#19: Oderus Urungus (Gwar)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are The Top 25 Modern Metal Frontmen, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! Writers were asked to consider vocal ability, lyrics, and live presence when casting their votes; the only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) be a frontman or woman (double-duh), and c) have recorded something AND performed live in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with Gwar’s Oderus Urungus…
The alien scumdog known as Oderus Urungus (and sometimes Dave Brockie) is not generally well-known for trading in subtlety — and yet, he has managed to strike an extremely delicate balance. Not only is he a massively entertaining band leader, but he’s also a so-called “shock rocker” and, let’s be honest, a comedian. Most shock rockers and most so-called “comedy metal musicians” have a shelf life of approximately eighteen seconds, so the fact that Oderus has been at the top of his game for twenty-five years (Gwar’s first album, Hell-o!, was released in 1988… on September 11. COINCIDENCE?!?!), is a true testament to his talents. Or maybe just how much we love to be sprayed with his cum.
The truth is, Oderus Urungus is a fantastic entertainer who does really dumb stuff in a really smart way. His comedic timing is impeccable, as evidenced by various interviews conducted throughout the years (I’ve grown especially fond of this one), and he runs one of the most consistently uproarious accounts on all of Twitter. Note, for example, his response to Randy Blythe’s acquittal last week:
Glad to hear Randy Blythe has escaped the clutches of the infamous Czech justice system. Now he can get back where he belongs, blowing me.
— Oderus Urungus (@TheRealOderus) March 5, 2013
And Oderus isn’t afraid to speak his mind, even when doing so might burn some bridges. (See: last year’s Dave Mustaine debacle.) And I think it’s because fans know that, despite the costume and the stage name, he’s being real with them that allows him to be a provocateur. Okay okay okay, so yeah, he’s being extremely silly, and yeah, he’s clearly trying to get a reaction out of people — but he’s never being disingenuous. Our heroes are failing us left and right, but Oderus is consistently free of bullshit.
But above all else, I think Oderus Urungus really “gets” metal in a way that too many other frontmen simply do not. It’s SUPPOSED to be theatrical; it’s SUPPOSED to fun. We’re not curing cancer — we’re purging demons. Oderus Urungus takes the stage, night after night, and puts on one of the most consistently thrilling shows in all of metal. Ultimately, that fact explains why we’re still such devoted followers after all this time.
Or maybe just how much we love to be sprayed with his cum.
THE LIST SO FAR:
#20: Nergal (Behemoth)
#21: Jens Kidman (Meshuggah)
#22: J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer)
#23: Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed)
#24: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct)
#25: Chino Moreno (Deftones)