Dave Brockie, otherwise known as frontman Oderus Urungus of the heavy metal band Gwar was found dead in his Richmond, Va., home on Sunday night. He was just 50 years old. Band manager Jack Flanagan released a statement stating that one of Brockie’s bandmates found him Sunday evening.
“It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 p.m. EST Sunday, March 23, 2014,” Flanagan said. “His body was found Sunday by his bandmate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. My main focus right now is to look after my bandmates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.”
Former Gwar bassist Mike Bishop called Brockie “one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I’ve known. He was brash sometimes, always crass, irreverent, he was hilarious in every way. But he was also deeply intelligent and interested in life, history, politics and art.”
“His penchant for scatological humors belied a lucid wit,” said Bishop. “He was a criminally underrated lyricist and hard rock vocalist, one of the best, ever! A great frontman, a great painter, writer, he was also a hell of a bass guitarist. I loved him. He was capable of great empathy and had a real sense of justice.”
“I wish it was a joke,” added former band member Chris Bopst. “Everyone is in shock.”
Brockie had been in a punk band named Death Piggy that staged crude plays when he originally founded GWAR back in 1984. After meeting band member Hunter Jackson, who had created props for Death Piggy and began work on the film Scumdogs of the Universe, Brockie used the outlandish costumes created for the film to form the joke group Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh. After numerous lineup changes and the shortening of the band name, Brockie dissolved Death Piggy and led GWAR, who released their debut album ‘Hell-O’ in 1988.
The satirical metal band quickly earned a following for its for its outlandishly grotesque costumes and intentionally offensive material. The band fashioned themselves as interplanetary warriors descending from aliens who arrived on Earth to enslave and slaughter the human race. The band celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2014, and was nominated for Grammys twice during that time.
GWAR had recently announced their sixth annual GWAR-B-Q for Aug. 16 at Hadad’s Lake near Richmond.
It’s now the second death for the band, as guitarist Cory Smoot was found dead on the group’s tour bus in 2011. The band then retired his character, Flattus Maximus.
Brockie amusingly made numerous appearances in character commenting on current events and culture, including such unexpected places as “Red Eye” on Fox News. He also appeared on ‘The Dan Patrick Show’ numerous times. In an interview last month on Insane Clown Posse Theater, he talked about the essence of what made him tick:
Many in the metal community that had been influenced by Dave or had the opportunity to work with him over the years have weighed in with their condolences and messages:
Alex Skolnick (Testament):
“Waking up 2 news of the loss of my friend Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus). In shock, sad.”
Chris Kael (Five Finger Death Punch):
“Just read about the passing of Dave Brockie — Oderus Urungus from GWAR. We had the privilege of playing with GWAR just one month ago at Soundwave festival in Australia. Dave was always right there on the side of the stage that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH were playing on — watching every band, laughing and enjoying life. As he entertained us in life, may his death remind us that life is short. Tell the ones around you that they are loved. Live life with a smile and a laugh. Just as Dave and I shared a laugh while talking at Soundwave. We love you. Each and every one of you. R.I.P. Dave Brockie — Oderus Urungus.”
David Draiman (Disturbed):
“SADDENED TO HEAR, RIP; GWAR Frontman Dave Brockie A.K.A. Oderus Urungus Dead At 50.”
Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God):
“I got a very sad call tonight from my buddy Chris Bopst, who was one of the original members of GWAR. My friend Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, the singer of GWAR, has left the building and taken off back to his home planet. He was 50 years old. I do not know details of why he died yet, just that he passed away at home and his roommates found him. When someone dies, a lot of the time people will say, ‘Oh, he was a unique person, really one of a kind, a true original.’ Most of these people no idea of what they are talking about; they obviously had never met Dave. Dave TRULY WAS ONE OF A KIND. I can’t think of ANYONE even remotely like him. That’s VERY HARD TO SAY. My band learned how to become a real touring band from GWAR. They gave us out first shot at this thing. I learned many things from Dave, many of which I am eternally grateful for, and some of which I am deeply ashamed of. I took this picture at his birthday party a few months ago — Dave kissing his Oderus birthday cake. Right now, if I were to truly honor Dave in the way HE would do it if it were ME that had died, I would make a completely tasteless joke about his death. But I do not have the stomach for that — Dave would, but not me. He never put much stock in ‘limits.’ Richmond has lost one of its most creative people.
This is a crying shame to me. Thank you, Brockie, for all the crazy shit you did. Thank God you existed, so you could do it and I didn’t have to. It was an honor to know you, to be your Shaky Slave, to serve in the Blood Vomits along side you (let’s ride!), and to be soaked by your sweet cuttlefish. RIP Dave Brockie. Oderus, enjoy your trip back home.”
Mark Morton (Lamb Of God):
“I’m so lucky to have known Dave Brockie. Godspeed my friend. We love you.”
Violent J (Insane Clown Posse):
“I am devastated to hear of the passing of Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie). GWAR are true pioneers of the underground and without them there would have been no blueprint on how to do-it-yourself in the world of music. Oderus was one of our true heroes and he recently appeared on ‘ICP Theater’ and we had plans to do a Halloween tour together. His passing is a terrible loss to the world and we will miss our friend greatly.”
Phil Demmel (Machine Head):
“Much love and respect out to the Brockie family and GWAR camp. Sad loss.”
Kevin Skaff (A Day To Remember):
“Sad to hear about GWAR’s singer Dave Brockie passing. He was such a nice guy to all of us in ADTR. RIP Oderus.”
Chris Beattie (Hatebreed):
“R.I.P. Dave Brockie”