Gwar continue tour despite death of guitarist

Following the unexpected death of guitarist Cory Smoot, the band have announced they will complete their North America tour but will retire the character of Flattus Maximus in his honour

Gwar will not be stopped by the loss of their lead guitarist. The heavy metal monsters have announced that they will continue their current tour despite the death of Cory Smoot, who died aboard their tour bus on 3 November. "Although the great temptation would be to return home, curl into a foetal position, and mourn, we can't do that," Gwar explained. "[Cory] would want us to go on and would be pissed if we didn't."

Smoot had been a member of Gwar since 2002, the fifth guitarist to take over the role of devilish, dreadlocked Flattus Maximus. He performed a "great show" in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, but hours later, as the band prepared to drive into Canada, frontman Dave Brockie said he discovered the 34-year-old's body. "He was in his bunk, unresponsive, and it quickly was clear that he was dead," Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, wrote in a statement. "It was without a doubt the most horrible moment of my life."

According to Brockie, the cause of death will not be known "until the medical officials have finished their work". Smoot was 34, "happy", "excited about the band" and "deeply in love with his wife". "We are completely devastated and shocked beyond belief," Brockie wrote. "One night we had our friend and colleague, happy and healthy in the middle of our best tour in years – and the next morning, so suddenly, he was gone. Never have I seen starker proof of the fragility of life."

While they intend to complete their North American tour, appearing in Vancouver tonight, Gwar have decided to retire the character of Flattus Maximus. "Flattus has decided to return to his beloved 'Planet Home', and will never return to this mudball planet again. And this is a sadder place for that."

Known for their elaborate demonic costumes, Gwar have released 12 albums since 1988. 2006's Beyond Hell, on which Smoot appeared, reached No 67 in the UK charts.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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