GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death: Part 3

Join Dave Brockie, notorious Richmond malcontent, as he poops forth a pithy tale of the behind-the-scenes rise and continuing plateau of GWAR, Richmond home-town heroes and intergalactic douchebags!


Join Dave Brockie, notorious Richmond malcontent, as he poops forth a pithy tale of the behind-the-scenes rise and continuing plateau of GWAR, Richmond home-town heroes and intergalactic douchebags! Tackle endless run-on sentences and continual shifts in tense! Gape in horror as you realize you can’t read!

Author’s note: To protect the guilty (and their crimes are most foul…), I have changed all band members names to secret codes that can easily be figured out. They are featured in BOLD FACE.

Abandoned by the I.R.A.

It was another typical day. I was up early, crapping in a bag, staring out the window, and wondering why the hell anyone would want to put a 40-foot tall piece of fiberglass cheese by the side of the road. I finally had some pot, but it sucked, and anyway, I had only been awake about three minutes (not long enough to find it). Outside, mile after mile of bleak middle American countryside rolled by, occasionally broken by a Walmart, a lurking State Trooper, or the aforementioned giant piece of fiberglass cheese. Around me, yet unseen, a bevy of bellicose bastards farted and bounced their way through their last couple hours of sleep before another day on tour with the smelliest, most tenacious band in rock and roll history: the mighty GWAR.

It’s halfway through our 2009 “Fights of Spring”, and I ponder the night before—Racer X (codename for band member) brought a horde of freaks into the dressing room after the show, including a couple hot-yet-wretched strippers. Sisters they were, and within seconds one was humping Egg-Eye‘s leg. Voicing his concern regarding the proximity of her husband, he is told by her sister (who is giving an unwanted lap dance to our gay light man), “That’s okay, our parents are bikers!” That explains everything!

Typical…yeah. In fact displays like that are so commonplace that I am sick to death of them (complete lie). So enough with the inflammatory stories of dubious origin! They were only designed to grab your attention for the first couple episodes until I could figure out what the hell I wanted to do with this thing. And besides, there will be plenty of time for that later. Indeed, smut will form the very backbone of this beast!

But first things first, like being born. I don’t remember it, but I am pretty sure it happened. I mean, being adopted, I don’t know anybody who was there…so I theoretically could be from outer space. So I had two sets of parents, the real ones, and the ones who joined the IRA. Confused? Me too, and it’s my life!

I was born on August 30th, 1963 at Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa, Canada. My biological parents were exchange students from Ireland whose strict Catholic upbringing meant any out-of-wedlock child would be stoned to death, so I was left in the care of the state so they could go back to Ireland and join the I.R.A. My parents found me eleven months later at an “every child must go” swap-meet. My huge head and whooping cough made me a stand-out. In fact they had put me in a nearby field after I blinded my nurse with a stream of caustic baby-pee. Projecting fluids has always been a strong suit for me– my phlegm-flinging could knock a maggot off a diaper-dumpster at three paces. But that was good for my folks—you could take the sick babies home immediately; they actually paid you to take them away. That’s how they had gotten my older brother, Andrew, a couple of years earlier (he had the plague). And thus destiny conspired to bring together the Brockie family, which upon my acquisition, was now complete…

My mom, bless her heart, was the strongest, sweetest, most generous, and talented person I have ever known. From her I got my love of art and music, and the occasional 20 I would pinch from her purse. My dad… was Scottish. Together they had fled a Europe devastated by the most destructive event in history. World War II was a very real event for my parents, and me as well. They were both teenagers at the time and hadn’t been young enough to avoid service… and they didn’t want to. It’s hard for Americans to understand what it must have felt like to be a British citizen living on the home island during the year of 1940, unless you live close to Mexico. Hitler and the Nazi’s had conquered most of Europe and were getting ready to invade England. There was just one little thing stopping him—the Royal Air Force, of which my parents (who at this point had yet to meet each other) were members of. My mom was a vivacious and energetic redhead and joined the Women’s Air Corp, ready to do whatever she could to help her beloved England defeat the Nazi menace. My father did his best to take up arms, but his amazing mechanical abilities saved his life—they made him an aircraft mechanic rather than the pilot he wanted to be, which was a good thing as the lifespan of a combat pilot was about two weeks at best.

I have spent a lot of my life obsessed with war. I blame Hitler! If he hadn’t tried to take over the freaking world maybe my folks would have had a nice, normal life. But he did, and they didn’t. As the bombs of the Luftwaffe rained down on London, my beautiful mother threw herself into service, and within a year had witnessed more horror and carnage than can be easily be imagined, even in a culture like ours, completely inured to shock and tragedy. To whit–

1. Had a friend machine-gunned to death right next to her as they rode bikes to school.

2. Saw a soldier reduced to “strawberry jam” after being run over by a Sherman tank.

3. Was buried alive in the rubble of her house for three days. She held the hand of her friend as it went cold and stiff and survived on the drippings of a broken water-pipe.

4. Spent hours placing chunks of blasted humans into a wicker basket after a particularly savage air attack.

5. While working in the RAF morgue, leaned over the cadaver of a young pilot she was dressing for burial. She placed some weight on the stomach, which caused the corpse to expel gas, which made it half sit-up and moan.

Whatever horrors my mother had endured were apparently nothing compared to my dad’s trials. From as early as I can remember, I was told to “never talk about it”–“it” being whatever had happened to my father in the years from 1939 to 1945. He had been shipped to Malta, a rock in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea that was a thorn in the side of the Axis for a good part of the war. Here his job was to somehow keep the few fighter aircraft they had still flying—no mean feat considering the entire North African Luftwaffe was trying to destroy them. At one point the defenders only had three fighters, all obsolete Gloucester Gladiator biplanes nicknamed “Faith”, “Hope”, and “Charity”. One day the Germans attacked in force, strafing and bombing the airfield my father worked at. As my father leapt for a slit-trench, he felt a heavy blow, and realized he had been hit. A fragment from an exploding 20 mm cannon shell had struck him in the center of the back, passing through his chest and out the front, miraculously missing all bones, blood vessels, and organs. And he was the lucky one. A German bomb scored a direct hit on the command bunker, instantly killing everyone in my Fathers unit. He was the only survivor.

One day I came running into the living room with a new model airplane I had just completed. It was a German plane, an Me-109, the main German fighter during the Battle of Britain. My mom was napping, so I woke her up to show her, and as soon as she saw the outlines of the plane I held in my hands (I was making a strafing run on her), she screamed and fell off the couch.

I’ll never forget that afternoon. The memories, long repressed, came spilling out, and I spent a long day with my mom, listening to these stories, trying to understand what kind of a world had created them. The veneer of our comfy home seemed to mask some kind of horrific hell-kingdom, a place where machines were torn apart, cities were obliterated, and people reduced to bloody pulp. The ones who survived were haunted for what was left of their lives, bearing the psychic and physical wounds in suffering silence. At the tender age of four, I had already decided the world was a completely fucked-up place.


(Confused? Get caught up with Parts 1 and 2.)

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Dave Brockie

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Mr. T on said:

    Great story! I eagerly await the next installment!

  2. I LOVED this one.

  3. Ben Tigre on said:

    That’s quite an intense story

  4. Amazing!

  5. I wuv whew Dave…

  6. Khris Killer on said:

    I can’t wait for the next post.! Awesome.

  7. Please don’t abandon this. I know you’re one of the hardest working people in probably the whole damn entertainment industry, you amaze me…but this stuff…these are the stories that polite America wants to forget, and that is nearly as tragic as the happenings in the first place.

    You have my sincerest gratitude for sharing your memories, such as they are.

  8. Nicko (from France) on said:

    Incredible story… It reminds me the stories my Grandfather told me when He spoke of the WWII.So much things He didn’t tell to anybody and that are lost now. I miss him. As a French I can’t forget the sacrifices People from UK, USA… made so many years ago to make France and Europe free.
    Thank you Dave, See you soon on the road!

  9. Amazing story Dave. You’re an incredibly talented artist and it’s clear your talents extend to creative writing. Your description of your parents experiences and anguish is palpable and it makes for an interesting, if harrowing read.
    My grandfather fought for the Allies at both Normandy beach and the Battle of the Bulge as a gunnery sergeant and those memories and experiences still haunt him to this day as he approaches 90. In many ways I think he’s never been able to reconcile the things he did during the war with himself which has lead to a lifetime struggle with alcoholism to dull the pain.
    Regardless, I hope you not only continue to write this column, but it would be great if you would also consider writing a full-length autobiography or memoir of your life. You’ve lead a terribly interesting life that you’ve begun to describe here that I think a great many people would enjoy learning more about.

  10. Emily on said:

    OK you made me cry.

    I too, was told to “never talk about it” But finally, when my father was dying , he began to talk about his experiences in WWII and Korea. It was only then that I understood why he was so broken. I wished I had know sooner…

  11. man wow. thats intense. Amazing story. Im stunned and dont even know what else to say. youve struck quite a few people with your storys but this one is deep. im sure it feels good to get it out. i can tell your really passionate about your life and your family.

  12. Scott on said:

    Wow – AMAZING entry – thank you SO MUCH for sharing, Dave!

  13. Wow. GWAR fan or not. These stories should be required reading.

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