w/Lamb of God, Job for a Cowboy</p>
"Some people see the glass as half-empty, some people see the glass as half-full, I see the glass as broken and being rammed up someone's butt." Such is the philosophy of GWAR's affable frontman Oderus Urungus (sometimes known as Dave Brockie, although Urungus insists Brockie is his slave and nothing more). Urungus rolls along in perfect character on the phone from St. Louis, peppering his near-constant tirade against the hateful human race with references to the extensive GWAR mythology. The funny thing is, for a band that would like nothing more than to see us all perish in a pile of our own waste, GWAR has certainly worked pretty hard at entertaining us puny humans for the last 25 years.
GWAR brings their shock metal to Halifax on a wave of fake blood and bodily fluids (says Urungus: "I don't know if we've been there before. Isn't Halifax like a big bird or something? If so I'd like to have sex with it"), as part of a two-year-long, 25th-anniversary tour to promote their latest album, Lust in Space, which has reunited them with longtime label Metal Blade Records.
Urungus looks back on the past 25 years fondly: "Losing two Grammys would be a lowlight and highlight at the same time. Being on Metal Blade Records for years, then leaving Metal Blade Records for years, and then coming back to Metal Blade Records for years, that would be another highlight."
And let's not forget GWAR's greatest accomplishment of all: "My own existence. Every day when I get out of my beer can-filled, hypodermic needle-littered coffin, and I greet the day, I am I, Oderus Urungus. I am the coolest thing since Tupperware." Truthfully, Urungus does bust his scaly hump, with plans to record another album before the end of the group's two-year-long anniversary celebration. "That's another lie that I have been caught talking about a lot, the only problem with this is that I haven't told anybody in the band yet."
Frequent (and hilarious) appearances on Fox News' Red Eye have Urungus speaking out on various important topics, such as celebrities, Botox and Russian space exploration. Urungus is concerned over how he is being received on the program.
"I did rip that dude's heart out, that wasn't good," he says. "He was just a stagehand, but he gave me a decaf latte, he had to die."
As evidenced by sketchy interactions like these, the relationship between GWAR and the human race can, at best, be described by the band as parasitic. However, GWAR attributes its longevity to "the disease of the human race, the twisted desires of the creatures we created," says Urungus. "It is a reflection of how twisted you are that you love GWAR so much.
"We have a spaceship now anyway, we can leave the earth anytime we want, we stay here on purpose, quite frankly, to rock. And the crack. The crack is a big thing." –Stephanie Johns
Haliween costume party w/Skratch Bastid and more, Saturday, October 31 at 8pm, Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal Road, $25, ticketpro.ca, 888-311-9090
Jazzy Jeff asks all of his fans not to dress as Friday the 13th's Jason for his Haliween costume party at the Cunard Centre. His creepiest Halloween experience includes the hockey-masked maniac appearing at one of his shows. For the entire evening, Jason refused to answer questions and held his very real machete absolutely still. At first it was funny. Then it occurred to Jeff that it was Halloween and maybe the monster decided to come out to play.
So machetes aside, what should we expect from a Jazzy Jeff set?
"When we play we just want people to have a good time, that is my main goal and purpose. I play a lot of different stuff. In one way, shape or form, I am not going to stick to one format," he says by phone. "I give energy, people give energy back, hopefully we will turn it into a frenzy."
Best known for being thrown out of buildings by Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Jeffrey Townes made his name early in the hip-hop scene as Will Smith's DJ. The pair won the first rap Grammy ever presented in 1989. Since then, Townes has sold millions of albums, almost acted in the House Party movies (originally written for Townes and Smith) and inspired DJs the world over.
Townes says things have changed in the DJ world. When he was coming up, playing a record no one had ever heard was the way to make your name. Now audiences want to hear the same thing in the club that they hear on the radio. A new DJ who plays different records is an outcast; Townes manages to be considered eclectic.
This hip-hop purist is worried by the slow decrease in vinyl being released. But he has embraced change as well, such as Serato mixers and the new videogame DJ Hero.
"If you are a bad DJ with records, you will be a bad DJ with Serato," says Townes. "The only thing it makes easier is for you to carry your records."
He is very excited about the release of DJ Hero, which Townes believes will encourage thousands of young fans to try their hand at real DJing. He provides music and is a character in the game.
"It teaches you patterns of records and mixes, you have to learn the patterns and things you have to do on the mixes," says Townes. "If you become good at it, I think you should go and get a mixer and try to do it for real. This is the biggest time for DJs ever. I think a lot of kids are going to get inspired." —Michael Kimber
Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 at 8pm, Casino Nova Scotia, Schooner Room, 1983 Upper Water Street, $70.25, ticketatlantic.com, 451-1221
There comes a time in a preteen girl's life when you have a Blondie moment. You're probably 11 or 12, at a sleepover at your cooler friend's house. Your Disney-approved teen idol has become as interesting as clear nail polish. And then you see her: maybe on an album cover or dancing in a video. Tough, sexy, feminine---almost scary, she's so in control. Dark roots, shiny lip gloss. Fierce before Tyra, there's no "smizing" behind that black eyeliner. In fact, she usually looks dead bored, like she has somewhere cooler to be. Basically, everything your pimple-erupting brace-face is not, or ever will be.
Deborah Harry, as iconic lead singer of Blondie, brought more than late-1970s New York disco glam to Midwest Tang-drinking moms, she slipped them some new wave, reggae, punk and rap. ("Rapture" was the first song with a rap to reach number one on Billboard's Hot 100, and the first rap video---with an appearance by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat---to be broadcast on MTV.) Of course there's hanging out with Andy Warhol at Studio 54 and sharing stages with The Ramones, back when Times Square was a pervert's paradise of live nudie shows and X-rated theatres.
The band broke up for several years after Blondie guitarist/co-founder Chris Stein became ill, but never disappeared. In February 1999, Harry became the oldest female singer, at age 53, to reach number one in the UK, with the band's single "Maria"---20 years after "Heart of Glass."
Record labels have tried to contain and commercialize that Blondie thing, and, for the most part, failed miserably. Avril and Katy have as much edge as a Teletubbie. Amy Winehouse and Courtney Love had it for a glimmery second, and lost it big time. Pat Benatar, Beth Ditto, Shirley Manson, The Breeders and Kathleen Hanna come close, but fall under Harry's platinum shadow.
Whatever it was that Blondie has, it's timeless. Blondie songs get dropped in clubs, screamed at karaoke and sung at weddings. And though our city has somehow become a concert-graveyard destination for past-their-prime hip-hoppers and balding metallers, no one is mistaking these weekend's concerts as Blondie's last stop. We'll all be studying Harry, and hoping a little of that coolness rubs off on the rest of us. –Sue Carter Flinn