Gwar sued for allegedly stealing late singer's ashes

Following the death of Dave Brockie, the singer’s father has issued a suit seeking $1m in compensatory damages. The band have since claimed the allegations are ‘false’

The father of the late Gwar frontman Dave Brockie is suing the metal band’s surviving members for allegedly retaining his son’s ashes, musical equipment and artwork.

According to NBC News, court documents filed on 2 April in Richmond, Virginia, Brockie’s father, William, is seeking $1m in compensatory damages plus punitive damages for an alleged breach of contract, unauthorised use of Dave Brockie’s image and the return of a variety of Brockie’s belongings.

The band have since stated that these allegations are false. In a statement, Gwar said: “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.”

Dave Brockie – also known as Oderus Urungus – died on 23 March 2014 of an accidental heroin overdose. William Brockie, now the administrator of his estate, names the band’s surviving members as defendants in his suit, as well as their management company, Slave Pit Inc, and an affiliated company.

“Immediately after Dave Brockie’s death, the remaining active members of Gwar ... set out on a course of action to capitalise on the death of Dave Brockie,” the lawsuit states.

Accusing Gwar of failing to pay the estate for a sum owed for the band’s final tour with Dave Brockie in February and March 2014, William Brockie also accuses the band of stealing his bass guitars, artwork and personal items including a gold record.

Most unusually, the suit states that when William Brockie went to retrieve his son’s ashes in May 2014 he was denied entry to the property in which they were being kept. A staff member reportedly gave Brockie “a small fraction of his son’s ashes which were delivered in a used plastic bag with Discover credit card logo on it”. The band and its managers have since “retained the vast majority of Dave Brockie’s remains and failed to return the ashes of Dave Brockie to his grieving father,” according to the suit.

However, Gwar have stated that in the weeks following his death, the band developed a plan for a memorial fund, and planned to use some of his ashes on the site. “We felt strongly that a portion of his remains should live at the site of his proposed monument in Hollywood Cemetery,” said the band in a statement. “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.”

In April 2014, Gwar announced details of a Dave Brockie Foundation which would aim to encourage “promising talents ... [and] preserving the legacy of Dave’s body of works”. They hoped to lend support to artists “who cannot find funding through mainstream channels”, as well as preserving Brockie’s “images, recordings and written words” for public access.


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