As massive Civil Rights protests head into their third week across the U.S., the call to remove statues of members of the Confederacy and other slave-holding historical figures has come up once again. In some cases, protesters have taken matters into their own hands, while some local governments are currently mulling the best way to approach the controversial topic.
However, fans of the theatrical shock-rock metal band GWAR have put forth a solution for one such statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia. In a petition on Change.org, GWAR fans are proposing that Lee's statue be replaced with one of the band's frontmen, Oderus Urungus. As one might expect, the petition itself is steeped in the band's own unique backstory. "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," it reads, in part. "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."
As NME noted, Gwar drummer JiZMak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts) recently visited Lee's statue in Richmond, which had since been covered in graffiti by protesters. He even filmed his outing, where he lent his support to the petition. "You see this? This is great," Da Gusha said in the clip. "I'm critiquing the artwork and it's looking pretty great right now! I strongly encourage that everyone signs that petition online. F— that guy."
Underneath all the heavy prosthetics and special effects that are synonymous with a GWAR show, it was musician Dave Brockie who played the character of Oderus from the band's founding in 1984 until his death in 2014. Brockie was actually born in Canada, but he and his family emigrated to the state of Virginia when he was only 3-years-old. The band has carried on since Brockie's death, though no founding members are in the lineup.
Lee, meanwhile, was born in Virginia, though is best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, where he commanded the Army of Northern Virginia from 1862 until its surrender in 1865. The statues of Lee and other members of the Confederacy have become one of the many lightning rods of the ongoing protests. Although there has been a vocal effort calling for the removal of such monuments in recent years.