Gwar accused of stealing Dave Brockie’s remains and earnings.
by Charly Himmel / Courthouse News Service
Members of the heavy metal band Gwar stole their late lead singer Dave Brockie’s artwork, bass guitars and cremated remains, and refuse to return them to his family, the musician’s father claims.
Brockie, who formed Gwar in Richmond in 1984, and performed as the character Oderus Urungus for more than 30 years, died March 23, 2014. An autopsy performed by Virginia’s state medical examiner’s office later concluded the cause of death was acute heroin toxicity.
In a lawsuit filed April 2 in Richmond Circuit Court, William Brockie, the administrator for his son’s estate, says Gwar’s members are trying to capitalize on the singer’s death, and names drummer Brad Roberts, aka Jizmak Da Gusha, as the leader of the conspiracy.
In the lawsuit, Brockie says that in the months following his son’s death, band members pilfered guitars, artwork, a gold record, tour ephemera and other personal effects from his son’s home, and padlocked them in an office at the band’s Slave Pit Inc. headquarters.
The lawsuit says Roberts also made off with David Brockie’s cremated remains, and that when the singer’s father attempted to retrieve them, he was made to wait across the street from Slave Pit Inc. until he was given a small fraction of his son’s ashes, “delivered in a used plastic bag with Discover credit card logo on it.”
William Brockie also says in the lawsuit that his son was never compensated for performing on Gwar’s 2014 Far East tour of Asia and Australia.
He also says that following his son’s death, various members of Gwar and their lawyers tried to wrest control of the estate from him, falsely accusing him of failing to accept responsibility for administering his son’s estate.
After Brockie’s death, his bandmates set up the charitable “Dave Brockie Fund” in his honor, according to the lawsuit. According to the band’s website, the charity is “a resource for artists in the fields of music, film, literature and all visual arts who cannot find funding through mainstream channels,” and seeks to preserve “the legacy of Dave’s body of works.”
Brockie’s father alleges that he didn’t consent to his son’s likeness being used for the charity “at the discretion of Slave Pit Inc.” or for memorial T-shirts and merchandise sold during the 2014 Gwar-B-Q concert last summer at Hadad’s Lake in Henrico County.
Brockie seeks $1 million in compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief on claims of conversion, breach of contract, and unauthorized use of David Brockie’s image.
An email to Gwar member Brad Roberts was returned as undeliverable and he was unreachable by phone. A call to Gwar member Bob Gorman went to voice mail. William Brockie is represented by Christopher Malone and Zachary Cohen of ThompsonMcMullan PC in Richmond.