Friday, 24 October 2014 14:59

Death Itself Can't Stop GWAR

Written by  Dwayne Hoover
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GWAR wsg Corrosion of Conformity, The Meatmen, American Sharks
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
Nov. 23, 8 p.m.
$20 advance, $23 day of show, (616) 451-8232

For 30 years, the infamous band known as GWAR has been delivering its brand of heavy metal through signature, over-the-top live shows that sport everything from gargantuan alien monsters to staged celebrity executions.

During those three decades, GWAR has had no shortage of turnover, seeing more than 20 members in and out of its lineup, with some taking on the persona of existing characters and others joining with a brand new identity. Unfortunately, the band has seen a few occasions when the death of one of its members created a vacancy that needed to be filled, as was the case in 2011 when guitarist Cory Smoot, who played the role of Flattus Maximus, died unexpectedly.

This past March, GWAR suffered another major loss when one of the band's original founders and longtime frontman Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) passed away. But even as Brockie's death shook not only the band, but also the world of metal itself, GWAR's members went to work, ensuring they would honor their fallen leader by doing exactly what Brockie himself would have wanted: Moving forward.

"I'm betting on the fact that he's passed out in a gutter with a dead hooker," said Bassist Beefcake the Mighty (Jamison Land). "That's my theory."

Much like when Smoot passed away, GWAR adopted a story that aligned with the band's hilariously complicated and ridiculous mythos to explain not only the absence of its former singer, but also the introduction of two new members, The Berserker Blóthar (former GWAR member Michael Bishop) and Vulvatron (Kim Dylla).

"I believe Blóthar is a space barbarian rudely awakened from the distant past, and Vulvatron is from somewhere in the distant future, somewhere around 69,000," Beefcake the Mighty said. "Blóthar will be doing most of the vocal duties. We hope to hear some stuff from Vulvatron in the future, for sure. They'll be taking the stage forefront and helping us kill things."

Now, armed with two new members, the band is out on the GWAR Eternal Tour in search of its "missing" leader and to bring its followers more of what GWAR is best known for.

"[Fans] can expect much of the same: Death, destruction, hatred," Beefcake said. "These scumdogs, I think they have good potential."

As Brockie himself once said, GWAR could theoretically exist forever, and it looks like that's the plan for the foreseeable future, with talks of a new album already occurring, and a fall tour schedule that promises to bring even more insanity to any who dare enter its path.

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