Every week, bands stop by the A.V. Club to cover songs for the site’s “A.V. Undercover” webseries. This week, thrash-metal outfit GWAR made their third appearance and—yes, you’re reading this correctly—performed their version of the 1984 Pet Shop Boys smash hit “West End Girls.”
GWAR’s members style themselves as barbaric interplanetary warriors, but earlier thisyear they lost their charismatic frontman, Oderus Urungus (Earth name: Dave Brockie). The group’s “West End Girls” cover soars because it includes a stirring tribute to Urungus, from a group that’s not exactly known for its tenderness.
GWAR devotes the first half of the six-minute video to a surprisingly tuneful reading of the original that sounds closer to radio-ready hard-rock than a purist’s black metal. But the highlight comes after a searing guitar solo, where the group segues into their GWAR-customized take on punk rocker Jim Carroll’s classic “People Who Died.” Between pounding riffs, GWAR’s members take turns rattling off brief eulogies for every bandmate they’ve lost over the years.
Metalhead or not, GWAR’s tribute is worth watching. See the video and read GWAR’s reworked lyrics for “People Who Died”:
Robin slashed his wrist and then he hung from a rope.
Peter’s heart gave out after he’d kicked dope.
Jeff, bit by a spider, died of toxic shock.
Ryan drove his car right into a rock.
Cancer brought down Castleman.
Damn it, David. I miss you, man!
Those are people who died, died. (X4)
They were all my friend and they died.
Sean was beat to death by the Boston PD.
Drunk in his cell, no more Death Piggy.
Dimebag was shot by a lunatic fan.
Mike Scaccia died with a guitar in his hand.
Those were three more friends of mine.
Three more friends that died.
Crazy White Sean, how crazy could it get,
That he choked in a chat on the internet.
Cory died in his bunk at a border crossing,
The gap in his teeth still in need of a flossing.
Cory, I miss you my brother.
You left little Cory without a father.
Dave died alone in his chair in his room.
He had just turned 50, it was way too soon.
Oderus’ boat went up in flames,
Now all of Vallhalla chants his name!
Oderus, I miss you more than all the others.
I salute you my brother!
Oderus died, died. (X4)
He was all of our friend and he died.