Dave Brockie, also known as Oderous Urungus, the frontman of GWAR, was found dead in his apartment on Sunday night at the age of 50.
On paper, I’m not a massive GWAR fan. I only own one of their records (Beyond Hell, for the curious), and outside of that, I’ve enjoyed Oderous’ guest appearances with Devin Townsend, specifically his hilarious bit in Strapping Young Lad’s Far Beyond Metal and the scatalogical Deconstruction off of Townsend’s album of the same name. Plus, his work for Fox News’ Red Eye as an “Interplanetary Correspondent” deserved all the cable news awards.
But the appeal of GWAR doesn’t lie in its records, as amusing as they are. It’s all about the group’s legendary, carnivalesque live show, which made their name synonymous with metal mayhem. I’m gonna guess that most people I know don’t own many GWAR records (if any at all), but whenever they came through town, you had to catch ’em, even if metal wasn’t your thing.
You’d show up early in a shirt you were okay with getting ruined, just in case you were (hopefully) drenched in the gallons of blood and slime they relentlessly spray on the audience. You’d marvel as they behead the sitting President of the United States no matter the party, and laugh as they gutted whatever celebrity was unnecessarily monopolizing the news at the moment.
I remember seeing them open for a fellow Richmond band, Lamb of God, in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, and they disemboweled the King of Pop right there on stage, even going so far as to invoke Jackson’s alleged pedophilia before doing so.
A few weeks ago, a bunch of Australians peed their phony-outrage panties when GWAR played there and slaughtered Tony Abbott on stage. Unlike Marilyn Manson, an enforcer of political correctness in shock rock make up, GWAR still somehow had the ability to offend the world’s crybabies.
Nothing was sacred in Brockie’s demented live act, which is why waxing poetic about him seems stupid, and maybe a little disrespectful. Yet, the way he hilariously defiled sacred cows is a dying art. The politically correct rule pop culture. People pretend stuff like Lady Gaga getting puked on has some kind of edge, but she’s just a Gawker blogger posing as a pop star. Brockie has killed every President and eviscerated every celebrity you’ve ever been sick of. He built an insane live act out of nothing that sodomized pop culture in a manner that was disgusting, hilarious and somehow never mean-spirited.
GWAR’s aliens n’ costumes concept is one that could theoretically continue without Brockie in some form or another, but he was the only original member left. It was his band, and it won’t be the same without his sharp personality. Yet, I hope the scumdogs in GWAR march on, at least as a live band, as they are practically an institution at this point.
If Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have plans for KISS to continue with younger people playing the Demon and the Starchild once they retire, why can’t GWAR? Kids these days, musically, just seem interesting in eating ecstasy and listening to lousy EDM music. They’re in dire need of being doused in the blood of presidents, prime ministers and celebrities now more than ever.
Either way, it pains me to say it, but so long Oderous. Thanks for the memories, and all hail Scumdogia.