Michael Derks


1988- Gwar - guitars (as Balsac, The Jaws Of Death)  

Personal information

Also known as: Balsac, The Jaws Of Death
Born on: 28.06.1968

Balsac the Jaws of Death is the guitarist in the rock band GWAR. He appears as a humanoid creature with a face resembling a bear-trap. BalSac is usually portrayed wielding a giant battleaxe.

At GWAR's genesis, Balsac played bass. However, early in the band's history, Balsac became the guitar player. He has occasionally been featured as a vocalist. Balsac's vocals can be heard on the song "Mary Anne" off the album We Kill Everything. His (Derks') first GWAR song was "Black and Huge," and the first song featuring him on vocals was "The Needle." "The Needle" was never released on a Metal Blade album, but it was a Slave Pit Single, and was re-recorded as "Escape From The Mooselodge" on We Kill Everything, featuring Oderus Urungus on vocals. "Black and Huge" was originally recorded after Hell-O was released in the United States.

Balsac was originally played by Chris Bopst, and at that time, Balsac was the band's bassist. It was Bopst who gave Balsac The Jaws of Death his full name. However, by the time Hell-O had been released, Beefcake and Balsac switched roles and Steve Douglas had replaced Bopst. Douglas played the character until soon after Hell-O was released when he passed the torch to Michael Derks. With the exception of a few gigs in Europe in 1991 (where Balsac was played by Barry Ward), Derks has carried the title since. On a side note, Derks also runs the GWAR mailing list and has performed in Gwar spin-off bands X-Cops, RAWG, and the Dave Brockie eXperience.

A large portion of GWAR's catalog was written (or co-written) by Derks, and he has contributed to the production of several songs.

According to the timeline of Slave Pit, Inc., Michael Derks joined the band in 1988, making him the second longest (after Dave Brockie) serving member of GWAR. The character is one of the two longest-serving, having been in every single incarnation of GWAR.

Balsac the Jaws of Death appears on more album covers than any other member of GWAR, having appeared on all but America Must Be Destroyed, We Kill Everything, Slaves Going Single and You're All Worthless and Weak . The GWAR logo on the cover of Beyond Hell reveals a reflection of the bear-trap head (the only character image on an otherwise white cover).