Now, 20 years later, Regina has decided to give the thrash metal band another chance. And although Venue (now the Distrikt) won’t host the show, the University of Regina's Riddell Center will.
GWAR are rarely out of their “Scumdog of the Universe” persona and claim to hail from outer space. They said their goal is to destroy the human race, but first, save it from Cardinal Syn, the antagonist in their life saga.
“Cardinal Syn has taken over everything [in space]. He’s outlawed all naughty fun, there’s no heavy metal, there’s no telephone hookers and there’s no crack,” said frontman Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, in a recent phone interview. “That’s the biggest reason why GWAR had to come back to planet earth, because there are no drugs in outer space anymore.”
It can be a complicated concept to wrap your head around as GWAR claim to have created the human race through procreation with apes.
The band puts on a live show so theatrical it is often compared to a Broadway performance. They have garnered a cultlike following and will have outlived many bands by turning 25 this year.
GWAR is celebrating their quarter-century anniversary with a North American tour and the release of Lust in Space. The album proved they could still keep it relevant by charting at 96 on the Billboard Top 200, the highest ranking in their career.
Regina show promoter Peter Jelinski sees differences in GWAR from when they played here in 1989.
“We produced the show in Saskatoon last year and I had reservations about it because I didn’t know what I was getting in to. It’s cartoon violence though,” he said.
“There was a time when it had very sexually overt tones to it. Now it’s changed in that they’ve realized that this is a business to them. This is their livelihood. They’ve realized in this day and age that people’s attitudes have changed.”
Jelinski also debunked rumours that the band had been banned from Regina for the past 20 years. The same laws govern both here and Saskatoon, where the band has played over six times in the past two decades, he said.
Local artist Ivan Anderson saw GWAR perform in Toronto four years ago. He doesn’t plan to see them again.
“One GWAR show is enough for me. And I really don't like the Riddell center as a venue. It feels awkward,” he said.
While he enjoyed the show, he feels the band is very spectacle driven. Iron Maiden could also fall into this category, he said.
“The difference is Maiden is bearable when you take all the excess and skulls and shit away. GWAR, on the other hand, doesn’t hold up well when they're not spraying you with blood,” he said.
Filmmaker Eric Hill have may not have heard GWAR’s music, but he’s familiar with the show and would like to find out for himself what it’s all about.
“I've never heard GWAR, but I gladly accept them as my leaders,” he said.