LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2014 — Saying that GWAR is a heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia is an understatement. GWAR is a bigger than life metal band to rule all metal bands. Heavily steeped in their own mythos, GWAR has brought their sinister brand of over-the-top humor to the world of metal music since 1984. In March, GWAR founder Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, was found dead in his living room in Richmond. Earlier this week, the cause of death was revealed as an accidental overdose of heroin. GWAR drummer Brad Roberts, aka Jizmak da Gusha, spoke with Wells On Music regarding the upcoming Viking funeral for Oderus Urungus, GWAR-B-Q, and the future of GWAR.
Scroll below video to read the interview.
Kevin Wells: What made you want to start playing drums?
Brad Roberts: Well, I didn’t want to start playing drums, at all. I didn’t. I was forced to do it. I thought I did. I guess I was like ten years old at the time. I took whatever band class was in elementary school and immediately hated it and the monotoned teacher that was the band leader. So, I petitioned to get out of that class, at ten years old, to drop it [laughs] because it was some afterschool activity. And then my mother and I sat in the principal’s office and they ganged up on me and forced me to finish what I started. My mother thought at ten years old I should not be so whimsical on my interests and I should finish what I started. That was the beginning of the end right there. It took another four years after that to get the trap kit and started playing [at] 14. I had to mow a lot of lawns, cut a lot of grass, saved up some money and then my parents agreed to go halves with me. So, if I saved up half of it, they’d chip in the other half. That’s how I got my first drum set.
KW: What bands were you listening to when you were learning?
BR: You know, I’m from Detroit. I grew up listening to a lot of Motown and stuff, but also a lot of classic rock. You know, Grand Funk to KISS to Led Zep, all that classic rock kind of stuff. It wasn’t until later that, but not much later, when I first got the drum set. That was right about the 80s hardcore explosion and that’s one of the things that fueled me. Before all that, it was all that 70s classic rock stuff.
KW: How did you come to join GWAR?
BR: Apparently, Nippleus Erectus had a huge crack overdose or something [laughs] and his character died off, so, the mythos side or the real side? Jizmak is just another cousin of Balsac, but I was a distant cousin because I didn’t come from Scumdogia. I came from the Wide Wide World of Sports. That’s my home planet. It took them a little while to find me, but basically, I just beat all the other contestants out of the job. It was fairly easy; endurance and power. It was merely a lunch afternoon exploit and then for some reason, I kept hanging out with them.
KW: Do you have a favorite GWAR album?
BR: I like the era we’re in. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the freshest to mind or it’s the most current or we’re not basting ourselves with crack cocaine and libations, but the current stuff we’ve been doing has been really rewarding. I just remember in the old days, it being so arduous to record. A GWAR album was such an unrewarding venture until you got the finished product. Then, once you got to the end result, it was worth it all. We’ve been doing it so long that we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Each time you do it, it gets a little more enjoyable because you can add another facet to it.
KW: GWAR is playing the GWAR-B-Q in August.
BR: The GWAR-B-Q, the most sexy, wildest summer slaughter fest of all time. It’s the greatest. I can’t wait. It will be all day Saturday, August 16; 13 bands, GWAR Beer, meat sandwiches, sexy girls watching you get wasted, water sports. It’s gonna be a blast. It’s gonna be huge this year. With the passing of Oderus Urungus, aka Dave Brockie, this might be one of the most significant metal events in metal history.
KW: For those who do not know, can you explain what you will be doing with Oderus Urungus?
BR: Well, that seems to be the biggest mystery, even to GWAR. There will be an explanation of what happened to Oderus and the GWAR front thing, but particularly August 15, the day before [the GWAR-B-Q], there will be a public memorial at Haddad’s Lake in Richmond, Virginia where we set Oderus Urungus ablaze in a Viking funeral pyre on the lake, so he can travel back to the stars, back to Valhalla.
KW: GWAR will also be a RIOT Fest in Chicago, correct?
BR: We are. We’re like their poster child. They love us. We play it every year, at least the last two years. They kept a spot warm for us in light of all the things that happened recently. We felt that was a really cool thing to do, to not write us off. You can’t write off GWAR. GWAR is gonna last a thousand years with or without its past or current members. The idea is just too genius. So, we figure we’d return that good show of faith in us and play it. I don’t see why GWAR wouldn’t.
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KW: Have you discussed what will happen with the band going forward after that festival?
BR: Yeah, there will be a fall tour. We’re gonna bring back the Original Recipe Beefcake the Mighty to perform with us, to handle some of the singing. All of the characters and guys in GWAR can handle different parts of the singing. That’s what has always been so great about GWAR is that we’ve always sort of developed our shows and mythos so that multiple characters sing a variety of songs. It’s more about the entity than any one singer.
In that fall tour, we’ll address Oderus Urungus and what happened in the GWAR mythos and his character and how GWAR is gonna move into its majestic 30 years of existence milestone in 2015. We don’t care about that because we’re millions of years old, but it seems like 30 years by human standards is some sort of great feat. So, we’re certainly gonna sit around on our thrones of opulence and let the humans shower us with accolades and money and crack cocaine and bimbos.
KW: Has there been any talk of new material?
BR: Absolutely. There’s already new material in the works with Beefcake. There is frantic activity here at Slave Pit headquarters of building the show and rehearsing and writing songs. We definitely already have some ideas that will go well into the 30th year anniversary next year and a possible release that will be the definitive GWAR box set and that will probably most likely have some new material on it to show everyone that GWAR is plowing forward.
KW: Is Beefacke back full time?
BR: We haven’t really decided or addressed it. We know that we can do this piece of it and he’s willing to come aboard for that in any capacity he can help. It’s like, once you leave GWAR and no longer participate in the touring entity that is GWAR, it doesn’t mean that you’ve left the band. We just see this as a natural extension of all our GWAR brothers to come together in this time and still create GWAR that is probably better than anyone has seen yet.
Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball
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