I wrote this for Dazed and Confused magazine.

Before Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle, before the twisted Guns ‘n Roses album art of Robert Williams, before HR Giger’s sinewy aliens and before the WWF, there was GWAR—a troupe of crack-addicted, heavy-metal extra-terrestrials, who, beneath their grotesque rubber and latex costumes remain among the most hopelessly underappreciated art school drop-outs of our time.

In a career spanning 25 gory years, GWAR has never had a radio hit, yet their meticulously-wrought horror movie aesthetic, DIY art-punk philosophy and anarchist leanings have inspired and amused countless artists and musicians, paving the way for shock rock acts like Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, White Zombie and Lordi.

Al Jourgensen of Ministry claims GWAR “changed his life”. Legendary “Alien” movie artist HR Giger was so blown away by GWAR he invited the whole band to his house, and goes to see them play each time they visit Switzerland. Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has repeatedly allowed himself to be “killed” on stage by GWAR, and Debbie Harry once gifted the band an axe, upon which she’d scrawled “keep on hacking”. But despite their devoted hardcore of fans and admirers (2000 or so diehard GWAR fans calling themselves ‘Bohabs’ follow the band to each show), success has always remained tantalizingly out of GWAR’s reach.

The reason? They’re gross.