Blood and Guts – – A discussion with Pustulus Maximus of GWAR and other things…

I think humanity saw a moment of weakness in GWAR and decided to attack, seeing that we didn’t have Oderous with us....


Interview by: David Locklear



David Locklear: How are you doing

Pustulus Maximus: Terrible.

David Locklear: Terrible? What happened?

Pustulus Maximus: I was getting wasted on the way here drinking a bottle of Novacaine, so my mouth is a little numb.

DL: A little numb? A little dry? Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Do you think grinding up a few people on stage tonight will you feel better?

PM: Possibly, possibly…

DL: What inspired GWAR to make the album “The Blood of the Gods”?

PM: Contractual obligations.

DL: No other reason? No artistic merit?

PM: No, no, no,… No, we made it because we pretty much had to prove our relevancy in today’s world of music. You know, when you take a blow as severe as losing your lead singer (Dave Brockie in 2014), you have to at some point come correct and reinvent yourself. And I think that’s what we achieved on this newest record.

DL: How long did it take to record it?

PM: Um, not long, maybe two or three months on and off. The critical part was just writing it. Just getting us all in the same room. To get everyone to give enough of a fuck to show up at the same time, which in this band is extremely difficult.

DL: I imagine that at this point you probably can’t stand each other.

PM: Oh yeah! Unless we’re divvying up cash or sharing drugs or prostitutes, we pretty much just don’t speak.

DL: That’s probably smarter, that way you don’t have to remember each other’s faces or names.

PM: Yeah, you have to relearn names all the time and everything. We like to keep everything fresh, you know? It’s like going on vacation with your family–during the last two days you’re ready to get the fuck out of there. So we keep it short and sweet. Therefore it’s easier to pretend we care that way.

DL: Where did you record this album and how bloody was the studio when you were done?

PM: We recorded all the drums at a place called White Star in Virginia and we did all the rest of the guitars and bass at our studio in Richmond called the Slave Pit.

DL: Oh yeah! I’ve driven by the Slave Pit. It looks like a terrible place.

PM: It’s great on the inside. Just looks like a doghouse on the front.

DL: So the new album, “The Blood of the Gods” is about humanity finally rebelling against GWAR. What do you think it is that would make them defy your awesome powers?

PM: I think humanity saw a moment of weakness in GWAR and decided to attack, seeing that we didn’t have Oderous with us. And they were very wrong, because we triumphed, of course! Back and better than ever. And all of that action, and love, and romance is captured on “The Blood of the Gods” record.

DL: Romance? Wow. Which song is that?

PM: I don’t know. I’m not even sure. Oh, it’s “I’ll Be Your Monster”. That’s a love song; a coming of age song between an elderly man and a coming-of-age young lady.

DL: Oh! Awesome. And disgusting.

PM: Well, you know, rock bands used to write about statutory rape all the time! Such as “Seventeen” by Winger; I’m sure the girl in Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” was very young. And of course “Christine Sixteen” by KISS.

DL: Yeah, that one is the torchbearer for all of those songs. But still creepy.

PM: Well, it depends on how you look at it.

DL: Or if you can get away with it?

PM: Well, that’s the biggest challenge. And it’s not even the getting caught thing that’s bothersome; it’s having to introduce yourself to all of your new neighbors when you move.

DL: Right. Tonight Ghoul is opening up for you. Did you ever entertain the idea of recruiting them to be back up fighters in your battle against humanity?

PM: We do have a couple of the Ghoul people helping us disembowel people backstage, or anyone who gets across the stage, we send them through the meat grinder, then Ghoul helps us finish them off. We got some teamwork on this tour, it’s been pretty cool to have them out.

DL: Have any other bands been good about coming out and killing a few fans for you in the name of good sportsmanship?

PM: No, we like to hog that entire honor for ourselves. We’re using Ghoul to kill and taking a lot of the credit

DL: So in a way, Ghoul is paying their dues?

PM: Right. They’re making all of the same foolish decisions we made.

DL: The album is a pretty funny album, but the humor seems to be hiding a few moments of social commentary, particularly on “Swarm”.

PM: Well, we’ve always been very truthful with our audience. I think that’s why people have deemed us offensive in the past, because we were so truthful. The honesty hurts, the truth hurts, and we’re doing nothing more than pointing out the fallacies of capitalism and American culture. It’s like a dog when they shit on the carpet-you just got to rub their nose in it. And sometimes you do it for your own pleasure, and not necessarily because you’re trying to teach a lesson. I just want to make fun of you.

DL: So it’s a good healthy ball bust?

PM: Right.

DL: Listening to this new album, I feel like I’m hearing a lot more of a blues influence. Is that something that you have been doing on “The Blood of the Gods”?

PM: I’d say more so now than ever, because of Blothar and I. There’s a lot more of a rock influence between the two of us. I’ve always played metal and always been into metal bands, but there’s been some recent things in music that have left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m more interested in rock style guitar and blues style guitar because I feel like it’s a lot easier to convey emotion that way. Not even easier, but more effective for the way I play. It’s in my wheelhouse, so speak. I don’t want to try to regurgitate some record or sound that’s just been done to death; and, quite frankly, there’s less new metal bands that excite me. I really think all the good stuff came around ‘96! 1996 is a hard cut off! It’s like no death metal band was any good after that except for maybe Severe Torture and Vader, of course.

DL: GWAR is known for their stage show, but I feel that you’re not given enough credit for having a technical side. The songs “Fuck This Place” and “Phantom Limb” have really catchy, but fairly technical riffs.

PM: Well, we’ve always known how to play…you know, I think people see the spectacle of the show and discount what we can do musically, which doesn’t really bother me. I don’t really give a shit either way. All of that is in the eye of the beholder. Very talented people can make very shitty music…like those concerts where the guy will just continuously shred on a guitar, one riff after another. That’s pretty fucking boring. I mean, their technical ability is hot, but they don’t give you what GWAR give you! They don’t expel their bodily fluids on the crowd! We sacrifice lives for you! Who else gives that to you but GWAR?

DL: And the people you sacrifice pay for the privilege to be sacrificed.

PM: Exactly.

DL: I’d like to ask you about the song “El Presidente” which has the line ‘I’m going to kill the president and I don’t need a gun.’ Has President Trump started a Secret Service investigation into GWAR?

PM: Not that we’re aware of. I think he’ll go to great lengths to make sure we don’t get close enough to him to use our bare hands, but time will tell. I mean, he’s been getting onstage these last few nights with us and I don’t know how he keeps getting past security. It just happens and we have to dispatch him as quickly as possible.

DL: So you think he’s genuinely a fan of you guys?

PM: Well, many are. We don’t discount that anyone might be a closet GWAR fan. And Donald Trump probably loves us.

DL: The album also has a song called “Death to Dickie Duncan”. Can you tell us a little bit about him? He seems like a not-so-subtle satire of the fast food industry.

PM: Well, we have sold out. The Dickie Duncan fast food chain restaurants is who we decided to write jingles for…Dickie Duncan is like a piece of genetically modified food come to life. It’s pretty disturbing.

DL: Like most fast food creations nowadays?

PM: Yeah, that’s why we have to cut him in half on stage to see what he’s made out of.

DL: What is he made out of?

PM: Guts.

DL: Can you elaborate on the track “Phantom Limb”? It seems like a genuinely emotional song, like you guys are actually having a moment, and I don’t know if I’m comfortable with GWAR having emotions.

PM: Well, each member of this band is entitled to share one feeling in an eon and we decided to use our one shot deal with this song here. And it came across very well; it encapsulates the feelings that we’ve had in the last few years dealing with the loss of Oderous and dealing with people telling you to give up on what you’ve done your entire life just because someone else is not with you anymore. The line in the song “Is it wrong to carry on/because it’s all we ever had?” pretty much speaks for itself.

DL: So is GWAR’s mission to extinguish humanity still a goal? Is that something you’re still worrying about now that you’ve gotten older or is that something you’re not that interested in anymore?

PM: We’re trying but, you know, we are getting older and it’s more tiresome. At this rate, I think humanity has finally caught up with itself: you guys are poisoning your water, poisoning your food, you’re killing each other, destroying the environment, and you’re heating up the earth. And you’re doing it faster than we can, so hats off to you!

DL: So with this kind of rigorous travel schedule, considering that GWAR has traveled over space and time, does it get exhausting traveling by bus or plane from place to place in order to continue killing people?

PM: It does, it does. It is exhausting. It’s aggravating as fuck. I can’t wait to quit; hopefully I can quit in a few days. Time will tell.

DL: You guys have finally done a cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”. Why did it take so long for you to do this song? Because if there was any song that should’ve been covered by GWAR, it’s this one.

PM: It took this long to agree on something, that’s part of the problem. You know, I think Oderous had mentioned wanting to do this song years ago. I think it was a moment of weakness between the band members where we did just stop and agree.

DL: You guys are going to be playing that one tonight?

PM: Yes.

DL: I’m looking forward to that. But I will be covering my camera in plastic because it will get nasty out there and I paid a lot of money for this thing.

PM: Well, I’ll do my best to break that thing for you!

DL: I appreciate that. If it’s going to happen, I guess that’s the way it ought to be.

PM: Go get insurance on it now before the show.

DL: Thank you so much. It was good talking to you, sir.

PM: The pleasure is all yours.


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Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

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