GWAR singer and mastermind Dave Brockie, who died Sunday at the far-too-young age of 50, will be remembered as a shock rock innovator. An obnoxious spitball in the face of Marilyn Manson’s humorless pretension, GWAR followed the tradition set by Alice Cooper, bringing a strong sense of tongue-in-cheek humor alongside savage wit, broad comedy, and social satire. Only in GWAR’s case, they cranked up the theatrics a hundredfold, their shtick loaded with elaborate foam-latex costumes, hilariously simulated violence, Borscht Belt gags, and best of all, gallons upon gallons of fake blood and goo that would be sprayed and spewed all over audiences wherever the band played. Aside from creating wildly entertaining music — starting off as straightforward punk but quickly adopting a style that was equal parts traditional heavy metal and thrash — Brockie was one of rock’s great wits, a tremendous interview, and an all-around funny guy, always around to provide some much needed levity in a genre that, especially in recent years, tends to dwell too much on negativity. The metal scene is a hell of a lot less fun without the man. As a little tribute to Brockie, here are ten GWAR moments, in somewhat chronological order, that won’t be soon forgotten.
“Sick Of You”
This video from 1990 was the introduction to GWAR for many. The eye-popping costumes, the violence, the broad comedy, and a very catchy song — arguably the band’s catchiest song ever — made an indelible first impression. The album on which it appears, Scumdogs Of The Universe, remains the band’s biggest seller.
Live From Antarctica
Released on VHS in 1990 and becoming a cult favorite soon after, this full GWAR concert remains a classic document of the band’s outlandish, messy stage show.
Beavis & Butt-head
“You watch videos, you watch TV, watch TV, and everything sucks, and something like this comes on, and it’s like, it’s cool.” Amen, Beavis. Amen.
GWAR Vs. Joan Rivers
GWAR quickly became a favorite on the talk-show circuit, starting with Jerry Springer in the 1990s and carrying on to everything from Fox News to The Dan Patrick Show in recent years. However, the sheer incongruousness of Oderus Urungus and Beefcake The Mighty appearing on The Joan Rivers Show in the early 1990s remains an absolute delight, Brockie matching wits with one of the funniest ladies of all time.
Panned by critics but loved by teens at the time, the 1995 Liv Tyler vehicle was made even more memorable thanks to a funny cameo by Brockie and GWAR.
In which Oderus nearly meets his match in the inimitable Nardwuar The Human Serviette on Canadian television in 2002. “I didn’t play golf with Tommy Lee. He wouldn’t get in the same party with me, he wouldn’t ride around in a golf cart. But, I did go to his house and we went to the hot tub and drowned a child.”
Brockie Interviews Oderus
Who better person to interview Oderus than Brockie himself?
GWAR Play Dance Central
“One of the guys I worked with for awhile had been a roadie/member of the slave pit for awhile, when they came through town he got us on the guest list and I got to see my friend get eaten by a giant vagina. Great show. Later on we talked to their management and got them to come by on an afternoon before a show and play the game Dance Central, you could tell they were tired as shit but when the camera went on they were totally and funny … kind of defined them to me, taking time out of their day for no money to come do something silly at a video game magazine.” –Matt Helgeson
Oderus Reads Goodnight Moon
Pure comedy genius.
GWAR Meet Billy Ocean
Always good sports, Brockie and GWAR made waves when they covered Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” as part of The A.V. Club’s Undercover series. As fun as that performance was, it could not compare to the band’s return a year later, when they performed a psychotic rendition of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” The clip was a viral hit, so much so that GWAR performed it on their subsequent North American tour.