The father of late Gwar singer Dave Brockie is suing the surviving members of the band for allegedly stealing his son’s “cremated remains, bass guitars and artwork, court documents revealed Monday,” NBC reports.
Dave Brockie—known better by his stage name, Oderus Urungus—died last March of acute heroin toxicity, and was later honored with an actual Viking funeral.
“In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in state circuit court in Richmond, Virginia—where GWAR was formed in 1984—Brockie's father, William Brockie, the administrator of his estate, seeks $1 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages for alleged breach of contract and unauthorized use of Dave Brockie's image, as well as the return of Brockie's cremains.”
The suit explicitly accuses the band of “trying to capitalize on the death of Dave Brockie.” It also claims that Gwar’s manager signed false documents allowing the band to use Brockie’s likeness for merch.
Gwar have released a statement in response to the suit, which you can read in full below:
“We have not yet seen the actual lawsuit papers, and thus cannot comment on the substance of the lawsuit brought against GWAR by Dave Brockie's father, William Brockie, but we can say that the claims in the Style Weekly article are false. We did not steal Dave Brockie's ashes, or anything else that belonged to him. In fact, all of the items mentioned in the article, including Dave's ashes have been available to his attorneys for weeks. At all times, and under very trying circumstances, we have acted in good faith to honor the wishes of our dear friend. Dave left no will or instructions for final arrangements, and so we have done the best we could to honor what we believe Dave Brockie would have wanted.
The accusation concerning Dave's ashes is particularly troubling for us. Following Dave's passing, the first thing we did was notify his father, who signed over Dave's body so we could have him cremated. We were told by Dave's father that he did not want to be involved in making Dave's final arrangements. For this reason, Slave Pit assumed that responsibility, paying for his cremation, arranging two memorial services (one public and one private), and purchasing a plot for Dave in Richmond's famed Hollywood Cemetery. Dave's father did not attend either of the services held for his son in Richmond.
Over 30 years of working and living with Dave, several of us had heard him say that he wished for his ashes to be kept at Slave Pit, so he could “keep an eye on GWAR” while we worked. In the weeks following his death, we developed a plan for a memorial fund that would raise money to honor Dave's memory with a statue in Hollywood Cemetery and work to continue his passionate support of the arts. We felt strongly that a portion of his remains should live at the site of his proposed monument in Hollywood Cemetery. When William Brockie later approached us, we released a portion of the ashes at his request, so he could spread them in the location where Dave's brother and mother's ashes were dispersed.
Concerning the other allegations in the article, there was certainly no effort on the part of anyone in GWAR, including drummer Brad Roberts, to steal or hide Dave's belongings and personal effects either from his home or office. Dave, like the rest of GWAR, was paid upfront for his final leg of touring with GWAR. The claim that we failed to pay his share of royalties from Slave Pit Inc. is false, and we have the records to prove that. We have been in correspondence with William Brockie and his lawyers for months. They have access to the band's financial records, and Dave's payments and share of royalties are clearly recorded. Likewise, William Brockie's attorneys have an itemized list of the small collection of Dave's art and belongings at Slave Pit. There was never an attempt on the part of Slave Pit to withhold these items from William Brockie. When his attorneys finally identified the particular things they wanted, we made arrangements to return them immediately. Dave's remains, as well as his belongings, including the instruments and the gold record mentioned in the article were given to our lawyers, who in turn notified the Brockie estate that they could retrieve them weeks ago.
The Dave Brockie Fund did indeed raise money toward our initial goal of building a monument to Dave in Hollywood Cemetery. Unfortunately, its mission has been put on hold because William Brockie's attorneys claim that the Brockie estate should have control of the Dave Brockie Fund and the money contained therein. If we are ultimately unable to use the funds for the purpose for which they are raised, the funds will be returned to all contributing donors.
Finally, our manager, Jack Flanagan has been unjustly accused of signing a bogus release. At the request of our attorneys, he signed some paperwork to make his position clear on what he thought Dave would have wanted, which is something that the law of Virginia specifically asks for, given Jack's relationship with the band and with Dave. There is nothing bogus about this.
Dave Brockie was our friend, peer, co-worker, and our family. We want to preserve the legacy of one of the greatest singers in rock and roll history. There is no “conspiracy,” no bad faith, no theft, no graft, and no ill will. We trust our fans will see through this, and we will be able to get back to work on the one thing we all know Dave Brockie loved; GWAR.”