The Odeon- Cleveland, OH
CRUSH, KILL, DESTROY
In retrospect there are many things I remember about that first afternoon. Strangely these are ordinary things that until now would have seemed unimportant. I recall I was clean, having had a shower as I do every morning, I was well fed, I had just ea ten some wings at BW-3's, I had breakfast that morning, I was well rested, my clothes which came out of my closet, were clean and smelled, well like clothes, my hearing and sight were the same as always, my heart beat was regular, I took fresh air easily into my nose and exhaled without a hitch, I knew where I was and what day it was. As I mentioned ordinary things, that at the time I didn't even notice, but as each day passed these simple things became as important and precious to me as a few drops of beer at the bottom of a discarded can to the pathetic street drunk.
Stang was ready, his rant had been a cleverly formulated 30 minute barrage of the best of SubGenius rants over the last ten years. The "video wallpaper" was scientific brilliance, constructed to punctuate key phrases and moments in the rant, it was so ingeniously edited that no matter where the rant led or paused there was always enough "hits" to make it look incredibly slick. Best of all we had a prime spot, right between the two opening bands.(Neurosis and Brutal Juice) There were a few gimmicks that I thought might fall flat, namely the flaming sword and the bleeding head, but I knew the rant along with the video barrage would easily carry the show though. The sword gag was a good one, essentially some flash paper rigged up to ignite in a brilliant flash appearing to the audience as a spectacular flaming sword. I just wish Stang could have found something besides the small feeble looking plastic HE-Man sword that his son probably stopped playing with about 10 years ago. And of course I love the head, I was just skeptical to the Gwar crowds understanding of surrealism. There were of course other "no fail" gags like the Gwar-heads (sour candy, thoughtfully provided by Rev Lou Duchez), everyone loves to get free stuff so I wasn't worried about that one at all. Finally, we had, above all else, the Sexicutioner. The mighty Sexicutioner HIMSELF would introduce Stang, explaining that the two forces had come together in a joint effort to destroy all that is decent and right with the world. The Gwar fans would then in humble reverence, listen to the words of the all mighty Church of the SubGenius. This would end with everyone getting a good laugh and a stampede to our sales table.
Brutal Juice was coming off stage the crowd was pumped. "Stang this is going to be good."
"Yeah, I'm pretty confident about it"
I thought I heard a roaring laugh somewhere above my head but upon peering up saw nothing. The Sexicutioner walked on and the crowd went into orgasmic frenzy. He began to talk about Ragnaroc and the SubGenius, but no one was listening. A member of GWAR was onstage! The show was about to begin, the other band must have died or something, There he was, The MAN, Sexicutioner. Yeah! Yeah! Gwar rules! Hey what's that? Who's this guy in the white tux. What did he say.. he was a reverend? Oh yeah I get it, just like Phallus in Wonderland, Yeah yeah, they're gonna kill him. Wonder what we're supposed to do....Oh yeah, throw shit, and spit.. Man what's taking him so long to get killed, and how come they're not playing any music. Hey why's he keep insulting us. Damn nothing left to throw at him, oh wait I have this change. Yeah Yeah. What's that, he said to at least throw half dollars, he he Ok. Here, HA! got him. What! I will NOT be working for my father in 5 years! I work for him now, he he Yeah! Yeah! GWAR GWAR GWAR GWAR GWAR.
Alcohol ran from Stang's eyes onto his spit drenched face, various dominations of change pinged off the pulpit and off his glasses. But Stang stood steadfast, preaching the word of "Bob". It was to no avail, even the ray of brilliance, the video, had been smothered as the club raised the screen in fear of damage from the multitudes of plastic cups and ice it was being bombarded with. Stang maintained composure, got in a few "Bob"isms and managed to insult everyone in attendance with out coming off lo oking like a mad child. I was hoping he'd just walk off, but not Stang, maybe it has the masochist in him, or maybe it was sheer madness but he seemed determined to win over the crowd. The video was gone and he ditched his speech, he realized he had to appeal to the base mentality... shtick and gimmickry.
Originally, the gimmicks were evenly spaced throughout the rant as highlights to particular statements; now they were weapons of survival. Out came the dinky sword, I shuddered. It lit with a climbing flash. They cheered. I opened my eyes. He burnt some money they liked that too. "Yeah Yeah Fire Fire." Next came the head. I couldn't believe he would EVEN attempt the head. He raised the Bleeding Head of Arnold Palmer high, and for a nanosecond the crowd fell silent. I watched in sheer amazement as Stang began to yell into the mike "Bleeding head good! Healed head bad!" over and over he repeated the mantra... and holy shit the audience was repeating it. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but like mindless sheep they repeated it louder and louder. "Bleeding head good! Healed head bad! Bleeding head good! Healed head bad!"
"Bob" and "Connie" watched more intently. "Bob" spoke up, "You know the ol' boy's got balls, by Gobbs he may just turn this thing around...." Stang grabbed the bucket of candy, "..But then again...", "Bob" began his maniacal laughter. Most humans with any brain activity would have grabbed at the candy, like happy little monkeys, and put the free gift in their mouth or pockets. We truly were dealing with some sub-species. They saw it not as a gift, or even as candy, to them it was obvious... this was ammunition. Little green and blue missiles, with much better trajectory capabilities then money or plastic cups. Stang was showered in a fury of mini sour candies. (STANG NOTE: These were the legendary WarHead candies, supplied by Pope DuChez and dumped from a bucket labeled 'GwarHeads.')
"You know "Connie", how long has it been since I've paid a visit to the sacred scribe?" "Connie" shrugged her shoulders, she knew "Bob" had avoided Stang for years due to the fact He owed Stang a LOT of money. "But I'll have to disguise myself somehow hmm?", "Bob" tapped his pipe on His chin, "I know, I'll go as myself! No one will ever recognize me! Connie where did I put that "Bob" mask?" It was over, even the juggernaut preacher Stang realized his bag of tricks was empty. The pathetic security force was really no match for the irate mob. I looked at Stang, I KNEW it would be for the last time. The crowd push forwarded for the slaughter, the sickly sweet smell of teen angst hung in the air.
"You want blood! You want death!", Stang was actually taunting them on, "Well, at least he'll have died with dignity." I thought. But Stang wasn't enticing his own demise. I didn't realize that during the candy barrage Stang had noticed something odd on the side of the stage, through his beer and saliva blurred vision he saw something amazing, a suit, a pipe, a glaring grin.
"Ladies and Gentlemen "Bob" Dobbs. "Bob" walked out waving and wearing the "Bob" mask, but we all knew it was him. Besides he had pulled that "Disguised as Myself" trick so many times I was beginning to think he WAS that rubber mask. The crowd wanted death and I guess Stang found a way to survive, a sacrificial "lamb" of sorts. Stang was shouting something about killing "Bob" but "Bob", probably due to the mask, couldn't hear or didn't care, and just kept walking closer and closer to the Sexicutioner. Something I learned early on was that GWAR fed directly from the crowd, when the crowd wanted blood GWAR wanted blood. Sexicutioner put out his hand, it might as well have been a hook, and "Bob" went for it.
The brutality of the commencing slaughter went way beyond anything I had ever seen, it made the Rodney King ordeal look like a square dance. And in the frenzy of the massacre Stang quietly walked off stage. Somewhere in this pathetic display, this disaster of unfathomable magnitude we gained the respect of the Slave Pit. They had seen this happen to many bands and groups before, but no one had ever stuck it out. No tantrum, no retreat, and most of all Sta ng survived. The Gwar monsters themselves absolutely loved it, they thought that this WAS the act, and never expected anything so amazingly hostile and brutal. One, Balsac I think, even suggested throwing something heavier out to the crowd so that "the preacher man would bleed a little more, then it would be REALLY good."
Stang collected all the change from the stage, which amounted to almost $10.00, and I went back to maintaining the sales booth. Sales were going great! I was expecting the same hostility, the crowd obviously hated us. Well once again I was utterly wrong, they too liked the show even if it was for all the wrong reasons.
"Hey, how much is that "Bob" shirt, yeah I hit that guy RIGHT ON THE FOREHEAD with a quarter, it was GREAT! I gotta have a shirt... oh yeah and give me a dumbshit sticker too." That night we had a private SubGenius party with some of the Richmond contingency including Rev. Groovy G from So What. We discussed what mistakes we had made and put them to a list, on the top I wrote The Absolutely Stupidest and Most Obvious Dumb Ass Mistakes One Could Possible Make if Opening for the Space Aliens/ Band Gwar.
For the rest of the tour we would never have an experience like Cleveland, and for reasons I'm still haveing our SubGenius Mathematicians recalculate into the Patrio-Psychotic-Anarch-Materialism economic equations using the new GWAR constant, we would never make that much money in sales again.
Stay Tuned ..
Part II, on its way..
From: email@example.com (Steve Bevilacqua )
Subject: Re: Devilacqua's GWAR Report 1
Date: 20 Nov 1995 06:57:07 GMT
In <DI7rHw.A0t@iglou.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (David Lynch)
>: From: email@example.com (Steve Bevilacqua )
>: I watched in sheer amazement as Stang began to yell into the mike
>: head good! Healed head bad!" over and over he repeated the mantra...
>: holy shit the audience was repeating it. It made absolutely no
>: whatsoever, but like mindless sheep they repeated it louder and
>What made you think this was nonsense to them? Remember, you were
>dealing with Zombies 4 Gwar here. They likely DID think bleeding
You have a good point there.
I'm sure if they thought a bleedind neck stump was god it wasn't a far
stretch to the bleeding head!