Dave Brockie, who went by the stage name Oderus Urungus when fronting the band Gwar, has passed away at age 50.
Every day was Halloween when you were at a Gwar show. Unlike other horror-influenced metal bands who merely splashed creature-feature art across album covers, Gwar took it to the stage and beyond, decked out in full costume as demonic barbarians. With a knowing wink, Brockie and his band leaned into the theatricality of their chosen genre, building outsize personalities–and special effects flare–to ratchet up what predecessors like Kiss had done, for an eager audience.
Brockie founded Gwar in 1984, and the band soon went on to infiltrate both the metal scene and pop culture at large–because there was nobody else quite like them. (Their influence would reach further generations, including bands like Mudvayne, who dressed like this at MTV’s Video Music Awards.) The band’s famous costumes and garish concert set pieces helped establish their mythology as powerful aliens dead set on creating hell on Earth. As appearances in movies like Empire Records proved, however, the band didn’t exactly take themselves 100% seriously.
Brockie was found dead in his home in Richmond, Virginia, and as of yet the cause of death is unknown.
Watch a video of Brockie and his band doing what they did, below.