Song Review: Gwar’s “Carry On Wayward Son”

This is going to have to be a quick one, since I’m heading into the city in a bit for a meeting and a Jay-Z concert.  Those two, in case you’re curious, are not one and the same.  I’m excited to see the new Barclays Center, though, and I’m sure a review of that show and the arena are forthcoming.  Tomorrow, perhaps?

In the meantime, let’s talk about Gwar.


Gwar, for those of you who don’t know, is a “satirical heavy metal band”, at least according to Wikipedia.  They wear ridiculous costumes that make the members of Slipknot look like normal human beings.  They also have ridiculous blood rituals on stage – at least that’s what I think from the random clips I’ve seen of them throughout the years.  But apparently it’s all tongue-in-cheek when they behead fake mannequins using fake blood on stage.  I don’t intend to do much further research on this, so I’ll take the Internet at face value here.  (Generally an idiotic idea, I know.)

But today, Gwar has won the Internet, if such a thing is possible.  Gwar recently participated in the A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series, where fans select a heap of songs to be played whatever artists pass through town.  The first artist that comes by the studio gets to play a tune of its choice among the 25 entries, while the second artist chooses from the remaining 24, and so on and so forth.  Gwar, as the final band in this addition of the series, was saddled with Kansas’ classic-rock staple “Carry On Wayward Son”.  Fantastic news.

Now, before we move on here, I’d like to ask the question – how the hell did none of the first 24 artists pick “Carry On Wayward Son”???  What a fantastic song!  I have jammed out to this tune so many times in the car that I’m lucky my steering wheel is still attached!  Does anyone honestly not like “Carry On Wayward Son”?  It’s much better than “Dust in the Wind”, because “Dust in the Wind” is one of the most infinitely depressing songs ever written.  And it’s also better than…you know what?  I don’t actually know any other Kansas songs.  Let’s move on.

Anyway, the lead singer of Gwar seemed rather upset to be saddled with “Carry On Wayward Son”, because he is a terrible human being.  (Or maybe just satirically terrible?)  This, however, made for pure comedy gold.  The lead singer (I’m not looking this guy’s name up, sorry) randomly changed his voice during the song and made alterations to the lyrics at arbitrarily decided moments.  In fact, these lyrics may have even been an improvement in some cases, such as “carry on my wayward son, get the hell off the couch and get a goddamn job.”  That, my friends, is art.  Magical, mystical art.

The singer generally looks confused during this whole process, mumbling random background melodies at times and choosing to do the whole screamy-metal-voice thing at others.  But that adds to the absolute hilarity of the video.  Meanwhile, the musicianship is outstanding, which adds to the fun, since the guitarists and drummer seem to generally be playing it straight.

I don’t recommend checking out anything else by Gwar because, well, look at them.  But this is fantastic.  Also, I am now realizing that the band’s name is apparently “GWAR” in all capital letters, but I’m not changing it, because I have a train to catch.

Grade: A

(P.S. – I will add mildly humorous pictures later, but I think my computer is about to get another blue screen of death, so here’s what you get for now.)


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