With the news of GWAR frontman Dave Brockie's (aka Oderus Urungus) death, the metal community is deeply saddened. The causes of death are still unknown and GWAR has decided to go on with their fifth annual "GWAR-B-Q" event as tribute to their fallen friend.
As much as Patrck Hickey Jr. and the author are against it, I'm breaking the first rule of Journalism and using myself for the first (and hopefully last time) in an article (only in opinions and columns may you use the words I or ME). I only saw GWAR once (with Corey Smoot aka Flattus Maximus), but the story behind it will stick with me forever and should be shared with all of you in this time of sorrow.
The day was December 28, 2010. It may not be significant to anyone outside of the New York City area, but that was the day of a massive blizzard that shouldn't have been (former Mayor Bloomberg made budget cuts earlier in the season which limited the snow plows to a bare minimum). I wasn't going to go to the show due to the weather but my friend had left his house already. I had his ticket so I had no choice.
I put on a white t-shirt because I knew what I was getting into. When I got to the Best Buy Theater I found my friend and we went in. We also met some guy who worked for Nickelodeon (which in a weird way made a lot of sense), so he was our go-to guy if we wanted any drinks since we were underage at the time.
The show started around eight with Mobile Deathcamp. One of the former bass players of GWAR was their frontman so it was almost like seeing GWAR with no gimmicks. I can't remember if there was another band after them or what their name was if there was one but that wasn't what myself and a packed New York City crowd during a blizzard came to see anyway.
Finally GWAR took the stage and my friend, Nickelodeon guy and I were on the rail stage left. The sex slaves and celebrity props were gorily killed by GWAR. The band was phenominal, vaudevillian and absolutely hilarious. One of GWAR's characters called Bone Snapper was killed as part of the act, which Brockie (as Urungus) roared "HE DIED BECAUSE HE WAS A PUSSY!". The crowd ate it up. It was violent yet charming. From the obcenities to the toilet humor to the audience soaked in "GWAR stuff" (water dyed multiple colors which shot out of their victims through tubes in the props) it was one of the funniest shows one could ever see. I can't remember all the celebrities they "murdered" but I do recall a John McCain in boxing gloves being ripped apart and a Lady Gaga being filled with imitation feces (you figure that joke out, kids).
After the show, the snow and wind had gotten significantly worse. We hopped on an R train because we heard the F wasn't running at certain stops due to the blizzard. It stung to walk and you might as well have been blindfolded because you could only trust the guy in front of you to get anywhere. We planned on transferring to the F at 4th Avenue for a quick ride back to my place, but it turned out that was where they cut the service off. At two a.m. we were sitting ducks at the station.
After about an hour we got cabin fever and decided to look for coffee. It didn't make any sense but we were going mad in there and the transit workers had no idea when the trains would be running (which probably didn't surprise anybody). We lucked out about a block and a half away with a Dunkin' Donuts that was forced to stay open. It was warm and the hot chocolate we settled on was refreshing. The employees were relatively annoyed but they knew they were getting big paychecks for their time so they weren't so bad.
The good news was we were safe for the night. The bad news was we had forgotten we were covered head to toe in the "GWAR stuff". We looked like the Toxic Avenger's kids and everyone in Dunkin' Donuts stares made sure we knew. I called my parents to let them know where we were and shut my phone off for the night, which turned out to be a good idea because they reminded me one of my uncles lived in walking distance. It was too damned late to call him and there was no way we were going back out into waist-deep snow any time soon. I shut off my phone and we slept in 20 minute to one hour shifts because you can't trust anybody these days.
Morning came and the snowing subsided. I turned my phone back on and called my uncle at around 10. He was a good 15 minute walk from where we were on a normal day but with all the snow and ice we got there in nearly an hour. The streets were too snowy and icy for cars to be on them so at least we had a big path to walk on. When we showed up at his door we chatted for a while and drank tea. It took three showers to get all the "GWAR stuff" off of my body and my fingernails were stained red and green for a good week. Some of it went through my shirt and onto my chest and back. I had no idea that the stuff was so strong but it was fairly amusing. My friend didn't shower for the day and a half we were there and managed to get some "GWAR stuff" on my uncles mattress-which still hasn't come out to this day. He also wanted to finish watching the "Back to the Future Trilogy" marathon on TBS when the trains began working again. I don't think he'll be allowed another visit.
We got to my house within the hour but the neighborhood looked like the apocalypse. If you've ever seen the self-titled album cover for the death metal band "Solstice" that's what my neighborhood resembled. I remember the busses and cars frozen in the middle of the road. My friend wound up staying over the night because there was no form of transportation for him available although he wound up walking home the next night. Thankfully, he did shower in the late afternoon when he finally woke up. The next day was New Year's Eve and things were starting to turn back to normal as far as transportation goes. The only blocks that were perfectly plowed were Time's Square and the Mayor's house (typical). Everything else was still in pretty bad shape for the next month. I still have the shirt that used to be white. Now it's white with a mixture of red and green splatter all over the place with GWAR written on the front, a 25 on one of the sleeves (the tour was to commemorate GWAR's 25th anniversary) and the date and venue on the back (all in black sharpie).
So I say to you Dave Brockie, may you rest in peace knowing that you gave a lot of people a lot of great memories. If GWAR should continue without you, it will be a strange affair. I never got a chance to interview you or any member of your band, but you gave me something I can tell my grandkids. My own "we used to walk 15 miles in the snow with no shoes" tale, and for that I am eternally grateful. Hail and farewell to you, Oderus Urungus.