Out of all the bands that played at Riot Fest this year, GWAR has to be the raunchiest. According to the band’s website, its members are composed of ancient interplanetary warriors who have been pillaging the earth for thousands of years.
The aliens first began making music in the ‘80s and regularly played on MTV in the early-’90s. Clad in grotesquely monstrous costumes, the band became known for intense heavy metal shows where they spray the audience with fake blood.
The band members take the full-on brutality of their alien personas onto the stage and in to interviews.
The Phoenix spoke with drummer Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts) and guitarists Balsac the Jaws of Death (Mike Derks) and Beefcake the Mighty (Casey Orr) while in character about Riot Fest and the agenda to eradicate all of humanity.
Mary Grace Ritter: First off, I just want to know, what’s it like being intergalactic warriors?
Balsac the Jaws of Death: What’s it like not being an intergalactic warrior? It must suck being mortal and knowing you’re going to die. That’s the great thing about being immortal. It’s like, we may suck, but we’re immortal and we’re going to suck forever. You on the other hand, only suck for an amount of time.
Jizmak Da Gusha: Being immortal is not all that great, I mean this shit takes forever, you know?
Emma Sulski: How is Riot Fest going for you guys so far?
JG: I love Riot Fest. It’s great. There’s no riots though, so it’s a weird title for it. Why aren’t there any riots? … That’s why GWAR is here. … Once we eradicate all of you, this will be a very beautiful, peaceful planet. But now that you’re still here, it’s just terrible. It’s the worst place to be. …
ES: What’s the best part of Chicago?
BJD: I like the gangster years, like the Valentine’s Day Massacre, that was a good part of Chicago. I like the part of Chicago where they ran around with Tommy guns and mowed each other down.
JG: I like the sausage. What do you like about Chicago?
Beefcake the Mighty: Not much. I got free shoes. And they gave us some towels. And then they put us on little carts and brought us here. Other than that I’m not even sure where I am.
JG: Actually, it’s pretty much the best place to go if you like music, is Riot Fest. But we like it for millions of other things.
BM: Name one.
JG: Okay, whatever. You humans love Riot Fest, we’re just here because they’re paying us.
BM: My favorite part is being out in the sun in the middle of 10,000 people being bumped around. Especially on a Sunday, when it’s gross and everybody’s gross and it’s dusty and you’re thirsty and you’re out of money, oh it’s so much fun.
ES: Are there any political movements you’re really passionate about right now?
JG: None of them, actually, I don’t think GWAR cares about any of the human agenda at all.
BM: I mean this Trump guy is starting to look pretty good because he’s got the same agenda as we do. He doesn’t give a fuck about this planet, he fucking hates people, he wants to destroy everybody and everything and just keep the good shit for himself and we’re all like, “Wait a minute!”
JG: That’s what we’re doing, he’s stealing our thunder. That’s what GWAR’s supposed to do.
BM: Apparently, he’s real smart, he’s got the best words. Have you seen him with a Sharpie? Motherfucker changes the trajectory of fucking hurricances with just a swipe of his Sharpie! So we’re thinking maybe he’s not so bad after all.
MG: Where does music fit into GWAR’s agenda?
JG: Our manager, Sleazy P. Martini, he got us hooked on crack and MTV and handed Balsac a guitar, and the next thing I know, we’re on tour. And we’ve been on tour for 300,000 years.
BM: He figured the best way for us to infiltrate was to play music.
JG: You see, MTV was the soul-sucking device of the ‘80s. And now it’s like Facebook and Instagram, so now he’s having us do that bullshit too, so we can get to the youth. Mix their brains up a little bit, make a little scrambled eggs. And make sure the parents hate us.
BM: We figured out that we get all this fucking money, give it to Sleazy, he gives us drugs and guitars. Boss shows up, off we go, play some shows.
JG: It’s a pirate’s life. We ransack the town. The cattle are raped. The women are pillaged. All the drugs are done. Mostly syphilis medicines for GWAR. Then we leave and do it in the next town.
ES: How’d your performance go today?
JG: I thought it was great.
BM: I don’t even know why we bother anymore.
JG: I love it when the sun beats down on your face in the middle of the day and you look kind of strange ‘cause you’re a monster. You don’t look as creepy as at night.
BM: And you look down at the audience and there’s like no one there but there’s like three fat nerdy pimpley guys like “GWAR!” That’s what we do it for, man.
JG: Have your dean put GWAR on campus next year. We’re politically correct sometimes.
Zach Blair of Rise Against: Hi!
BM: Look at this sexy bastard.
JG: Now this guy could play your campus, Zach from Rise Against.
ZB: I used to be in GWAR though! And these guys and our late singer, Dave Brockie, we were GWAR.
BM: Way to break the fourth wall, dude.
ZB: I know, I’m sorry. Well anyway, come over to the stage, it’ll be open for you guys.
JG: We’ll come all over your stage.
ZB: You know what? They almost didn’t let me on your stage. I was in the band!
JG: Sorry, bro.
ZB: See you in a bit.
JG: See you later, you skinny punk.
BM: Fucking hate him.
JG: I’m so glad we kicked him out.
GWAR and Rise Against are both available to stream on all platforms.