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  1. Earlier this year GWAR was celebrating their 30th anniversary. This morning they are mourning the loss of Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, the lead singer and founder (along with Hunter Jackson) of GWAR. Back in the mid-80s in Richmond, Brockie had a band called Death Piggie. They ended up sharing space with VCU art students doing a sci-fi film, such as Hunter Jackson, and so they combined forces to form the band that ultimately became "GWAR". No, it doesn't mean "Gay Women Against Rape" or anything like that, but instead started as a longer name that was more of a battle cry GWARRRLGLAGLAG kind of thing (not exact spelling). Over the years they also played out of costume as RAWG ("the ultimate GWAR cover band"), the Dave Brockie Experience (DBX with Brad Roberts, aka Jizmak da Gusha, and Mike Derks, aka Balsac the Jaws of Death), and slightly reorganized as X-Cops with Casey Orr on vocals instead of bass and Brockie playing Bass (as well as singing on "Cobb Knobbler"). In 1988 they released Hell-o!, their first CD. The band changed over the years as members and artists came and went. Around '96/'97, my friend Scott got me into the band. We discovered alt.music.gwar on USENET and the #gwar IRC channel. That's where I started using my long-time Internet handle of "Highway Star" after the X-Cops cover of Deep Purple's song. Members of GWAR, especially Derks, tended to interact with their fans online, so Scott and I started visiting "The Slave Pit" to hang out with them. Mostly we'd help with merchandise, work on the costumes, and putter around smoking weed and drinking copious amounts of cheap beer. It was thanks to GWAR that I discovered hefeweizen (we thought it was a brand at first) and Abita Turbodog. It was thanks to us that GWAR discovered Milwaukee's Best Ice and Brockie made us promise never to bring that back into his building again. Two things that always amazed me: one, they listened to ALL KINDS of music. For instance, they had a record of a high school choir teacher singing covers of heavy metal songs a capella. They were really big on new and smaller bands and would give them a chance to show their stuff especially at venues like the GWAR-B-Qs. (When Green Jelly went big briefly - and they'd even namedropped GWAR on at least one track - evidently they said they'd do cool things with them, and then disappeared. I have the Green Jelly CD from back when they were still Green Jello, and while it is GWAR-esque, it doesn't have, in my opinion, the fusion of the band as an entity that exists and a storyline that most GWAR CDs have.) When we were there the line-up included (hoping I spell everyone's names right) Danyelle Stampe, as Slymenstra Hymen (I helped her with her naga-esque costume for the Carnival of Chaos tour, vocals and dancing), Brad Roberts as Jizmak Da Gusha (drummer, merchandise), Mike Derks as Balsac the Jaws of Death (guitar, main dude handling what we'd call now social media), Pete Lee as Flattus Maximus (guitar, not often as much), Casey Orr (bass guitar, great guy and his wife was cool as heck too), plus Scott Krahl (I think?), Matt Maguire and the other slaves (who primarily did art - Matt was the guy who dressed as Robo-Sleazy P. Martini and thoroughly drenched me with "toxic waste" at a show at DragonCon in '97). A lot of us who met via the Internet at that time made various trips to meet each other and are still in contact today. My first trip to see GWAR was to Virginia Beach on the Carnival of Chaos tour, where another fan figured out that we knew them out of costume (pretty rare those days) and followed us around; there was the "Peace Treaty" visit to Cleveland after an epic flame war on alt.music.gwar where we almost got Derks drunk enough to fall of the stage; and of course Atlanta in '97 which involved tasers, puking out of cabs and buses, and a BJ incident that led to Brockie nicknaming one of our group "Kneepads". So, yeah, typical rock and roll stuff, I GUESS, if you ignored the giant latex covered zombie dinosaurs attacking a group of space barbarians playing heavy metal. Dave was a huge WWII nut - we discussed playing Advanced Squad Leader a couple of times but it never worked out - and he worked for years on his book "Warghoul" which came out a few years ago. If you listen to GWAR you'll learn about his obsession with the Russian front thanks to the various references to it. He went to Stalingrad for the first time recently and was super excited about it on Facebook. Typically when a new GWAR CD would come out I'd play it obsessively over and over and over again in my car until I basically had it memorized. When I heard the news today I first thought I'd do the same thing, but with the entire collection - and then I realized it made me too sad to do that yet. I will, and soon, after I put together my full Brockie playlist again, but instead (assuming Don is cool with me continuing to blather on in this thread) I'll work my way through each CD in chronological order (unless I get confused) and talk about them. I'd been putting off going back to a GWAR show for years. Dammit all to hell. ETA: Please remember that all "personal" details for me are tempered by the fact that typically a lot of booze and ... other stuff ... was consumed while those memories were being formed. And there's been nearly 20 years of booze after them. I've tried to double check the factual bits, but any errors, etc., are entirely my own fault. --- Just a side note - I won't really be covering the movies, as I only really owned one or two of them over the years (and I didn't end up in the one they filmed around the time I was hanging out around there, because I wasn't in town, if I remember correctly). But they were also a big influence on me - for quite a while, Scott and I kept trying to figure out how to film our own movies partially thanks to them.
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