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About Scott Barber

Scott Barber is a Men's clothing designer and brand.

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Loveland, Colorado,

United States

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CUFF.DOCS: This is GWAR unravels the surprisingly dramatic history of veteran heavy-metal performance artists

Nov 24, 2021

Author of the article: The band GWAR in a scene from the documentary This is GWAR by Scott Barber. jpg Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page. Article content When Scott Barber first set out to convince the members of GWAR that he was the documentary filmmaker best suited to tell their story, he wanted to make sure he had done his homework. Advertisement Article content He read the book Let There Be GWAR by Bob Gorman, who has been an off-and-on member and associate of the act since 1988. He watched all the TV interviews and appearances he could find. He listened to the albums. He read the articles. We apologize, but this video has failed to load. Try refreshing your browser, or CUFF.DOCS: This is GWAR unravels the surprisingly dramatic history of veteran heavy-metal performance artists Back to video So he knew the broad strokes of the act’s history, which began in Richmond, Va., in 1984 as a strange art collective and punk band that became a long-lasting, heavy-metal band and satirical performance-art hybrid that continues to this day. He knew about their revolving-door membership. He knew how the cult surrounding that act was bolstered by Beavis and Butt-head shoutouts on MTV and appearances in the movie Empire Records or Joan Rivers’ talk show. He knew about the Grammy nomination. He knew about the arrest of lead singer Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, on obscenity charges in 1990. He knew there was deep tragedy in GWAR’s story, particularly with the sudden death of Brockie in 2014. Advertisement Article content But Barber admits he was taken aback by the emotions that some of his interviews with past and present members provoked as he filmed what would become This is GWAR. After all, it’s a documentary about a seemingly tongue-in-cheek, gross-out, cheerfully silly act that purports to be from outer space, sprays audiences with gallons of fake blood, wears elaborate costumes and masks and rarely breaks character in public appearances. So why all the tears? “There were certain moments I figured they would cry, of course, the biggest one being losing their incredibly talented frontman Dave Brockie,” says Barber, in an interview with Postmedia. “I figured that was something that was going to be hard to get through for all of them. There were other moments I was surprised at. There’s a couple of really raw, beautiful moments where people cry and you don’t see it coming. You get broadsided by this moment. It’s not just about somebody dying. Sometimes, it’s also when they talk about each other and how much they love each other, about the brotherhood and sometimes the betrayal. Those are the moments I did not expect and the moments that really make this come alive.” Advertisement Article content If there is one major takeaway from Barber’s documentary, which will screen Nov. 26 as part of CUFF.DOCS, is that GWAR is and always has been serious business. The artistry is far more ambitious than their seemingly goofy surface would suggest, their musicianship far more proficient, their friendships and resentments far deeper and darker. As with almost everyone with even a cursory knowledge of the act, Barber was fascinated by them and curious about the wizards pulling the levers behind those curtain of spurting blood and grotesque masks. “GWAR is one of those entities that everybody kind of knows about and everybody is fascinated by,” says Barber. “They are one of those few crossover bands. Metal fans love them, punk fans love them, rock ‘n’ roll fans love them, even hipster kids love them. If you are at all into rock ‘n’ roll, you probably think GWAR is pretty cool. That’s certainly where I was. I was aware of them. I was the perfect age to watch Beavis and Butt-head and that’s where I was introduced to them. I always thought they were really fascinating and cool.” Advertisement Article content Pustulus Maximus of Gwar performs during the Chaos music festival at Kinsmen Park in Edmonton in 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia Photo by Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak /Postmedia Barber is a former actor whose 2018 directorial debut, The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, chronicled the underdog origins of the now powerhouse network. When considering a follow-up, his interest in GWAR was further piqued when he discovered one of his friends, bassist-vocalist Roky Moon, had toured with GWAR with his band American Sharks. Meetings were set up with the principals of GWAR, who eventually agreed to give Barber unfettered access. While he maintained control of the film, the band offered reams of archival material, including home videos that stretched back to GWAR’s origins as a strange art collective in Richmond. There were perhaps practical reasons for this: GWAR has always had a practical side and this may have seemed the perfect way to remind people that it was still an activity entity that continued to tour after the death of Brockie in 2014 of an accidental heroin overdose. GWAR is scheduled to perform at Calgary’s MacEwan Hall on Dec. 3 and Edmonton’s Midway Music on Dec. 4 as part of a tour marking the 30th anniversary of their sophomore album, Scumdogs of the Universe. Advertisement Article content “I wanted to present it as: This isn’t the end,” Barber says. “You’ll see that in the documentary, it ends with almost a ‘To be continued’ kind of feature. What happens next? You’ve got to go out and see GWAR to find out what happens next. That is ultimately what I presented that they really liked: I don’t want to present this as something that happened in the past.” Still, GWAR’s history is complicated. At one point, one of the members points out that 100 people have gone through the ranks in various roles. One of the documentary’s first revelations, and something emphasized throughout, is that the organization is more of a collective than a band, made up not only of musicians but visual and makeup artists, costume designers, filmmakers, dancers and many loyal underlings who toiled away early on at a warehouse that the organization unironically dubbed “The Slave Pit.” GWAR sprang out of a shaky merger between Brockie’s theatrical punk band, Death Piggy, and an art space initially set up by artist and indie film producer Hunter Jackson to make a low-budget sci-fi horror film. Advertisement Article content While Jackson was a co-founder, he split acrimoniously from the outfit after clashing with Brockie. When Barber tracked him down for the documentary , he had been estranged from GWAR for years. He is only one of a dozen or so of the principal players that talk openly and honestly about the act’s strange trajectory and occasional conflicts. As with everyone interviewed, current members Mike Derks (aka Balsac the Jaws of Death), Brad Roberts (Jizmak Da Gusha) and Michael Bishop (Blothar the Berserker) do not stay in character when talking with Barber, which is a rarity in the band’s history. The only missing piece is Brockie, who is painted by friends and cohorts as passionate and ambitious but often difficult to work with and possessing one of the more outsized personalities in an organization full of them. Advertisement Article content “We wanted to tell the truth, this is a warts-and-all documentary,” Barber says. “Sometimes the band members come across really awesome and sometimes they come across as real people who take the low road. That’s reality. However, Dave Brockie is not here to give his side of things. So that’s what we really wanted to be careful about. Someone would say something about Dave, we wanted someone else to say ‘Yeah, but … ” Yes, there was always a sense of danger and sense of ‘what is going to happen’. But that sense of danger was the only reason GWAR got big.” This is GWAR screens Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. as part of CUFF.DOCs. visit calgaryundergroundfilms.org. Share this article in your social network Share this Story: CUFF.DOCS: This is GWAR unravels the surprisingly dramatic history of veteran heavy-metal performance artists

Sep 24, 2021
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Scott Barber Investments

1 Investments

Scott Barber has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Free All Media as part of their Seed on October 10, 2009.

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Scott Barber Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

10/17/2009

Seed

Free All Media

$1M

Yes

Date

10/17/2009

Round

Seed

Company

Free All Media

Amount

$1M

New?

Yes

Co-Investors

Sources

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