If you are normal, your thoughts aren't swirling with images of blood, murder, monsters, and genitalia. Also, you must have missed Gwar. After successfully crossing the 49th parallel for the first time in almost a decade, Gwar invaded MacEwan Hall last Tuesday.
"Basically, this year we wanted to get away from the super elaborate plot and concentrate on what we do best," says Dave Brockie (Oderus Orungus), as he passes me a beer. "Playing loud obnoxious music and hacking people to bits."
Brockie was the original member of Death Piggy, a band with a host of rotating members and gags that included take-out pizza for their whole crowd and an entire show with their backs to the audience. After endless member changes and shows with Black Flag and Minor Threat, Brockie started incorporating costumes borrowed from B-movie set designers. The result was a tribute to filth and misery: Gwar.
"It's a production of artistic mayhem," says Brockie. "We just want to put on one of the best rock shows the Earth has ever seen. We are galatctic beings after all."
More hilarious than insulting, (to any reasonable punk or metal fan at the time, anyway) Gwar began to generate a small cult following. It was the addition of guitarist Mike Derks (Balsac the Jaws of Death) and drummer Brad Roberts (Jizmak Da Gusha) that created the masterpiece Scumdogs of the Universe, which remains Gwar's most timeless record. The album, picked up by the influential Metal Blade Records, was released in 1990.
Gwar concerts have been a tribute to tales of gore, sex, wanton violence and depravity. Coupled with an underlying message of social criticism, Gwar's theatrics have captivated anyone under 21 and horrified everyone over 30.
"We take all of society's problems, put them up on stage and literally kick the shit out of them. And hopefully, we make people less afraid of things they don't understand."
Anyway, later that night, armed with a saran-wrapped camera and a couple of downed tequila, I headed out to the barricades to experience Gwar.
What ensued was something spectacular.
Gwar began slaughtering synthetic political leaders and icons, spraying over 100 gallons of blood into an audience of 2,000 people. The return of Slymenstra (one of the Gwarions who causes chaos), evoked the legendary fire dance, and a gory display of severed limbs and one phallus. The show ended with the slaying of a giant Tyrannosaurus and a promise to return. "We have been doing it our fucking way forever, and we'll probably cut across Canada again when we get a new album out--as long as my liver hangs in."