Dave Brockie, the founder and lead singer of thrash metal band Gwar, has died at age 50. He was found sitting in a chair in his Richmond, Virginia, home Sunday morning by his roommate. Officials say foul play and suicide are not suspected in Brockie’s death. Jack Flanagan, the band’s manager, had to share the unfortunate news of the performer’s passing with the public.
“His [Brockie] 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.”
Brockie, who also went by the name Oderus Urungus, founded Gwar in 1984, while playing in the punk band Death Piggy. His act was outlandish, outrageous and always provocative. He and Gwar band members were also prolific, having released their 13th album, Battle Maximus, in 2013. Their debut album, Hell-O, was released in 1988, making the band members 30-year veterans of the metal music scene. In fact, the band celebrated its 30-year anniversary after performing for the first time in Japan, a dream fulfillment of Brockie’s, who also marked off a visit to Stalingrad this year off his bucket list.
Gwar, originally named Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh, shot to fame when Beavis and Butthead played the band’s music on the series. The band members donned outrageous costumes and played characters based on those in the film, Scumdogs of the Universe, created by Brockie and his band. Fellow band member Hunter Jackson followed Brockie to form Gwar, leaving behind Death Piggy to focus on Gwar full time.
By all appearances, Gwar would seem to attract just a cult following, but their stage presence, wild antics and graphic, offensive lyrics, along with exaggerated, alien-like costumes, proved so provocative it would get the band a huge enough following to earn them two Grammy Award nominations, for best long-form music video in 1993 for “Phallus in Wonderland” and best metal performance in 1996 for “S.F.W.” Dave Brockie’s death at 50, as the lead singer of Gwar for many years, will leave a huge hole in the metal music scene.
Mike Bishop, former bassist for Gwar, says Brockie was irreverent and always crass but his over-the-top antics hid a deep wit and knowledge of current events; the fun-loving frontman was “interested in life, history, politics and art.” Brockie also had a sharp sense of humor and was clearly beloved by many musicians.
Dave Brockie, lead singer of Gwar, has died at age 50. His death is trending on Twitter, where many are memorializing his work.