RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — While he was alive, Richmond’s own Dave Brockie shocked, entertained and amused millions as the leader of the shock-rock-art band GWAR. He was known for his larger-than-life persona and outrageous social commentary that was heard on a wide variety of platforms, including even on the typically conservative Fox News.
Now there’s a plan for his remains to be interred in Hollywood Cemetery, considered by many to be the area’s most historic and revered burial ground.
There’s a certain humorous poetry to it that Dave would appreciate, said longtime friend and former bandmate Danny Black, who was among close friends who viewed the body Wednesday prior to cremation. “That’s a load off my chest,” Black said of his final, very peaceful visit with his friend.
Dave Brockie, 50, was found dead in his north Richmond home by his roommate on March 23. The official cause-of-death ruling is awaiting a toxicology report, which could still be weeks away.
Much of the Richmond music community remains in shock. The loss has touched fans around the world.
But it’s likely no one has been more powerfully impacted than his extended GWAR family that grew to number dozens during GWAR’s 30 years of touring the world. Many have gone on to other endeavors near and far, but remain part of the family.
He was the glue that held the group together, his GWAR family will tell you. But they, in turn, were his family, his glue.
Dave Brockie, a Canadian native was adopted. His adoptive brother, Andrew, died 25 years ago of AIDS. His adoptive father remains alive in West Virginia.
The band Dave led is a unique musical and artistic co-op, a democracy that is at a critical crossroads as how to soldier on without their fearless leader and also how to control his vast legacy of his art, literature and music that revolved around the GWAR juggernaut.
As a family, they weathered many challenges, including the 2011 death by heart failure of guitarist Cory Smoot and a nearly fatal shooting of a previous guitarist during a tour stop.
There’s a united desire to honor their friend and brother, but like even the best of families, there is division about how to proceed. For example, the Hollywood decision has taken a while, and is still being refined. Where will his memory best be honored by visitors who will coming for years to come? Near the infamous Hollywood vampire, or over by the pyramid monument to Confederate soldiers? Dave liked to climb that, Black said.
Brad Roberts, the longtime drummer and treasurer for this unusual family, told me they will work through all these details, together.
Watch some of this unique family in these video clips of the April 1 memorial service for Dave Brockie held at the National Theater: