The metal community (and beyond, even Moby recognized) is still freshly mourning the loss of GWAR’s Dave Brockie. Hands down, one of the most outspoken personalities in the genre, his presence is already missed. And while the GWAR-B-Q will continue, with a public memorial happening, the question remains as to whether GWAR as an entity are done now that their leader is no longer with us. It’s still far too early to be addressed by anyone associated with the band, but for this week’s Headbanger’s Brawl, we decided to ask if the band should continue on without Brockie.
Bram: I don’t think this is going to be the prevailing opinion here, but I think that after a reasonable amount of time off, the band should continue on without Brockie. Bear with me here. Brockie is absolutely the heart and soul of the band, and it’s his personality that not just made GWAR what they are, but was responsible for their continued popularity and resurgence in the most recent years. That being said, there are other members of GWAR’s collective that earn a living by being in the band. And with a frontman that wears costumes and makeup, his appearance would at least be somewhat replaceable. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him, but are you going to a GWAR show to hear the frontman’s voice, or are you going to get covered in fake blood and goo and watch people get executed onstage? If another outspoken singer/frontman was able to step up and assume Oderus Urungus’ cuttlefish, it wouldn’t be the same, but it would still be GWAR.
Zach: The only way I could see GWAR moving on without Brockie is if they retire Oderus and have the replacement take on a completely new persona (much like how they did following Cory Smoot’s death). That could be very doable. With that said… I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of GWAR continuing on without Brockie. Maybe it’s because his death is so fresh in everyone’s head, but Brockie was such an important part of the band, both onstage and behind the scene. I honestly couldn’t imagine what GWAR would be like without Brockie’s leadership and vision.
In my opinion, the best way to keep GWAR’s image and legacy alive is by continuing to hold GWAR-B-Q. The festival was so important to Brockie (and the rest of GWAR for that matter). Keeping it alive and letting it become a festival destination where fans can partake in all the blood-soaking, jizz-tastic activities possible would be the best tribute to GWAR and Brockie. Hell, it could be a great excuse for the surviving members to play GWAR’s music together under a moniker/billing similar to Dio’s Disciples.
Chip: My initial response was, ‘no’, because he really was the heart and soul of GWAR…but then I read Bram’s response and I have to admit he’s 100% right. So in a weird twist I’m sitting here typing this listening to Woods of Ypres. When band leader David Gold was tragically killed in a car accident a couple years ago there was no hesitation from the remaining band members to fold up shop and go on to other projects because Gold was more than just the main songwriter for that band. He essentially was that band and that band was his baby. Continuing on would have just not felt right to anyone. (Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be the band’s main songwriter. Look at how Acid Bath folded after the death of bass player, Audie Pitre. It was just too painful for them to carry on and fans needed to respect that.) At the end of the day you have other members in GWAR who’ve been performing as GWAR since at least 1990 (Mike Derks a.k.a. Balsac The Jaws of Death and Brad Roberts a.k.a. Jizmak Da Gusha). Plus to Bram’s point, at least four different guys have performed as Beefcake over the years. Has anyone really noticed or even cared? I totally get that Brockie was ‘the man’ when it came to GWAR but because they do hide their real identities on stage (and in general) I think they could make it work. I will say though that retiring the Oderus character would be the best PR move they could ever do.
Matt: First off, regardless of whether they continue, I could see GWAR doing a tribute show in a vein similar to Suicide Silence with guest musicians and whatnot. I think it’d be a good tribute for Dave Brockie and, should they continue, a send off for the character of Oderus Urungus. On paper, it sounds implausible for GWAR to carry on without the guy who created it and kept it going for so long and I wouldn’t blame them if they decided to lay the band to rest. But, as Bram said, GWAR has always been a band known more for their performances, so the idea of creating a new character isn’t all that farfetched. They could easily pitch it as the son of Oderus or something like that. Besides, Brockie would probably want the debauchery of GWAR to continue. Hell, he’d probably even want them crack a joke about his own death. It could go either way.