Author: Michael Pementel
With their new album coming out soon, GWAR is ready to wreak new chaos upon the cosmos! The Dark New Ages not only makes for another superb work of rocking metal from the band, but it is a hilariously epic time of sci-fi and fantasy thrills.
We are beyond pumped for this new GWAR album, so when the opportunity came to talk with none other than GWAR singer Blothar the Berserker, of course we said fuck yeah!
Blothar the Berserker (aka, Mike Bishop) is an incredibly talented and bad ass individual. Blothar stepped up to the plate as GWAR’s lead singer when Dave Brockie sadly passed away in 2014. Blothar made his debut as lead singer and frontman on GWAR’s 2017 album, The Blood of Gods.
To celebrate the upcoming release of the new GWAR album The New Dark Ages, we conducted a two part interview with Blothar. In part one, we talked to the GWAR singer about all things geeky; we asked Blothar what sort of geeky stuff him and the band are into (and what has inspired them). We talk comics, board games, and the band’s upcoming graphic novel.
Without further ado, let’s get into it! Here is part one of our interview with Blothar the Berserker!
What sort of geek stuff are you and the band into?
The first way I even became aware of the band – because I wasn’t in it in the very beginning – the two guys who started it, Hunter Jackson and [the late] Dave Brockie, were both comic artists. They drew underground comics. That’s how I knew them, even before I knew them as musicians or anything else. I knew them as comic artists.
So GWAR was very influenced by the Zap style comics, Neato type comics – just comics from the ’70s and ’80s that were underground comics. Arcrom, S. Clay Wilson, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. And everybody in the band has always been into regular comics; Jack Kirby, all the Marvel and DC stuff. The human thralls of GWAR are a bunch of comic book geeks, science fiction nerds, and even gaming nerds.
A lot of the characters that we initially came up with were originally figures from fantasy role playing games.
When you say fantasy role playing games, do you mean stuff like Everquest and World of Warcraft?
Yeah, but long before that, there was a game we adapted called Space Melee. It was a board based, sort of like World of Warcraft game, that we adapted the rules to play in space. We would sit around for hours and play this game. The characters like Cardinal Sin [from this game] is one of the characters that we have; a lot of the characters from GWAR, from the early days, were originally figures in this board game.
Speaking of comics, you guys have a new graphic novel coming out! GWAR In the Duoverse of Absurdity. How involved were you and the band in the process of creating the graphic novel?
The human thrall of BalSac, whose name is Mike Derks, and the frequent possession victim of Sawborg Destructo, whose name is Matt McGuire – both of those individuals wrote [the graphic novel] and Matt drew pretty much the designs for every panel. Matt is an accomplished comic artist; he has several pages in this graphic novel. So does Bob Armin who is another artist in the slave pit and who is associated with the character Bone Snapper. We were very active and Z2 [Comics] made sure that we understood that [what] they thought would give this novel character is if it continued the tradition of GWAR comics, and amplified that with some really good top shelf artists. But Matt did all the layouts for those pages, and then the artists would come in and do the actual drawings. He did several bits of it himself. Dirk did the whole storyline, so it was great.
Is the graphic novel a good start for newcomers to GWAR? Or do you have to be a GWAR veteran to get the most out of the book?
No – the whole project of The New Dark Ages is, I think, to introduce GWAR to some new fans. This graphic novel is part of that. GWAR, you know, we have narratives, but a lot of times on stage they are a little bit indecipherable. All kinds of crazy stuff is going on [stage]; it’s not a Broadway play, you don’t have a lot of the aids of storytelling – it’s always going to be within the format of a rock and roll show.
The graphic novel is a chance to expand and flesh out some of those narratives a little bit. So really, it has some origin stories in it; Blothar’s shield for instance, my shield, is a character. Kind of like the Great Gazoo on the Flintstones [laughs]. There are stories and appendixes about how all these things [within the GWAR universe] came to be. So it’s great for people who are just getting into the band. I think it’s a perfect entry point.
We at The Pit would like to thank Blothar for his time talking to us! The new GWAR album, The New Dark Ages, is out June 3rd. You can pre-order the album here.
Stay tuned to part two of our interview with the GWAR singer (which will be out soon)!