Fresno Beehive

Wear your finest clothes and stand in front of the stage. What not to do at a Gwar show

Costumed metal band Gwar performs Oct. 23 at Tiogae Sequoia in Fresno, CA.
Costumed metal band Gwar performs Oct. 23 at Tiogae Sequoia in Fresno, CA. GWAR

Gwar isn’t the kind of band designed for mass consumption.

“Somebody’s got to be the dirtiest end of the stick — we’re the dirtiest end of the stick,” says Gwar bass player Casey Orr, talking in character as Beefcake the Mighty.

Founded in the mid-1980s, the shock-rock metal band became notorious for its overly offensive lyrics and outrageous stage shows that are part concert, part satirical theater.

On recent tours, the band has taken to eviscerating President Donald Trump (or a likeness or him anyway) to a cover of the AC/.DC tune “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It).”

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GWAR

Members wear monstrous costumes and play as characters with names like Beefcake the Mighty and The Berserker Blothar (and those are the ones best fit for print). They play songs, sure, but also spew copious amounts of fake blood (among other fluids) on the crowd.

That’s an actual job for one of the crew members, who’s also the drum tech.

“He does the spew,” Orr says.

See the Gwar sub Reddit for for examples.

When Orr, as Beefcake, gives his advice on how to enjoy a Gwar concert, it seems dubious at best.

“Wear your finest clothes and stand right in front of the stage. Bring your expensive camera,” he says.

Gwar is in the midst of the West Coast run of its Use Your Collusion tour, with Sacred Reich, Toxic Holocaust and Against the Grain. The tour will play San Francisco before hitting Portland, Boise, Spokane and Seattle. Gwar then comes to Fresno’s Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company on Wednesday before heading down to Southern California.

If you believes the mythos, the assembled members of Gwar had been around for eons, before being sent to conquer Earth as the Scumdogs of the Universe. In reality, the band has existed with a revolving lineup of new players, including Orr, who is actually the second and fifth bassist to portray Beefcake the Mighty.

He left the band in 2011 and rejoined earlier this year.

In fact, Gwar is in a kind of revival, following the death of its former leader, Dave Brockie (who performed as Oderus Urungus) in 2014.

The band recently helped launched a Kickstarter for a Gwar deck-building game. Think Pokemon, but the aliens are way ugly.

There’s also talk of a Gwar comic book and movies, even Gwar toys, Orr says.

Already there’s a Gwar-branded beer and vodka and even a Gwar-themed bar in Richmond, VA.

Menu favorites include Poppin Pustulus and a vegan barbecue dish called Hail Seitan.

“The future is looking great,” Orr says.

That extends to President Donald Trump, too. The band makes friends with the president on this current run of the show, Orr says.

After all, “he’s after the same things we’re after.”

He still might get disemboweled at some point during the show, but now it’s only by accident.

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.
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