GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death: Part 17
The overall reaction to “Love War” had been pretty positive, and Death Piggy was actually starting to get some good gigs. We opened for Flipper at the old 9:30 Club, and Bruce Loose hawked a loogie onto my chest. I felt so privileged!
Slave Pit Inc. shareholders meeting, Jan. 25th, 2010.
(From left to right, Mike Bonner, Mike Bishop, Don Drakulich, Matt Maguire, Danny Black, Bob Gorman, Scott Krahl, Mike Derks, Brad Roberts, Cory Smoot, Davis Bradley. Not pictured is me, as we couldn’t figure out the timer on the camera and somebody had to take the fucking picture.)
Every time I write one of these things, I end it with a few brief phrases about the title and contents of the next episode. These usually turn out to be complete lies. Here’s the last one…
“Next time–The Richmond Dairy! The Scumdogs of the Universe! And the birth of a band called…GWARGGHH? All this and less in the next episode–A GWAR IS BORN…”
You know what? That’s complete bullshit! I doubt I can get through the Dairy much less describe the birth of GWAR, the death of Piggy, and the accompanying calamities. And I already know that’s not the title…in fact the title is…
GWAR, Me, and the On-rushing Grip of Death Part 17:
The overall reaction to “Love War” had been pretty positive, and Death Piggy was actually starting to get some good gigs. We opened for Flipper at the old 9:30 Club, and Bruce Loose hawked a loogie onto my chest. I felt so privileged! My punk-rock notoriety had certain fringe benefits, and I had hooked up with the unbelievably hot Licky Cockroll. Though I knew it couldn’t last, for a while I enjoyed some of my life’s sweetest blow jobs. Ahh, the fumbling of garments, lips smearing together behind the kiln, breathless sighs and soggy bottoms…art school love.
As I mentioned earlier, we had gone ahead and gotten a “manager.” We were trying to save up enough to put out a new single, and I was too careless to manage the money. Bam-Bam would have spent it on beer, and Buddha simply didn’t care, so it became imperative to get somebody else to handle the stuff. FatAss immediately came to mind, probably because he insisted. FatAss was a grad student at VCU who had worked his way into Pot Goddess’s weed business by having sex with her (probably no more than once). Since then this well-respected, yet frequently maligned, pillar of the community had become the closest thing to a responsible person that our little circle had, and for that reason he seemed to be handling A LOT of people’s money. For example, at his house on Grove Avenue his other housemates would give him their money to pay the bills and rent, since he was SOOOO responsible. Well, the whole thing went to shit rather quickly. It started when all the lights and gas got shut off at FatAss’s house, followed by the bellicose landlord complaining of months with no rent. At more or less the same time somebody made off with several pounds of weed from PotGodess’s house…just as we realized that nobody could find FatAss anywhere. A few inquires led to the fact that not only was FatAss not enrolled in VCU’s grad school, but also that a history department in aforementioned grad school didn’t even exist. Boy, did we feel stupid!
We immediately put together a posse and found actually found FatAss hiding in a local fleabag hotel. Confronted by his crimes, he fessed up, and offered his belongings (a nice stereo, bike, and record collection) as a hostage until he could retrieve the missing money from his parents. We escorted him to the local bus station and took him at his word. Boy, we were stupid!
FatAss showed up at my apartment about a week later while I was in class. Finding Bam-Bam on guard over a huge pile of his stuff, he informed him that he had talked to me and everything was cool. He handed out a couple bong hits, packed up his stuff and disappeared. By the time I got back from class everything was gone, including MY bike, stereo, and records. ARRRRGH!!!!!
It was around this time that Asshole came to town. I was starting my third (second at VCU) year of school, and it was his first, so I was light-years older than him, something he reveled in — that he was younger, and therefore somehow cooler, than me. At 21, I was a fossil!
I had established myself as one of the local reigning punk-rock goofball types, always raving on about myself and all the cool stuff I was doing. I didn’t need some snot-nosed punk cock-blocking me. Unfortunately my penchant for fucking unconscious retards had already pretty much shot my credibility with the local uber-hotties. And it pissed me off that Asshole had quickly hooked up with City Tits, a complete hotty who wouldn’t touch me. To make matters worse, his band was really good. The Alter-natives killed it, at least until they got that stupid flute player. How was I to deal with this audacious upstart? I was clueless.
I had been hearing tales of “The Dairy” — a hulking and ancient milk-bottling factory in Jackson Ward that had been taken over by a group of hippies in the sixties. There was a group of crazy rednecks living in it that were the local muscle, and had some kind of fortress deep in the bowels of the place. They rented out space in the structure for dirt cheap and as long as you didn’t fuck with their meth lab you were pretty much allowed to do whatever you wanted with the rest of the place. Before long I was hanging around over there all the time, and Death Piggy had a practice space that would rain asbestos down on us every time we jammed. Luckily we didn’t practice that much.
Early Dairy Pit Slave Shot, circa 1984. Myself (asleep), Techno, and Joye Slutman (GWAR’s second lead singer), long before everybody started to hate each other.
It was fucking great. At the time Jackson Ward was a real shithole, and you did not want to be caught outside after dark, so if you went to the Dairy and let the sun go down you had the tendency to spend the night. The interior of the place was a labyrinth of chambers and corridors, all choked with palettes of forgotten dairy-product packaging and an extraneous amount of bizarre electrical equipment, which supposedly was owned by some shadowy super genius that had lived there in the sixties. Dusty equipment filled whole rooms, as shadowy forms scuttled about in the darkened passageways. There was always a stifling and horrible aspect to the Dairy. Most of the rooms didn’t have windows, and the roof’s many holes had water literally pouring into the building at times. Ceilings were in a state of perpetual collapse, and once I woke up to find my mattress surrounded by water, as my latest conquest’s panties floated by.
Tons of different artists, bands, and outcasts in general had claimed the Dairy as their own, and at any one time there might have been 30 to 50 people living in there. And what a crew they were! On an evening’s stroll you might encounter Pete the Piss Troll, whom you could always count of for a Milwaukee’s Best on your way to the urinal, or perhaps you’d run afoul of Box-in-the-Hall, who always seemed to discover your missing belongings in his ever-mystifying “Box-in-the-Hall.” Other dairy-dwellers included Kinky Ken, who ran the dubiously named “Richmond Philosophical Institute”, which was a poor front for the local Open High kids party hideout, which Kinky Ken allowed as long as he could try to molest their girlfriends. That kept hot little punk-rock and hippy chicks flitting about the halls at all hours.
But the most fearsome denizen of the “Milk-Bottle”, as it was often referred to, was “The Redneck From Hell,” leader of the basement dwelling enforcer squad, a brute of a man that went on to inspire the classic GWAR character of the same name. He was like a wandering monster, and you could run into him during any Dairy adventure. There were several stories of him murdering people, so you didn’t really want to. Of course Asshole was in there as well, and quickly got over on me by claiming he had witnessed a transvestite getting ass-slammed in the alley next to the main Dairy entrance. It was a funny story, and he told it well. I wished I had told it, so I tried to convince myself he was lying about it.
I made a weird hutch out of sticks and garbage bags in the corner of one of the chambers. Down the hole in the floor was the shower, guarded by the Piss Troll. In the shower, there was a loose electrical connection that made contact with the water so any attempt at cleaning yourself was accompanied by random electrical shocks.
I lived there, in my “studio,” proud of my weird world. I felt like a dungeon explorer who had set up camp in the underworld. Art school had left me completely delusional, and I was determined to be painter. But the Dairy didn’t lend itself to high art. I would do these huge noodlely oil paintings which would suck up all the dust in the air and look like complete shit in like five minutes.
A typical night at the Dairy would involve 30 minutes of asbestos sprinkled practice, and then hours spent in Techno’s lair, where I would bum beer and occasionally help lay strips of glue-soaked cloth onto foam forms in order to make these crazy space-pirate costumes. Techno was a blond-mohawked maniac artist who had moved to Richmond with his equally crazed but drunker buddy, Sexy. They had taken over a large corner of the Dairy and were in the process of building an elaborate set representing the bowels of an alien spaceship, for a 8mm film they were planning called “Scumdogs of the Universe.”
See where this is going?
NEXT TIME—The death of piggy! The War of the Assholes! And hopefully–the birth of GWARGGH! Which has to include the short but fascinating story of GWAR’s first lead singer…so don’t you dare miss the next episode…“Johnny Slutman, Where Are You?”
(Confused? Get caught up with Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16)
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