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GWAR, the World's Only "Openly Extraterrestrial" Band, Gave a TED Talk About Regional Identity

It started with a human sacrifice and ended with a concise lesson about race relations and economic struggle.

by Emma Garland
10 August 2015, 10:57am

Most TED Talks don't begin with the speaker having a stone tablet smashed over their head and the flesh ripped from their face to great applause, but then most TED Talks aren't hosted by thrash metal band GWAR.

Appearing at a TEDx conference in the band's native Richmond, Virginia, GWAR bassist/singer Michael "Blothar" Bishop delivered a speech concerning regional identity. Bishop introduces himself as "the human slave of the Berserker, Blothar, the new lead singer of GWAR," before going on to outline his history in academia. In 2012 he graduated from the University of Virginia with a PhD in music, with his research and writing focusing on music and issues of regional identity. In his talk, he asks, "How does GWAR reflect the culture, history, and even geography of Richmond?"

Intro aside, Bishop gave an interesting and thoughtful lecture about the troubled history of race relations and economic struggle in Virginia, and how those tensions informed GWAR's formation in the 80s.

"In that context, GWAR is the safest thing to come from this city," said Bishop, after discussing the violence that occurred in Virginia during the civil war and the Richmond lawyers who once defended Big Tobacco.

Watch the whole thing below:

This one time, at Noisey.com, Gwar interviewed to be our new editor. Go here to see how that went.

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