GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death: Part 7

Corresponding all they way from Comic-Con 2009 in San Diego, Dave Brockie picks up where he left off in his always-shocking, never-boring tale of how he became the man we know today.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll High School

Brockie, Summer 2009, the Slave Pit.

It’s 1978. Somewhere, Sid Vicious is shooting up. I’m standing in Dulles Airport with my Dad, waiting for my brother Andrew to come through the doors of the international arrival lounge. He’s been in England for the last couple months, hanging out with the relatives and having fun in London. Actually he was learning how to take it up the ass, but more on that later.

As I have explained in past episodes, my parents were both immigrants to this great country (Canada first, and finally here), and had left the great majority of both families in England and Scotland. We would visit on occasion but this time my bro had gone on his own, a reward for his amazing academic achievements – never my strongest suit, unless you considered urinating in the water fountain to be worthy of scholastic kudos. As I went down my path of suburban terrorism, my older brother went in a much different direction. Standing there before those swinging black doors, my Dad and I were about to find out just how just how different a direction that was…

The doors swung open wide, and there he was. Andrew, gay as hell. The first thing I noticed was his foot-high platform boots. Then, in quick succession, his handle-bar mustache (he was a hairy high-schooler), his swishy scarf, and finally the Frisbee-sized gay pride button. The huge smile on his face offset the lack of one on my fathers as my gay bro minced across the arrival lounge and shook his tiny ass, setting off an explosion of fabric from his gigantic bell-bottom pants. Later, I would think that this was one of the last truly happy moments of his life. He had just returned from an amazing journey of self-realization, in an environment where he was surrounded by like-minded people, people who had helped him come to grips and acceptance of his sexuality, and blown him. To find yourself after years of searching must have been a great feeling. As I rushed to my beloved brother, embracing him in a mush of clattering buttons, I realized and accepted his homosexuality in a heartbeat. I didn’t give a shit! My mother would have a similar attitude. But my father and society in general had other ideas… one’s involving hatred and humiliation, scorn and ignorance. America in the mid-seventies was not exactly the most accepting culture for such behavior. Sitcoms like “Will and Grace” were a long way off. As we gathered up Andrew’s gear (gay luggage as well) and drove back to Fairfax, we had little understanding of the word of hurt that lay in store for him… and us.

Andrew had always been pretty awesome in my eyes. His gayness made him even more so. He never backed down to the jock assholes who would tease him mercilessly. He had some balls, balls that would be tongued and fondled, balls that would be rubbed raw by the hairy jowls of the weird men my brother had sex with in the D.C. bathhouse scene. He never beat the shit out of me or did much of that “older brother” crap. He never tried to blow me. My brother was one of those guys that teachers loved. He was always staying after school in the “computer room”, teaching kids way older than him how to write programs on seventies-era Commodore computers. He was a genius whose near-perfect SAT’s landed him in the “Who’s Who of America High School Students”. That made him one of the few students so honored that actually failed to graduate high school.

You see, we went to Robinson High School, one of the largest in the state, encompassing 7th through 12th grades and accommodating close to 5000 students. And of those 5000 I believe 4999 weren’t gay, or at least wouldn’t publicly admit it. High school is one of the cruelest of camps, and he had no problem walking around looking like Elton John from the Captain Fantastic era. And as the abuse from his schoolmates grew, Andrew’s interest in attending school became less and less.

Andrew was so important to me in so many ways. Besides being a fearless pioneer into the world of alternate lifestyles, thus encouraging me to do the same (just not with cocks), he was the person that introduced me to music. He was there when I bought my first album, ”Welcome to my Nightmare” by Alice Cooper. On that day he picked up “Young Americans” by Bowie. I don’t know what upset my parents more—the black widows all over the “Nightmare” art or the womanly, manicured fingernails Bowie was sporting on his record. But it was notable to me that it did upset them!

I think my brothers realization of his gayness led me to question my own role in life and seek my own path of self-expression with a greater fervor. Up until then my subversion had been fairly low-key, or at least I hadn’t gotten caught yet. To all appearances I was a fairly normal-looking teenager (with a head the size of a watermelon), not allied with any particular group or movement. Andrew had already gone gay so that was out, and besides, I didn’t like the taste of human sperm. So I began to cast about for something a little more substantial than D+D, shoplifting, and vandalism. And it came… on the television.

One night, my Mom and I were watching the “Tomorrow” show with Tom Snyder… and my life changed just as dramatically as my brothers did the first time he had a penis rammed up his ass.

Tom was talking about this crazy new music coming out of England and the freaks that loved it. “Punk Rock” was the latest in teen angst and the report featured footage straight out of London clubs showing leather-clad and spiky haired kids “pogoing”. It looked like they were beating the shit out of each other! Apparently the leaders of this movement were a band of snarling snots who went by the name of “Sex Pistols”, and their antics were pissing off everyone from the Queen on down. As Tom Snyder’s nasal monotone became a sub-sonic rumbling of unintelligible babble, I was instantly and forevermore riveted to this thing, despite his best efforts to report on how this music was the greatest threat to civilization since gay people.

“That’s just terrible,” said my Mom from the couch where she was to live the last two decades of her life. “What’s wrong with kids today?”

“I don’t know, Mom,” I said. But I wanted to know. I wanted to be wrong, too.

In my glue-damaged brain, I actually thought that KISS was probably a punk rock band, what with all the spikes and stuff…


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

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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. I think this is the best one yet. Perfect balance between crudeness (which, let’s be honest, I kind of love) and sentiment. it was a pleasure to read.

  2. bferrero on said:

    Thanks for the post, I’ll keep reading.


  3. Citizen Tom on said:

    In the Fall of 1976 I was coming back to Richmond after spending a few months traveling around Italy. I had a layover in London and I was in a bus traveling from one London airport to another. It was an hour long bus ride.

    During the trip I was talking to some of the locals and the big topic was the Sex Pistols. They had been on television the night before and had used some shocking language on live television.

    Although I agreed with the elderly woman sitting next to me that there was no place for that kind of abuse in society I was secretly smiling and couldn’t wait to get back home to Richmond.

  4. Bodie Rosenlund on said:

    thats good reading i like it crude yet touching!

  5. Emily on said:

    Put these things together in a book. They are wonderfuly written — especially this one.

    When my son was a kid, he remembers drawing GWAR characters for Mike Bishop and you in the old Village. He grew up to be gay and it wasn’t easy not even in the 90’s. I know he’ll love this column.

    And yes, you do have great insight and a fine balance. And, I, too, I like the crude stuff.

  6. hex machine on said:

    Dave, you mean..YOU aren’t gay?!?!?!

  7. DAVE!!! You KILL me! I swear – this piece is pure perfection…I felt like I coulda been sitting across from you in a booth at the old Village, listening to you spin this yarn…I’m still smiling…Well Done!

  8. C.J. Starkey on said:

    well written

    a totally enjoyable read

  9. Nice Dave!

  10. Snergal Snergsnerg on said:

    Whenever someone says ‘GWAR ain’t metal, dood’ I used to say ‘Yeah they are, but half the songs are punk. That’s why they’re the best punk band and also the best metal band’. Now I’ll say, if it comes up again, ‘leave him alone, man his brother is totally gay!’.

  11. confused on said:

    Dave, I’m 4 months pregnant with your baby. What should I do?

  12. I’m just happy there are some people in the world who know enough to write “the old Village” regardless of how many people know what that means. Also, I’m surprised that Dave likes punk music.

  13. Hey Dave,

    I actually got to interview you on WOBC (Oberlin College) back in 2002. I didn’t even work for the radio, but I was hanging out with my metal buddies who did and who’d invited me to listen in. I was the only person catching your obscure references, so they put me in front of the mic. All I could think to talk about was your DBX song “Faggot on Fire”… you said you were entitled to tongue-in-cheek that from our Gay brother. I’d always wondered about your brother since then, and it’s really interesting to hear that (serious) side of the story.
    Keep writing…it’s starting to get quite good.

  14. Coulda shoulda but never ever did guess you could write like this. I’m thrilled and amazed + amused. Thanks for the stories!

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