In Memoriam: Dave Brockie Aug 30/63 – Mar 23/14

ripDaveBrockie

It is with heavy hearts that I, and the folks here at DT, say goodbye to one of the true kings of DIY. The punk rock and metal God. The multi-talented singer/songwriter/author/artist, Davie Brockie.

I first came across GWAR’s music at a very young age, somewhere in between the time when their second release, Scumdogs of the Universe, came out and when America Must Be Destroyed, their third, violated my sensitive eardrums, back in the days where you could still buy tapes at the record store. And you could actually find records in a record store… let alone a store full of them.

A real one. Not an online store.
Moving on…

Do the math here, folks. I was born in 1981. The space between the release of those two albums was only a year’s time (1990-1991) which makes me… 10. Yes, you read that right. I was 10 years old. That’s seriously fucked up, thinking about it… but it also makes a lot of sense.

Jesus… 10? What’s wrong with my parents? No, this isn’t my parents’ fault. They didn’t censor my musical choices, and I love them for that. Better yet, it’s a question of what’s wrong with the dude with the short, yet impressively feathered hair, who was selling GWAR tapes to a 10-year-old? (I still love him, wherever he ended up…)

Like a lot of people, I was introduced to the world of Dave Brockie’s GWAR persona before I was introduced to the man behind the mask, or his artwork, wild musings, and intensely creative writings. It shouldn’t be impossible for any of our readers to imagine me dancing like a maniac to Saddam-A-Go-Go or The Salaminizer, what with the insane ramblings I subject you to on a not-so-regular basis. Well… it sure as hell shouldn’t… but I always wondered about you lot…

Ugh. I’m sorry. This is actually proving to be really difficult to write. I have so many memories tied to GWAR and Dave Brockie. It’s actually a lot more than I initially thought it was.

See, I am an official, card carrying member of the GWAR Total Slavery Fan club, and I only just found out about Brockie’s passing the day after his passing - I’m writing this on Monday March 24th, 2014. I feel like I’ve been through the goddamned wringer.

I’ve got 13 albums of this man’s shit memorized, and every one of those albums spells out a different part of my childhood and adolescence. I know that what I’m feeling is obviously nothing like what his friends and family are going through, but it just… this is the saddest I’ve ever been about the death of someone I don’t know. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I feel like I’ve lost someone I could turn to when things got bad. It feels like something major is gone from my life.

And, y’know… something is gone. A big something. No… two big somethings are gone.

1) Dave Brockie the friend, family member, artist, musician, author, and so much more, is gone. And 2) so is Oderus Urungus – the monster of my dreams, and the voice of one of my favourite musical fiends.

If any of my peers caught me listening to GWAR back in the day, they automatically knew it was a good day, and that I’d be in good spirits. And in truth, whenever I was listening to a GWAR album, it was a good day. How could I not laugh at Fucking An Animal‘s over-the-top barnyard insanity, or Slaughterama‘s ridiculous and overtly political Geraldo talk-show styled themed killings? Or how about Meat Sandwich. Penis I See. Have You Seen Me? Or my absolute favourite, nonsensical, and smile inducing song – Dirty, Filthy? How could I be even remotely upset when lyrics of The Ultimate Bohab coursed through my brain? (I don’t suggest that any of you who are easily offended actually look up those lyrics. They’re… they’re not very nice.)

But my real relationship with Dave Brockie, as much as it wasn’t a real, in-person relationship, began when I happened across Whargoul – his first, and sadly his only novel – on the website Oderus.com. A site that now simply features the statement “We’ll miss you Dave…” instead of the treasure trove of rants, art, and musings of a beautiful madman.

(But if you’re savvy like my dear old self, and know how to use the Internet Wayback Machine, you can take a gander at the site in all of its yellow, disgusting glory. In fact, if you go back far enough, you can actually take a look at the book before it was published by Deadite in 2010, and the way Brockie initially meant for it to be read before any professional edits happened.)

Reading Whargoul at such a young age was a real eye opener. While I was aware of Brockie’s incredible knowledge of historical events through his lyrics, and his penchant for war culture, it had never occurred to me that the man who wrote some of my favorite songs could possibly pen a full-fledged novel, let alone one that was actually any good. The fact that he was able to blend his vast knowledge of war with his vile, crass, and thoroughly inappropriate sense of humour, and bring to life a character only once before glimpsed in the song Wargoul (yes, the spelling was different) was more than my teenage mind could deal with.

And then imagine my surprise when I found out he was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – a four and a half hour drive away from me.

It wasn’t until many years later and my discovery of the Splatterpunk movement that I was again to wonder how writers were getting away with this kind of stuff.

From the matter-of-fact opening paragraph that reeks of Brockie’s brand of deadpan humour, to the last line that dares you to challenge its strange, almost non-sequitor-like sense of finality – Whargoul is a goddamned ride.

A lot of people around the internet today are calling Whargoul a “true piece of bizarro fiction”, but I see it as something more than that. It has its place in bizarro, of that there is no doubt. But it’s also a piece of history as seen by the dual personality of Dave Brockie/Oderus Urungus, and a unique vision at that. It’s the aforementioned musings of a madman, but told through the filter of someone who was brutally intelligent and had his shit together.

It has been for years, and will probably always remain one of my favourite books.

But listen, I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been thinking about what to say for hours now, agonizing over it, really, and I’ve decided that writing this is just prolonging the needless torture of saying goodbye.

I want nothing more right now than to spend a great many thousand words sharing all of my favorite Brockie and GWAR stories, of the friends made through a mutual GWAR appreciation, and of the amazing memories I made and shared with girlfriends and best friends… but I can’t.

I don’t want these memories to end. I want more, and that’s just never going to happen now.

So I’ll just bite the bullet and say goodbye.

Goodbye, Dave. Even though we never actually met, I’ll miss you more than you’d ever know. I’m sorry I never got to tell you how much you meant to me as an artist and a leader, and how you helped mold the sick and twisted man I am proud to have become.

And goodbye Oderus. I hope the trip home on the World Maggot is a good one.

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Save a seat for me in hell, you beautiful bastard.

C.

P.s: Enjoy one of my favorite videos of Oderus/Brockie reading Goodnight Moon (very or NSFW or for those who offend easily)

Prey Drive by Wrath James White

preydrivecoverfinal_zps869f8e34Am I the only Wrath James White reader that ever wondered how Joseph got to be so goddamned fit and fearsome in Succulent Prey? Cause seriously… the way White describes this man’s physique is nothing short of a perfectly sculpted human flesh wall.

Well, this book not only proves to be an incredible return to the story and character that gave a ton of men shame-boners, and made more than a few women uncomfortably wet, but it also serves as somewhat of a rudimentary blueprint for how to become as fit as a ferocious murderer using Plyometrics and Body weight Training!

Oh, and how to eat people. Because that’s what y’do, right? Eating the people? Yes. Nom nom nom.

In 2005, twenty year-old Joseph Miles went in search of a cure for a disease he was convinced was turning him into a monster. The result was a killing spree that left a string of dismembered and cannibalized bodies from San Francisco to Seattle.

Eight years later, after being tried and sentenced to life in prison, Joseph is still searching for a cure. To do so, he must first escape from super maximum security prison where he has been involved in underground death matches sponsored by the prison guards and has been targeted by two of the prison’s most dangerous inmates.

Joseph enlists the aid of a lonely female guard with a history of inappropriate behavior with inmates, and a young model named Selene whom Joseph met in art class when he was still a psychology student. She has followed him obsessively over the years and will do anything to help Joseph escape. But could Selene be even more dangerous and twisted than Joseph Miles? Is she really trying to help him find a cure or does she have darker motivations?

- from Amazon.com

After reading this author’s previous work, I’m quite familiar with his thirst for blood and violence. In fact, I’ve come to a place in my life where, not only to I look forward to reading his insanely realistic scenes of bodily mutilation and torture, but I also kinda feel all warm and gooey inside when I’m in the middle of one. Which makes me sound like I should be filling out a self-admittance form for a mental health clinic, but I digress…

White has a way of crafting an engaging story filled with energy and action, but also letting the reader in on the subtle nuances of the characters and creatures he’s created – what makes them tick, really. Both Succulent Prey and Prey Drive have a massive thread within them concerning the main character’s need to love and be loved, and the supporting character’s need to love the monster they are actually more obsessed with than anything. Joseph’s desire to eat someone, to me, isn’t homicidal in nature, but is more-so presented as an urge or a drive that he cannot simply “control”, in the conventional sense of the word. It’s both the way he defends himself, and the way he shows his love, both physically and emotionally.

Think about it for a second:

Scenario One: You’re bleeding the lizard at a urinal in the washroom of a subway late at night. Do do do do dooooo aaahhhhhhh… BAM! someone grabs you from behind in a choke hold, but a portion of his forearm is close to your teeth. You’re like Joseph Miles and you’ve filed your teeth into sharp points (because yes) aaannnnnnd CHOMP! There goes the bastard’s Brachioradialis.

Scenario Two: You’re rolling around on your rotating, water bed – your sexy Muppet bed sheets washed and cleaned for the loving occasion – just as the lady of the night, or Candy, as she calls herself, finishes doing a line in the bathroom and stumbles saunters into the room. You pick her up off the ground sweep her off her feet and nibble the side of her neck… buuuut those teeth are a little sharper than you thought and now you’re covered in sticky hooker blood. (A sentence I never thought I’d ever type.)

See? Two scenarios – two different, and useful, instances where one would use their filed and sharpened teeth. Only… in a Wrath James White novel, someone’s going to lose more than a small piece of themselves.

Where the hell was I going with this? Teeth! Teeth and biting and…

Ugh, I don’t remember. Whatever.

The point is, this novel doesn’t at all fall into the George Lucas “I’m going to create a sequel and make it suck” area of the writing spectrum. No! In fact, it’s quite the contrary. This novel is almost better than the first, if only because it feels more mature and honed than Succulent Prey did, and focuses on a very limited geographic area, thus allowing more of a story to develop without having the reader have to imagine a bazillion little places along the way.

Joseph, as a character, is more refined and controlled from the writer’s perspective, and the surrounding cast is used to the best of their ability, as opposed to being thrown into the cage with a starving lion.

White obviously listened to his inner fan with this one, fashioning more theories as to what drive this particular killer, whether or not it is something that can be created, and what lies ahead of someone driven by such an incredibly powerful urge to kill.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this lands on my TBR pile at least once a year. It’s addictive, and an incredibly successful addition to what I only hope becomes “The Prey Series”.

I, for one, sincerely wish Wrath James White would create a workout routine and diet plan based on Joseph Miles’ prison house run. I would take the challenge in a heartbeat if I knew I could get this doughy center off my body and look like this menacing brute.

Well… you know… without the people eating part. Cause that’s not likely going to be very legal…

C.

Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlín R. Kiernan

16136945This book… This book is… I don’t know. It’s so many things.

I haven’t seen a book run around, tagging so many horror-centric clichés this much, and yet still manage to stay true to itself and remain steadfastly interesting at the same time.

Like the title suggests, this is a book about Werewolves. But that’s being too specific and under-selling it a ton. It’s about a lot more than just Werewolves – which is something I never thought I’d actually write, EVER. Just Werewolves? Who says that? Nobody sane, anyways.

What this book is really about is faith, belonging, and a whole helluva lot of fire – both in its metaphoric and in physical guise. And hot damn, if it doesn’t cause a stirring in your hero-loving heart, I don’t know what will. (see what I did there? A helluva lot of fire? Hot Damn? Eh? Eh?)

Personally, this one felt like Kiernan was channeling a little bit of my beloved Brite with the creation of a character like Dancy, but I could be completely off base with that. This is my first actual experience with the acclaimed author’s writing, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Any reader in their right mind is liable to be drawn to this story. I mean, here… take a look at the synopsis:

Dancy Flammarion may look like a frail teenage girl, but her journey through the swamps and byways of the American South brings her into battle with werewolves, monsters, and grotesque secrets, armed only with a knife and a mission to destroy the deadly creatures that lurk in the shadows.

- from DarkHorse.com

Side note: I love spell-check. How many mistakes were in that paragraph, right there? You’ll never know. HA! Ugh.

With Alabaster: Wolves, Kiernan breathes a new sort of life into Dancy, a character from the world of her own short stories, and plants her firmly in the land of pictures and colour, much to this comic lover’s delight. Sometimes you just need to see the story instead of read it. And honestly, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately – so this was a welcome experience.

The overall dynamic between all of the characters from the get-go is incredible. The main character, Dancy, sits in her own headspace, relives her own wounded past, and throws threatening barbs at her villainous counterpart just as easily as she trades sarcastic remarks with a very cleverly crafted and simply loveable new animal friend/feathered annoyance. It’s a testament to the author’s ability to set such powerful scenes and have them also be so strongly driven by rich dialogue.

I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this tale could surely exist as either a graphic novel or a short story – Kiernan is truly able to transcend both of the mediums involved.

The art and colouring involved in Wolves are a thing of beauty, as well. Not only do they marry the skillfully crafted words to the scenes so well, but they also help create something of a relaxed feel to what should really be a more urgent story. It’s hard to think about a werewolf story being anything even remotely resembling “relaxed”, but that’s exactly how this one feels. From the introductory few pages, all the way to the climactic scenes of each issue, the pace is set wonderfully, and never urges the reader to hurry along in order to reach a “money-shot”, to use the term loosely.

Kiernan, Lieber and Rosenberg are masterful at allowing the reader to believe they’re in control, when in fact they’re being drawn from panel to panel hand-in-hand the whole way through a wonderland of terror, mystery, and modern, horror-centric fairytales.

Alabaster: Wolves is available at Dark Horse and on Amazon.com.

Santa Claus Saves The World by Robert Devereaux

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Few authors writing today – or those who have come before, for that matter – can push the strength of good taste as well as Robert Devereaux.

There’s a whole new level of fucked-upedness in his writing and nothing brings this to light better than his Santa Claus trilogy, which wraps up with the recent publication of Santa Claus Saves The World. While the book sits as the third in that series it can be read as a stand-alone though I’m going to suggest you take the time and grab Santa Steps Out and Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes.

Ummm… yea, just looking at those titles ought to give you an idea of where you’re heading when Devereaux’s the guide. Let’s just say the North Pole’s never been this hot!

In his latest, out this month from Deadite, the articulate author brings back all the characters from the series with Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny all reprising their roles. These roles, though, aren’t the loving, caring characters we grew up believing snuck in to our homes at night to deposit gifts, cash or chocolate. There’s tonnes of deposits in the book but it’s all bodily fluids…

What you need to understand before stepping out with Santa is Devereaux is more concerned with the sexual acts of these beings – who, some readers may know, are actually ripped from Greek mythology – than how they spread cheer and joy. That’s not to say there isn’t a story here but, like the previous two entries, it is buried beneath the various terms Devereaux can come up with for male and female genitalia.

This time, Santa’s made aware the scale of humanity’s future is tipping toward the negative and if he doesn’t step in the world could come to an end. With assistance from God and his No.1 son – JC himself – Santa and his elves begin reconstructing the human psyche and depositing them in to each human. It’s a slippery slope for Santa as this considerably impacts his ‘naughty’ list but under the guidance of his wives – yep, Santa’s driving the old north pole in to more than one gift bag – and his daughter, the Jolly Old Elf nails down the perfect human psyche and creates a much happier human race.
Throw into the mix, however, a Tooth Fairy who is still jilted after Santa blew her off after she blew him many a time and you’ve got the perfect set-up for sabotage.

It’s a bizarre mix of sex, seasonal bliss, bulging balls and morality but goddamn if Devereaux doesn’t make it work. He’s one of those authors who so seamlessly blends vulgarity with beautiful prose that you’re not sure if you should be gagging or gushing. It’s a pretty good mix of both, actually.

That being said, this book does not feel as shocking as Devereaux’s other pieces but that could simply be that we’ve already been exposed to his twisted visions. Santa’s sack feels like it’s getting a little empty in this entry but, compared to some other authors’ attempts to shock, Devereaux still stands high above the rest.

Merry Christmas. Hope Santa leaves you exactly what you want or, at the very least, cleans up after himself and doesn’t use up all your lotion and Kleenex.

Dreadful Tales Book Club – December 2013 Edition

Banner by Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Banner by Mark Brown, a.k.a. Dark Mark

Hello, Dreadites! I hope you enjoyed all the nastiness that John Everson’s little eight-legged friends had to offer in our October / November Book of the Month, Violet Eyes. Don’t forget to stop by and chat with us about the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

For December, we are reading the Smart Rhino Publications anthology Someone Wicked: A Written Remains Anthology. We’ve read Smart Rhino titles for the Book Club before. In fact, our inaugural Book of the Month was Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! which we later followed up with the sequel anthology Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!

If you read the above-mentioned anthologies, you will see some familiar names in Someone Wicked like L.L. Soares, who was featured in both Zippered Flesh anthologies; JM Reinbold, contributor to Zippered Flesh 2 and co-editor of Someone Wicked; and Weldon Burge who is editor for all three anthologies as well as a contributor to the first Zippered Flesh collection. There are several new names as well and I suspect this anthology will fill up your to-read list as it has mine with both titles before it.

Here is a little tease from the Smart Rhino Publications website:

Avaricious, cruel, depraved, envious, mean-spirited, vengeful—the wicked have been with us since the beginnings of humankind. You might recognize them and you might not. But make no mistake. When someone wicked crosses your path, your life will never be the same. Do you know someone wicked? You will.

The 21 stories in the Someone Wicked anthology were written by the members of the Written Remains Writers Guild and its friends, and was edited by JM Reinbold and Weldon Burge.

You can pick up a copy of Someone Wicked in paperback format or for Kindle then come on over to The Mortuary to chat with us about the book! In the past, we have had a lot of success engaging the authors on the message board in discussions of their stories, so it should be a good time.

Find out more about Smart Rhino Publications and keep up with all the latest Smart Rhino news at their website here. You can also stalk them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

-Meli