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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cartoonish alt-metalists GWAR will wreak havoc at the Knitting Factory

Anyone who misses the larger than life, theatrical and excessive in the world of rock, should embrace GWAR.

The cartoonish act, which is on its “Black Death Rager World Tour,” is known for its bizarre costumes and faux blood-soaked live performances. GWAR, which stands for God What an Awful Racket, makes Kiss look pedestrian as a visual experience.

The over-the-top band, which turns 40 next year, calls themselves a collective of all-powerful interplanetary warriors who invade Earth to enslave and slaughter the human race.

“Humans have certainly taken a turn for the worse, which for us in the best,” vocalist Blothar said. “GWAR are comedians. Our job is to point out the foibles and observe the hilarious shortcomings of human beings.”

Humor has always been GWAR’s strength. With album titles, such as “Lust in Space” and “Dawn of the Day of the Night of the Penguin,” it’s obvious that funny is as significant as power chords for the alt-metal band.

“A good laugh never hurt anybody,” Blothar said while calling from Cleveland. “It helps us that reality has turned to surreality over the last few years. We’re trying to keep up with that, which isn’t easy.”

GWAR, which will perform Tuesday at the Knitting Factory, performs in an environment that is total chaos.

“Have Kiss or Slipknot try to deal with everything we face on stage,” Blothar said. “It’s not easy remembering lyrics when you’re being chased by giant monsters. It’s a challenge every night.”

GWAR is all about performance art. “We have a great time with it,” Blothar said. “There just isn’t anything out there quite like what we do.”

Blothar, an original member of the band, recalls what it was like when GWAR formed during the peak of hair metal. The group’s bassist turned vocalist laughs when looking back at the band’s early days.

“That was a time in rock when bands took themselves so seriously even though the guys in the bands were wearing spandex,” Blothar said. “We were playing in punk rock clubs, which were full of very serious hardcore musicians. We moved away from punk, which was getting more regimented.

“We went the other way and we’re still going.”

It wasn’t easy to replace vocalist Oderus Urungus, who died in 2014, but Blothar took over the vocals.

“Our singer died, and it was so sad since he was a great guy and a friend of mine,” Blothar said. “Singing is much more difficult than playing bass in a band like GWAR.”

Saying goodbye to Urungus was quite the event. The band held a Viking funeral on a lake in Virginia. Urungus’ costume was burned.

“It was just something we had to do,” Blothar said. “It was a beautiful event.”

Beauty and GWAR seem to be mutually exclusive.

“It’s an ugly world,” Blothar said. “What can I say.”

GWAR is back with a new album, “The New Dark Ages.”

“Hapless audiences the world over will hear new songs, witness new horrors and new gore,” Blothar said. “Watch as GWAR travels into another dimension to face new villains in a no-holds-barred heavy metal orgy of sex, violence and hilarity.”

GWAR could just draw from its 16 albums but the band is compelled to create.

“We’re an active medium,” Blothar said. “We’re more inspired than ever, so we will continue to create new music. GWAR has never had the level of success many bands have had but we’re still trying to reach as many people as possible.”