Photo by Glenn Cocoa
When GWAR announced they would be playing at Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC on Halloween night last year, I thought that was the perfect way to spend the most terrifying day of the year. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go, and now I’m even more sad to say that the next time (if there is a next time) they come to Charlotte, it just won’t be the same. Frontman and founder of the thrash metal monsters, Dave Brockie, passed away at the age of 50 on Sunday March 23rd, 2014.
Better known as Oderus Urungus by the fans of the band, Brockie was a very gifted and passionate musician that was also a skilled painter and writer who was loved throughout the metal community. When the story of his death first started spreading, many thought it was just rumors, but it was quickly confirmed by band members, family and friends as being true. His body was found by a band member in Brockie’s apartment in Richmond, VA and the police have stated that they suspect no foul play, drug overdose or suicide but are still awaiting the autopsy results. Many of his peers in the music business have gone to social media to let everyone know just how much he did for metal music and how great a person he really was.
Brockie was the last remaining original member of GWAR in the band’s current lineup and the only musician that appeared in every version of the band. In the early days of GWAR, Brockie played guitar and bass before switching to vocals, where he would permanently stay.They took the the antics of bands that came before them, like Alice Cooper and KISS, to a whole new level, as well as set the stage for the bands that came after like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Slipknot. GWAR was temporarily banned from playing in North Carolina in the early 90’s because of Brockies “Cuttlefish of Cthulhu” he wore, which he used to mimic sexual acts such as masturbation on stage. The group led by Brockie also has a very comical side as well, just watch this clip from an appearance Brockie made on the Joan Rivers Show and see for yourself. Brockie’s death isn’t the first tragedy the band has experienced in recent years, former guitarist Cory Smoot passed away while on tour in 2011. He played the role of Flattus Maximus from 2002 until his untimely death.
Nothing has been said of what will now happen with GWAR but without the passion and creativity of the band’s founder and leader, they will never be the same. Brockie was one of the most unique and entertaining frontmen to ever take the stage. He was described as “one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I’ve known,” by former GWAR bassist Mike Bishop. The music world lost one of its best contributors on Sunday. Brockie was an inspiration to many and hopefully his music and legacy will continue to be celebrated in his absence.