Dave Brockie, GWAR’s Oderus Urungus, Dies At 50
The last time I saw Gwar live was at a Christmas show at the old Rockets on Broad Street in 1989. You have to see them live to get the full Gwar experience – you just do – and this was one that I’ll never forget.
From the very first cord the music felt like someone was kicking you in the chest and the crowd, lubricated with one dollar Carling Black Labels, went into a frenzy almost immediately. It didn’t take long to realize that this was a thrash metal nativity play complete with space alien wise men, Dave Brockie performing lewd acts on deformed manger animals, and a topless Mary giving birth to the baby Jesus on a toilet throne - hoses of fake-blood coating everyone with a thick, red muck. By the time the actual birth took place, the whole room was one giant mosh pit. At some point I hopped up on stage and jumped out into the crowd only to find myself on the floor among a thousand legs and feet where my nose was broken and one of my shoes lost.
The broken nose took a bit of the vinegar out of me, so I went looking for my girlfriend to see if she was ready to go but she had already left. I thought about retrieving my shoe but, by then, the baby Jesus had grown into “Corpus Crispy” and was singing backup, and the crowd was predatory – they had no patience for someone looking for something as mendacious as a shoe.
I was living across the river near Forest Hill Park at the time and figured that if I was going to get home that night I’d better start hitchhiking. Of course nobody stopped since I was covered in dried blood – I must have looked like an extra from Carrie – and I ended up walking the whole way – in one shoe. By the time I did get home a couple of my toes were starting to show signs of frostbite. I ended us loosing the tip of one of them.
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t look down and notice this naked foot – the still weird asymmetry of it. And when that happens, it summons a smoke machined vision of Oderus Urungus humping a two-headed manger mule – every single day since December 24, 1989, I see my toe and he be humping. No matter where I am or what kind of day I’m having, it always makes me smile.