Monday, March 24 2014 10:32

RIP Dave Brockie, aka GWAR Frontman Oderus Urungus...

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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 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 PM EST Sunday March 23,2014. His body was found Sunday by his band mate 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. He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963. My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed." Jack Flanagan, Issachar Entertainment/Slave Pit Inc.

Dave BrockieIt'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.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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