The Crocodile- Allentown PA
Friday February 18th, 2011
I made the trip up to the Crocodile Club in Allentown last Friday to both interview and photograph legendary metal band GWAR and it’s leader Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) for Tri State Independent. TSI’s Jordan Capizzi did an amazing job of contacting the band’s PR, making all the arrangements for me show up with my tape recorder and camera for a sit down with Oderus.
Not having a clue what to ask, I left the questions to my friends and fans of GWAR via a Facebook post. Questions covered everything from GWAR’s obvious involvement with the middle-east regime changes, their political work with PETA, and how much one should tip in a restaurant. Click the link below for the full interview:
A little history- GWAR, best known for its elaborate sci-fi horror latex costumes and stage show, was formed way back in 1984 in Richmod Virginia as a project for a horror movie they were making called Scumdogs of the Universe. The band at that time was called Death Piggy, and eventually changed their name to GWAR (GWAAAAAR!!!).
Fast forward 26 years into the future, and GWAR is an intergalacticly known band, with more than 16 album releases, 22 videos, numerous world tours, infamous TV appearances (see Jerry Springer), 2 Grammy nominations, and a cult following loyal to it’s bloody stage shows and celebrity decapitations.
Having just got a new and expensive Nikon camera, I was just a little nervous to shoot GWAR’s notoriously messy show at the Crocodile. Oderus was kind enough to let me know to basically duck and hide during the first song. This was easier said than done considering the photo pit was narrowly wedged between the Croc’s low stage and a sold out raucous crowd.
GWAR entered to a sample from their latest album Bloody Pit of Horror, and proceeded to drench the audience with fake blood for what seemed like an eternity. By the time the first song was over, the entire stage, floor and audience were soaked in the icky red fluid. The amount of blood on the floor reminded me of that episode of Dexter (Ice Truck Killer season) where Dexter fainted, slipped and fell face-first into a hotel room literally drenched in gallons of human blood.
Although I had my camera wrapped and covered in plastic, the amount of bodily fluids sprayed at the audience kind of prevented me (I am a wuss) from really getting in there for those typical TSI band shots. When I did catch a break from the gore spray, the challenge was dodging fans who either fell over the railing into the press pit, or who were being escorted back to the audience from one of the bouncers.
The band brought out on stage everything from a warrior midget, a legion of slaves, a dead dog that sprayed blood and entrails, bare assed costumes, and a giant man eating monster.
Towards the end of GWAR’s set, they introduced a foam and latex Lady Gaga, and proceeded to cut off her breasts, spraying gallons of bodily fluids into the audience. I believe they finished her off by chopping off her head, bringing big cheers from the crowd.
Say what you want about GWAR’s “shock rock” mainstream media coverage, but their show is straight up art on stage. GWAR is more of a production than a band. Their complex stage show is anchored by a huge team of professionals behind the scenes that make all of that gore happen night-in, night-out. Adding to their show is GWAR’s music. They play incredibly technical songs that are not easily pulled off behind the wall of costumes and staged stunts. They are also very in tune with politics and are all super nice guys.