do something important.


Written July 1994


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