As statues of Confederate Civil War veterans get torn down by protesters or removed by official acts throughout the country, famed heavy metal provocateurs GWAR have decided to add a little fun to the ongoing protests by supporting a campaign to replace the statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, VA with one of their late frontman, Oderus Urungus.
For the uninitiated, GWAR has spent over 30 years dedicating itself to bad taste. Debuting in 1988, the band quickly became known for its over-the-top backstory as a band of aliens from Antarctica who travel the world in cartoonish outfits to throw concerts where they spray fake blood and other bodily fluids out into the crowd. Their shows are also known for ritual disembowelments of caricatures of famous figures, including every U.S. president from Reagan to Trump.
In real life, GWAR began in Richmond as an idea by musician Dave Brockie, who would take to the stage as intergalactic slaughterer Oderus Urungus while wearing a giant codpiece he called the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu. Over the years, Oderus became a popular figure among metal fans, appearing occasionally on Fox News’ “Red Eye” and even appearing in the horror sitcom “Holliston.” When Brockie died of a heroin overdose in 2014, thousands of fans gathered in Virginia for a Viking funeral which ended with the Oderus stage costume being lit on a funeral pyre.
So when GWAR discovered that their fans wanted to turn one of the nation’s most well-known Confederate statues into a tribute to Oderus, they jumped in. The band released a video of their drummer, JiZMak Da Gusha, arriving in Richmond to admire the graffiti that has covered the Robert E. Lee statue during the past three weeks of Black Lives Matter protests. He urged bystanders to sign a Change.org petition to replace Lee with a monument to Oderus in the state capital, which has received over 42,000 signatures as of writing.
“Robert E. Lee is a failed war general that supported a racist cause,” the petition states. “For too long, the city of Richmond has been displaying statues of him and other loser civil war veterans.”
“We the scumdogs of the universe call on the city of Richmond to erect a statue of great local leader Oderus Urungus in its place. While Oderus comes from the planet Scumdogia, he called Richmond his home, working with the local art community and employing local artists and ladies of the night.”
The petition also encourages GWAR fans to donate to the Richmond COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Fund, which has been providing financial relief to musicians and other artists who have had their income cut off due to closures from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As for the statue, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered for the statue to be removed, but a lawsuit filed this past week by one of the descendants who signed over the land for the statue in 1890 has put a temporary hold on those plans. Meanwhile, the statue has become a gathering for residents to hold cookouts and public events, with LGBTQ+ activists projecting the pride flag on the statue this past weekend. One organizer told Vanity Fair that the protests are “bringing out the most diverse group of Richmonders we have ever seen.”
Now, those organizers can add aliens from Scumdogia to that diverse coalition.
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