The grey-skinned, pink-mohawked, skull-codpiece-sporting Maris never liked the dance music played at most gay clubs, so he created his undead persona as a unique way to take in a good metal show and express himself as a gay man in Denver’s heavy-music scene. It’s music he truly loves, so much so that he eventually started his own band, Maris the Great and the Faggots of Death.
Jealous that other bands were receiving more attention than he was, Maris began "murdering" other heavy bands about 21 years ago. He posts photos of his handiwork on his website. (The gory photos and videos are stomach-turning and not safe for the workplace, so look on your own time. Unless, of course, you really hate your job, in which case log on and call your manager over. You’ll be out on the street in no time.)
For the record, Maris interviews bands he's about to kill before he does the deed. With the exception of too many personal questions regarding masturbatory habits, he’s an adept interviewer and should probably have his own show on basic cable.
After “retiring” in 2015, Maris the Great returned in 2020 to mark his twentieth anniversary with a summer killing spree that was supposed to culminate with his band headlining a Halloween show and his numerous victims as the opening acts. Of course, the COVID pandemic put the kibosh on live music, and he was forced to cancel. To hear him say it, the cancellation was a major bummer — though he also takes credit for the pandemic.
But he’s back this year, murdering bands and drinking beers to preserve his undead flesh, and this time, he’s not letting anything stand in his way. As he puts it, “We are coming back and we are definitely flaming.”
We talked with Lord Maris — from a safe distance — about his show, his hair, and murder and general mayhem.
Westword: How do you get that pink mohawk so perfectly coiffed? It’s immaculate.
Maris the Great: You have spoken correctly. Among the movies you mortals enjoy is one called Something About Mary. If you have witnessed this film, you will have the answer to your question.
Yeah, we kind of figured. Anyway, you took a long break from murdering bands and came back last year. What made you want to take up homicide again? How has it been going?
I decomposed in 2015 and descended into a realm you mortals call Hell. There is no fire in this place. It's actually quite dark. But they remove your shoes and scatter LEGOs all over the ground, so it is indeed a place of torment. But they also have a number of programs in which one can work on becoming a skilled demon. Being as I killed 120 bands in the time I walked the Earth, they felt I would be a natural. And so I threw myself into the effort and eventually was awarded the Crystalline Eye of Freddie Mercury and the Six Horns of Sodom. I was given my demon name of Gayzuzu in your time of 2020. It was then felt I could best serve the work of evil if I were allowed to walk among your mortal realm, killing at will. A ritual called "The Dickening" was performed by a naive young boy toy, and here I am again. Last year alone, I killed ten meddling bands. The killing spree is ongoing even as we speak. There's good reason to be afraid.
What has been one of your favorite band murders of all time, and why?
Locally, it would be a metal band by the name of Bodies We've Buried. I liked that one a lot. The band was so much fun to work with, and their deaths were among my most disturbing. I re-created the murders of a mortal serial killer named Dean Corll. Nationally, it would be Stick to Your Guns. Those guys are incredible. I dated guitarist Josh James for a while, until he came out as a straight man. I gave him the name Double J Hotsauce.
Tell us about the new song “Cross Dressed to Kill.” Why do we like it so much?
You like it because it's superior in every way. It's catchy, and it says what everyone is thinking right now: "Fuck you, fuck you is what I say / Don't want to rock it then get out of the way / We're here and we're queer and we're fucking gay!!" That's art right there. Truer words have never been uttered.
It’s your first new recorded song in ten years. Why the long wait?
Did the Sex Pistols need to have a second album to get their point across? No; they said everything with Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. We're even better than them, so I felt our debut EP, Fuck You If You Don't Like Rock and Roll, said everything. The fact that we're coming out with new songs is just a result of demand. The mortal realm is tired of rock stars being boring and straight. We are what everyone has been waiting for, and we're back at long last.
We imagine that in the course of your band murders, you probably eat some of the musicians. Is there any specific type of musician that tastes the best? For example, do bass players go down easier than, say, drummers? What kind of band tastes best?
Pop bands are much more tender and have an almost sweet meat. Metal and hardcore have tougher meat to chew through; sometimes I have to leave them out to decompose for a day or two. Straight men in general have a "gamey" flavor to their meat. It's not for everyone, but I have grown to love it. And I also love bands that drink a lot. Their brains are marinated in alcohol.
What can an unassuming concert-goer expect at a Maris the Great Halloween show? Who's playing? Why should we come to this and not the hundred other Halloween shows in Denver?
Who else would you want to party with on the darkest night of the year other than a gay demon and his backing band? Someone said we're a cross between Gwar, Village People and Dame Edna. I think that fits! I'm not going to give any more away, but to attend our show, you have to sign a release form when you come in, not holding The Venue responsible if you get killed during our performance. We have the greatest and most outrageous drag celebrity hosting the show, Jessica L'Whor. I saw her performing at Hamburger Mary's Diva Brunch, and all I'm going to say is, everyone had better strap themselves in. The bands joining us that night are Stray the Course and my latest victims, Bury Mia. They are now undead and will probably perform as the zombies they are. And last but not least, the very first band I ever killed 21 years ago, the legendary Rubber Planet, will be rocking out with their incredible party tunes.
What kind of people would enjoy your show?
Anyone who doesn't have a stick up their butt.
Any kind of costume contest?
Yes! The band is giving away a cool package for the best costume. Our bassist is giving his bass away, right off the stage. I will be giving away a Maris the Great action figure. There are only three of these in existence, and I am giving one of them away. The last one sold for $500, and I'm giving one away! The other members of my band are also giving some items away, but your fine paper might not be able to list them.
What are you doing after Halloween?
The months of darkness run from June 1 to October 31. The first of November begins the months of light, and I am banished from your realm. It is a balance that has been observed for centuries. To break it comes with penalties.
Your show last year was canceled because of the COVID pandemic. How much did that piss you off, and did it affect how you went about your murders this year?
The whole COVID thing came as a result of me re-entering your realm. Demons rarely can take the flesh again. I am one of the few, and the only gay demon, that has done so. This upset God, and he sent a plague. That's just what he does. It didn't stop me, as you can see. But I had to be very, very careful.
How has the glory hole beneath Cheesman Park been treating you, lair-wise?
Wonderful. I invite all the boy toys of the local music scene to come visit the glory hole. I'm usually up late on most nights and would enjoy the company. Of course, you risk death with your visit, but if you're going to go out, you might as well do so while cumming.
We all love Maris the Great. Do you have any detractors? What’s their beef?
Only female mortals who are upset that they lost their boyfriends to me. If you girls would stop making your men shave their butts, they would stop running to me. Also, some members of the LGBTQ community are upset because I want to add a Z to the acronym. The Z is for zombie — or in my case, the gay undead. It's time mortals started recognizing the issues facing gay walkers. Everyone we kill, we also give a fabulous makeover. I'm tired of not being recognized for it. We're here, we're queer, and there’s plenty of fear!
Maris the Great and the Faggots of Death will be at The Venue, 1451 Cortez Street, at 7 p.m. Friday, October 29. Also appearing are Rubber Planet, Bury Mia and Stray the Course. The show will be hosted by Jessica L'Whor; tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, with a VIP option available. Visit thevenuedenver.com for details, and go to maristhegreat.com for more evil content.