I’d only met Dave Brockie a couple of times, and aside from one occasion where I was feeding him questions on the other end of a video webcast with he in New York and I in Chicago, he was in full costume, portraying the character for which he will forever be known – Oderus Urungus, the 43 billion year-old frontman of Antarctica-based metal titans, GWAR. While public perception of what GWAR is or is not may vary, I’ve always known the band to be highly-skilled, expert musicians and showmen (and women, on occasion) that performed a mix of entertaining metal and killer satire that was always influenced by the Global landscape of politics and pop culture of the time. I was shocked and saddened to find a note from GWAR manager Jack Flanagan sitting atop my inbox this morning…
It’s always weird when dealing with “celebrity” deaths. I’ve written countless obituaries and “RIP” pieces over the years, including one for GWAR guitarist Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot) back in 2011. For the most part, these are people that you don’t really know, and in my business, have been folks that I may have occasionally crossed paths with, but are still strangers. While they might get the obligatory “RIP” tweet or something, I’m seldom actually moved or emotionally affected when the stories strike.
This morning, I cried.
Not a huge, over-the-top full-on cry, but I teared up.
I bought my first GWAR record, 1990’s SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE, 24 years ago. I’m 37. GWAR has just been a part of my life for a very long time, and was set to embark on their 30th Anniversary Tour this year. Dave Brockie was just 50 years old – a mere 13 years older than I, and was found dead sitting upright in a chair in his home. While it will take an autopsy to be sure, he likely had a heart attack or stroke or something. That terrifies me, as I have two little girls and a wife here at Rock Father HQ, and I sure hope I’m around well beyond 50 to spend time with them. It puts things in perspective, and makes you think of the uncertainty that life holds. That you have to make the most of every day.
And now, let’s revisit that time when Oderus Urungus read the classic children’s book, GOODNIGHT MOON…
Rest in Peace, Mr. Brockie. And my best to your family, friends, band and crew.
Photo Above Provided via email by Jack Flanagan. It was taken by LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe at Brockie’s birthday party a few months ago.