Watch Blöthar From Gwar Give An Unconventional TED Talk In Richmond

Michael Bishop (aka Blöthar the berserker), who took over as the lead singer of Gwar following the death of original frontman Dave Brockie and the firing of replacement Kim Dylla, gave a TEDx Talk in the band’s native Richmond, Virginia a few days ago. (Bishop also played bass in the band in the ’80s and ’90s, and he originated the character of Beefcake the Mighty, who is still a main character in the band but now played by someone else.) Because this is Gwar we’re talking about, the lecture began with guitarist Pustulus Maximus coming out in costume, smashing a stone tablet over another speaker’s head, and ripping his face off. But following that, Bishop — who earned a PhD in music from the University of Virginia in 2012 — came out and gave an actual, not that insane lecture about the troubled history of race relations and economic struggle in Virginia and how Gwar reflects that history. He initially jokingly introduces himself as “the human slave of the berserker Blöthar,” but he then goes on to examine the way in which Gwar and their production company the Slave Pit use the term and the concept of slavery, acknowledging that it betrays a certain privilege and cannot be divorced from its historical context. Watch the whole thing below.

Tags: GWAR