Gwar's life after loss: Band moves on after death of guitarist

GWAR wsg DevilDriver, Cancer Bats, Legacy of Disorder

The Intersection, Grand Rapids

Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m.

$22 advance, $25 day of show

All ages, (616) 451-8232

More than 40 billion years ago, a group of extraterrestrial war gods were banished to Earth and frozen in the Antarctic for the unspeakable havoc they were wreaking on the galaxy. For eons, they lay dormant, until mankind's polluting ways resulted in their eventual thawing, releasing the band now known as GWAR on to our planet and on to the metal scene.

Almost 30 years later, the band has about a dozen studio albums, as well as a number of EPs, live albums and videos under its belt. However, it may be best known for its satirical and morally objectionable music, as well as its elaborate and graphic live performances, complete with staged celebrity executions and the dousing of the audience in a variety of “bodily fluids.” 

"The band is fairly prolific," said Frontman Oderus Urungus. "The goal is to play next to top-notch bands. We've fought like f*****g mad dogs to reclaim our throne of metallic opulence."

Sadly, this reclamation of metal royalty was set back a bit toward the end of 2011 when guitarist Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot) passed away unexpectedly while the band was on tour. Despite the return of Flattus back to his home planet, “Planet Home,” GWAR pressed on, finishing the tour and beginning the process of filling the empty position.

"Flattus went on his journey and left us here on Earth," Urungus said. "OK, that sucks. We'll have to do without you, but life must carry on. That's why we immediately began the process of finding a new guitar player, not that anyone could replace him."

But where do the Scumdogs of the Universe turn to fill the void left by Flattus' departure?  Why, the entire Maximus family, of course.

"Every member of the Maximus Clan is a guitar player, and a rocking one at that," Urungus said.  "They are all born with guitars in their hands. This accounts for every single one of their mothers dying in labor."

Flattus’ cousin, Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason of Cannibal Corpse), stepped in to join GWAR on the fall tour. There's even a new album in the works, and while the band members are hopeful for an early 2013 release, they admit to being behind schedule.

"Well, there's our massive drug habits, raping supermodels, and all those things take time," Urungus said. "But all the trials and tribulations are pretty much over. We're fully committed to the new album."