Gwar
1985
United States
Music group
The legend of Gwar began millions of years ago when the aliens rampaged across the galaxy with a gang of space pirates called the Scumdogs of the Universe. Falling out of favor with their Master, Gwar was imprisoned on the most remote mudball planet in the galaxy...Earth. After killing off the dinosaurs and inadvertently creating the human species by raping prehistoric apes, Gwar began to significantly influence the development of the planet, until that wild gig in Atlantis, when it was decided that Gwar should be entombed in Antarctica. Thus, preventing them from screwing up Earth any further.

Several thousand years later Gwar were stumbled upon and awakened by, Sleazy P. Martini, a known pimp, pusher, pornographer, and record executive for Capitalist Records, accidentally stumbled into Gwar's Antarctic tomb and woke them. He took them to New York, gave them electric guitars, and began to market them as his latest Rock-n-Roll sensation. Some of Gwar's adventures are chronicled in their albums, comics, and videos, but there are still plenty of Gwar stories waiting to be told.

Now the only way to truly validate your life before death is to join the masses of "lowly zit-ridden scum of outcast prepubescence" when Gwar comes to ravish and bloody your mutant town.

Another version of Gwar's history reads as follows:

Gwar is a novelty rock/heavy metal/punk band that was formed in 1985-1986 in Richmond, Virginia. Gwar are probably best known for their elaborate fantasy and horror inspired stage shows which have sometimes run afoul of obscenity statutes.

The band was the result of the linkup between Don Drakulich and Dave Brockie, the singer for a punk band called Death Piggy . Drakulich was working on a movie at the time the two met. Entitled Scumdogs of the Universe, it featured a plot involving intergalactic barbarians. Drakulich and Brockie combined these ideas, and since then the gimmick used by Brockie's band (re-dubbed Gwar) has been dressing up as alien warriors. Their costumes are generally made of foam latex, and they further the gimmick in concerts by dousing blood and gore on their audiences. Another hallmark of Gwar's live show is their mock executions of media icons, ranging from O.J. Simpson to your garden-variety redneck.

Gwar were banned from performing in their home city due to their raucous stage performances; since then they have appeared under the pseudonym Rawg. Band members and associates often have cookouts at their house, dubbed "Gwar-BQ's." The video for "Saddam a Go-Go" from "This Toilet Earth" appeared in the hit movie Empire Records. Gwar was/is primarily a band of former art students, and this is reflected in the obscure references made in some of their songs. Gwar fans are known as Bohabs.

Gwar's first album on Metal Blade Records was released in 1990. As the title implies, it is a concept album about the Scumdogs' reign of terror on planet Earth. The production is very refined compared to the independent first attempt. Gwar began to experiment with samples to some degree (e.g. in the song, Maggots). The songs are more socially relevant in this album as well. Examples include Slaughterama (which involves Gwar killing hippies and skinheads) and the opening track, Salaminizer, which was inspired by/based off a song by the breakthrough rap group NWA. Other references include history Vlad the Impaler and mythology Horrors of Yig. The rest of the album is centered around twisted jokes about insane medical practices/sexual perversion. This album is viewed by many as their ultimate masterpiece.

Their second major-label recording in 1992 was inspired by Dave Brockie's fight with police officers while touring. The controversy revolved around Brockie's rubbery penis adornment. Brockie was revolted by this attack on his rights and so he created a concept album revolving around an elite Morality Squad that attacked the members of Gwar and stole Oderus's penile attachment (aka Cuttlefish of Ctulu, a phallic hellbeast that normally dangles from his crotch). The opening song, Ham on the Bone (which has a nod to grindcore) explains this robbery. The story then shifts to Gwar headquarters in Antarctica, where Oderus's slaves are ordered to shoot up a dinosaur egg with crack. The result is the mighty Gor Gor, a Tyrannosaurus Rex that wreaks havoc on America. Meanwhile, the Morality Squad has enlisted the help of Father Bohab (a Catholic priest) to crucify Gwar in the media. Gwar marches out to battle, and you can take the story from there. Other songs of interest include Have You Seen Me?, Poor Ole Tom, and The Road Behind. Musically, it is a mix of rock'n roll and blistering sludge metal, and it is even harsher-sounding than the previous album. A video, Phallus In Wonderland, was released as a supplement to the album's storyline. This album was followed by The Road Behind, an EP that contained that single and a riveting live version of Have You Seen Me? (which contained a notorious Ween sample at the end). The single, S.F.W. (a staple of their live shows) was supposedly released on this album as a bonus track, but this has been discounted by the band.


In 1994, Gwar released what was to be one of their oddest and most bittersweet albums. It was the first album to be censored, due to their gain in popularity as a result of MTV exposure. The music and artwork is almost cartoonish when compared to the previous albums, and the instrumentation has expanded to include horns (in the opener, Saddam - A - Go Go) that reinforce the goofiness. Storywise, the enemy is now Skulhedface, an alien queen who was deformed in a Synnite Warrior raid on her planet centuries before. In retaliation, she travels to Antarctica, encounters Gwar while they are hibernating, and steals their Jizmoglobin, or life force. Her midget slave Flopsy and she then create a creature made up of the melded parts of evil historical figures (such as Hitler) called the Flesh Column. Skulhedface disguises herself as an evil executive for the Glomco corporation, and uses propaganda to turn Gwar into sickeningly cuddly cartoon characters. Meanwhile, Gwar discovers that the World Maggot is their only opportunity to escape Earth, but Skullhedface stands in their way. Oderus & Co. must regain their Jizz and catch the maggot in time. As for the music, it is varied and ranges from poppy (Jack the World) to gruesome (Sonderkommando) to goofy (Pepperoni) and to the unmentionable (B.D.F.). It is a blend of chaotic styles that is reminiscent of Faith No More and Frank Zappa. Skulhedface was the movie released to document this album. Jack the World was also featured in the Beavis and Butthead video game for the Sega Genesis.

While "This Toilet Earth" was highly eclectic in instrumentation, "RagNaRok" (1995) contains the most varied vocal stylings, as the majority of the band lends their lungs to the tracklist. "RagNaRok" is essentially a heavy metal album and it is spiced with a story about the end of the world. The story involves Oderus and his alien sister Slymenstra being forcibly mated with the aid of rogue space aliens. Meanwhile, a comet hurdling towards planet earth is inciting the populace to revolt, and anarchy has set in all over the globe. An AIDS-like plague has crippled the masses, who await the meteor's arrival and their subsequent death. However, it turns out that the comet is actually Cardinal Syn, a robotic agent of harsh Catholic dogma. Syn is representing the Warrior Pope, who is demanding that all bow down to him and obey his insane whims. But Syn is drawn to Slymenstra's alien baby, for a reason that is left for the listener to uncover... As it could be supposed, the concept is about the ridicule of Christianity (especially in the song, Martyr Dumb). The highlights of the album include Dirty, Filthy (a rousing comedy anthem), the title track, and Meat Sandwich. In other news, Drakulich does a mock-rapping bit as Sleazy P. in Think You Oughta Know This, and there is an energetic duet between Oderus and Slymenstra in Fire in the Loins. In the closer, for once, Gwar actually shows a serious side in detailing their problems with protestors (the ballad, None But the Brave). Finally, the instrumental Surf of Syn shows the technical side of the band in full force.


The band on "Carnival of Chaos" (1997) seems to be influenced even more by Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. It can be best described as Gwar's bid for musical expansion. There are likely more styles experimented with here than on any other album. It is perhaps most notable as their longest album, and also as the album that contains Stampe's solo number: Don't Need A Man. Hunter Jackson also returns in The Private Pain of Techno Destructo, and there is an odd ballad about the rotting corpse of Sammy Davis Jr. which is worthy of mention. In Her Fear is Oderus's swan song, and Beefcake the Mighty gives a memorable ballad in Hate Love Songs. A few more jokes (Scallop Boat, Gonna Kill U, I Suck on My Thumb), round out the album.

Gwar returned in 1999 with "We Kill Everything", which hearkens back to their hardcore roots. This a whimsical album full of punkish potboilers, taking a note from Primus in its surrealistic goofiness. As detailed within the liner notes, Gwar meets a new alien warrior, Scroda Moon (Hunter Thompson) who has to find the pieces of a broken tablet which, when put together, will allow them access to a Portal Potty (or a giant, magical toilet) that can warp them off Earth for good. The band once again offers the funny (Fishfuck) the gross (Babyraper), and the weird (Penile Drip, in which Oderus does his best "Brak" impression). Short History of the End of the World and Jagermonsta are excellent examples of thrash-punk, while Mike Derks lends his vocals to the almost sensitive (!!) ballad, Mary Anne. This album is mostly a collection of gruesomely funny jokes (Fucking an Animal and Nitro Burning Funny Bong), and contains a bit less brutality than their previous works.

"Violence Has Arrived" (2001), re-attains the brutal focus of their earlier albums. It is similar to "Scumdogs", in that Brockie is now the dominant voice of the band again, and the theme is centered on generalized carnage. Gwar takes on more "medieval" themes this time around, such as torture (The Wheel) and conjures up some truly ugly imagery in songs such as Licksore, Beauteous Rot and The Apes of Wrath.

After Violence Has Arrived, Gwar switched labels from Metal Blade to DRT Entertainment. Their new album is called "War Party" and was released October 26, 2004. War Party continues the decidedly more metal focus reintroduced in "Violence Has Arrived". "War Party" is the most political GWAR album since "America Must Be Destroyed" tackling such subject matter as the 2004 american election and the war in Iraq in such songs as "Bring Back the Bomb", "The Krosstika", "War Party", "The Reaganator" and "Can't Kill Terror". Dave Brockie has said "...basically GWAR pledges support to the powers who support the war, and we make such a right-wing statement that the right wing would be ashamed to have us." GWAR still has more gratuitous violent imagery in "Womb With a View" and "Bonesnapper" and retains some trademark silliness in the Beefcake hollered french punk song "The Bonus Plan". "War Party" was supported in fall 2004 by the Mock the Vote tour.
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