As we reported last Thursday, David Brockie, better known to GWAR fans as Oderus Urungus, reported the sudden and untimely passing of the band's lead guitarist Cory Smoot, who played with the band since 2002 under the stage name Flattus Maximus. Over the weekend, Brockie issued an official press statement, paying a farewell tribute to his bandmate and good friend. Brockie set aside his outrageous stage persona to honor Smoot's memory, and addressed questions about the band's future plans. Read the entire statement below the fold...
Photo by Carmelo Espanola
Smoot, 34, was found dead in his bunk on the band's tour bus last Thursday morning, just before the band was scheduled to head for their next show in Canada. The cause of death was still unknown at the time of Brockie's statement. A close friend of Smoot for many years, the vocalist said he felt obligated to answer some of the questions about the tragedy.
"The last time I saw Cory was after our show in Minneapolis on Wednesday night," Brockie wrote. "It was a great show at First Avenue in Minneapolis, one of our favorite places to play. Cory was happy. He was excited about the band and especially the new studio he was building in the Slave Pit back in Richmond. He was deeply in love with his wife, Jamie, and was busily planning their family and future in the beautiful home they had. As usual, after some autographs and banter, I was probably the first person in their bunk as we got ready for a big drive into Canada, and Cory and the rest of the guys were not far behind. As I fell into the slumber that only playing GWAR shows can induce, everything seemed right in the world... We found Cory the next morning as we collected passports for a border crossing. He was in his bunk, unresponsive, and it quickly was clear that he was dead. It was without a doubt the most horrible moment of my life... 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." Memorial services are scheduled to take place this week, but Brockie asked press and fans to honor the family's privacy at this time.
Photo by Gary Miller
Brockie then reported that the band, after much consideration, has resolved to continue the tour after paying respects to their friend. "Although the great temptation would be to return home, curl into a fetal position, and mourn, we can't do that," he said. "First off, Cory wouldn't want that. He would want us to go on and would be pissed if we didn't. Plus we know the fans don't want us to quit. They are going to want a chance to come to grips with their loss, and there is no better place to do that than at a GWAR show. Though it's hard to believe, I think we all would feel a lot worse if we stopped. For better or worse we have to see this through."
He also declared that the character of Flattus Maximus will be retired permanently, out of respect to the man who played him the longest. "I heard Cory tell a story about how some 20 years ago he was fourteen years old, at his first GWAR show, grabbing at the rubber feet of our then-current Flattus, and how blown away he was at the fact that now HE was the one getting his feet pulled by the same kid that he used to be. Cory was always in awe of the patterns of life and went through it with a wide-eyed amazement that translated through his playing. I've never known anyone who could pick up literally any instrument and rock it the first time he touched it, and more than that make it look easy. Behind that rubber monster outfit, and sometimes even obscured by it, was one of the most talented and beautiful people I have ever known. I know everyone who's life was touched by Cory truly loved him, as do we, his bandmates and brothers."
Blabbermouth.net recently posted several fan-shot excerpts of Smoot's final performance, including this clip of the band performing their classic "Sick of You" in Minneapolis, MN. You can watch them all at this link.