Saturday 3rd November marked the anniversary of the untimely passing of GWAR‘s guitarist Cory Smoot. Django reminisces about his impact on the scene and in GWAR.
It’s hard for me to believe that it was only seven years ago when I was still a mostly-brainless high school junior sporting a faux hawk with a shitty dye job. That year marked the inaugural run of the now defunct Sounds of the Underground tour, and I made the trip to Chicago to stand in the sweltering heat to watch a bunch of bands I don’t care about anymore. That said, there are two things that I’ll always remember about that festival; 1) Strapping Young Lad played, and I didn’t like them at the time (I told you I was brainless), and 2) I experienced GWAR.
My experiences with GWAR up to that point weren’t exactly extensive, but it would be disingenuous if I didn’t fess up to having a pretty worn out copy of Scumdogs of the Universe in my car. Needless to say, GWAR stole the show. Simultaneously stupid and intelligent, the high-browed absurdity of spraying fake blood out of a disfigured cockpiece and executing dummies of celebrities and politicians on stage is what makes GWAR who they are. Despite all of the pomp and circumstantial gore, GWAR’s music has always been catchy, classic and fun, and no disrespect meant to Oderus Urungus or Beefcake the Mighty, but GWAR’s sonic resurgence in the first decade of the century was mostly due to the songwriting brilliance of guitarist Flattus Maximus, AKA Cory Smoot.
On year ago – November 3rd to be exact – Smoot was found dead in his bunk on GWAR’s tour bus while the band crossed into Canada from the US. The cause of death was reported to be thrombosis of the coronary artery, which is a fancy, doctoral way of saying his heart stopped working. Within a matter of days, Dave Brockie (he put his Oderus costume and moniker away for obvious reasons) announced the news in a formal statement, also revealing that Smoot’s Flattus Maximus character would be retired. The metal community has dealt with death far to often of the last few years, and Smoot’s death only compounded the sadness of that depressing trend.
GWAR have powered on since Smoot passed last November, but their response and the reaction of fans to the news spoke volumes about the community we all partake in with heavy music. A band that prides itself on blood, guts and idiocy was forced to step back from their grotesque pulpit and announce news that no one ever wants to announce, even those that make light of violence.
Today, The Monolith wishes to pay respect to Smoot, his family, GWAR, and all others who knew the guy who was known on stage as a farting alien. Rest in peace, Cory,