Earlier this year, the world of metal lost an icon and unforgettable musician with the passing of Oderus Urungus, real name Dave Brockie, who died of an accidental heroin overdose. Loved by fans and peers alike, no one felt the loss harder than his family and band mates. Although it was first uncertain what the band's next steps would be, they eventually decided that their friend would want them to carry on. Which they did this weekend with their 5th annual GWAR-BQ, a festival of freakishly monstrous proportions, filled with food, fun and of course an all-star line-up of metal bands from Hatebreed to the Misfits.
This year was extra special as they paid tribute to the late vocalist and gave him a final farewell to remember in a public ceremony on the shores of Hadad's Lake in Richmond, VA. Brockie's stage costume was laid to rest in a rather impressive Viking ship, which was sent out into the water and set ablaze by a flaming arrow shot into the boat. Lamb Of God vocalist Randy Blythe who was a long time friend of Brockie's, spoke at the memorial as he had at the private one held for friends and family. He posted a photo of the flaming boat on Instagram and talked about the experience:
"Tonight we sent Oderus home in a fitting manner at the public memorial for Dave Brockie. A blazing Viking ship with Oderus laid out in it, the cuttlefish pointing proudly straight up. Watching my friend Dave’s costume go up in flames in front of a thousand fans was so much more intense for me than the private memorial for friends & family we had April Fool’s Day. I spoke at both of them, as GWAR asked me to, & both times as I spoke I was sad. But watching his alter-ego burn tore me up way more than the first memorial, maybe because there was Dave, the human who was my friend who just ‘left us’- I never saw his body- & then there was Oderus, who was something entirely else. To watch his stage gear burn was like watching part of my life literally go up in flames. I was sobbing my eyes out as I took this photo. It was just a super-intense moment. Very beautiful, but overwhelming. Fly free, Oderus- you are missed."
GWAR closed out the festival with an hour long set, in which they debuted new vocalist Blothar, played by Mike Bishops, who has been with the group for over a decade. Although no one can ever fill the shoes of Brockie's Oderus Urungus, it's clear that GWAR will successfully continue.