The Fan, Richmond,1985. It was going to be a stinking hot summer day, and my skateboard sang as it flew down Floyd Avenue in an attempt to beat the heat. The oil-slicked tire-gully gave my stick wings, and I needed every bit of speed I could muster as I fled my latest crime.
Oh shit, here comes another insane year for GWAR. Next month we head to Texas for the SXSW festival, and then soon after that we are off to Bonaroo to nasally violate the entire Dave Matthews Band. That’s all part of a spring tour that also includes a show at the Skatopia-Fest and several hours worth of rats devouring my genitals. Then it’s off to Europe for a summer of mayhem and strange cheeses. Somewhere in the midst of that we have to write a new album, buy a new building, and stage both a Crack-a-Thon and a GWAR-b-que! But is that what I’m on about? Hell no…I am wondering why the hell they never brought that crazy Russian back on The Sopranos, you know, the one that Paulie and Christopher took to the Pine Barrens, but got away? I mean, they really set that one up for a return…and it never happened. And I thought the last episode sucked! In my mind, the only thing that can redeem them is the hope of a Sopranos movie, where that crazy Russian comes back and kills the entire worthless family. But fuck! That! Once again, its time for….
GWAR, Me, and the On-rushing Grip of Death
Part 19: G-Man, Satan, and Assorted Nuts
The Fan, Richmond,1985. It was going to be a stinking hot summer day, and my skateboard sang as it flew down Floyd Avenue in an attempt to beat the heat. The oil-slicked tire-gully gave my stick wings, and I needed every bit of speed I could muster as I fled my latest crime. Blocks behind me, in a sweaty room, on a stinky couch, a puddle of my jiz was slowly disintegrating. Generations were dying in a writhing swarm of seed, and within a couple of hours nothing would mark their passage save a slight crust and the vague smell of bleach.
And I needed a goddamn bong hit.
I guess I was pretty uncool back then. My idea of a “date” would be randomly showing up at some girl’s house in the middle of the night, covered in Dairy grime (I believe I was living in an old coal-scuttle). For some reason, she let me in. I think we might have made-out at some party sometime, or something. I was such a ho-bag back then that it all blobs together in my mind into some kind of multi-limbed sex-cow, sometimes in a bed, but more often on a couch or in a bathroom. There would be maybe one fumbling advance before I being either turned down or shoved in. If it was the former, a long and awkward period would follow while I basically wouldn’t leave and the poor girl wouldn’t make me. If it was the latter we would have sex and then I would leave as soon as she was asleep. In this case it was the former. We sat there for hours watching “The Rifleman” until she finally wandered off to bed. I waited a while, then gaspingly nutted on her couch. A quick sacking of the pantry led to a can of tuna fish and a half-full bag of stale cat-treats. Yes!
It was no wonder I was so fucked up about sex. No one had ever bothered to explain it to me, and I had discovered masturbation accidentally. My parents had slept in separate rooms, and my brother was openly gay. And I used to let the family dog lick the inside of my mouth. Basically I was French kissing the dog, a big, sloppy collie mutt at that. My brother had taught me how to do that and I have no idea why I did — it was fucking disgusting.
I whipped around the corner and hurtled down Harrison St., zipping past the art department which was back then located in the Pollack building. In this tale of wild punk rock adventure, I haven’t talked much about the fact that I was actually in school this whole time and finally did graduate with pretty decent grades. I took my studies seriously, even though I was often to be found in the third floor bathroom, wildly masturbating.
I pulled up at G’s house in a screeching power slide that wore a flat on my Kryptos. Expertly flipping my skateboard into my nuts, I limped up the steps. The G-Man had a place on Franklin right around the corner from the old Village Café. Pretty much everything I needed (The Village, Chicken Box, and about six of my friends’ apartments) was within a couple of blocks of there so I came over A LOT.
I had met G about a year earlier at our infamous “Heaven and Hell” party. We’d built a tunnel that the guests had to crawl through while we banged on the outside with clubs. Their dark passage ended up in a throne room where I, dressed as Satan, held my infernal court. I was fried out of my mind on LSD, feeding people neon sherbet spiked with more acid and topped with a smattering of little plastic dinosaurs. I had set up my room as “Satan’s Lair,” heaping my belongings into a cave-like pile. Here I had encountered the G-Man for the first time, crouched in the murky depths, sucking on a bong. His love of weed was greater than his fear of Satan, and we got high, beginning a friendship which would span the eons…
After that I flipped the scenario and would often appear at the G-Man’s door and make him smoke pot with me. We’d sit around, get high, and listen to music, occasionally venturing out to get a $1.99 box of chicken wings. People would show up, often with records or tapes, and we would rock out. Life was good, and music was better. We were so fucking lucky to be there when SST put out Husker Du’s epic “Zen Arcade”, and then like a week later the Minutemen (also on SST) responded with their classic “Double Nickels’ on the Dime.” There were good shows constantly and more often than not your band was playing its share of them. There were backyard jams and Shafer Court jams…jams going on in smelly basements or old walk-in refrigerators. Acid-fueled jams that went on all night until we’d stumble blinking into the dawn, to head for 7-11 and the glory of the “Big Gulp,” which had just been invented. The scene back then was so fanatically supported and so full of amazing bands that it was hard to not feel inspired or at least severely entertained.
Two labels seemed to be the rallying points for the east and the west coast scenes: Dischord in D.C. and SST in L.A. Then you had Touch and Go in the mid-west, and Alternative Tentacles in S.F. corralling all the weird stuff. No cell phones, no computers…hell, no CD’s! When the first fax machines came out we were like…holy shit! What’s next? Flying cars?
But at that point I was still just making music for fun, and of course to get laid. I was still thinking that I was going to make it as a cartoonist or illustrator and wasn’t really serious about any of my musical projects. As I worked my way through school I slowly had drifted more into the fine arts and painting in particular. Thinking I was going to make a living doing that was even more delusional than thinking I could make it as a cartoonist.
Death Piggy was starting to flail-out, with Buddha becoming less and less interested until he finally bailed all together. More and more I found myself hanging around the Slave Pit and working on stuff with Techno and Sexy. Techno had at first ignored GWWWAARRRGGHHLLLGH, leaving me the costumes wrapped up in trashbags to pick up before the shows, but as they became more frequent and well-attended he began to fashion the character of Techno-Destructo. We were still opening up for Death Piggy, and the alarming tendency of people leaving after GGGWWWAARRR section of the show had begun.
At this point GGGWWWAAARRGGHHH was made up of a mish-mash of Death Piggy and Alternative musicians. Bam-Bam was still on drums and had finally agreed to stop taping feathers all over himself. We had replaced Buddha with Steve Thuglass, whose guitar sound was thick enough to cover up mine, as I was still playing guitar (horribly), Asshole was still on bass (though he pretended he hated it) and finally we finished up the line-up with the dubiously motivated Johnny Slutman.
I’m not really sure how it happened, but one day GGGWWWAAAARRRRRGGHH became GWAR. I seriously really think that the reason why was because we had gotten sick of writing so many letters every time we wanted to make a flyer. We got a show at P.B. Kelly’s, a local dive club bordering the Farmers Market, and for the first time we planned GWAR as it’s own entity. There was an attempt at a story line, a bunch of crappy jokes, and a big fight scene at the end where Techno got beaten silly. It was in my opinion the first real GWAR show.
A few things happened that night that gave me some real clues as to what my future would hold. First of all the place was packed. Second of all they loved it. Third of all, there was hardly anybody left when Death Piggy hit the stage. And lastly when it was all over Sal the bartender handed me a wad of sticky bills the size of my fist.
Oh yeah, and I got laid that night!
NEXT TIME! THE 20TH EPISODE OF WHAT PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD ARE CALLING WHATEVER IT IS THAT THEY SAY ABOUT IT AFTER THEY READ IT! THAT’S RIGHT, IT ONLY TOOK 19 EPISODES BUT FINALLY WE CAN GET THIS THING ALL ABOUT THE WHOLE REASON YOU WERE INTERESTED IN IT TO BEGIN WITH!
IN THE NEXT EPISODE—GWAR LIVES!