Back in the Day: The Waving Chief Solano Statue speaks


The following piece, part of "The Last Laugh" columns by Fairfield resident Tony Wade, originally appeared in the Fairfield Daily Republic on Aug. 6, 2012.

By Tony Wade

Recently I was finally granted an interview with the iconic Waving Chief Solano statue near the Solano County Courthouse.

Q. I hear you’re releasing an album!

A. Yes, it’s going to be made up of songs about being both an Indian and a statue. It has covers of songs like “Indian Reservation” by The Raiders, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden and “Half-Breed” by Cher, as well as The Commodores’ “Still” and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” I also have a couple of originals titled “I Freakin’ Hate Pigeons” and “Please Chisel Me Some Pants.”

Q. I couldn’t help but notice that you referred to yourself as “Indian” and not the politically correct “Native American.”

A. I hate that politically correct stuff! Everybody is so busy trying not to offend anyone that even jokes have to go through a committee before they are told. I don’t get it. I mean, I’m supposed to be offended at sports teams with mascots like the Braves, Chiefs and Redskins, but it’s OK to ride your Indian motorcycle to the Indian casino?

Q. Tell me about yourself, Chief. When were you made and who made you?

A. Are you a simpleton who doesn’t know how to Google? (Sigh.) Short answers are 1934 and famed sculptor Gordon Huff.

Q. I did an explosive “Back in the Day” column where I exposed that the real Chief Solano probably looked more like improvisational comedian Jonathon Winters than like you.

A. First, get over yourself; the column wasn’t all that. Second, Jonathon Winters? Whatever. You look like Fat Albert.

Q. I would box you after a comment like that, but I think you have the height and reach advantage. Now, for decades you have been here in front of the old county library. What do you think of the massive government center that was added behind it?

A. That monstrosity looks like a Transformer caught in mid-transformation. In fact, I have a recurring nightmare where it is an evil Transformer named Gubment Centa that one day finishes transforming and starts to chase me. I run across Texas Street and hide in the old medieval-looking water tower across from Armijo that many mistakenly believe was once Rapunzel’s tower. Gubment Centa smashes it and I run toward downtown and only get away when it trips over the Fairfield sign and crashes down on Texas Street into a million pieces.

Q. Wow. You may want to wean yourself off the peyote. So I’ve heard that the real Chief Solano, far from being the gentle giant chief as he has been portrayed in history books, was actually guilty of committing some horrible atrocities.

A. Hey buddy, I’m just a statue. I didn’t do anything. Plus, I didn’t write the history books. Isn’t this supposed to be a humor column? The only way “horrible atrocities” can fit into a humor column is if it is the ironic name of a bubblegum pop band.

Q. What do you do in your spare time?

A. I like to people watch and give passers-by what I think are appropriate Indian names, ala Dances with Wolves and Stands with a Fist. Tripping Aardvark, Breath like a Bison and Moves Like a Sloth are recent ones.

Q. Does your wave mean multiple things?

A. Yes, like “aloha,” it means hello and goodbye as well as “don’t keep me hangin’ on this awesome high five, bro!”

Q. I must comment on your backside.

A. I must comment on your backside! Does it have its own ZIP code?

Q. Easy big fella! I wasn’t trying to clown you, I just have to bring it up.

A. Sorry, I’m kind of sensitive. If you had people patting your rear for good luck or had some idiot walk behind and start a rap that went, “I like bronze butts and I cannot lie, you other statues can’t deny . . . ,” you’d be touchy, too. What did you want to know?

Q. How do you keep your rear from sagging at age 78 (now 81)?

A. That secret is revealed in my new exercise video “Buns of Bronze” that follows the phenomenal success of my 2010 video “Abs of Bronze.” Both can be purchased at