At a GWAR show, a bloody spectacle is expected (especially from those standing in the splatter zone near the stage). But at the yuppie-centric venue of a TED talk? Not so much.
That all changed when former GWAR bassist and current lead vocalist Michael “Blothar” Bishop gave a talk in the band’s hometown of Richmond, Va. While Bishop’s take on regional musical identity in general and how the culture and history of Richmond shaped GWAR in particular is worthy of a watch, what really sets his talk apart is the ritual sacrifice that opens the show.
A masked caricature of a typical TED talker gestures at the crowd and strokes his chin in silence until a GWAR member appears on the stage, and rips his face off to the cheers of the crowd.
After the TED body has been dragged off stage, Bishop takes his place and gives an interesting speech on how Richmond’s history of racial tensions, violence and tobacco helped shape GWAR’s ideology in the ’80s. Check it out up top.
Bishop is well-suited to give the talk. He performed in GWAR as “Beefcake The Mighty” for many years and taught music at the University of Virginia. Since the death of GWAR vocalist Dave “Oderus” Brockie, Bishop has reunited with the band and taken on the lead vocalist role as a new character named “Blothar.”