I Miss Dave Brockie Already
The world at large might not care a whole hell of a lot, but we lost one of the most amazing lead singers and frontmen of metal yesterday and I’m at a loss for words.
I hate growing older. I haven’t been reminded of my mortality in quite some time, but upon hearing the tragic news yesterday of Dave Brockie passing away at 50 years old…I’m reminded that our time on planet is terribly short. I’m not here to eulogize Oderus Urungus (Brockie’s character for 30 years), I just feel that I need to let some stuff out about my grief.
Like many Gen-Y/Millenials I was turned onto GWAR thanks to MTV, seeing a few videos on Headbanger’s Ball and on the Mike Judge cult classic “Beavis and Butthead” were the first exposure that I can recall. Keep in mind this is in an era when I would actually tape live television to watch later. It was the era of “America Must Be Destroyed” and “This Toilet Earth”, the two albums that put GWAR into the minds of many entry level fans. Their sound, their pageantry, their sheer campyness drew me in like no other band before and like no other band since.
I followed the band through their descent into shittyness via “We Kill Everything” and into their rebirth on “Violence Has Arrived” through the death of Cory Smoot. I’ve bought rare albums from X-Cops, DBX (The Dave Brockie Experience), sought out the Slaves Going Single album, found the GWAR vs The Aquabats album, hell I even bought their movies and every single comic that Slave Pit Inc put out. To say that I’m a fan is selling it short, GWAR was my favorite band.
My friends from my teenage years until today all know me as the GWAR fan, I’m sure many of those that I’m not in contact with who heard this news immediately wondered how I was taking it. You’re talking about a guy who showed up to high school one day wearing my clothing from their concert a few nights previous just to show people the love I had for the group. Let me tell you, it was a long day of explaining why my shirt had the word SLAVE written on the front and what exactly a BOHAB was (from the back).
On tours, I’ve met nearly every member of the group sans-costume (much to their surprise for me being able to spot them walking amongst show goers) but the most elusive was Mr. Brockie who I’m sad I never got to meet. I remember fondly when he urged the citizens of Salt Lake City march up on the capitol and “burn the fucking building to the ground” because of our shitty 3.2% ABV beer. The crowd was set to do it too. Dave had the audience in his scaly hand, the man oozed charm even when dressed up as the reprehensible Oderus.
Converting someone to the group was always a ton of fun. Their concerts were rarely expensive, at the most $20 and they were always amazing spectacles and the few friends I brought along to see them became diehards post concert because of the audience engagement and general fun that came about from the show.
His passing marks the first time in my adult life that I feel an honest regret for not seeing a band more often. If the group is to survive with a voice double, it won’t be quite the same band I’ve spent the last 2 decades following but I sincerely hope that the group doesn’t go away for good. The world needs more bands like GWAR to keep us sane by providing a little bit of catharsis and parody of our society. I know that one person does not a band make, but losing Oderus is a serious blow to us fans and I am legitimately saddened by this.
So in closing, I give you the man’s perfect word-for-word reading of Goodnight Moon. Dave you are sorely missed by your fans.