God What an Awful Racket!

Well, they're either the spawn of aliens from Uranus stranded in Antarctica or a bunch of Virginia Commonwealth University students performing abortions of performance art for the sake of entertainment. To explain: the lead singer is Canadian.

Billed as a "speed-metal-shock-troupe" with such influences as KISS, Alice Cooper, professional wrestling and chainsaw-bloodbath flicks GWAR is composed of "Odorus Urungus", "Balsac the Jaws of Death", "Flattus Maximus", "Jizmak the Gusha", "Slymenstra Hymen" and "Sexicutioner". I'm told these aren't the members' Christian names but, then again, I'm not sure they're big into the religious thing.

With songs like "Vlad the Impaler" and "Maggots Are Falling Like Rain" these boys have carved out their own little horrible world from live performances including (mock) pagan-rituals, decapitations, maimings, sacrifices and a Gallagher-esque "spraying" of the crowd with assorted (fake) blood and other bodily fluids. The members are always dressed in oversized death-monster masks complete with full-body costumes. The videos, an attempt to recreate the essence of a live show, got most of their play during late night episodes of Beavis and Butthead on Mtv. (Yes, children, Mtv used to show videos at night - I know it sounds weird)

Sort of a triple-X Spinal Tap, these college boys (musicians, dancers and art students) are just taking a friendly poke at the Darth Sidious nature of heavy-death-metal. A few cities have failed to laugh along--the band was banned from playing in North Carolina for a year, fined for "disseminating obscenity" and kindly cancelled in Merry Old England by frightened barristers. In 1993 police in Athens, Georgia shut down a GWAR show, resulting in a lawsuit by the ACLU. Athens settled out of court and GWAR, in typical good-natured form, donated the winnings to charity.

To view GWAR in your own home, since Mtv has stopped showing videos (even stupid ones) in favor of re-runs of 1992's season of Real World, click on over to Amazon.com and order their home-video "Phallus In Wonderland"--it was nominated for a Grammy in 1993. Seriously.