What Every Member Of GWAR Looks Like In Real Life

Shock-rock, heavy metal, highly theatrical, hilarious, outrageous — these are just some of the words that can describe GWAR but don't do the artistic and musical collective justice. Since 1984, the evolving membership of GWAR have taken the stage in the guise of costumes befitting their persona: ancient warriors meet monsters meet aliens. In fact, that's what GWAR claims to be — a gaggle of intergalactic nightmare beasts who have come to Earth to kill and enslave all human life. Known for their apocalyptic, effects-laden, fake blood-drenched live shows, GWAR's audience of devoted fans can't get enough of their blistering, hard, loud, and fast songs injected with gleefully dark humor, such as "Slaughterama," "Bring Back the Bomb," "Maggots," "Meat Sandwich," "Saddam a Go-Go," and "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" (via Discogs).

But GWAR isn't really an anarchic alien cult. They're a bunch of American musicians dedicated to their craft and putting on a good show. Here's what the current members of GWAR (and a few prominent and important former members) look like without their world-famous, world-frightening elaborate costumes and masks.

BalSac the Jaws 'o Death - Michael Derks

Any metal band, particularly one as overwhelming hard and heavy as GWAR, is driven by its chief guitar shredder, and in the band of extraterrestrial chaos demons, that role is filled by BalSac the Jaws 'O Death, whom the mythos says hails from the planet Ennui, peers out from a metallic, horned, mechanical mouth, and rocks from atop demonic-looking hooves (via GWAR.net).

Michael Derks joined GWAR, as BalSac, just after the release of the band's debut album, "Hell-O," in 1988. He was a fan of the band studying at Virginia Commonwealth University, near GWAR's Richmond hometown, and was playing guitar in a side project of GWAR bassist Mike Bishop, according to Ultimate Guitar. Derks ended up a vital member of GWAR, playing, writing songs, and producing some of its later albums.

After nearly collapsing during a GWAR show in 2017, Derks was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare and potentially fatal disease in which the body destroys the bone marrow, according to DKMS. Derks credits a bone marrow transplant with saving his life.

JiZMak Da Gusha - Brad Roberts

According to the GWAR mythos, JiZMak's head is supposed to be that of a dog, albeit a gruesome and gnarly one, befitting his claim to be the most odious and insufferable member of the band (via GWAR.net). A warrior who likes to smash and pound on things (including his own body), it's appropriate that JiZMak found an outlet for his desire to pummel by playing drums for GWAR.

In GWAR's early days, the project was more of an extended performance art and monster-craft project, but by 1989, they'd started to hone their sound, moving from a punk rock sensibility into a heavy metal outfit that could tour and record. To that end, that's when drummer Brad Roberts joined, according to Scare Magazine. Both under the prosthetics, makeup, and textiles as JiZMak Da Gusha and not (per Slave Pit), Roberts has done a lot of drumming, contributing the beat to 11 full-length GWAR albums as well as for recordings for side projects X-Cops, Armstrong, and, with his late GWAR bandmate, the Dave Brockie Experience.

Pustulus Maximus - Brent Purgason

Pustulus Maximus might be the most frightening individual, in persona and appearance, in the entirety of GWAR. With a dead beast flanking his shoulders, monstrous bones atop his blue, pustule-covered face, and exposed skin on his feet (just above his tattoo of Lily Munster), Pustulus from the planet Crust claims to have contracted nearly all known diseases and runs a band of puppet-like corpses when he isn't playing guitar in GWAR (via GWAR.net).

Years after helping to engineer GWAR's 1990 album "Scumdogs of the Universe" (via Allmusic), for which he also designed the artwork, Brent Purgason, who grew up in GWAR's home of Richmond, Virginia, became a full-fledged member of the central band. According to mxdwm, he took on guitarist and backing vocalist duties, and the new character of Pustulus Maximus, replacing deceased GWAR guitarist Cory Smooth. Prior to his time in GWAR, Purgason played guitar in the band Antietam 1862, as well as the more straightforward and marijuana-themed death metal group Cannabis Corpse. According to Spill Magazine, an unmasked, out-of-character Purgason plays with the punk band Against the Grain, having occasionally filled in as their guitarist when they opened for GWAR. Purgason is not only also a master plumber, gas fitter, pipe fitter, and certified contractor, but he can also repair and alter guitar amplifiers, per his Instagram account.

Beefcake the Mighty - Casey Orr

The sound of the bass guitar is all about depth and density, and GWAR's bassist guy, Beefcake the Mighty, lives out the idea of mega-mass to its extreme ends. GWAR's mythos touts him as the "heaviest of heavy metal musicians," not just in providing the mega-low, mega-noisy low end, but in physicality, too. He purportedly weighs "one cubic beefcake," or so much that he could become a black hole, and likes to eat his dates when he isn't snacking, cooking, or thinking out his life on the planet Cholesterol (via GWAR.net).

The man behind the Beefcake the Mighty character, Texas musician Casey Orr, came relatively late to GWAR, joining a decade after it was established to replace a departing bassist. According to GWAR's Slave Pit, Orr was already a prominent member of the heavy metal community, having played with the horror-themed group Rigor Mortis and the Ministry offshoot Revolting C****. Orr left GWAR for a brief period in the late '90s, came back, left again in 2002, joined the Burned Brothers and the Hellions, attempted to reboot Rigor Mortis, and then in 2019 (per No Treble) once more rejoined GWAR, replacing Jamison Land, the previous musician to present himself as Beefcake the Mighty.

The Berserker Blothar - Mike Bishop

Per GWAR's mythos, The Berserker Blothar is the band's "lead howler," which is to say its lead singer, although in a far more accurate way that counts his shrieks, screams, and wails as much as it does anything traditionally musical. Coming to Earth from the "World of Mist," the antler-bearing, shield-wielding, battle-ready vocalist can purportedly rise to a height of 15 feet when he's in berserker mode (via GWAR.net).

According to Slave Pit, Mike Bishop entered the realm of GWAR in 1987, replacing previous, short-tenured bassist Chris Bopst and adopting the persona of Beefcake the Mighty. Bishop's playing graced GWAR's first four records, and he toured with the band and appeared in their videos. But by 1993, suffering from health issues (per Decibel) and worn out from simultaneous membership in GWAR and his other band, Kepone, he temporarily retired from portraying Beefcake. 

After more work with Kepone and earning a doctoral degree in ethnomusicology, with a focus on music history and pop music, he came back to GWAR, this time as the character The Berserker Blothar, and in 2014 would assume most of the lead vocals after the death of Dave Brockie. In 2015, Dr. Bishop became the first member of GWAR to deliver a TED Talk in his band's hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

Sawborg Destructo - Matt Maguire

Officially listed as the band's nemesis, SawBorg Destructo, a 50-megaton, motor oil-drinking beast from the planet Scumdogia is part blood-covered biological being, part mecha-warrior, outfitted in robot legs and a huge chainsaw-like apparatus. SawBorg came to Earth to stop and capture GWAR and return them to their distant and fated rightful master (via GWAR.net).

According to Horror Obsessive, Matt Maguire joined the artistic collective that surrounds, bolsters, and executes GWAR and its vision in the early 1990s. With some art school education at Virginia Commonwealth University to his name (per Slave Pit), he assisted early GWAR leader Hunter Jackson with building props, costumes, and GWAR comic books. Over the past 30 years, he's served a variety of roles in the GWAR endeavor, including assistant, videographer, fabricator, and designer. He eventually joined GWAR's touring extravaganza as stage manager and would finally suit up as Sawborg Destructo. Outside of GWAR, he built props for the Broadway show "Crash Test Dummies" and the Mr. Show movie "Run Ronnie Run."

Bonesnapper - Bob Gorman

A member of the larger GWAR collective and cast of stage characters, Bonesnapper is the band's turtle-reptilian bodyguard. Tasked with fighting for the Scumdog Army on a distant planet while enslaved, Bonesnapper went on to enslave others, only to be banished to this planet along with GWAR and, like them, emerging from Antarctic ice. He's the band's protector but also their target of scorn and humiliation, according to GWAR.net.

Bob Gorman was still attending art school when he joined GWAR, and their artistic collective, on a part-time basis in 1988, according to Slave Pit. Two years later, he dropped out and put all his creative energies and time into GWAR, and he never left. He moved from playing minor, un-named characters in GWAR stage shows — including Bonesnapper the bodyguard — and forging and fabricating props to writing, inking, and coloring GWAR's "Slave Pit Funnies" line of comic books, serving as GWAR's stage manager on three tours, and working as the foreman for GWAR's entire object creation unit since 1997. 

Gorman also helped run an independent art studio in New York in the late '90s before expanding the GWAR brand, taking the lead on a GWAR book and a GWAR documentary.

Oderus Urungus - Dave Brockie

For 30 years' worth of Earth-time, GWAR was fronted by Oderus Urungus, an alien covered in spikes, blood, and little else. According to NME, the GWAR mythos of Oderus states he was created on the planet Scumdogia some 43 billion years ago and is armed with a sword charmingly named "*nt Lick."

In the mid-1980s, Dave Brockie fronted a Richmond, Virginia-based heavy metal band called Death Piggy, according to NPR. Using the monster costumes from a never-made indie movie about space pirates (per Media Mikes), Brockie let his imagination run wild and created GWAR, casting his musician and artist friends in the project to portray alien exiles who played wildly outrageous metal songs about war and profanity. With Brockie leading the crew as Oderus Urungus, the band became a cult phenomenon, always remaining in character in media appearances (such as on "The Jerry Springer Show") and getting a popularity boost when their video appeared on "Beavis and Butt-Head."

According to Loudwire, after Richmond police responded to a call about a deceased man in March 2014, Brockie was discovered dead in his home. According to subsequent toxicology reports, the 50-year-old musician and performance artist died of a heroin overdose.

Vulvatron - Kim Dylla

After the 2014 death of Dave Brockie, GWAR gave his on-stage persona Oderus Urungus a "Viking funeral," according to Rolling Stone, lighting his costume aflame and setting it adrift. The band then needed a new singer for the first time in its history, and a new contributor arrived in the guise of Vulvatron, a face-painted Amazon warrior, according to Punk News, who led GWAR with an array of skills that included dancing, fire breathing, and shooting torrents of blood into the audience via large prosthetic mammary glands.

As Vulvatron, Kim Dylla became the first ever woman to be a full-time member of GWAR, according to The Music. According to The Denver Post, Vulvatron was a time traveler from the year 69,000. Dylla sang with GWAR for less than a year: In May 2015, GWAR announced on its Facebook page that Dylla was no longer part of GWAR. "You will absolutely see more of Vulvatron in the future, just not portrayed by Kim," band member Brent Purgason said. The separation was news to Dylla, who wrote on her own Facebook page, "It's really nice when you find out important things from people you consider to be your friends from posts on the internet and messages from strangers." 

However, Dylla remained in the GWAR-adjacent heavy metal world, starting Kim Dylla Custom Wear, which provides bespoke stage outfits and costumes for theatrical rock bands.

Sleazy P. Martini - Don Drakulich

A thorough, obvious, and ridiculous parody of sketchy, financially exploitative music industry hangers-on, Sleazy P. Martini is GWAR's odious and overstepping manager. Appearing in their stage shows, he purportedly discovered them after they thawed from Antarctic ice, following their banishment. Dressed in animal print, loud suits, gaudy jewelry, and a towering pompadour, Sleazy boasts both Mafia connections and a history of working in the Ronald Reagan administration, according to the GWAR mythos described by GWAR.net.

Don Drakulich isn't a musician — he's a filmmaker, special effects artist, and actor whose creative endeavors helped lead to the formation of GWAR in 1985. According to Media Mikes, filmmaker — and eventual early GWAR member — Hunter Jackson was producing a low-budget sci-fi horror movie called "Scumdogs of the Universe," and asked Dave Brockie if his band at the time, Death Piggy, could contribute music. Brockie saw the costumes Jackson had and figured he could build a band around them: The movie never got made, but GWAR was born. Drakulich helped the band put together its look and story, playing one of two initial manager-type characters after things didn't work out with another performer. "I then took the characters and evolved them both into one greasy '70s Elvis type," Drakulich said.

Techno Destructo - Hunter Jackson

According to the documentary "This is GWAR" (via Headstuff), GWAR emerged from the mind of Richmond, Virginia-based commercial art student Hunter Jackson. He had a greater affinity for dark and edgy comics, as well as animation, and as a creative outlet he began preproduction on a movie called "Scumdogs of the Universe." In the process, he crafted outlandish monster costumes that caught the eye of his friend, punk musician Dave Brockie, who got the idea of creating his band's own opening act — a metal band decked out in horror gear. Because GWAR happened, Jackson's film was never finished, but he eventually joined the band he inspired. He portrayed Techno Destructo, a rival of GWAR who wished to kill and destroy its members.

Since leaving GWAR for good in 2002 (via Slave Pit), not counting short reunions (via GWAR's Facebook page), Jackson has pursued movies, art, illustration, and non-metal music. He's acted in a few short films (per IMDB), staged his own artistic exhibition (via Metal Assault), and assisted in the recording of songs by Zayn, J Balvin, and Dua Lipa, per AllMusic.


A band like GWAR, with its intricate and expansive mythology, expensive and elaborate stage set-ups, and unique metal-meets-spoof-of-metal sound, may find it hard to find suitable opening acts for their shows. There's no other act out there quite like GWAR, and the band's all-encompassing art collective environment and deeply devoted fan base could make it tough for outsiders to enter their realm. The solution: GWAR every so often takes the stage as a metal band called RAWG. 

The origin of the name is simple: it's "GWAR" backward, and their approach reflects that. As related by Metal Injection, RAWG is simply the members of GWAR without the costumes, masks, set pieces, and special effects, taking the stage in a literally stripped-down fashion. Even their setlist is all GWAR songs. RAWG promotes itself as the world's most cost-effective GWAR cover band, according to Style Weekly, and while their performances are rare, they have performed in place of GWAR at informal events such as fan gatherings, according to Loudwire.

When the group appears in movies, TV shows, or on the soundtracks of either, it's usually as GWAR, as credited by IMDB. However, in 2004, the band contributed multiple songs as RAWG to an episode of the Cartoon Network animated spy spoof "Codename: Kids Next Door," according to TV Tropes.