WW: In the past couple of years you have suffered the loss of two dear friends and band mates with the deaths of Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis) and Dave Brockie (GWAR). How are you holding up?
Orr: Well, first we lost Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus of GWAR) in Nov. of 2011. Cory had done a lot to turn GWAR around. He was a brilliant musician and producer, and died of a heart attack while GWAR was on tour. He was only 34. Then Mike Scaccia died of a massive heart attack onstage with Rigor Mortis on Dec 23rd, 2012. One second we’re laughing and playing and the next second my best friend and musical mentor just drops dead. Just surreal. I can still replay it in my mind and it’s still unfathomable. Dave Brockie was found dead in his Lazy Boy chair in March of 2014. Fucking heroin of all god damn things. Dave was a beast, and he (and we) did a lot of stupid shit, but I was never around or aware of him doing that crap. I never would have expected heroin. But I wasn’t around him for the last several years before he died, so didn’t know. Still pisses me off. All three of those guys were absolutely unique talents. The world is a lesser place without them. I’m proud to have known them all.
WW: The most recent release by Rigor Mortis, Slaves to the Grave was released in 2014, just months after Scaccia’s death. Hailed by many as one of the top metal albums of 2014, I imagine the record release was bittersweet…
Orr: Yes, it was very hard, emotionally. Technically it was easy. The tracks had all been recorded and we were in the process of tweaking and editing when Mike died. In fact, Mike had put the final touches on all of his guitar parts and said he was done, like three days before his death. We had a few small edits and stuff like that, but the record was pretty much done except for mixing. But as we listened to the tracks over and over in the mixing process, the more we knew this was a great Rigor record, and Mike Scaccia’s finest work. We may have nit picked a bit towards the end of the mix, because it was so final and it was hard to let go of it.
WW: Any plans to ever tour for Slaves?
Orr: No. Definitely not as Rigor Mortis. We retired the name after Mike died.
WW: Can you tell me a little bit about the Scaccianators and the foundation set up in Mike Scaccia’s honor?
Orr: The Scaccianators was meant to be a one time tribute thing. Me, Harden (Harrison), and Bruce (Corbitt) plus Mike Taylor (Rabid Flesh Eaters) on guitar, and joined by Doyle Bright (Rigor Mortis/Hallows Eve), Scott Shelby (Warbeast), and others. We were going to play a Scaccia birthday/family fundraiser party, but Harden injured his shoulder so we couldn’t do it. Eventually, we ended up playing as The Scaccianators for the Heart Rock Foundation’s launch party at Emo’s. When we decided to do more shows we changed the name to Wizards of Gore. The Heart Rock Foundation is something that Mike’s wife and daughters put together to raise awareness for heart disease. Honestly, I’m not sure what the status of that is. I hope to see more events from them at some point.
WW: Who are the Wizards of Gore? (I missed you guys during HHFF), and what are they all about?
Orr: Wizards of Gore is myself, Harden, Bruce, and Mike Taylor. We’ve played a couple of gigs, and may play more…kinda all up in the air. So far we’ve just been playing Rigor songs, but if we continue, we will definitely write new material.
WW: Did you manage to catch the GWAR set during HHFF? And how would you rate the performance? I know I was crying and covered in blood by the end of it!
Orr: I did. I thought it was a nice tribute and overall a pretty good GWAR show. There were some things I could have done without, like the Hate Love Songs duet, but I thought they did a good job, all things considered.
WW: I know you made it to the GWAR BQ and Brockie’s Viking Funeral. Did it help the grieving process along? If you could say anything to Dave what would it be?
Orr: I attended the private service, but didn’t go to the viking funeral. That was for the fans, and I had already said good bye. If I could say anything to Dave I would say I love you, and thanks for all the things I learned from you, and I sure wish you wouldn’t have fucked around with that stupid shit that killed you. He had so much more to create.
WW: I saw an Oderus painting that you did for the exhibit up in NYC that was amazing. What was the title of it? How long have you been an aspiring artist? What’s your favorite piece? Or does it change?
Orr: That one had Oderus sitting on a throne of gore and corpses, raising his goblet and was called “Leisure Time”. I’ve always dabbled in art but I’ve only been painting since 2011. I’m learning with every piece, so yeah, my favorite keeps changing! Art has been becoming my main focus lately, for sure. I’m pretty burned out on the music biz.
WW: What’s up with Warbeast? How long have you been in the band? How did that come about?
Orr: Actually, I am no longer playing with Warbeast. I just was no longer able to devote the time an energy that the band deserves. As a matter of fact, I’m really not playing with anyone at the moment. Taking a break to pursue other things.
WW: The most recent Warbeast album, Destroy, was recorded at Phil Anselmo’s studio at Housecore Records dubbed Nodferatu’s Lair. What was working with Phil like? Or did you record on that album?
Orr: Unfortunately, I never got the chance to record with Warbeast or work with Phil.
WW: What are your plans for 2015? Any upcoming tours, releases or recordings we should know about?
Orr: I’m mostly concentrating on art. I have a lot to learn to get anywhere close to where I’d like to be with that. As far as music, I’m just pretty much over riding around in a van and playing for free. Just can’t do it any more. When a labor of love becomes just labor, it’s time to walk away for a bit. I may do some stuff with The Hellions, and possibly Wizards of Gore or some version of that, but no big plans. I’m constantly writing riffs, so don’t count me out, but it’s not my priority right now.
WW: As a member of numerous bands for over 20 years, how have you managed to stay focused on rock-n-roll given the rigors of everyday life, like bills and family? How do you like to spend your free time?
Orr: I haven’t! Ha ha! That’s the problem. It’s harder and harder to make anything in this business anymore, much less make a living at it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot of cool shit and got to travel and have experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything, but it definitely played a role in ruining several relationships and kept me from having the sort of family life I really wanted. I’m turning 50 this year and I have a teenage son to take care of. My priorities have changed.
WW: Who / what first inspired you to pick up an instrument and start playing? What was the instrument?
Orr: My oldest brother, Grady, really got me interested in music. He turned me on to The Beatles, Yes, The Who, and stuff like that. Bands with really innovative bass players. So, I started out on bass, and that’s really my only instrument.
WW: What’s your definition of success in rock-n-roll?
Orr: Honestly? Simply being able to make a living just making music. Not having to spend all the time you could be creating, scraping up the rent, would be success enough for me. I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and those times have been few and far between. It’s a shitty business these days. I’m glad my kid has no interest in it.
WW: What bands are you listening to these days?
Orr: I hate 95% of everything I hear. Rehashed garbage. 9 times out of 10 you’ll catch me listening to old rock, metal, or country, or stuff like NoMeansNo, Killing Joke, or Devo.
WW: Will you be coming to/playing in SXSW this year?
Orr: I’ll probably be driving a truck for the sound company I work for, or possibly working some horrible showcase or another. Unless I’m getting paid to be there, I avoid it like the plague. I absolutely loathe SXSW. Too many idiots. I hate idiots.
WW: Final words of wisdom to your legions of fans?
Orr: No. Ha ha! Seriously, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported the things I’ve been involved with, past, present, and future. Without you I would have given up beating my head against the wall a long time ago! Cheers!