On the Death of David Brockie, A Thought

If you are a metal fan you’ve already heard the news: David Brockie, the lead singer of the band Gwar, has died. It happened some days ago. I have some thoughts about his passing, and they were not articulated until today – so I share them a bit late.


This is the statement released by the band manager:

It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 PM EST Sunday March 23,2014. His body was found Sunday by his band mate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963.

My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.

Here, you can read touching tributes from other musicians.

This news made me think. I was deeply affected by the news and very saddened, but that’s strange, I would never think I would be.

This news taught me again a very important lesson about life, and that is that sometimes only death reminds you how much you love someone. I would never mention Gwar as one of my favorite bands, but they were always on my harddrive and mobile phone and I always listened, I have to confess I didn’t even know David Brockie’s name before his death. But suddenly I realized how much I really appreciate their music, and his death affected me.

Also, I realized that how much metal singers seem immortal to me. When a celebrity I love dies I get sad – but the death of metal musicians always takes me by shock and surprise and devastation, and that’s true about Dio and Jeff Hanneman as well. I think that really reflects the spirit of metal – these musicians live so fully and their art reflects living in such audacious and passionate ways that one tends to forget that they age and die.

To me, David Brockie was not David Brocki but his character, Oderus Urungus. I was never aware of the man behind the sound until his passing – before that he was the sound, he was a symbol, he was music. And the same is true about Hannenman and Dio – I loved them both, and I’d name both among my favorites, but ultimately they were too synonymous with music and youthful energy for me and I had taken them for granted.

And ultimately, that’s what distinguishes metal. That’s what makes me identify as a metalhead although I enjoy all genres of music. Metal is still not contaminated by the idea of “author”, of a conscious creator carefully designing a masterwork, it has remained spontaneous and genuine, metal is about the sound, the anger, the excitement, the show – metal is alive.

Decades past the time that Black Sabbath released the first album and officially started the genre, metal has evolved into numerous sub-genres and has found a new voice with every passing age, has learned from other genres and has taught them. It hasn’t become a museum piece, it has not become the safe music, it hasn’t become conservative and self-aware  - it’s alive.

David Brockie symbolized metal, like all great metal bands do. They together form a community of creative rebels. Atheists all have different ways to fill the gaps left by religion – metal fills that gap for me. It gives me the sense of community, it gives me all the spirituality I need.

I leave you with my favorite Gwar song.

About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • http://twitter.com/magicthighs magicthighs

    I cried when I heard. I’ve been to their shows so often I lost count. Always stood right at the front. Sad that I’ll never get hit by their fake blood, space alien Michael Jackson’s jizz, pieces of the pope’s brain again.

    I miss you, Dave.

  • tigzy

    Interesting comment about how metal seems ‘alive’ – it jolted me back to the memory of my teenage fret-shredding days, when I’d try and learn Randy Rhoads solos while laboring under the belief that he was still alive. It was very strange to hear that he had died only a few years before – one of those jarring, slightly sad moments when you’re young, and get a taste of how mortality looms over you.

    Anyhow, one of the things I’ve always liked about Metal is the subgenres it encompasses. Thoroughly taken with Pirate metal these days – Alestorm in particular. (Damn worth playing while engrossed in Assassin’s Creed 4, BTW) Also, If you like a bit of symphonic metal, I can recommend Fairyland too.

  • abear

    Kaveh: I also recommend you give a listen to Fairyland.

    If it weren’t for Phillipe Giordana being a total dudebro his music would be really cool.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      You know that when you link to my blog, it appears on my dashboard, and I can follow it there and see what’s written?

      If Fairlyland is really a friend of yours who makes music, (Google only turned up a French metal band), you may feel free to recommend his work here, I don’t mind if we disagree on some issues.

  • ianeymeaney

    GWAR on the 2012 presidential election: http://gawker.com/5888768/gwars-oderus-urungus-endorses-death-for-all-candidates-on-wheel-of-over-sized-knives/all

    Even in NYC, people notice you on the subway when you are covered in the blood of a space alien fetus that was ripped out of the belly of Snooki. Oderus, you are sorely missed.

  • leni

    I didn’t hear about this until saw Gibby Haynes (Gibby fucking Haynes!) on the Daily Show.

    I was never a huge, huge fan of Gwar, but I did like them and saw them twice and don’t regret staying out of the AoE jizz to just enjoy the spectacle. Also Hell-o was one of the first albums I ever bought. I used to listen to that album before school. In the morning. A lot.

    God I can’t believe my parents didn’t murder me :*)

    Your selection was much netter than the one I would have picked out of familiarity.

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