Heavy metal 
Hardcore punk (early)
|Labels||Shimmy Disc Records, Metal Blade, DRT Entertainment|
|Associated acts||Dave Brockie Experience, Death Piggy, X-Cops, White Cross, Rigor Mortis, Burden Brothers|
Beefcake the Mighty
Balsac the Jaws of Death
Jizmak Da Gusha
Sleazy P. Martini
Gwar (usually typeset as GWAR) is a Grammy Award-nominated Shock Rock band formed in Richmond, Virginia in 1984. The band is best known for their elaborate sci-fi/horror film inspired costumes; raunchy, obscene lyrics; and graphic stage performances, which consist of humorous re-enactments of politically and morally taboo themes.
Originally, the group's musical style was largely influenced by punk rock and the band composed short, simple songs, which would evolve over the years into heavily hardcore-influenced crossover thrash, with Gwar's musical experimentation becoming present in Scumdogs of the Universe, America Must Be Destroyed and This Toilet Earth. Later, this experimental sound would partially eclipse their heavy metal style and Gwar would become a chaotic blend of genres that would be most noticeable on Ragnarok and Carnival of Chaos (the latter showcasing the most variety in musical styles of any point in Gwar's career). 1999's We Kill Everything would present an unusual sound, but based largely on Gwar's Hell-O era sound, resulting in an album that the band dismisses as their worst. Indeed, the band's rejection of We Kill Everything would drive them to return to their thrash metal sound with Violence Has Arrived, which would later evolve into a more technical form of thrash, present in War Party , Beyond Hell, and now Lust in Space.
The band's characteristic costumes are generally made of foam latex, styrofoam, and hardened rubber. The costumes cover very little, with the rest of their bodies accentuated with makeup. They further their production in concert by spraying their audiences with fluids. Most of the fluids are made of water and powdered food coloring which, for the most part, flakes off or washes out easily. The thicker fluids are made from a clear seaweed extract called carrageenan which is also used in ice cream and milkshakes. Gwar does not use syrups or stage blood because they dry solid and can damage the band's costumes. In concert, Gwar has been known occasionally to perform their encore without costumes.
Another trademark of Gwar's live show is their lampooning of celebrities and figures in current events. Targets of Gwar's humor have included O. J. Simpson, John Kerry, Mike Tyson, as well as every President since Ronald Reagan, Jerry Garcia, Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Steve Wilkos, Al Gore, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Paris Hilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adolf Hitler, Bernard Madoff, Jerry Springer and many others. The band also makes frequent references to political and historical figures, fantasy literature, and mythology. For instance, the song "Whargoul" makes reference to Minas Morgul as well as the eternal warrior of Michael Moorcock. Gwar also has many references to H. P. Lovecraft themes (Antarctica, Yig, Giant Penguins, Fleshy Insanities, etc.). In addition, the title of their fifth album Ragnarok comes from Norse mythology. They were nominated for two Grammys, one for Best Metal Performance "S.F.W." and one for Best Long Form Music Video "Phallus in Wonderland". The band also performed fire dancing until the character "Slymenstra Hymen" left the band.
Gwar was the result of two separate projects that eventually combined into one. Dave Brockie was the vocalist for a punk band named Death Piggy that often staged mini-plays and used crude props to punctuate their often ridiculous music. Death Piggy would occasionally practice in a room at the Richmond Dairy, a deserted bottling plant that had been taken over by hippies. The hippies would rent out interior areas to various artists and musicians. It was at the Richmond Dairy that Death Piggy met Hunter Jackson and Chuck Varga, both attendees of Virginia Commonwealth University who had set up "The Slave Pit", a production space for Scumdogs of the Universe, a movie they intended to make. Jackson would create props for Death Piggy to use on stage. On occasion, Death Piggy would wear costumes Jackson and Varga had created for their movie in order to open up for themselves under the name "GWAARGGGH!!!", eventually shortened to Gwar. Gwar would end up eclipsing and later absorbing Death Piggy.
The first known line-up for Gwar consisted of Ben Eubanks (vocals), Dave Brockie (guitar), Steve Douglas (guitar), Chris Bopst (bass guitar), Sean Sumner (Drums) and Hunter Jackson. However, this line-up would be short lived and suffer multiple changes in the following months, with Ben Eubanks quitting after just one or two shows and being replaced by Joe Annaruma, who would also quit and be replaced by guitarist Dave Brockie as the band's vocalist (See line-up for more information). The band eventually somewhat solidified into a line-up consisting of Hunter Jackson, Don Drakulich (Alias Sleazy P. Martini), Chuck Varga, Mike Delaney, Mike Bonner, Scott Krahl, Dave Musel and Dave Brockie (Alias Oderus Urungus, no longer Gwar's guitarist, but permanent vocalist), with Heather Broome (The Temptress) joining later that year and Colette Miller ,http://www.colettemiller.com ,(GWAR Woman) joining in 1986. Heather Broome would quit in 1986 and Mike Delaney retired in 1987. Dewey Rowell (Flattus Maximus), Michael Bishop (Beefcake the Mighty) and Rob Mosby (Nippleus Erectus) would be recruited in 1987 along with Steve Douglas (Balsac the Jaws of Death) who rejoined the band after having left early in its history. Lisa Harrelson would become the new "GWAR woman" after Colette Miller left sometime that year. It was this line-up with which the band's debut, Hell-O, a crossover heavy metal/punk rock album, was released in 1988 under Shimmy Disc Records; the original production was very poor, and it is believed that the album was recorded in just one weekend.
The band would start touring in support of the album, with Steve Douglas leaving that same year, later to form the alternative band Log, and being replaced by current rhythm guitarist, Michael Derks, who took over Douglas' alias as Balsac the Jaws of Death.
However, the band's line-up would undergo further changes before 1990, with Rob Mosby leaving in 1989 and being replaced by Pete Luchter, who would also quit to be replaced temporarily by Jim Thompson, who had been in the band prior to the release of Hell-O. Thompson however, would also quit and be finally replaced by the current Gwar drummer, Brad Roberts, alias Jizmak Da Gusha.
With Gwar's line-up somewhat solidified, the band would set up to record Scumdogs of the Universe. The album met a moderately large mainstream success and would mark the start of a career under the Metal Blade Records record label. The band would tour extensively in support for this album, releasing the Live from Antarctica VHS tape in July of 1990, containing, amongst other things, the band's first music video for the song Sick of You.
In August 1990, Michael Derks had a daughter, dubbed Smalsac by MTV. He took a short break from the band to care for her. Meanwhile, the remaining members of Gwar went on to appear on the Jerry Springer Show and in the movie Mystery Date.
Scumdogs of the Universe was originally released through the U.K. label Master before being picked up by Metal Blade in 1991. In the group's hunt for a larger label, they auditioned for Relativity Records, one of the bigger indie metal labels. The group killed their audition when they showed up in costume and Danielle Stampe let loose a blood capsule from her codpiece onto one of the office chairs, simulating menstruation.
The band suffered further line-up changes during this period, with Dewey Rowell leaving the band in 1991 and not being replaced until 1992 by Pete Lee, after the recording of America Must Be Destroyed.
However, this success would not be met without controversy. During this period, Gwar was (temporarily) banned in North Carolina because Brockie was wearing his "Cuttlefish of Cthulhu" prosthetic penis, which led to his arrest; this incident was the inspiration for Gwar's third album, America Must Be Destroyed, released in 1992. The album was accompanied by the movie Phallus in Wonderland, which documented the main concept and contained music videos for the album. This movie would be nominated for a Grammy Award in 1993, the year during which Mike Bishop would also leave the band, after the recording of This Toilet Earth, being replaced by Casey Orr, from the band Rigor Mortis.
This Toilet Earth was released on 1994, meeting moderate success and with the videos for Saddam a Go-Go and their most popular song, "The Road Behind" being aired on Beavis and Butt-head; however, this would also mark the beginning of the band straying from their trademark sound, as the album contained heavily experimental songs instead of the more focused heavy metal of the previous two albums.
Through the last few years, Gwar had managed to build a cult fanbase. However, their mainstream success would start to slowly wane; this, accompanied by multiple line-up changes, would cause the band to fade into the underground. Gwar would then enter a period that was considered a "low point" by members of the band (especially Dave Brockie), and would start experimenting with obscure genres of music even more than before.
It was under these circumstances that they would release Ragnarok in 1995, an album characterized by a unique sound, including the use of keyboards, something largely unseen before by the band, as well as a much larger use of secondary vocalists. The record is considered to have been largely unnoticed after the success of the last three albums. Despite this, the band would record two videos for the album, "Surf of Syn" and "Meat Sandwich" as well as release Rendezvous with RagNaRok to support the album's plot through footage from the supporting tour.
The band's next record would come out in 1997 under the name Carnival of Chaos, proving to be the epitome of this experimental period containing songs from many different genres, including the classic Heavy Metal, but also hard rock, country, and even jazz.
Carnival of Chaos would be the last album with Pete Lee on guitar, being replaced by Tim Harriss who had previously been in the band around 1986 and was featured as a guest guitarist on America Must Be Destroyed. For the recording of We Kill Everything between late 1998 and early 1999, Michael Bishop would temporarily rejoin the band as the bassist during the absence of Casey Orr. The record, largely influenced by punk rock, is the band's least favorite album and thus its songs are rarely played live. Following this, co-founder Hunter Jackson left the group in 2000 to focus on personal projects. Danielle Stampe left the band to focus on a personal project named Girly Freakshow; however, she rejoined the band temporarily for the Bitch Is Back tour in 2002.
Due to the band's distaste for the previous album, Gwar's sound changed considerably for the next recording. With Tim Harriss gone, Zach Blair was hired to fill his spot as Flattus Maximus, Casey Orr also having returned to the band as Beefcake the Mighty for the recording of the band's first entirely thrash metal album in years: Violence Has Arrived, released on November 6, 2001, the album being seen as a "comeback" of sorts and setting off changes that resulted in the current state of the band. Violence Has Arrived was, however, the band's last album on Metal Blade Records, with the band leaving the label soon after the recording and releasing of it.
In 2002 Zach Blair left Gwar to form the power-pop band Armstrong along with drummer Brad Roberts to release a single album titled Dick the Lionhearted.
As the band focused on a heavier, more brutal sound near the end of this period, it would also result in the creation of another side project, the Dave Brockie Experience, a band created by frontman Dave Brockie along with rhythm guitarist Mike Derks and drummer Brad Roberts as a way of continuing the comedic sound found on albums like We Kill Everything while maintaining a more serious focus in releases by Gwar. They released their first LP in March 20, 2001, Diarrhea of a Madman.
This was not the end of Gwar's new focus on heavy sound, as was proven with the release of Violence Has Arrived by their most successful album in several years, War Party in 2004 on their new record label, DRT Entertainment. The album met with a large underground success, as it followed the same path Violence Has Arrived did, but this time with a more serious and technical edge, partially thanks to the efforts of new lead guitarist Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus) and bass guitarist Todd Evans (Beefcake the Mighty). Videos were released for "Bring Back the Bomb" and "War Party," and the band was invited to play on the Sounds of the Underground tour in 2005. That same year the band released Live from Mt. Fuji, the band's first live album besides the then-extremely rare You're All Worthless and Weak, released in 2000 (and re-released in 2006) on Slave Pit Records.
Gwar started working on their new album (Then tentatively titled Go to Hell!) in January 2006. The same month, Gwar also opened a gallery show called "The Art of Gwar" at Art Space gallery in Richmond to display the many props, costumes, cartoons, paintings produced by The Slave Pit, Gwar's art and effects studio.
On February 23, 2006, Gwar's official website, Gwar's official Japanese website (www.Gwarjapan.net) and Oderus Urungus' official homepage announced Gwar's latest album, Beyond Hell, for which, at the urging of DRT Entertainment, a cover version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" was recorded and released. The music video, was directed by David Brodsky on July 2, 2006. The part of the "school marm" has been mistakenly identified as Devin Townsend, the producer of the "Beyond Hell" CD. It is actually Scott Krahl, a long-time Gwar "slave" and inventor of Gor-Gor. "School's Out" was nominated for Best Video of 2006 on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball.
The Blood Bath and Beyond DVD was released in June 20, 2006, containing exclusive behind the scenes and vintage footage of the band.
Gwar performed a special "half-time" show at the Sounds Of The Underground 2006 Tour along with headliners As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, The Chariot, The Black Dahlia Murder, Terror, Killswitch Engage, Through the Eyes of the Dead, In Flames, HORSE the band, Unearth, It Dies Today, Job for a Cowboy, 3 Inches of Blood, Shadows Fall, This Is Hell, Ringworm, Converge, Machine Head, and Still Remains.
Gwar went on to Headline the following year's The Sounds of the Underground Tour in 2007.
The entire Gwar concept seems to be gaining acceptance elsewhere, judging by the success of Lordi, a Finnish hard rock band, which won the 51st Eurovision Song Contest 2006, in Athens, Greece, on May 20, 2006. Lordi's costumes are similar to Gwar's, though the music style, message (Gwar being far more political), and attitude are different and Lordi states their influences are from KISS, Alice Cooper and horror movies. Gwar have been executing Mr. Lordi at the beginning of each of their sets on the Sounds of the Underground tour.
Vocalist Oderus Urungus is also featured on the last Strapping Young Lad album The New Black as a guest vocalist on the song "Far Beyond Metal". Oderus' lines in the song are taken directly from the Gwar song "Maggots" ("now in the halls of the Necrolord…" etc.). Scott Krahl is in the "Schools Out" video as a female teacher, of whom Oderus makes out with and proceeds to mount at the end of the video.
Beyond Hell was released on August 29, 2006, with Gwar touring to support the album and being helped by the creation of new props for this tour, including several characters from Beyond Hell's plot, including Jitler and Jewcifer. Gwar was also present at the third annual Rock & Shock festival from October 13 to 15 as a part of this tour.
On April 7, 2007 Gwar not only released their long awaited video for the song Eighth Lock off of Beyond Hell, but also announced that they have a headlining slot on Sounds of the Underground 2007 alongside Shadows Fall, Chimaira, Job for a Cowboy, Amon Amarth, Goatwhore, and Suicidal Tendencies.
In Spring 2008 Todd Evans left Gwar to focus efforts on his project Mobile Deathcamp. Shortly after Todd's sudden departure, Casey Orr was confirmed to fill his former spot as Beefcake the Mighty.
Sleazy P. Martini is to return to the rock stage with Gwar on their Electile Dysfunction '08 tour in the fall of 2008.
In 2009, Gwar celebrated their 25th year as a band.
Gwar will also be in some major festivals this year. The band will be playing the Bamboozle festival in May, then performing at Wacken Open Air in Germany in July. In August they will perform at the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic, and they were scheduled to be returning to the UK for Bloodstock Open Air in Burton-On-Trent, Derbyshire but they officially dropped out.
Gwar's eleventh studio album, Lust in Space, was released on August 18, 2009, through Metal Blade Records. They performed at the 2009 Gathering of the Juggalos to promote their new album and will be touring countrywide in 2009 as well with Lamb of God and Job For A Cowboy.
In an interview short after Lust in Space was released, Oderus stated that there will be another new GWAR album before the 25th anniversary is over, and also a box set filled with America Must Be Destroyed, Tour De Scum, and Phallus In Wonderland. Which would later become the reissue of America Must Be Destroyed CD/DVD released on November 11, 2009. Then, in another interview Oderus said they will be writing songs all during the Lust In Space tour, and they may have another new album out by Halloween 2010.
A Christmas vinyl has been available at recent shows consisting of a new song called "Christmas Stripper Summer Weekend" and the Hell-O Medley (Live). The single is also available through the official Gwar website. Gwar has been confirmed for the Bonaroo Festival 2010 and Gwar has confirmed to join the Summer Breeze Open Air metal music metal festival.
Despite various explanations that Gwar is an acronym for something, band members have insisted from its inception that the letters do not stand for anything. Indeed, the official website of Slave Pit Inc. indicates that Gwar is a shortened version of "GWAARGGGH!!!" the name the band used originally when opening up for Death Piggy. Lead singer and founding member Dave Brockie has been quoted as saying "...it doesn't mean Gay Women Against Rape. It doesn't mean Great White Aryan Race. It doesn't mean Gay Weird Anal Reprobates. It doesn't even mean God What an Awful Racket. It just means Gwar, which means everything pretty much."
These are members not involved musically or in the Gwar stage show anymore while still working to varying degrees with the band.
(Guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, keyboard, vocals, saxophone, tuba, triangle, clarinet, bass clarinet, french horn, violin, oboe, flute, harp, organ.)
Gwar also has a plethora of members, most of which are referred to simply under the collective label of "slaves" (see above). The Gwar slaves are involved in many other aspects of the band, including costume design, music mixing and editing, running Slave Pit Records, the record label owned by the members of Gwar, and the creation of the now defunct Gwar comic book, Slave Pit Funnies.
Gwar (usually written as GWAR) is an American satirical thrash metal/punk band formed in 1984. They are best known for their very strange monster costumes and using vulgar, rude words in their songs. Their obscene stage performances which involve violence, slaughtering, profanity, obscene comments about politics are meant to scare, frighten, shock and amuse people. They have won a Grammy Award.
Gwar first formed in 1984 in Richmond, Virginia. The band was made up of Joey Slutman (Joey Byalwec) vocals, Oderus Humongous (Dave Brockie) lead guitar, Balsac The Jaws of Death (Steve Douglas) bass guitar and backing vocals, and Hans Spincter (Sean Summer) drums. However the group has had many changes. Joey Byalwec left the band in 1986 eventually making Oderus Humongous no longer the group's guitar player but GWAR's permanent vocalist and Balsac the Jaws of Death no longer the band's bass guitarist But the band's Backup vocalist.
After many long years of practicing, GWAR released their first album, Hell O! in 1988 on Shimmy Disc Records. With a few new members and characters. The group for Hell O! were Oderus Humongous (Dave Brockie) lead vocals, Flattus Maximus (Dewey Dowell) lead guitar, Nippelus Erectus (Rob Mosky) drums, Beefcake the Mighty (Michael Bishop) bass guitar, and Balsac the Jaws of Death (Steve Douglas) on backing vocals.
A year later in 1989, Gwar released their first live CD RAW-GWAR showing the band with their very 1st fans and their morbid, violent graphic and political and taboo related stage performances.
In 1990 Gwar released their second album, Scumdogs of The Universe. They left Shimmy Disc Records and recorded for Metal Blade Records. Gwar's music changed from hardcore punk, in Scumdogs of the Universe they have more of a crossover thrash/punk rock sound. The band's first album, Hell O!, did not have any famous songs, but Scumdogs includes Gwar's first two famous songs, "Sick of You" and "King Queen"
The day after the release of Scumdogs, the band released their second live CD, Live From Antarctica. In 1991 the band released their first music video, a video of "Sick of You".
GWAR released their third and most controversial album America Must Be Destroyed in 1992. Certain songs on the album were described as "raunchy" and "disturbing". This album was the first without Steve Douglas as the character Balsac the Jaws of Death. He was replaced by Mike Derks, who is still the current Balsac character.
Their fourth album, This Toilet Earth, was recorded in 1994. It is considered to be the most strangest album it contains elements of Crust,Punk,Grindcore,Horror Punk, Traditional Punk Rock,Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal and Hard rock heavily influenced by the early 1980's Thrash metal groups Metallica,Slayer and Anthrax.
GWAR's 5th studio album Ragnarok was released in 1995 it contains an experimental combination of Crossover Thrash and Funk rock.
Gwar's 6th album Carnival of Chaos was released in 1997. It is considered to be the most experimental GWAR album ever released it was the last album to feature Pete Lee as Flattus Maximus.
We Kill Everything Gwar's 7th album released in 1999 "We Kill Everything" is considered to be the band's breathrough CD. It is considered to be the lousiest album ever released by the band. It is the first album to feature Greg Ottinger as Flattus Maximus. It turs out Gwar has revisited their Hardcore Punk/Scum rock sound from the 1980's. Gwar fans despised the album.
So in 2001 GWAR returned to their thrash metal sound after releasing their eighth CD "Violence Has arrived. It also revisited the brutal sound and violent themes similar to their earlier albums.
In 2004 GWAR released their first Greatest hits CD entitled Let There be GWAR as well as releasing their 9th studio release "War Party."
2006-2009-Present In 2006 Gwar released their 10th album Beyond Hell was released it included GWAR's very first cover song:A remake of American rock artist Alice Cooper's famous 1972 song "Schools Out."
Gwar released their 11th and most recent album Lust in Space in 2009. Their 12th album "Bloody Pit of Horror" is soon to be released sometime in 2010.