I saw Yig, he saw me
We’re together in dark conclavity!
–Gwar, “Horror of Yig” (Scumdogs of the Universe)
Just a quick post tonight, but I wish it could be under more auspicious circumstances: I learned today that Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, lead singer / lyricist (and sometime bassist) of Gwar, that band I’m always on about, died last night (very possibly when I was writing that bit in last night’s post about how my entire music listening cycle is based around my Gwar collection). I don’t know what killed him, but I imagine it’d be not unrelated to spending the last 25 years jumping around on stage in a heavy latex costume rocking out, even at the age of 50 (and having smoked for much of his life).
I never met the guy, let alone got the chance to shake his hand or share a drink with him, but I’ve heard him speak, both as himself and as his Scumdog alter-ego, thanks to the magic of YouTube (which also enabled me to get into the band in the first place), and I thought he was a cool, cheerful guy who was still very much into his music and stage antics, and hadn’t “grown up” and become jaded. By all accounts he was also rather scholarly (hence the frequent historical references in his songs, such as that bit about the SS atrocities at Malmedy in “Whargoul”, or the bit I mentioned at the end of this post).
How am I coping? Well, frankly I’m upset by the news, which blindsided me on a quiet Monday morning (at least the death of Cory Smoot, a.k.a. Flattus Maximus, happened before I even got into the band). Death is a natural consequence of life, and no-one lives forever, but as I said before, it sucks when someone I admire dies, though at least it’s not as bad as losing a relative or a close friend. I lost Kenny Everett in 1995 without having had the nerve to write a fan letter to him, and now I’ve lost my chance to thank Gwar’s “front being” for making 2013 rock for me. It was already a better year than 2011 or 2012 (which wouldn’t be hard), but being into a crazy thrash metal band that virtually no-one else in this country had even heard of gave me a certain thrill.
(Mind you, I doubt it’s given my mother much of a thrill to have me playing the band often referred to as “God, What an Awful Racket” in her car every other journey!)
However, it occurred to me that it would have been far, far worse if Eminem had been found dead, and that I wouldn’t have been able to get through the working day, even with a black armband. This is because Shady’s music (yes, I know some of you don’t consider rap to be “music”, and your opinions have been noted and thrown away) helped me get through some bad times in my life, such as being fired from the Environment Agency in 2001, and I always think that I can carry on if he could get through the madness he’s endured. Thus, I think I’m going to have to add another resolution to my little list: to write to Eminem and thank him for being my inspiration — before it’s too late…
Two other things: I’m more resolved to track down my father in case he too shuffles off this mortal coil before I have the chance, and I’m going to (at long, long last) do a “cool things” post about Gwar. Maybe that’ll enable me to get it all out of my system and stop me going on about them all the time… (hah, as IF!)