You Know, GWAR Is Actually A Pretty Good Band

The only reason these guys look so cool is because they wrote songs like "Sick of You," "Saddam A GoGo" and "Fuckin an Animal"  If it hadn't been for that they'd look as stupid as you.

The only reason these guys look so cool is because they wrote songs like “Sick of You,” “Saddam A GoGo” and “Fuckin an Animal”
If it hadn’t been for that they’d look as stupid as you.

I’ve heard people say a lot of stupid things in my life. Some of them came out of my own mouth. I hear ridiculous things all the time like, “Can I save the internet at work to use at home?” “What happened to Pluto now that it’s not a planet anymore” and one of the most mind boggling: “I’m not racist at all, but Obama is a lazy nigger.”

One of the things that really makes me scratch my head is when people tell me “You know what, GWAR is actually a pretty good band.” No shit? I have about 10 of their albums, I never would have guessed. And even if I wasn’t a fan, they’ve still managed to stick together for 25 years and become one of the biggest underground acts of all time.

I suppose a few of my acquaintances live in an alternate universe where shitty, awful morons with no talent are able to sell hundreds of thousands of albums. Sure, there are a lot of truly horrible bands that grace the top 40 every week. But it could be argued that all of them possess some modicum of talent, strong will and/or hard work ethic. Even those tools who use auto tune and choreographed dancing have learned something I never have: how to be really good looking.

GWAR-GOODNIGHT-MOON-facebookGWAR is actually one of the things that got me into writing about music. It’s been a dream of mine to write the authorized biography of the band. I’m pretty sure this would be the greatest book ever. Think about it: On one side you have the story of a bunch of dudes from Richmond, VA who got together, formed a band, released a whole bunch of albums, appeared on numerous talk shows and became legends in their own time, and the other story is that a group of intergalactic warriors came to Earth to enslave the indigenous population. Either way you slice it, it would be a great read!

I’m not sure if that dream died with Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) last year. It’s sad that such a huge part of the GWAR team, their voice and their leader, is gone. But I give props to the band for continuing on. I haven’t seen their new show yet, but I hope to. A world without GWAR is not a world I want to live in. And if any of you guys like my idea of a biography I can be reached via the comments section below. (I actually pitched this idea to Todd Evans of Mobile Deathcamp who used to be in the band, but I was told he’s not really in contact with the GWAR camp any longer.)


I did manage to meet Oderus at Sounds of the Underground 2005 when he was signing autographs. I’ve never been so nervous about meeting a rock star. This was probably because he walked around the table and dry humped the girl in front of me while singing “White Wedding.” It also probably has something to do with the way he scribbled ODE on my album cover, tossed it aside and then tossed the table aside before retiring to the corner of his tent while merch people cleaned up the mess. It was definitely an experience.

I suppose the thing that really miffs me about the “GWAR is actually a good band” comment is that the people who have said that to me were in a band just like GWAR! They wore elaborate costumes and had an intricate back story. Their main goal seemed to be to shock. Yet, they had never looked at the kings of shock rock who lorded over the genre so high no one has ever been able to touch them, and likely never will. It’s like if a punk band never listened to the Ramones, a metal band never listened to Black Sabbath or GWAR had never listened to Alice Cooper or KISS.


The Best Ohioan Rockers

Ohio seems to have had more than its fair share of infamous people. We’ve been home to Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Anthony Sowell, Ariel Castro and Bill Watterson to name a few. But before you write us off as a state where only really, really hideous serial killers and extremely talented cartoonists come from, may I direct your attention to some of the great rock bands to hail from the heart of it all:

Wild Cherry – Funk you Pennsylvania! We’ve got these guys!


Gilby Clarke and Steven Adler – But I don’t think they went to LA together though.

Kim Deal – Yeah, that chick from the Pixies is from Dayton! Suck it Massachusetts!

Just in case Lebron James didn't do enough to make you think all Ohioans were assholes.

Just in case Lebron James didn’t do enough to make you think all Ohioans were assholes.

Mushroomhead – These guys ended up on my list of Most Overrated Bands because I swear people in Ohio would buy bottled shit if they thought it came out of one of these guys’ asses, but before their albums started having really pretentious names (Savior Sorrow) or names like English Pubs (the Righteous and the Butterfly) they were a pretty good band.

Marilyn Manson – The band was formed in South Florida, but the dude is from about 20 minutes north of where I live. I’ve met several people who said they were in high school with him and kicked his ass. Or had their groceries bagged by him.

The Black Keys

Hhipsters don't always come from Ohio... but we sure have a helluva lot of them

Hipsters don’t always come from Ohio… but we sure have a helluva lot of them


Joe Walsh – He was always one of my favorite Eagles… well, he was the only one I could really tell apart from any of the others.

Mobile Deathcamp – These guys are a kick-ass group of speed metallers from Toledo. Their biggest claim to fame is that their leader portrayed Beefcake the Mighty in GWAR for a while, but they’re definitely worth checking out in their own right. I mean, they made it higher on this list than The Black Keys.

Chimaira – Remember back in the early to mid 00s when NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) was all the rage? Yeah, nobody else does either. (Except for Shadows Fall, God Forbid and these guys.) These guys were always one of my favorites from that era, not just because they came from Cleveland, but because they had a keyboard player (like most other metal bands in Cleveland).

Dave Grohl – born in Warren but moved to Virginia when he was really young.

Devo – People always say that Devo were way ahead of their time, but when I listen to them I hear a pretty typical new wave band. Albeit a very strange one.

Reznor 90sNine Inch Nails – Yes, haha. The greatest band in the world is from my state. Suck it rest of the world. Suck it long and suck it hard!

This was a rather difficult list to narrow down to 10. If you’d like a more comprehensive list of musicians from the great state of Ohio, may I direct you to the Wikipedia page. I was really surprised by some of the names I found on the list.

Mobile Deathcamp @ Sadie Rene’s

999268_10151448336905868_290508159_nMobile Deathcamp @ Sadie Rene’s

One Hit Kill, The Party, Wixor, Mobile Deathcamp

June 23rd, 2013

Sadie Rene’s – North Canton, OH

I was surprised to see Mobile Deathcamp and One Hit Kill scheduled to play at Sadie Rene’s. I’ve seen both bands play killer sets at The Carriage House in Louisville, but Sadie Rene’s is a much smaller dive bar specializing in cover and awful original bands (before throwing curses at me realize that I’ve played in a few of those awful bands; most of my worst performance were on that stage). But what the hell, for $10 a ticket it was sure to be an awesome show. So I found a ride and traveled up to Canton.

One Hit Kill is an awesome progressive metal act from Alliance who manage to play without a hint of the pretension of bands like IMG_20130623_202128_760Rush or Dream Theater. I was surprised to see that they’ve scaled back to a four piece from the juggernaut I remember seeing a few years ago, but that hasn’t changed their sound or performance. They’re still among the tightest, most talented bands in the area. While the quartet I saw didn’t quite reach the pinnacle I heard on their album The Epidemic Nightmare, they do play with enough vehemence and technicality to still be considered epic and blow away all other contenders for the genre. I also overheard some talk of a video shoot at the Factory of Terror soon.

When The Party took the stage I though I was seeing a bulkier version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I wondered if any of them had ever tried steroids until I heard the music blowing through their amps. Then I realized: They just need those muscles to be able to play material that heavy. A scrawny guy like me can IMG_20130623_211029_488only hope to do a few Nirvana covers and can’t quite reach the As I Lay Dying sound. While much of their music was the mindless, riff based bodybuilder-core I expected, it was nice that they played without a sense of pretension and humor. Many similar bands try to be profound and intellectual but The Party celebrate the fact that their songs are all about drinking, fucking and fighting. The only bad thing about them was they forgot the cake.

I wasn’t expecting much from Wixor. I think I’m one of the few people in the area that wasn’t a huge fan of the recent Mind Pulp reunion, but this new band manages to take influences from the catalog of metal and carve a niche for themselves. I heard elements IMG_20130623_221500_578of Metallica and turn of the century Nu-Metal coupled with the dual vocalist attack. They played a set I found impossible not to enjoy. After they did a metal version of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” I was hooked. I’ve always thought that would make a great metal song and they proved it. I also have to give them props on their take of “Immigrant Song.” the best was that instead of taking the easy way out and doing death metal growls they actually sang the song. Sure, they fell a little short of Robert Plant’s original, but who wouldn’t?

IMG_20130623_232444_174  Mobile Deathcamp took to the stage like a tank and played their face-melting hate the way only they can. Yet again I heard a departure from the typical metal seriousness and some good jokes from singer/guitarist Todd Evans. Of course, they’re still some of the scariest, burliest metal motherfuckers I’ve ever seen. They have a presence and volume that is not to be trifled with, but respected and studied. My biggest complaint about their set was that it was too short and I’d have loved to hear a few more out of them. But I’m guessing that with the speed they play they may have made it though more songs than the opening acts in half the time.

As we left I was a bit surprised to see the building still standing after all the brutal thrash it contained, but then again most of the crowd scattered once Mobile Deathcamp took to the stage. I’ve only ever seen a room clear out that fast when I was playing. It’s a shame to see half-assed, pretend-metal groups that don’t deserve to be on a stage packing venues and then to see a band like this that’s on par with Slayer, Lamb of God and any other thrash metal band today playing for only about a dozen people. I know my tastes in music aren’t necessarily representative of the general population, but I think it’s a travesty that I’ve played to bigger audiences than Mobile Deathcamp saw at Sadie’s.

I think that’s truly the reason Why There Is No Music Scene in this area. If we can’t come out in droves to support a national act that’s making their way into our sleepy community what chance do the rest of us have?


If you liked this post you may also enjoy: Mobile Deathcamp “Black Swamp Rising”

Mobile Deathcamp “Black Swamp Rising”

3540255694_photoMobile Deathcamp “Black Swamp Rising”

(Released 2008)

Most of the music I listen to nowadays is at work. I bought an MP3 player with one of my first paychecks and I pop an ear bud in and jam out to help pass the time. Unfortunately I purchased a cheap device and instead of downloading a 16 gigabyte music library and hitting shuffle, I have to download about 8 hours of songs and listen to the playlist all the way through. This has it’s upsides and downsides. I hate that I don’t have my entire music library with me at my fingertips and I have to wait to see what the next album is. On the other hand sometimes it takes me a whole week to get through the 3.9 gigabytes I have downloaded and by Thursday I cant for the life of me remember what’s on the thing.

This happened to me a few weeks ago when I heard an album I at first thought to be Slayer’s “Undisputed Attitude.” It took nearly the entire length for me to realize it wasn’t the thrash metal giants but a band from Toledo called Mobile Deathcamp. The band still hasn’t reached the heights of popularity, but after spinning “Black Swamp Rising” a few times it’s difficult to hear why. While groups like Metallica, Megadeth or Anthrax are playing the same tired old style that they’ve been working on for thirty years, Mobile Deathcamp lends new life to an old genre.

Singer/guitarist Todd Evans came from a gig playing bass as Beefcake the Mighty for GWAR, but there isn’t really any indication of that groups sound in the new band. While GWAR successfully mixed punk and metal, MD plays metal with a bit of a punk seasoning. And whereas his former band relies on elaborate productions and goofy costumes, Evans’ new group is all about the music.

The songs are definitely thrash metal but carry a heavy groove that makes them distinctively Mobile Deathcamp. “One Brain” and “Offensive Release” are both instrumentals focusing on some great soloing . “LSD (Lead Singers Disease” keeps the thrash groove rolling with a sense of humor and blistering leads. While Evans’ vocal delivery is similar to Tom Araya’s, instead of simply shouting about Satan and serial killers Evans actually sings. “Buffalo Song” is something of an anomaly.  Two minutes of Native American chanting that I cant figure out. Though by the end the songs do start to blend together the fact that they’re short (the longest track is 3:39; most are under 3:00) keeps the album moving along and prevents it from getting stale. And once it’s over after 26 minutes you’re ready for another listen.

I’ve seen Mobile Deathcamp live twice. The first time was as the opening band at Mayhem Fest way back in 2009. While they played a good set it’s extremely hard to get excited about a metal band at 10:00 in the morning. They really shined when I saw them later on at the Carriage House (Gunt Punchers opened) and I did manage to have a drunken interview with Evans. Of course, that’s been several years ago now and I’ve since forgotten what he said or what we talked about, but I do remember being blown away by the band at that show. They played a fast brutal set composed of mostly originals and featuring a rousing cover of Devo’s “Freedom of Choice.” I’ve seen a ton of bands at the Carriage House, including the mighty Mushroomhead, but none have impressed me as much as Mobile Deathcamp. Watching them was having a freight train rushing toward me.

And I just stood on the tracks with a smile on my face.