Rock Stars Who Are Unrecognizable In Normal Everyday Life

You can sum up the life of a rock star in three words. Sex. Drugs. Rock and roll. Okay, that's five words, know-it-all. The point is if you want to be a rock god, you need to live life on the razor's edge, or, at the very least, make it seem like you do. That's why Bowie turned himself into a spaceman and Kiss turned into whatever it was they were. (Disease-riddled party clowns?)

But offstage, rock stars are just ordinary-ish people. When the bacchanal ends, and the hangover subsides, they still need to pick the kids up from school, hit the grocery store, and vacuum up the cocaine and blood. You might say they're, in many ways, just like us.

So, what do these rock stars look like when they're just going about their lives, far away from the groupies and guitar riffs? Well, you might be surprised. In fact, you might walk right by them without even realizing who they actually are. Here are just a few of the musical megastars who look unrecognizable in everyday life.

Marilyn Manson without the goth

For large parts of the '90s, Marilyn Manson was painted as something akin to the Antichrist, a man hellbent on destroying the impressionable youth of America with his insidious industrial beats. In reality Brian Warner, his given name, was just a guy who loved music and mascara and wasn't afraid to use both of them to cause a scene.

But over time, Manson has made it a point to reinvent himself, pushing his grotesque image to the breaking point, while also popping up on some of your favorite TV shows in nearly unrecognizable roles.

Whether it was his turn as white supremacist Ron Tully on Sons of Anarchy, or his role as Thomas Dinley, the dweeby surgeon and barber on WGN's Salem, if you didn't know who you were watching going in, there's little chance you'd recognize him. His acting isn't so much transformational as un-transformational, turning him back into the mere human who's existed underneath his public persona for so long.

Alice Cooper on the links

There's a joke halfway through the 1992 comedy Wayne's World where the titular hero encounters Alice Cooper post-performance, only to learn that this rocker famous for blood and guts is actually a soft-spoken intellectual, as friendly offstage as he is ferocious on it. It was a classic bit of comedy, but it also happens to be true.

According to a Telegraph article from 1997, Cooper likes chocolate chip cookies and TV before he takes the stage, and finds his respite in the most unlikely of places. As he told the paper, after a dark episode in a sanatorium, trying to kick his demons and drinking habit, Cooper turned to the links: "Some people turn to God, I turned to golf."

He's even written a book about the journey, Golf Monster: My 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict. And with one of rock and roll's greatest handicaps, he's no tourist. So the next time you see someone shooting a few holes, and feel like you've seen them before, maybe with a snake wrapped around their neck, doused in gallons of blood, belt out a few bars from "School's Out" and see what happens.

Limp Bizkit's Wes Borland looking broey

While most rock stars do, in fact, do it all for the nookie (come on!), Wes Borland and his band Limp Bizkit are the only ones willing to just admit it. Merging rap, rock, and the regret a majority of 30-somethings feel for buying that album, The Biscuit Boyz (not a real nickname) were one of the biggest bands of the early aughts, and Wes Borland was a big reason why.

No matter your thoughts on the lasting power of lyrics like "so you can take that cookie and stick it up your yeah," there's no doubt Borland was an ace on the ax, helping shape the sound that drove them to the top. And he did it, famously, buried under a mountain of makeup, masks, and elaborate costumes that left him unrecognizable. That's why, offstage, it's almost jarring to see that Borland looks like a typical bro, as comfortable sporting a polo shirt as a primordial monster mask.

Gwar's Dave Brockie looking human

Before his untimely death in 2014, David Brockie was the lead singer of Gwar, the horror-infused heavy metal band as famous for their costumes as they are for their tunes. Casual fans of the band, if anyone can be a casual fan of Gwar, may never have heard David Brockie's name. That's because for 30 years he performed as Oderus Urungus, the band's intergalactic barbarian front man, complete with head to toe alien accoutrement that transformed him into a hellion from outer space.

The chances of Brockie, or any of his bandmates for that matter, being recognized offstage are in the slim-to-none category, unless you were a die-hard fan or willing to do a Google deep dive. Since his passing in 2014, the devious duties of belting out Gwar hits like "Womb with a View," "Lust in Space," and "Slaughterama" have fallen to Michael Bishop, or more accurately, The Berserker Blothar.

Sia sans wigs

There may be no one more mysterious in the world of pop that Sia, the superstar singer-songwriter behind hits like "Chandelier" and "Breathe Me," who most fans couldn't pick out of a police lineup. Thanks to a hefty wig collection and an aversion to celebrity, Sia has somehow become a hit factory mostly without having to deal with the downsides of fame.

As she told Chris Connelly on Nightline in 2014, "I don't want to be famous, or recognizable. I don't want to be critiqued about the way that I look on the internet. ... I see what [other pop stars' lives are] like and that's not something I want."

All the more shocking is that, underneath those bleach blonde 'dos lies a beauty who could have surely cashed in on her looks to be even more popular. Instead she's let the music speak for itself and maintained the privacy she clearly craves. 

Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter forgets the helmet

Tracking down shots of the boys behind Daft Punk, the Grammy-winning electronic duo from Paris who are as famous for their oversized helmets as they are for their hard-hitting beats, can feel like a fool's errand. Despite reaching the pinnacle of the music industry, few pictures actually exist of the two superstars sans masks.

Having spent the last 25 years performing in various disguises, from trash bags and wigs to the futuristic helmets they wear today, few people, even their fans, know what they look like. According to an interview with Rolling Stone, the dynamic duo described their look as "sci-fi glam" in the tradition of Kraftwerk, Ziggy Stardust, and Kiss, saying, "we're interested in the line between fiction and reality, creating these fictional personas that exist in real life." 

That's why the few photos we have of them without the disguise, like the one above of Daft Punk-er Thomas Bangalter at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, feels like someone finally snapped a shot of Bigfoot. Albeit a Bigfoot who can drop some beats. 

Lady Gaga looking like the girl next door

Lady Gaga is loud, proud, and desperately loves a crowd. Whether it's her infamous meat dress or that gown made out of dozens of dead Kermits, Gaga dresses to impress. Onstage or on vacation, accepting an award or escaping the paparazzi, Gaga is a master at making sure all eyes are on her.

With heavy makeup, titanic wigs, and just enough skin to catch our attention, Gaga is in a perpetual state of transformation, but she often seems to leave one look out of her repertoire. That is the one she was born with. The one named Stefani Germanotta.

What are the chances you'd recognize this Grammy winner if she wasn't dressed like a sultry super-villain from the future, sent back in time to steal all our MTV Video Music Awards? How would you know it was her if she wasn't glammed out to the max, like Evita Peron taking holiday on the Jersey Shore? While we love Gaga's neverending quest to shock and awe us, it has to be said that she looks great just being herself. If you can recognize her, that is.

Boy George barefaced look

Back in 2009, Culture Club singer Boy George finally had to face the music, thanks to some bad karma, karma, karma on his part. In a brutal incident, the pop singer had imprisoned an escort at his London flat, handcuffing him to a wall and beating him with a metal chain. It seems the answer to "do you really want to hurt me" was an emphatic yes.

For the crime, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison. A side effect of his newfound notoriety was that the world got to see him without the stagecraft and makeup, and many people were shocked. The singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, with his shaved head and hefty stature, looked nothing like the boyish pop star they all remembered now that he was splashed across tabloid pages around the world. 

In the years since the incident, George has put his life back together and rebuilt himself from the ground up, losing some weight in the process. Still, there's little doubt that his look offstage shows what a chameleon he is on it. 

ICP's Violent J is not clowning

What makes a juggalo a juggalo? Is it the cargo shorts? The meth? The dark secrets shared over cans of Faygo? 

No, for most fans of Insane Clown Posse, the horrorcore hip-hop outfit fronted by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, being a fan means one thing. Makeup, and lots of it. If you aren't shellacking your clown look on before the Gathering of the Juggalos, you just aren't a true believer. And that comes straight from the top, thanks to the look ICP has sported for the past 30 years. They aren't exactly "rock" stars, but what do hardcore hip-hop's most infamous rappers look like on their days off? Well, for Violent J, we'd describe his look as Guy Fieri after a prison stint.

And how do we know? Well, at least according to Gawker, ICP has "taken great pains over the last two decades to avoid being photographed without their clown make-up. Now they seem to care less." That's fine, but if they get rid of those chain wallets, that's it. You have to have standards.