GWAR, the notorious group of mutated aliens are back to conquer the Continent and to dominate man-kind! After five studio albums and one EP on Metal Blade Records (which have combined sales of over 500.000), the demi gods of disaster return with a new album, "Carnival Of Chaos", an 18 track opus that will wreck even more lives of innocent people and worried parents everywhere. Who are these insane intergalactic crack pots and why should we be aware of penguins? METAL MAIDENS spoke with the only woman in the band, Danielle 'Slymenstra Hymen' Stampe (Dan Yell), to find out......
Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
Slymenstra: "Greetings you earthlings! This is Slymenstra Hymen and I like chopping off heads - dickheads. Billions and billions of years ago, darkness was all that existed. Then - The Master - ruler of the universe, created the planets and everything in them. But soon The Master became bored of this and created death, destruction and war. He also created God-like creatures with whom he could do battle. Soon there were too many of these creatures and he had to get rid of them. He conjured up all his power and created the most powerful creatures he could: the Scumdogs of the Universe, an elite fighting force cloned to decrepit perfection for the sole purpose of destroying the Master's enemies. After eons of battles, the Scumdogs grew bored and attempted to take over the Master's throne. Seizing ultimate power, the Master ended the billion year battle by sending an indestructible Death Pod to enslave the Scumdogs and imprison them on Earth. Some time later, the Scumdogs were freed from their icy prison in Antarctica by their band manager, Don 'Sleazy P. Martini' Drakulitch. They learned to play instruments of sound, as opposed to instruments of destruction. Then, GWAR was born."
And from a more realistic side?
Slymenstra: "Dave 'Oderus Urungus' Brockie started a band in the mid-80's, called DEATH PIGGY, that combined bizarre stage theatrics, punk rock and a side goofy sense of humor. They met up with Hunter 'Techno Destructo' Jackson, Chuck 'Sexecutioner' Varga, who were planning on making a monster movie and began borrowing the costumes Jackson and Varga made to use during their shows. GWAR was born... The rest of us (Michael 'Beefcake the Mighty' Bishop, Mike 'Balsac' Dirks, Dewy 'Flattus Maximus' Rowell, Brad 'Jizmak da Gusha' Roberts, etc.) followed shortly afterwards."
You play the character of Slymenstra Hymen, GWAR's woman. What exactly is your role on stage?
Slymenstra: "Basically to keep Oderus and all the other guys in line and to keep a check and a balance."
We can see you more as entertainers rather than musicians on stage. What exactly do you want to tell the people that come to your shows? Is there any message?
Slymenstra: "I think all kinds of messages come out in a GWAR show. Depending on who you are is how you take it. There's a lot of different levels, that you can enjoy GWAR on. Just maybe a person that sits back and actually watches the show would get some of those messages rather than this person that's in the front row soaking up all the blood and going for the more gutteral interpretation of GWAR. This year in the show, I sing my own song and I'm really happy about that. I hope everybody comes to see it. It's called "Don't Need A Man". I've been talking about doing this song for six years to the band maids and I finally got it through. It goes with the show really well."
Can you tell us something about this ballad "Don't Need A Man"?
Slymenstra: "Any man, I come into contact with is just completely and utterly intimidated by my beauty and intelligence and they just crumble at my feet into a million pieces under the floor. Therefor, it is impossible for me to find a man and so I finally made the decision that I just don't need one. They all break and I do not know what to do."
Why did you dedicate your song to the man on the moon?
Slymenstra: "I guess, the moon is my last hope. Maybe there's something in outer space for me, I don't know."
Do you people also want to be taken seriously?
Slymenstra: "You know, GWAR is a comedy. I do want to be taken seriously as a artist, but I don't think anyone should take GWAR seriously. It's all for fun: serious fun. I don't think people should go out and kill their mother or rape their child or whatever. But these are issues, that are happening around the world and we're just putting them into satire. Satire is serious, but how serious do you take it? We are not real.. yes, we are! (she laughs)"
Are you also a member of X-COPS? (GWAR members in police uniforms)
Slymenstra: "I helped with the costuming and some of the ideas and stuff, but I didn't sing on the record or anything. I think the next time we do it, I'm gonna do something."
Are there any plans for a X-COPS follow up?
Slymenstra: "Yes there are, but it's definately on the back burner right now, because this year we wanted to concentrate on GWAR. The year that we took out the X-COPS thing, it was kind of an experiment. We opened up for ourselves and that was just too hard for the band. By the time we'd go on stage for GWAR, everybody was too tired and I think it might have affected the show a little bit. We don't wanna do that again."
How was it to be in the Jerry Springer Show?
Slymenstra: "Oh, I loved it! It was fun. We had to kind of address it in a more serious manner rather than just be like the funny comedians that we always are. They wouldn't allow that to happen. We did a really good job defending ourselves. The thing that I tried to push across the show is that we're not these horrible monsters everybody thinks we are and it's just an image. I really don't think many GWAR fans take us that seriously."
What music do you like to listen to in your own spare time?
Slymenstra: "All kinds. I think everything has a place for the certain mood you're in. I've listened to everything from heavy metal to jazz to classical to reggae to dub to rap. I have a really large collection of everything."
Who are your main influences?
Slymenstra: "Personally, I would say jazz performers or entertainers, like DAVID BOWIE. He's one of my biggest influences. And other women, like Wendy O'Williams and Lydia Lunch."
Tell us about this project of yours, MAMA ZOO, you and your friend Becca collaborated on in '95. Did you also perform live on stage?
Slymenstra: "We were going to do this, but it's not happening anymore. We never performed live, because my friend Becca was put into a sane asylum. It was really sad. We had about half of the record recorded and that's as far as it went. I still have a lot of the costumes, tho'. We did some great stuff. We had phone sex boxes and guys that left us messages. We would create all these cha-racters, like Mama Zoo was a character and Veronica was our hot Latino lover. We also went into a couple of domination houses in New York and tapped the phones there. We made samples of them and mixed it together with the songs. Becca is back in L.A. right now, but she's on a lot of medication. It's just that I don't wanna take any chances and invest time in somebody that could flip out at any moment again. It's the fourth time, she'd been put in already.... But I love her dearly as a friend and she's a great person and a great artist: a really good painter of gravity art - that's what she's known for."
Are you involved in any other projects at the moment?
Slymenstra: "Basically, this year I've been painting my whole life and I started a painting company. That's how I support myself financially. I've been paiting a lot of cool houses: Iike I painted Sissy Spacek's house. She's an actor (from the movie "Carrie" of horror giant Stephen King). I've been doing a lot of interior work. It's been really fun!"
I also read something about a calendar you wanted to make from your photographs?
Slymenstra: "Yeah, but that didn't happen either, because no one wants to put it out. I tried to sell the idea of the calendar at last year's American Book Association Convention, where a lot of people from the publishing industry come together, but it didn't work. As a calendar's only running for one year, they would rather do a book, so I'm currently putting that together. A lot of people are encouraging me to do the book, so that's where I'm tryin' to go for now. Since I'm out on the road with GWAR all year and just sitting around in the afternoon's and be bored out of your mind anyway, I'm trying to get all the text done then."
Can you tell us what the book is about?
Slymenstra: "The book has all the photos from the calendar and tells the life story of Slymenstra, the Goddess. For example, the beginning of the GWAR story when we landed on this planet, Slymenstra was supposedly wandering the earth for centuries by herself, just diddling in the dirt, planting seeds, creating agriculture and art and medicinal things. That whole Goddess thing I attach to her, as if she was the Goddess."
I understand you started out as a fashion design student a long time ago and you did a little modelling in June last year for a fashion show in London. How was that experience?
Slymenstra: "Oh, it was incredible! I did Gautier after that, which was pretty cool as well. I also did another thing with Respect, which is a clothing line out of London. The other person, that I modelled for was Marguerite Warner, who does tons of that fetish rubber stuff, just really out-there avant weirdo space clothing."
How can you keep up with all these men in GWAR? You even lived with them for a numberous of years.
Slymenstra: "It's pretty easy for me, but it's been a headache, too. I lived for six years in a warehouse in NY, but this year I moved into my own apartment. I finally have a nice house and some privacy. I feel like a human being now, which is good. I love the guys from GWAR and without them life would be pretty boring, I guess."
Whatever happened with Jenna, the second woman in GWAR, who sung "None But The Brave" on "Ragnarok"?
Slymenstra: "She couldn't handle all these guys, so she left."
What about any other GWAR women?
Slymenstra: "This year I tried to get this other girl, named Julie. Me and her, we created a character for her and we tried to sell the idea to them, but it didn't work out. It had nothing to do with her, but it's more a financial restrain. I've been wanting to get a girl to go on the road with me for years. That would make my life a lot easier: Somebody to pal around with, share a room,.. But there isn't enough money to add another person. It's a shame, really."
Your new album "Carnival Of Chaos" is (to my opinion) your most varied album ever. Was it your intention to reach a much broader audience and cross other boundaries?
Slymenstra: "It just sort of came out naturally. GWAR musicians never really think like: 'OK, let's do this and that'. Their songs come out spontaneous without having some kind of strategy. I really love this album. It's the first album, where I get to sing something, instead of screaming like a banshee."
Tell us about your new stage show.
Slymenstra: "Let's see. Because the earth's becoming so poluted the penguins are growing up to be fourty feet and there's gonna be a big penguin attack. Later in the show, Techno Destructo comes back and hypnotizes Slymenstra and convinces Oderus, that I'm gonna marry him. The wedding ceremony starts and everything and I snap out of my hypnoses and turn into Collie (the woman machine with all the legs) and then eat him alive. Gor-Gor (the dinosaur) is also coming back. He's fully regenerated and all. Then in the end, I come back and sing my song "Don't Need A Man" as a half woman half snake. I can't wait!"
When can we expect you on tour in Holland?
Slymenstra: "Probably, September or October. We'll be there, don't worry!"
Do you still have any goals in life?
Slymenstra: "I've been doing a little stunt school this year and I've been licenced as a pyrotechnic. I'm planning on doing a film in L.A."
Do you have any messages to the readers of MM?
Slymenstra: "Eat more bloody pussy!!"
Interview by: Rita van Poorten/courtesy of Metal Maidens, issue 8, 1997.
Hell-o (Metal Blade '88)
Scumdogs Of The Universe (Metal Blade '90)
America Must Be Destroyed (Metal Blade '92)
The Road Behind EP (Metal Blade '92)
This Toilet Earth (Metal Blade '94)
Ragnarök (Metal Blade '95)
Carnival Of Chaos (Metal Blade '97)
We Kill Everything (Metal Blade '99)