Today is the 30th birthday of Michael Derks, better known as Balsac
Jaws of Death, guitarist for GWAR (God What an Awful Racket), the
metal performance-art group that stages concerts which could be
spoofs of thrash-metal acts. GWAR's music is scatological, sexually
explicit and loud -- in short, not meant for everyone.
The group formed at Virginia Commonwealth University, where a
students, musicians and dancers came together to display their
talents and comment on metal music. In addition to Balsac, principal
members are vocalist Odorus Urungus (a.k.a. David Brockie), guitarist
Maximus (a.k.a. Peter Lee), bassist Beefcake the Mighty (a.k.a.
Bishop) and drummer Jizmak the Gusha (a.k.a. Brad Roberts). Other
Techno-Destructo (a.k.a. Hunter Jackson) on vocals, Slymenstra
Danyelle Stampe) on whips and Sexecutioner (a.k.a. Charles Varga) on
chains. They are
managed by Sleazy P. Martini (a.k.a. Don Drakulich).
GWAR claim to be "all-powerful interplanetary warriors, descended
stranded in Antarctica and initially created from the lowest filth in
the universe, who have come to Earth to sexually enslave and/or
slaughter the human race." They perform in crazy costumes of latex
papier-mâché and their stage act includes simulated pagan rituals
corpses (complete with faux bodily fluids), a
three-foot phallus and a big mechanical maggot. Several cities have
banned GWAR from performing and the band has been fined for
North Carolina. Police in Athens, Ga., even stopped a 1993 concert.
American Civil Liberties Union has assisted GWAR in
challenging some of these charges.
The group's albums include: Hell-o (Shimmy Disc, 1988),
of the Universe
(Metal Blade, 1990), The Road Behind (Priority EP, 1992),
America Must Be Destroyed (Metal Blade, 1992) and This
Toilet Earth (Metal Blade, 1994). GWAR's musicianship, which
emphasizes guitar histrionics by Balsac and Flattus Maximus, is not
among the best in the business, and their singing is often
Songs include "Penis I See," "Saddam A Go-Go" and "Pocket Pool."
GWAR's stage shows can be highly amusing and have more to offer
their recordings. In fact, GWAR were nominated for a Grammy in
the feature video "Phallus in Wonderland."
Other birthdays: Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets), 39.