GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death: Part 10

After a wild and crazy summer and just as he embarks upon a three-month tour, Dave Brockie is back to add to his sordid (but always entertaining) collection of tales on how he became the man he is today.

My office, appearing daily, for the next three months. Note the Kindle 2. Those things rule! And yes, I am my own screen saver. Pathetic!

Whew! I sure am glad that is over. This summer I mean. Yeah, it was awesome and amazing and full of crazy events, and yes, I am still picking nachos out of my crack. Check out some of the nutty, wacky, STUFF I have been up to, at the following places…

So now we are out on the big “LUST IN SPACE” Tour with Richmond’s finest, Lamb of God, as well as Job For a Cowboy and later Red Chord. What can I say…it’s loud! Over three months of touring, done by Christmas. So many people are going to see my ass.

Ya know one of the bummers about being in GWAR? I will never get to see my band play! Maybe that’s a good thing. Nevertheless, you people better be at The National this year.

But let’s not dither on about my life as a pseudo-rock star. We have to get back to…

GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death


After my face-off with Rusty, I set about two things above all others: playing in a band and trying to get laid. Surely someone, nay, something, would have sex with me now. I had face-smeared few hotties over the course of high school, but I never quite reached discharge. I had my penis mouthed while playing my guitar… that’s right, not a blow-job, a penis-mouthing. A few times my dick was actually poking about close to a (human) vagina, getting all tangled up in panties and fingers, but never quite making it into the squish-zone. I was getting pretty frustrated. Then one day I ran into Big Boo in the smoking lounge.

Someone had told me she wanted to make out with me. I blurted out some story about helping me “look for some pot I had lost” in the woods out next to the school. So innocent back then, these woods today conceal a minefield. But back then we had no such worries, we just had to keep an eye out for Stark the Narc who was known to occasionally bumble about through the bushes using a yardstick as a machete. But not today, and as soon as I got her into the foliage I set upon her. Within seconds it was over, and we were stumbling down the hill and back to class, without the pot which had never existed. Already anticipating the rest of my life, I never talked to her again!

Meanwhile I was was busy doing the things I figured a punk rocker would do: drink, vandalize, and generally cause havoc. Me and my pal SS formed our first band, NUCLEAR DOG SHIT. We tried out for the talent show with our theme song, “Theme Song.” The lyrics went something like this…

Nuke nuke nuclear—nuclear–dog shit!
Nuke nuke nuclear—nuclear—dog shit!
Have you heard about the hot tub craze?
A rock in your shoe makes you limp for days!
I think camels should all smoke grass…
I like to eat…raw bass!

At that point SS flung a dead fish at the judges. It went over so horribly that I ran down the hall and put a trash can over my head. The waste-paper basket wouldn’t fit!

Nuclear Dog Shit was my first band, and my first band break-up. After that was the Sub-Urbans. We did all Ramones covers. I played guitar and looked just like Johnny Ramone, even if I didn’t sound like him. Practice was always fun–we’d do “Blitzkrieg Bop” about ten times and smoke weed. But then for some inexplicable reason we added a female singer (a chick, and not even very hot), and another guitar player. We changed the name to “The Suburban Punks” and started playing Zeppelin… and it sucked. Low points included un-plugging myself at the talent show while threatening a special ed. kid that was trying to take photos. Nobody cared, but I wouldn’t give up. We kept coming up with weird, funny projects to keep us occupied. We had to do something other than take acid, which we did pretty much everyday!

My first “avant-garde” project was an acoustic band called “Yams on Wheels”. You might as well have just called it “Dave on Drugs”. We did a take-off of the “Westworld” movies called “Deathworld” about cowboy robots (named “Yul”, “Bren”, and “Ur”) killing high school kids. I would die to see that fucking movie again. It was one of mine and The Mantis’s first creative hookups. If you had told us then that in only ten short years GWAR would be born, and we were gonna be in the coolest band ever… well, I think we would have just shit!

But that was a long way off. I hadn’t even gotten my first blow-job yet (though I had had my penis mouthed). But life was changing. Around there in 10th or 11th grade, my brother moved into D.C. Sick of the incessant teasing (and the occasional beating), he had dropped out a couple years before and was spending all his time downtown., getting his gay on and selling us Orange Sunshine. Me and guys like Mantis, SS, and Suh-Hed would pile into my VW Fastback and take the 20 minute drive to my brother’s house on Capitol Hill where he would protect us from his gay friends predations and give us really good acid. We’d listen to music together and laugh about what dicks our parents were. Out of high school, Andrew seemed so much happier. He might not of graduated but had still made the Who’s Who of American High School Students for his almost perfect SATs.

It didn’t seem too much to think that after he settled down with the all-night gay bath parties that Andrew would find something to do besides shoot drugs, which he had just found out about, and I had just caught him doing. I can remember being so young and naive that the very idea of drugs ever entering our family was just inconceivable. I mean, those anti-drug commercials were scary (and kinda enticing in a weird way… I mean, who didn’t want to see their brain fried like an egg, at least for a couple of hours?). And there I was smoking weed while lecturing my brother on how stupid he was for shooting dope.

Drugs and music were everywhere, and we fully indulged in both. I mean it was 1980! Rock and roll hadn’t been around long enough to really suck yet… well there was the Greatful Dead, they always sucked. I had been to a few arena tours at the venerable Capitol Center where I saw lots of the days big arena acts like Styx, Priest, Springsteen, and The Who. In fact my first ever show was Ted Nugent, The Scorpions, and Blackfoot. Then with my brother’s guidance we started going to catch acts like The Police, The B-52’s and U2  in places D.C. like the original 9:30 Club or the Warner Theatre. When we heard the Ramones were coming we went ape shit. We used to go see “Rock and Roll High School” at the midnight movie, totally on acid, stand up in front of the screen and pretend we were the Ramones! Finally we made the trip up to Maryland and saw them play on the “Road to Ruin” tour. I got right in front and caught one of Johnny Ramone’s guitar picks. But the plot thickens! The band that opened for the Ramones was called the “Slickee Boys.” If you have never heard of them, they were pretty big around D.C. for a while. They were a goofy Dickies-esque kinda band, featuring notorious guitarist Kim Kayne, who rocked a Fender Mustang with a plastic pork-chop taped to his ankle. We started following them around because they seemed to be having more fun than us, and finally caught them at a notorious D.C. dive bar called D.C. Space. There were two opening bands I had never heard of and we got there just as the first one was starting.

It was a band called Minor Threat.

The first time you see a real slam pit can be a shocking experience, especially when you have little in the way of frame of reference. This was my first hardcore show, and I had never even heard of it! It was so new that I had no idea it existed, and I considered myself a “punk.” The band exploded with the fastest shit I had ever heard. WAY faster than the Ramones, light-years faster… and the floor just erupted with a snarling mass of glowering skinheads seemingly bent on getting the shit beaten out of them. Then I noticed a strange hierarchy. It was the more skinny-tie or new wavey looking types that were getting slammed into walls, kicked in the chest, elbowed in the nose, etc. I didn’t want to be that guy. “The Georgetown Punks” were a loosely knit group of proto-punks who were just starting the D.C. Hardcore scene. Based around their label, Dischord Records, and their “straight edge” lifestyle. And that night was my first impression of them. I gaped in shock and awe as the band pummeled its way through its 20-minute set and was quickly replaced by another band that did the same thing. This band was called SOA (State of Alert) was led by a young Henry Rollins who was at the time mere months away from joining seminal L.A. hardcore band Black Flag. It was a pretty formidable collection of music, ideas, and personality, and even if I didn’t agree with all of their philosophies. I loved the shit out of their bands. They were building an empire and I wanted in. But how to make friends with them?

I would pretend to be from England! And vandalize!

Operation “Make Friends With the Georgetown Punks” started with me driving deep into the city in search of a hardcore show I had heard about at an old high school. When I arrived I immediately began to win over people by pretending to be from England… surely if I convinced them I was from England, and hung out with the Sex Pistols, they would love me. So I talked in an overly-loud obviously fake accent about how I was from London and “needed a light for my cigarette.” People just ignored me, and my friends abandoned me out of embarrassment. Just then Ian Makaye and the Georgetown crew showed up, including Henry Rollins. They were quite a scary looking bunch with their bald heads and combat boots—I was still rocking the Johnnny Ramone bowl-cut and Converse, because that’s how English people dressed, especially when they were from Brooklyn. People started to make fun of me and also were figuring out that I was probably the guy that had vandalized the Coke machine. An ass-kicking seemed imminent. I snuck out the back door and ran for my car… but before I did I decided to exact one last measure of mindless vandalism. I ran up behind the school and located a row of small windows at ground level, glowing with the light of the event within. I drove my boot through the first one, sending glass spraying all over the band below! Within seconds I had kicked them all in and was running back up the hill towards the parking lot, filled with the love of destruction. I heard angry shouts behind me, and ventured a look back down the hill. I saw an angry knot of skinheads pile out the back door, looking about in confusion, until their leader motioned up the hill towards me. It was Ian Makaye!

“Get that mother fucker!” he screamed.

With a cry of blood lust usually reserved for hippies, they started running up the hill after me. Somehow I got to my car and escaped, barely avoiding a hail of rocks and causing a major accident when I flew up the on-ramp which was really an off-ramp. The sound of the car impacting the wall was so horrible that I couldn’t bring myself to look, so I just puttered off, lucky to not have gotten my ass kicked, and hopeful I hadn’t just caused a deadly traffic accident.

Ian Makaye wasn’t a dick, I was!

NEXT EPISODE : The Brockie family moves to Latvia, then moves back, then doesn’t move, but for some fucking reason I move to Farmville… but wait, I still gotta graduate!

(Confused? Get caught up with Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.)

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