April 22, 2004

World's a Stage

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Whilst at a friends house this past week, I came across a list lying on their coffee table. After taking a closer look I realized that it was, in fact, a “things to do before graduation” list. Among the must do’s were streaking across the slope (which I later learned had been accomplished that night), making out with a freshman, and a number of other things that, for their sake, I probably shouldn’t reveal in this column.

After being entertained by the list, I got to thinking about the things I should do before heading out into the real world. I like to think I’ve actually done a pretty good job at utilizing what’s offered to a college student, but there had to be some things I hadn’t thought about yet. After a couple of beverages and much discussion around my own coffee table, me and my housemates (who like witnessing a good show as much as I do) came to the conclusion that we should take a road trip and see a band play. Nothing as outrageous as streaking, I know, but wait …t here is more to it. The idea was all well and good except for one thing: we have a wildly varying taste in music. Any one show would only entertain maybe three of us at one time. And then it hit us. Rather than arguing for hours about a nice middle ground where we would all have an “okay time,” we thought why not just go see something that we would all equally hate. Something so bad that it would be hilarious; something that, for all its faults, we would talk about for years to come. Only one show could do this, and that show is GWAR!

Now, for those of you acquainted with sacrifice, blood, pillage, and maggots, you probably don’t have to read on. However, something tells me that very few of you are, so listen closely. On the surface, GWAR (which stands for God What an Awful Racket) is a band that has pretty much created it’s own genre, though if you had to squeeze them in somewhere, you’d probably throw them in the same puddle of musical mucus as Cradle of Filth (whose live shows include vampire strippers) and G.G. Allin (who threatened he would one day stick a live grenade in his number 2 hole and dive into the crowd). But even this company falls short of being GWAR’s true peers.

At a GWAR show you will hear songs such as “The Issue of Tissue,” “Time for Death,” “Endless Apocalypse,” and of course, “Maggots.” But according to GWAR, the music is only means to an end. The members of GWAR will tell you that they have existed since a time before Earth. If you are starting to get a little confused, a word of advice is to not try to rationalize anything to do with the world’s most unique performers. Instead, just appreciate the creativity of their “history,” which is reenacted at each live show, and understand why we, as soon to be non-students, have to take this road trip.

Their story goes a little something like this. GWAR were originally an elite group of warriors under the rule of their leader, the Master of Reality. According to legend, the Master farted one-day and out came the universe. Instead of acting like warriors, GWAR spent most of their time getting drunk and causing general havoc, so as a punishment, the Master banished them to the armpit of the universe, Earth. Angered by their exile, GWAR began a rampage of rape and murder, and in their early years eradicated what we now know as dinosaurs. Though no evidence has been found, the band claim that the birth of the human race came as a result of them having intercourse with early apes (imagine that one on stage). As Pangea broke apart, luck would have it that GWAR would be stranded in the most miserable of places.

After only months in Antarctica, they were frozen, only to be thawed — much to the dread of humankind — by the greenhouse effect many millennia later. Before they could do much damage to penguins, a man named Sleazy P. Martini found them and convinced them they would be the next big thing in rock. Today, GWAR haven’t given up on returning to the Master. The word in the moshpit is that in order to return, they must sacrifice their followers at live shows and feed the blood to the World Maggot (a giant maggot sleeping in the center of the Earth) until he awakens, turns into a fly, and carries them back to the Master. The more I hear their story, the more I have to applaud their imagination. I wish to reiterate that what you just read is acted out on stage in a rock opera kind of way. If anybody can tell me a more unique show to go see, then I’ll have to change my plans. But one thing is for sure; I cannot excuse myself to go see them once I’m a man of the real world. I’ve got four weeks … who’s coming with me?

Archived article by Tom Britton