An Ode to Oderus Urungus…by Wendy WWAD & Friends

On the morning of Monday, March 24th I woke up to a slew of text messages saying “Dude! Dave Brockie died!” I was in shock. Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, the lead singer and sole surviving original member of the intergalactic metal band GWAR was dead at age 50. My first response was to burst into tears, then grab what remained of the previous night’s bottle of wine, don one of my many tattered GWAR shirts then head to the bar (after downing the wine) to drown in my sorrows and spend the day on the phone and the internet. The Rock-n-Roll world had officially lost one of the great ones and I still didn’t (don’t) want to believe it.


I was first introduced to GWAR by my roommate, Karen Slafter, at our place at 21st and Pearl St. in ATX when she proudly displayed her vinyl copy of GWAR’s debut album, Hell-o! (release date 1988 on Shimmy Disc Records). HellO_GWAR_album_coverStraightaway it became the most often played album in our house with iconic hits like I’m in Love (With a Dead Dog), Americanized, War Toy, Time for Death and countless others. That same year I witnessed my first live GWAR show at Liberty Lunch and, like everyone else that has seen GWAR live, was completely blown away. Although my recollections of the show are foggy, I DO recall outrageous costumes, onstage executions and decapitations and GWAR blood spewing all over the metal thirsty crowd. The pit quickly gained people and momentum and I remember moving farther and farther back to avoid being sucked into the whirlwind. I wound up standing on top of a picnic table, about half way back in a row of picnic tables but even that wasn’t safe. The pit was so huge and violent from the get-go that it eventually extended from the front of the stage to the beginning of the picnic tables and eventually back to my picnic table, while I watched the people on top of the picnic tables before mine fall like dominoes…then it was my table’s turn, and the human dominoes continued to fall until almost the last table. I was hooked. gwar5Thus my love affair with GWAR was born. I saw them every single time they came to Austin after that, avidly collected their records (13 studio albums to date), still have a copy (on VHS) of their first short film / video, Phallus in Wonderland (released on VHS in 1992 and earned them a Grammy nomination in 1993), and still have an amazing copy (also on VHS…this was the old days!) of GWAR’s appearance on the Jerry Springer show when he featured “shock rock” bands. Please check it out here!

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brockieregalia1   Years later (1994) I was asked by the Skatenigs (who had just kicked out their second or third keyboard player)ThisToiletEarth if I could learn the keyboard parts to all of their songs in two weeks time, as they were slated to go on tour as one of the opening acts for GWAR (the other band was Buzzoven) in support of their new album This Toilet Earth (their 4th studio album, Metal Blade Records)on a two month tour! Of course my reply was a resounding and emphatic, Yes! Two weeks later I found myself (having never been in a band in my life) standing on stage in front of somewhere between 1500 and 2000 people at the Showcase in San Antonio opening for GWAR!

I was terrified and excited at the same time, pounding whiskey, chain-smoking cigarettes, and hoping that I didn’t look like a complete fucking retard. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but that tour opening for GWAR officially solidified my absolute idol worship of them. I witnessed, firsthand, everything that went into the production of a GWAR show…from the costumes, to the blood machines, to the all around artistic and creative effort that went into their show on a daily / nightly basis…and it was definitely an 18 hour day. Back then even, it was obvious that these guys were artistic, creative musical geniuses…no doubt about it. gwar-blood   Although there seemed to be a separation between the artists / sex slaves (Mike Bonner, Matt Maguire, Hunter Jackson, Scott Krahl) at that time (the guys who made and repaired the costumes, ran the blood soaking machines, and sacrificed their safety and well-being in order to be decapitated onstage…with characters ranging from the Pope to Margaret Thatcher and beyond) and music camps (the actual musicians that performed and sang: Dave Brockie…aka Oderus Urungus on lead vocals, Casey Orr…aka Beefcake the Mighty on bass, Mike Derks…aka Balsac, the Jaws of Death on rhythym and lead guitar as well as backup vocals, Brad Roberts…aka Jizmak Da Gusha on drums…, and Pete Lee…aka Flattus Maximus on guitar) within the band, I discovered soon enough that it was very much a collaborative effort. At that time, they had already started documenting the GWAR story via comic books, costumes, characters, a complete oral history via lyrics and onstage antics, trading cards, and even a board game (mine is still in storage and has never been opened or played). It was on this tour that I saw founding father of GWAR and vocalist Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) leap on top of the counter in a pizzeria in Atlanta and start belting out opera (I assume it was in Italian but cannot verify), watched him play guitar until his fingers almost bled (for almost 24 hours on a day off); and I learned how to play Magic (yes the D & D-esque card game that was popular amongst comic geeks back then), and got to stomp around the Slave Pit (the warehouse where the GWAR costumes were created and came to life ) in Richmond, Virginia.gwarderks

On that same tour, when we opened for GWAR in Dallas, I had my 16 year old sister, Leslie, come out to the show. It was her first GWAR experience, and she was subsequently fed to the maggot onstage! Years later (her 30th birthday), I took her and my friend Jaime Lee Amerikill (also her 30th bday) to the GWAR show at La Zona Rosa. Leslie was re-introduced to Brockie (14 years later) and both girls came out of the show soaked in blood and loving every fucking minute of it!

Oderus Urungus and Casey Orr (Beefcake the Mighty in 1994)

Oderus Urungus and Casey Orr (Beefcake the Mighty in 1994)

Upon hearing of Dave Brockie‘s demise, Jaime Lee Amerikill posted this on FB…

“Because no one on this planet was as big of a fan of Dave Brockie as my Thomas Henry
I look around the house knowing how hard it’s gonna be for him to come home. We literally live in a GWAR shrine. Brockie’s art on the walls, his book, “Whargoul” resting on Tom’s nightstand, his Oderus costume occupying half of my home office…

Tom rode his motorcycle more than halfway across the country to go to the GWAR-B-Q, owns every single album (on iTunes and most importantly, vinyl) and has countless GWAR tattoos (even the official GWAR-B-Q flash). We even agreed to name our first born Oderus “Otis” Henry after a loooong road trip and many failed attempts to reach an agreement on a “normal” name. The name still stands. Guess it is just meant to be. Ask my parents, we aren’t kidding around. Not too sure how everyone’s going to REALLY feel about that once it is on the birth certificate (for the record Jaime Lee is pregnant with her and Thomas Henry’s first child).brockie1

Tis’ a sad day indeed when your idol blasts off to the planet from which he came.

I’m so glad that the time he spent on earth was filled with passion, creativity and the most brutal of metal. Those shows were so epic, there aren’t even any words. I still can’t begin to imagine never seeing another GWAR show again.

Thank you Wendy WWAD for taking me to my first. Thank you again for introducing us and not killing me for being embarrassingly drunk (and covered in “blood”). That was maybe the coolest birthday present ever. I still have my backstage pass framed.

Photo by Liz Ramanand

Photo by Liz Ramanand

  David Murray “Dave” Brockie became an idol and inspiration for my journey in rock-n-roll, and I followed him in blood-soaked abandon for the next 20 years of his life. After touring with them, I truly felt blessed to have become friends with such a talent and never feared walking up to the bus (usually a bus or two, plus a van , truck or Uhaul) whenever / wherever they were playing, banging on the door and asking if he could put me on the list, with as many extra guests as he could pull off…and he always did. He was incredibly kind and down to earth, hilariously funny, genuinely cool, wicked smart, incredibly talented and a diehard Redskins fan!brockieredskin

Many of my friends were friends with or fans of Brockie as well. Here are a few of their recollections…

Brockie by Niels Jorgen Dyrved

One story concerns when I saw the Nigs and Buzzoven back up GWAR in Jacksonville, Florida in 1994.  We’d been drinking backstage with y’all, as well as with various members of Buzzoven and GWAR, including Brockie.  At the show, we were up front, and Brockie grabbed my girlfriend (you probably don’t want to print Gretchen’s name, to protect the innocent, so to speak) and threw her over his shoulder, exposing her butt to all of Jacksonville.  She was desperately trying to pull the bottom of her dress down while he was feeding her into the gigantic fake worm underneath the drum riser.GWAR-band-dr02
The other story is from when my friends at Sex Beat Records drew them off the European leg of their Scumdogs of the Universe tour to play Copenhagen in 1990.  They were supposed to have a day off after a show in Germany but decided to come play in Denmark.  It was a small club with no stage and the back stage area was across the room from where they had set up on the floor.  It was dark, and there was no announcement of their entrance with lights like there might be in a bigger club, so I just noticed that they were taking the stage when they started shoving people out of the way from behind, with Brockie leading the way and saying, “Out of my way, humans!”scumdogs
Karen Slafter wrote…
I met Oderus a long time ago, when I was to tattoo one of the Gwar members(not him). I brought my tattoo equipment on the tour bus before the show, but it didn’t happen. running too late….
Oderus was playing video games before show and was a genuinely  a nice person. Not stuck up at all. Everyone was super chill and really cool. Wendy and I hung out with all the artists and musicians and had a blast on the bus. Then, they snuck us backstage and put us right in the very front of the stage. We got so much Gwar blood on us! Right in the face! Many times! What a great night!
Gwar is the best band in the Universe and will live forever!

Gwar-BandTimes with Brockie by Jeff “Dog” Allen

The first time I met was at Brockie Liberty Lunch around the same time Beers Steers and Queers (Revolting Cocks) came out came out.  I remember we all went down to Zilker Park and were hanging out on the banks of Town Lake when a snake swam by and I nailed it in the head with a rock…killing it with one throw. They called me “Snake Rock” after that.  Another story that comes to mind that I can talk about {what happens in Florida stays in Florida] happened at my house in Dallas on Madera St.  We were having a Gwarbecue at my house and were playing football in the street.  We lit the ball on fire, Brockie kicked off and the flaming ball went through my neighbor’s window.  I can still Dave drinking a 40 and eating raw chicken off the grill.  Anybody that wasn’t inspired by Gwar and Dave never saw them.  I actually thought they were a Hannah Barberra production the first time I saw them on some late night college access channel.  They blew me away!  What really was surprising about Brockie was his knowledge and love of history.  We all know what a terrific and talented artist/musician he was but not many people realize he was a published authority on the Battle of Stalingrad.  Not only was he fun as hell to be with he was also intellectually stimulating as are the rest of the guys.  My heart goes out to them all.brockietank

Over these years I interviewed Brockie numerous times. A couple of those are still trying to be located. However, here’s one from 2010 regarding their release, Bloody Pit of Horror…that is absolutely hilariouus

bloody pit

Additionally, I recently interviewed Matt Maguire, long-time sex slave, artist and sacrificial lamb for GWAR. Over the years he has suffered 9 concussions onstage but refuses to retire. My interview with him can be found here…

In addition to GWAR, he fronted the bands DBX (the Dave Brockie Experience), Death Piggy and X-Cops, and was also an artist. Since Brockie’s passing, Brooklyn’s MF Gallery (which hosted Brockie’s solo art show in 2004) has announced All Hail GWAR!, a memorial art show to honor GWAR’s legendary front man.

















The 2014 GWAR-B-Q is still happening in Richmond, VA this year with a killer lineup already in the works: Meatmen, Iron Reagan, Goatwhore, Niosem, Body Count and more! Presented by Ring Dog Rescue and Slave Pit Inc., details can be found at

GWAR released a video statement about Dave’s death and the creation of the Dave Brockie Foundation

and are sending Oderus Urungus off in a blaze of glory with a Viking Funeral that is open to the public on August 15th. Please show your support and send your love if you can’t physically make it.

All hail Dave Brockie!brockiebeforeafterThe following pictures of GWAR were shot by Jerry Milton at GWAR’s most recent show in Austin at the Housecore Horror Film Fest. Please enjoy while listening to GWAR!

We love you Dave!

GWAR – Nov’11 pics by Jerry Milton

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