This weekend the world lost one of the most creative, inspiring, unique, and hard-working artist/musicians to ever emerge from the underground music scene. Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, was found dead in his apartment in Richmond, VA. He was only 50 years old and there haven't been any reports of cause of death thus far. It may come as a shock to you based on the material I've shared here on the blog, but GWAR was one of the first bands I got really into as a kid, and I've continued to consider them as one of the coolest bands out there. I saw them every time they came to town for nearly a decade, and I still have a blood-soaked Amebix patch I wore to a GWAR show! I only interacted with Dave once...
Some time in high school I went to downtown Dallas (Deep Ellum) with my two best friends at the time to see The Dave Brockie Experience - a pretty terrible jokey side-project punk band he was doing with two other GWAR members. We had caught wind of a secret RAWG (GWAR un-costumed!) performance that night since the other two GWAR members lived in Dallas! We showed up super early, as we were very anxious and didn't know any better in those days. We decided to kill time by trudging around quiet daytime Deep Ellum when we stumbled across a lonely baby bird that had fallen out of a nest, right in front of the venue we would attend that night. Having heard that you're not supposed to touch a baby bird because it's mother will abandon it, we started brainstorming ways to get it back up there. Right then some fellow in shorts and a baseball cap came out of the club and joined us in our efforts. He popped into the bar to grab a newspaper or something, and we managed to scoop the little birdie up and into the nest, free of human-finger oil! The guy wished us well and disappeared down the block. You can probably guess that later that night when DBX took the stage, the frontman was in fact the guy that had helped us! So, to those who've written him off as some sicko metal singer - Dave Brockie helped 3 high-school punks save a baby bird.
Though most of the music hasn't held up for me after all these years (and I haven't even bothered to check out any new albums since about the year 2000), I'm listening back to some of their older material and am feeling really heavy nostalgia. I always appreciated the social/political satire and mockery Brockie implemented into GWAR's themes, and though some of the really over the top jokes and offensive humor really never appealed to me, I can't help but acknowledge that he was quite the fearless agitator. I've also been watching every interview I can find on Youtube - this is where the true proof of Dave's brilliance shines! If you haven't already, definitely check out the older interviews by Joan Rivers and Jerry Springer, as well as Oderus' short-lived spot on late night FOX News show Red Eye (as an agitator, of course). All the old VHS movies they made are classic as well - surely you can find them on the internet somewhere.
Aside from GWAR, Brockie also wrote the novel Whargoul, which I admit I have not read, but promptly ordered once I found out he had died.
In remembrance, I've made a playlist of all the GWAR stuff that still somewhat holds up for me now. Most of it leans toward the punk/hardcore side, and I only bothered with the first few albums (Hell-O, Scumdogs Of The Universe, America Must Be Destroyed, This Toilet Earth, Ragnarok, Carnival Of Chaos, and We Must Kill Everything) since they were the ones I listened to growing up.