I have just crossed off two bucket list items simultaneously at the end of a long and hot Warped Tour: 1) sharing the stage with the legendary metal band Gwar, and 2) watching our lead singer Zac Barnett die a bloody, grisly death. Spending a whole summer in parking lots can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being, particularly when there is so much death metal and screamo coming at you from every direction. In every city across the country, the freaks and geeks came out in full swing to support their favorite artists: shouting the choruses, wearing the t-shirts, and of course: moshing. I remember doing the same thing in middle school at Music Midtown in Atlanta. Dying my hair blue, ripping up my brother’s old jeans that were way too big for me, wearing my favorite Nirvana/Green Day/Soundgarden/Silverchair t-shirt, and shoving my way to the front of the crowd until the giant speakers were frying my impressionable, music-crazed brain. My ears rang for days afterwards. Those shows were the best.
Today’s premier screamo and metal acts, most of whomst were on this year’s lineup, frankly are not my cup of tea (although they are great at what they do); but there was lots of music on the tour that I did enjoy. A young band called Jule Vera were on point; pirate-rockers Alestorm brought the pain with some swashbuckling drinking anthems; we chilled with California ska legends Save Ferris, and many classic pop-punkers like Goldfinger, CKY, and the Ataris played several dates on the tour and were always fun to watch.
But enough chit chat. Let’s get to the murder. A handful of musicians had the privilege of sitting in with Gwar throughout the summer, and often met their demise at the hands of these ancient bloodthirsty beasts. If you happen to be in the first dozen rows of victims at the Gwar show, you better not be wearing your favorite clothes, because they’re going to get sprayed with red blood, blue ooze, or some other alien substance. At our show in Mountain View, CA, Gwar rallied onto the stage after the bridge of “Best Day of My Life” with swords and saws, as their leader Blothar attacking helpless Zac Barnett in a fit of rage. Having usurped the spotlight, Blothar screamed into the mic at all of the shaken American Authors fans, “This is going to be the LAST DAY OF YOUR LIIIIIIIFE! AHHHHHHHH!!!!”
The video has been circulating the internet ever since. Props to Jesse Deflorio for filming.