Dave Brockie, founding member and singer of Gwar, passed away at the age of 50 on March 23rd 2014. Dave wore the costume and played the role of Oderus Urungus, the leader and singer of Gwar for the last 30 years. Gwar was a hell of a band. They frightened many a parent in their 30 years of monster operatic rock- and rightly so. Their costumes, their songs, their stage antics were scary. I remember vividly the first time I saw them.
1995 was a big year for me. I had a girlfriend, a car, and was itching to get into fights, and Gwar was the perfect accompaniment and aphrodisiac. This show was like nothing I had ever seen, and I knew what to expect; blood and other bodily fluid spurting into the audience, mosh pits, monsters and crazed fans. Still, my expectations didn’t even come close to preparing me for my first Gwar show. It was thrilling, nerve wracking, scary . . . but totally open and approachable and even friendly in a way. Bands like Gwar give loners and misfits a commonality that results in a temporary environment for them to come together and enjoy a social setting, something they can’t do in very many other places or situations in life. And it’s a safe way for the adults and kids, like me, to let out some aggression.
I went on to see Gwar another dozen times over the years. I got to interview Dave Brockie once and it was tame, because it was Dave Brockie, not Oderus Urungus. When Oderus or Gwar made media appearances, it was always hilarious. Seriously, watch the episode of Jerry Springer or Joan Rivers they were on. And that’s just two examples of the funny social commentary that ensues in the wake of Oderus and Gwar. They were the ultimate in anti-establishment, rallying the troops against the excesses of Hollywood and often beheading cult personality puppets on stage, of course followed by more blood spurting into the audience. I have seen presidents, pop stars and random aliens chopped up, shot, and ripped apart on stage.
Dave and Oderus were the heart and soul of Gwar, but one other aspect of the band that should be looked at and admired by young bands today, is their touring and commitment. This band and group of techs/roadies/artists from Richmond, Virginia, toured constantly. They worked hard for their art, for their music and for their money. And they had fun doing it- spreading joy and terror and bodily fluids across this horrible planet.
The members of the band have changed a few times, they lost guitarist Cory Smoot a few years ago to a heart attack, but then got a new guitarist to wear the Flattus Maximus costume. Their music was good too, technical sound heavy metal with a heavy dose of humor. Though Brockie has said “we weren’t talented enough to make it unless we wore these silly costumes,” I don’t believe that. Brockie was a very talented singer, musician and actor and was in numerous other musical projects and was the brains behind Gwar’s numerous Rock Operas. Dave was a gifted song writer, thinker and leader that inspired this collective of art students that created a culture, a band, and more for the last 30 years. If you have never listened, I would recommend picking up the classic Gwar albums This Toilet Earth or Scumdogs of the Universe. R.I.P. Dave and Oderous. You will be missed, and they can’t just replace you with a new singer under the mask. So please do me, and all of your fans a favor- Rest In Peace Gwar.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]