Starting tomorrow the loft will be open and we will have THOUSANDS of hip hop, disco, boogie, go go and more for only 50 cents each!!! #vinylsale #vinyljunkie #recordshop #dj #recordsale #vinylsale #bargains #vcu #rva #rvamusic
When we watch a band like GWAR having such an amazing time doing what they do, we almost think its unfair. Get a real job! Right? Well, suffice it to say that making music is a real job. Especially if you are wearing several layers of foam, plastic etc. And there was never a band more serious in a flippant sort of way, than the space oddities known as GWAR. As I tried to think of my old Open High School classmates who might have a story or two to tell about the impact of GWAR, Noah Scalin immediately came to mind. In the Open High lounge, spent a lot of time listening to Bob Dylan - way too much time. I had not a clue what I wanted to do with my life, and it was no help being told by Dylan that the “answer is blowin’ in the wind” URRGH! What does that even mean?
Noah seemed insanely industrious for someone who looked like a young warlord from Mad Max and listened to experimental mood rock, or whatever you called it. We had a few lively debates about the relative merits of both but I was never able to sway, Noah, (nor anyone really) that industrial synthesizers were the tools of the devil and that if he just accepted that “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” was biblical parlance for “shits gonna hit the fan” he might be able to be more proactive. All this was, of course, ridiculous because while Noah was spending 11th grade re-branding the Anarchists Cookbook for mas consumption or planning his very successful graphic design firm, Another Limited Rebellion’s mission statement and financial strategy, I was more interested in devising a way to get into my teacher, Bridgette Newberry’s, Native American History class when she had locked the door against truants. I don’t feel so bad, because NO ONE in the history of Open High has discovered that, and the problem has confounded the most powerful computer models.
I knew Noah, whose League of Space Pirates band is modeled after GWAR’s epic sci-fi approach, would have something to add to the ongoing discussions about the singular nature of GWAR. Here goes …
Dave Brockie didn’t know me, but he’s been a part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember.
Growing up in The Fan in the 80’s my first encounter with Dave was through Death Piggy graffiti. The glum pig’s head was easy to copy in my notebooks, but a total mystery to me, since I was only in elementary school when the band was playing shows.
I remember hearing about GWAR not long after they formed and was both terrified and completely intrigued by their violent antics. It was only later that I found out that my mom had actually taught Dave when he went to VCU!
I finally got to see them play a show with my friend Jon in the late 80’s and I dutifully wore a white shirt and stood against the stage so that I could be covered with blood and more. Afterwards we went to the 3rd St. Diner, where our fellow patrons were suitably horrified to see us covered in “blood”, which had even stained our eyeballs. My ears rang for several days after.
I memorized the lyrics of Scumdogs of the Universe as I played it endlessly throughout my college years. And proudly told people wherever I traveled that GWAR was from my hometown – to which someone in North Dakota once asked, completely seriously, “you’re from Antarctica?!”
I would see them play (as GWAR or RAWG or X-Cops) whenever I could and even had the honor of being eaten by the World Maggot on one of their visits to NYC’s The Limelight – an appropriately ironic venue for their bloody mayhem, as it was a former Gothic church, stained glass windows and all!
Many years later I even had the privilege of bringing my friend Charlie – a musical legend in his own right – to his first GWAR show, where despite our advanced ages, we still dove through the pit to stand pressed against the stage for the proper view of the carnage.
More recently I had made a tradition of attending the GWAR-B-Qs with my sister at its new expansive location at Hadad’s Lake. And while we liked to stay far out of the pit, there was still the itch to get in there when some old favorites were played again (“this deli tray is unacceptable!”)
My own League of Space Pirates project (See photo of weapon wielding pirates in front of the Markel Building above) is very much the bastard stepchild of GWAR. Whenever I try to explain what I’m doing – with a costumed band, a complex storyline and an entire universe of characters surrounding it – I’m quick to cite GWAR.
What is it about GWAR? Sure, they were the next step up from the obsession I had with KISS as a kid. Dress up as a monster and play loud music? Sign me up! But they are also the perfect embodiment of what this crazy city can foster: creativity unbound! Dave made a living being exactly what he wanted to be. He created a business empire doing exactly what he wanted to do. Any time I read something he wrote his intelligence and forthright honesty was apparent. For all the onstage murder and mayhem, he was actually quite the role model… at least for the creative set.
I met Dave a few times over the years, but he never really knew who I was, and I never told him how much I respected and loved what he did. I’m sorry I didn’t get to thank him in person, but I’m glad to be a part of his creative legacy in Richmond, VA.
1) It was just Richmond, Yo - header
2) GWAR B/W
3) League of Space Pirates
4) Noah Scalin sporting a punk rock hair style circa late 80s.
5) David Brockie smooching RVA eccentric and storied lover, Donny Corcoran. I think the photo credit goes to Scott Baldwin.
Out tomorrow: War On Drugs-Lost In A Dream (purple vinyl), Unwound-Rat Conspiracy box, Tycho-Awake (color vinyl), Perfect Pussy-Say Yes To Love, Richard Buckner-Bloomed (first time on vinyl), Ex Hex 7” #newmusic #newreleases #vinyl #recordstore #limitededition