GWAR lead guitarist Cory Smoot, aka Flattus Maximus, was found dead by his bandmates yesterday as their tour bus prepared to cross the Canadian border. His age and the cause of death are currently unknown.
Smoot's passing is especially unfortunate as it comes during a resurgence of public interest in the longtime parodic metal band, including a recent appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Smoot joined the band in 2002 and portrayed the character Flattus Maximus longer than any previous member in the role. He appeared on three GWAR albums: War Party (a left-field "comeback" album for the band that sold better than any had in years), Beyond Hell (a "rock opera" about GWAR battling the "armies of humanity" to escape into Hell) and Lust in Space (which reached 96 on the Billboard charts, purportedly the band's all-time highest showing). Smoot also co-produced the the latter two albums.
GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) released a statement on Metal Sucks yesterday:
"It is with a sense of profound loss and tragedy that the members of GWAR must announce the passing of their long time guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot... The members of GWAR are completely shocked and devastated... At this point there is no word on arrangements and the disposition of the remainder of GWAR's current North American tour, nor are there any details regarding long term plans. At this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear friend and brother, one of the most talented guitar players in metal today. We ask that our fans and the media be respectful of our request for privacy for those that have suffered this terrible loss. A full statement will be coming in the next day or so, in the meantime please give your thoughts and your prayers to Cory, his family, and all the people that love him."
GWAR is scheduled to play the Regency Ballroom on Friday, Nov. 11. Despite Smoot's death, the band plans to continue on its tour.