Dave Brockie, lead vocalist of the metal band Gwar who performed with the Oderus Urungus persona, was found dead in his Richmond, VA, home on Sunday, according to Style Weekly, who reported that the cause of death is not known at this time, but police do not suspect foul play. He was 50.
The musician’s shocking death is the second recent tragedy to strike Gwar. In 2011, the band members found their guitarist Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus dead on their tour bus.
In 1984, Brockie founded Gwar, a theatrical thrash metal outfit where its members took on personas – think KISS, but more extreme. The back-story is that the self-proclaimed “Scumdogs of the Universe,” an intergalactic band of chaos warriors, were banished to Earth millions of years ago, now hellbent on destroying the human race and eradicating existence itself. Brockie performed on stage as Oderus Urungus, wearing a humanoid barbarian costume with devil horns and a huge codpiece, and wielding a long sword named “Unt Lick.”
[Photo: Gwar backstage in Toyko, March 2014 via Facebook]
Gwar’s stage act was of the “shock rock” variety, taking the basics of what Alice Cooper was doing in the 1970s and ramming it into the ground. Incorporating more blood and guts, as well as taking on political and sexual themes of the day and twisting them in a humorous way, Gwar’s goal was to be as offensive and shocking as possible, always pushing something to its limit and beyond. Along with the musicians on stage, there’s also other characters who’ve appeared, as well as Gwar “Slaves.” When attending a Gwar show, it’s best to leave one’s propriety at the door and opt for a rain poncho instead. The theatrics involve swordplay, beheadings, defilings, demonic birthings, and much more, including lots of blood, which makes its way into the audience. One of their most famous on-stage stunts was when they swallowed talk show host Jerry Springer whole; this was just before the band appeared on The Jerry Springer Show in a segment about shock rock.
But along with all their shock, Gwar often made people smile and laugh, like when they tried out the dance game Dance Central for the Kinect and when they went Christmas caroling, and when Oderus read Goodnight Moon.
Below is a message from Oderus Urungus that’s been on the band’s official site on its “mythos” page:
Hark to the hideous majesty of your MASTERS, rulers of Earth, the MIGHTY GWAR!!!
It is I, ODERUS URUNGUS, lead singer of the sickest band in metal history, Earth’s only openly extra-terrestrial rock band, and the destined destroyers of not only the human race but also reality itself. GWAR! Hulking, heaving, dribbling WAR-GOD’s who like nothing better than putting hordes of our sniveling fans to the sword while playing the marauding mutant metal that we are famous for! Star’s of stage and screen, carvers of stem and spleen! GWAR LIVES!
Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe posted a photo to his Instagram page of Brockie on his birthday last year kissing his Oderous birthday cake. Below is what Blythe wrote about his friend and colleague upon learning of his death earlier today.
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.
As Blythe points out, Brockie was a true original and his contributions to music and stage theatrics were massive ones. Part of the point of Gwar having these on-stage personas and costumes was so that the character would live on long after the musicians have left — there have been many members of the band throughout the years performing these roles. And even though Brockie was behind this idea, it’s hard to imagine how such a creative force like him could possibly ever be replaced. There’s been no official statement released yet by the band, but we will update this post once more information is disclosed.
RIP Dave Brockie
August 30, 1963 – March 23, 2014
[Source: Style Weekly via Bloody Disgusting]
UPDATE: Blabbermouth posted a statement just released by the band’s manager Jack Flanagan:
“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 p.m. EST Sunday, March 23, 2014. His body was found Sunday by his bandmate at his home in Richmond, Virginia. 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 bandmates and his family.
“More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.”
Video: GWAR “Let Us Slay”
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