Metal Legend Dead at 50

Dave Brockie, better known to most of the world as Gwar frontman, Oderus Urungus, was found dead in his apartment by a friend and bandmate on Sunday. The cause of death is yet unknown, but the mourning is certain. Artists, friends, and fans all over the world are coming out the woodwork and wishing Brockie a fond farewell from this toilet earth. Here in Philadelphia, many metalheads, punk rockers, and fans of all types have been thinking fondly on the times that Gwar has graced our fair city with their monstrous presence.

Last year, Gwar was one of the headliners of the Philadelphia based international hardcore festival, This is Hardcore. I spoke with one of the festival’s promoters and staff members, Liam O’Donnell about his interactions with Brockie, as well as Brockie’s influence in the music world. “He was great,” O’Donnell said about hanging out backstage with Brockie at TIH. He added, “Brilliant social commentary was hidden beneath all that spraying blood and gross humor. His incredibly generous spirit and ferocious creativity was a gift to all of underground music.”

Jeremy Ritch, freelance writer and soon-to-be published poet from Harrisburg, used to book and promote shows in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and several other cities throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. His path crossed with the guys from Gwar on several occasions. He remembers these occasion fondly, “Brockie was a really nice dude. Smart, creative, and weird… the good weird. His vision and sense of humor made Gwar unlike anything else out there.”

In talking to friends, both in the Philly area and outside of the area, I have heard many stories over the past day or two about extremely pleasant run-ins with Dave Brockie’s kind heart and fun sensibilities. Demented and warped onstage as Oderus Urungus, Brockie was willing to push the envelope in ways many other would never consider… but he never hurt a soul while performing his hilariously vile role as the 43 billion year old child of a supercomputer and a petri dish. In fact, through all the stories of Brockie’s life on the Internet, there is nary a word of him ever treating anyone poorly or being a jerk. It seems safe to say that world lost a really good guy.

I am thankful that I had the chance to talk to Dave/Oderus a few months back, even if my iPhone recording app crashed and I lost the conversation. I will cherish his thoughts on Jesus, his playful attitude, and the way he kept slipping out of his Oderus voice because of making himself laugh during our interview.

RIP Dave Brockie! Our carnival of chaos will never be the same, but at least we still have your incredible art to remember how talented, creative, and clever you were.

Photo credit: Shirlaine Forrest/Wire Image/Getty Images

1 Comment

  1. Justin Harlan

    March 26, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I forgot to warn everyone that the HILARIOUS YouTube video is NSFW due to language. Brockie liked to drop the F-Bomb… a lot…

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