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The surviving members of the costumed, blood-spewing cult metal band GWAR denied Tuesday that they stole the cremated remains of their late lead singer, Dave Brockie, saying they took possession of Brockie's effects essentially because he would have wanted it that way.
NBC News reported Monday that William Brockie, Brockie's father and the administrator of his estate, sued the band and its management last week for $1 million for alleged breach of contract, unauthorized use of Dave Brockie's image — and the alleged theft of Brockie's ashes. Brockie left no will, and since then his father and the band have argued over who controls the rights to the likeness and effects of the singer who performed as Oderus Urungus, who died last year of acute heroin toxicity.
The band's management, Slave Pit Inc., couldn't be reached for comment Monday, but in a statement Tuesday, it and the band vigorously denied William Brockie's claims as they were reported in Style Weekly, a Richmond alternative arts newspaper, while acknowledging that they hadn't yet seen the lawsuit itself.
"We did not steal Dave Brockie's ashes, or anything else that belonged to him," the defendants said, adding that all of Brockie's effects — including his 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 ... so we have done the best we could to honor what we believe Dave Brockie would have wanted," they said. "Over 30 years of working and living with Dave, several of us had heard him say that he wished for his ashes to be kept at Slave Pit, so he could 'keep an eye on GWAR' while we worked."
Funds raised in the late singer's name were to be used for a charitable arts foundation, they said, while some of his ashes were to be used at a planned memorial in Richmond's historic Hollywood Cemetery. William Brockie acknowledged in his suit that the band did turn over a small portion of his son's ashes.
Plans for the foundation have been put on hold pending resolution of the dispute over the rights to Dave Brockie's likeness, and the band said that if it loses the battle, "the funds will be returned to all contributing donors."
Regarding Brockie's other allegations, the band denied that it stole or tried to hide Dave Brockie's personal effects or that it failed to pay his estate for his share of the proceeds from their last tour together last year — and "we have the records to prove that," it said.
"We trust our fans will see through this, and we will be able to get back to work on the one thing we all know Dave Brockie loved: GWAR," the band said.
- Metal Band GWAR Sued for Allegedly Stealing Late Singer Dave Brockie's Cremains
- 2014: GWAR Frontman David Brockie Dies at 50