Known as Oderus Urungus, the frontman of GWAR, who had just completed a huge tour of Australia, Dave Brockie, has passed away on March 23rd, 2014. Brockie was found in his house yesterday evening. The cause of death was is by far unknown. My condolences go out to his family, friends and followers. This article will be updated if more GWAR representatives and fellow musicians comment on the tragic news.
GWAR‘s manager Jack Flanagan issued a statement confirming the death:
It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 PM EST Sunday March 23,2014. His body was found Sunday by his band mate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963.
My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.
The band’s bassist Mike Bishop issued the following statement:
“I got a very sad call tonight from my buddy Chris Bopst, who was one of the original members of GWAR– my friend Dave Brockie, AKA Oderus Urungus, the singer of GWAR, has left the building & taken off back to his home planet. He was 50 years old. I do not know details of why he died yet, just that he passed away at home & his roommates found him. When someone dies, a lot of the time people will say “Oh, he was a unique person, really one of a kind, a true original”- most of these people no idea of what they are talking about- they obviously had never met Dave. Dave TRULY WAS ONE OF A KIND- I can’t think of ANYONE even remotely like him. That’s VERY HARD TO SAY. My band learned how to become a real touring band from GWAR– they gave us out first shot at this thing. I learned many things from Dave, many of which I am eternally grateful for, and some of which I am deeply ashamed of. I took this picture at his birthday party a few months ago- Dave kissing his Oderous birthday cake. Right now, if I were to truly honor Dave in the way HE would do it if it were ME that had died, I would make a completely tasteless joke about his death. But I do not have the stomach for that- Dave would, but not me. He never put much stock in “limits”. Richmond, VA has lost one of its most creative people. This is a crying shame to me. Thank you Brockie, for all the crazy shit you did- thank God you existed, so you could do it and I didn’t have to. It was an honor to know you, to be your Shaky Slave, to serve in the Blood Vomits along side you (let’s ride!), and to be soaked by your sweet cuttlefish. RIP Dave Brockie. Oderous, enjoy your trip back home.”
NYHC legends from BIOHAZARD dropped in a few words:
RIP Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus from Gwar. We have some great memories from the road!
Check out this fine memoire by Decibel magazine:
In the late 90s, perhaps around 1998, I pulled over at a truck stop about 45 miles outside of Richmond, Virginia. I grabbed a few snacks and went to the checkout line when it occurred to me that the clerk was staring, somewhat horrified. I looked down and remembered why: my entire body was covered in fake blood and unidentifiable substances. I had spent the evening near the front row of a GWAR show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. I politely paid for my food, walked out and laughed in the car.
I lived in Richmond for about four years, until early 2000. I wasn’t a part of the city’s metal scene as much as I was an outlier, a guy with a straight job who dropped in on gigs at the old Twister’s club on Grace Street. At that point, you couldn’t see GWAR play a proper gig in their home town. The reason for the band’s exile was for something dubious like performing an alien abortion on stage. It seemed ridiculous but, then again, this was the same city where Howard Stern was booted off the air. You could see GWAR as “RAWG” which, in case you forgot, was advertised as “Gwar Without Costumes!” on fliers.
I ran into Dave Brockie plenty of times at the Richmond YMCA. He’d show up to work out in a Redskins hat. When I finally got up the nerve to talk to him he couldn’t be friendlier and told me that the long Stairmaster and weight-training sessions prepared him for the rigors of wearing a near-suffocating suit on stage. I was one of the fortunate few who got to see more of Brockie in his civilian clothes than as his alter ego. Everywhere in town you’d run into people that were somehow part of the GWAR enterprise, which seemed to employ half of Richmond’s creative class.
How fitting that one of the people who helped develop Richmond’s metal culture couldn’t play a proper gig in his hometown for years. For Brockie, spectacle still mattered. He gave people something they remembered. They remembered it so much, in fact, that they saved gross, gory shirts and wore them the next time GWAR played. Brockie was perhaps one of the most prescient people in metal. Years before downloading effectively gutted the recording industry, forcing bands to live on the road, Brockie figured out what mattered was putting on a show that fans remembered. It’s not that albums weren’t important. But when the rest of the world got dour and wore lumberjack shirts Brockie only increased the audacity. What made a GWAR show fun wasn’t just the hysterics that took place but the wait: walking into a club and seeing plastic wrapped around the room like a Costco warehouse. It was a tacit admission that things will get very messy. But these guys will sell out and there’s nothing we can do but cry Uncle.
Brockie provided metal with a much needed shot of levity throughout his 30 year career. So much of metal is about taking yourself too seriously. Brockie and GWAR allowed your eternal inner kid, the kid with a KISS record player who dressed up like Ace Frehley, to come back and believe in super heroes for an evening. He also smashed every sacred cow in his path. When I last saw GWAR shortly after President Obama’s first election I told my friend there was no way that we’d see the new President get the GWAR treatment. But like every idol before him, an effigy was brought on stage and decapitated.
What made everything about GWAR work, and made Dave Brockie such an improbable success story, was that there was no Jekyll and Hyde involved. Brockie was Oderus Urungus as much as he was the nice guy who worked away at the gym.
In Richmond, there is a street called Monument Avenue that houses the statues of the famous Confederate dead. How fitting it would be to place Oderus Urungus right on the avenue and then slime the rest. Dave Brockie, halfway on his journey to parts unknown, could laugh somewhere and let us know he approved.
Randy Blythe of LAMB OF GOD wrote:
“I got a very sad call tonight from my buddy Chris Bopst, who was one of the original members of GWAR. My friend Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, the singer of GWAR, has left the building and taken off back to his home planet. He was 50 years old. I do not know details of why he died yet, just that he passed away at home and his roommates found him.
When someone dies, a lot of the time people will say, ‘Oh, he was a unique person, really one of a kind, a true original.’ Most of these people no idea of what they are talking about; they obviously had never met Dave.
Dave TRULY WAS ONE OF A KIND. I can’t think of ANYONE even remotely like him. That’s VERY HARD TO SAY.”
MOBILE DEATHCAMP, a GWAR side-project simply posted:
RIP DAVE BROCKIE!!
Tony Foresta of MUNICIPAL WASTE commented:
“I’m so devastated right now. One of the most fun, brilliant, inspirational and creative people I’ve ever had the privilege to call a friend has passed. I’m going to miss you so much, pal.”
I AM HERESY issued the following statement:
Another unique and brilliant individual drops off too soon. You’ll be missed in more ways than can possibly be measured at this moment.
“Rest in peace, my brother!”
THIS IS HARDCORE Festival noted:
Rest In Peace Dave Brockie – lead singer of GWAR. This is terribly sad news.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of our fellow comrade passing away. Dave was a admired individual amongst us. He spoke highly of EMMURE and whether he knew it or not, we were very passionate about him as well. R.I.P., Oderus Urungus. GWAR FOREVER.”
Ben Orum (ex-ALL SHALL PERISH) wrote:
“Dave, You were a creative genius. Thank you for bringing so much joy to me and my friends as we grew up with GWAR. RIP.”
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