Blood. Spectacle. Lifestyle. Mythology. Costumes. And more blood.
When you think of the beloved shock-metal outfit GWAR, those words are likely the first that come to mind. And with good reason. Since forming in Richmond, Virginia in 1984, GWAR has not only managed to endure various lineup changes but has become one of the most beloved bands in all of metal. The only thing as sharp as their over-the-top lyrics is their mesmerizing live show which continues to make them one of the must-see, and most memorable, acts today.
At a time when bands have become bland, GWAR stands out for their performances and the intimate connection with their fans. Once the lights dim and the curtain rises, fans know what they’re in for a night of theatrics, storytelling, and humor that’s more Devo than KISS. Their iconic, signature barbaric interplanetary warriors’ costumes may be what the wider world knows them for, but it’s their shows that continue to resonate with their devoted following.
The push-and-pull between GWAR and their fans creates a visceral experience that continues to add to the band’s legend and legacy, one new tour at a time. Few, if any band, can break down a physical barrier with their audience quite like GWAR. Fluids fly, substances spray and the lust for copious amounts of fake blood [and cutting heads off, of course] leaves audiences thirsty for more.
The mythological nature of their live shows may be at the forefront of people’s minds, but it is GWAR’s meticulously crafted songs blending satire, chaos, and violence, that made them cultural icons.
In late 2020, GWAR celebrated the 30th anniversary of Scumdogs of the Universe, which won them universal praise for their sharps riffs and humor. More importantly, it catapulted them into the mainstream psyche, capturing the eyes and ears of a bewildered public. Though a Grammy would follow a few years later, Scumdogs remains the band’s seminal album. It received a deluxe reissue in October 2020 including remixed and remastered audio by producer Ronan Chris Murphy, as well as an exclusive cassette containing rehearsal demos and previously unreleased tracks.
As for 2021 and beyond, the group has big plans to add to its legacy as it nears its 37th year. A much-anticipated new album is in the works, their first since 2017’s The Blood of Gods. They also have a skateboard deck, coffee, CBD, beer, and whiskey, proving the band is bigger than the music: it’s a lifestyle.
A flurry of activity (pandemic-permitting) is on the horizon. So why does the band forge on and the crowd keep coming back? It comes down to one word: fun. Between that and the shock and awe of a GWAR show, it’s easy to understand why they’ve endured, but are as popular as they’ve ever been: limitless creativity and blood — a whole lot of it.