UPDATE: Gwar have issued a statement denying all of William Brockie’s allegations, and that statement is below.
If this isn’t the most Gwar story ever, I don’t know what could possibly be. Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, was the frontman of the theatrically silly Richmond metal band for decades. Last year, he died of a heroin overdose, and the band bade him an emotional-for-Gwar farewell at their Gwar-B-Q festival last year. And now Brockie’s fater William Brockie is suing the band’s surviving members, alleging that they have, among other things, stolen Dave’s ashes and that they’ve got them locked away in the headquarters of their Slave Pit management company.
NBC reports that William Brockie filed a lawsuit yesterday, seeking $1 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages from the band. William is the administrator of Dave’s estate, but he claims that the band is using his image in unauthorized ways. He also says that they’ve stolen Dave’s bass guitars and artwork, a gold record, and his ashes. And he claims that the band’s manager signed unlawful releases allowing the band to use Dave’s likeness the day after Dave’s death.
The most colorful part of the story is this: William says that he went to go retrieve Dave’s ashes in May but that he was denied entry to Slave Pit headquarters. Later, someone brought William “a small fraction of his son’s ashes which were delivered in a used plastic bag with Discover credit card logo on it.” All of this absolutely sounds like the work of Sleazy P. Martini.
Here’s Gwar’s statement:
We have not yet seen the actual lawsuit papers, and thus cannot comment on the substance of the lawsuit brought against GWAR by Dave Brockie’s father, William Brockie, but we can say that the claims in the Style Weekly article are false. We did not steal Dave Brockie’s ashes, or anything else that belonged to him. In fact, all of the items mentioned in the article, including Dave’s ashes have been available to his attorneys for weeks. At all times, and under very trying circumstances, we have acted in good faith to honor the wishes of our dear friend. Dave left no will or instructions for final arrangements, and so we have done the best we could to honor what we believe Dave Brockie would have wanted.
The accusation concerning Dave’s ashes is particularly troubling for us. Following Dave’s passing, the first thing we did was notify his father, who signed over Dave’s body so we could have him cremated. We were told by Dave’s father that he did not want to be involved in making Dave’s final arrangements. For this reason, Slave Pit assumed that responsibility, paying for his cremation, arranging two memorial services (one public and one private), and purchasing a plot for Dave in Richmond’s famed Hollywood Cemetery. Dave’s father did not attend either of the services held for his son in Richmond.
Over 30 years of working and living with Dave, several of us had heard him say that he wished for his ashes to be kept at Slave Pit, so he could “keep an eye on GWAR” while we worked. In the weeks following his death, we developed a plan for a memorial fund that would raise money to honor Dave’s memory with a statue in Hollywood Cemetery and work to continue his passionate support of the arts. We felt strongly that a portion of his remains should live at the site of his proposed monument in Hollywood Cemetery. When William Brockie later approached us, we released a portion of the ashes at his request, so he could spread them in the location where Dave’s brother and mother’s ashes were dispersed.
Concerning the other allegations in the article, there was certainly no effort on the part of anyone in GWAR, including drummer Brad Roberts, to steal or hide Dave’s belongings and personal effects either from his home or office. Dave, like the rest of GWAR, was paid upfront for his final leg of touring with GWAR. The claim that we failed to pay his share of royalties from Slave Pit Inc. is false, and we have the records to prove that. We have been in correspondence with William Brockie and his lawyers for months. They have access to the band’s financial records, and Dave’s payments and share of royalties are clearly recorded. Likewise, William Brockie’s attorneys have an itemized list of the small collection of Dave’s art and belongings at Slave Pit. There was never an attempt on the part of Slave Pit to withhold these items from William Brockie. When his attorneys finally identified the particular things they wanted, we made arrangements to return them immediately. Dave’s remains, as well as his belongings, including the instruments and the gold record mentioned in the article were given to our lawyers, who in turn notified the Brockie estate that they could retrieve them weeks ago.
The Dave Brockie Fund did indeed raise money toward our initial goal of building a monument to Dave in Hollywood Cemetery. Unfortunately, its mission has been put on hold because William Brockie’s attorneys claim that the Brockie estate should have control of the Dave Brockie Fund and the money contained therein. If we are ultimately unable to use the funds for the purpose for which they are raised, the funds will be returned to all contributing donors.
Finally, our manager, Jack Flanagan has been unjustly accused of signing a bogus release. At the request of our attorneys, he signed some paperwork to make his position clear on what he thought Dave would have wanted, which is something that the law of Virginia specifically asks for, given Jack’s relationship with the band and with Dave. There is nothing bogus about this.
Dave Brockie was our friend, peer, co-worker, and our family. We want to preserve the legacy of one of the greatest singers in rock and roll history. There is no “conspiracy,” no bad faith, no theft, no graft, and no ill will. We trust our fans will see through this, and we will be able to get back to work on the one thing we all know Dave Brockie loved; GWAR.