Interview with GWAR’s Cory Smoot & Michael Derks

Michael Derks and Cory Smoot are their given names however most GWAR fans know them as the guitar wielding duo made up of Balsac the Jaws of Death and Flattus Maximus. Movie Mikes had a chance to interview Michael (Balzac) and Cory (Flattus) about the bands recent Australian tour and the band’s new album “Bloody Pit of Horror”.

Click here to purchase GWAR’s music and new CD “Bloody Pit of Horror”

Adam Lawton: How is everything going today guys?
Michael Derks: Ugh I am jet lagged as hell from Australia! (Laughs)
Cory Smoot: Pretty good man.

AL: How did each of you come to join the band?
MD: I was going to VCU and I had been playing guitar with Mike Bishop,who played Beefcake on the GWAR album “Hell-O.” Just as I started jamming with him, Steve Douglas who played Balsac was kicked out of the band. From there they asked me to join the band.
CS: Back in 2002, GWAR had lost their previous guitar player Zack Blair.  I had always been a local guy in Richmond. I was playing in a band called Misguided which had opened for Rawg a few times and I was friends with Dave Brockie. One day they called me up and asked me to join the group. I think I am now the longest lasting person to play the Flattus character.

AL: Michael, what did you think initially about having to where the Balsac costume?
MD: (Laughs) it was fun. I wasn’t really excited about having to wear it but it wasn’t horrible. The costume has actually gotten bigger and bigger over the years.  So back when I was asked to join it really wasn’t too big of a deal. At first there was really just a mask and some boots. Now I have huge legs and shoulders pads.

AL: How was it touring Australia for the first time?
MD: It was a lot of fun. The Aussies went crazy!
CS: It was really beautiful and awesome. It was summer time there which beats the weather we are having here right now.

AL: Were you guys surprised by how great the reception was?
MD: Everyone goes crazy for us we are fucking GWAR! (Laughs).   If we had gotten anything less they would not have survived!
CS: The crowds were really great and the promoters really want us to come back again soon!

AL: What’s your favorite track off the new album?
MD: The opening track “Bloody Pit of Horror” which is actually just about the entire first half of the album. That song or songs really encompasses a lot of different styles. It covers a lot.
CS: I like “KZ Necromancer” as well as “Bloody Pit of Horror” which we get to change it up a bit and play eight string guitars.

AL: What was it like using an eight string guitar on that track?
MD: It was fun! At first I hated it. When I picked it up I thought it was ridiculous. It was a really weird feeling but after using it this whole tour it’s actually still ridiculous. (Laughs) I have gotten used to it and its kind of fun to hit that low F string.
CS: It was different but it wasn’t too hard to get used to. I had some experience on the last album using one so I knew what I was in for.

AL: You both worked as producers on GWAR’s latest DVD release “Lust in Space: Live at the National” correct?
MD: I actually did more of the engineering work of the audio mixes than the visual production side of things. Cory was more of the producer. As a band, we produce the songs collectively.
CS: Besides producing the DVD I also have produced the last two GWAR records “Lust in Space” and “Bloody Pit of Horror”. I also co-produced “Beyond Hell” and “War Party.” So I kind of have a dual role as artist and producer.

AL: What are your plans for when the tour wraps up?
MD: As soon as I get home I have to go back to work as a bartender because it costs a lot to be a big rubber monster (Laughs).
CS: I have a recording studio at home called Karma Productions that I plan to start spending a lot more time on.  The wife and I have started to look for land which we can build a house and studio on.

AL: Any funny stories from this year’s tour?
CS: Oh there were some fun and crazy moments. Nothing was however too crazy other than the fact that we are GWAR and a certain amount of that stuff comes with the territory. The customs officers had a good time going through are stage gear (Laughs).

Click here to purchase GWAR’s music and new CD “Bloody Pit of Horror”



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