This Day in Death

3.23.14: Dave Brockie, Gwar’s Oderus Urungus – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:54 pm April 16, 2014

DAVE_BROCKIEWear all the spiked gauntlets you want, they still won’t let you out of jury duty unless you say you hate the Mexicans.


Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, frontman for absurdist metal band Gwar, has died at the age of 50. Brockie was the final surviving original member of the band, and his death throws their future into question, although I’m sure a guy named Balsac the Jaws of Death should be able to get into a good temp agency until he can get back on his feet. Not that I don’t sympathize: I shattered a lot of dreams when I left my Greek mythology-based improv troupe, Jason and the ArgoNuts. But really, did the underground comedy scene really need another Hellanicus of Lesbos bit?

Brockie had been in a punk band named Death Piggy that staged crude plays when he founded Gwar 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.

Gwar had a practiced silliness to everything they did, from a giant worm monster that ate audience members to giving everyone in the band goofy names, like Oderus Urungus, Jizmak Da Gusha, Flattus Maximus, and Engelbert Humperdinck. Basically, Gwar is what KISS would’ve been if Paul Stanley and his merry band of pancake makeup enthusiasts had the self-awareness necessary to realize that nobody will ever be genuinely intimidated by a bunch of dudes wearing foam rubber stilettos. Ooh, please don’t scratch my eyes out with your Lee Press-On Nails there, Mr. Space Cat!

You would think a band as offensive and relatively high-profile as Gwar would have left a path of incensed stay-at-home moms in their wake, but for whatever reason they managed to avoid having much in the way of mainstream controversy. My theory is that Gwar is the perfect example of exactly how subtle satire has to be to keep Americans from melting down into full-on “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” mode. Satire any more delicate and we’re so convinced it’s real we’ll tear a tendon reposting that shit to Facebook, but any less so and we’re opening up the gates to a thousand more years of Kevin James movies. Here’s a little chart to help you visualize just where our sexy country’s comedic comprehension falls on the spectrum of most to least subtle satire (click to enlarge, because all that high-quality comedy simply couldn’t be contained in a jpeg this size): SUBTLE_SPECTRUM

Lookin good, America! Before you know it you’ll be bragging to Canada about how you “totally get Colin Quinn’s Twitter feed now.” These colors don’t run, except occasionally from intellectual stimulation!

Source: Rolling Stone

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