There is only one band like GWAR. In fact, there may never be another band like GWAR. Known for their outrageous costumes and prosthetics, GWAR is as much a theater group as they are a rock band. For over 30 years, GWAR have put on performances that make KISS look like clowns. Jizmak Da Gusha (aka Brad Roberts) has been the drummer for GWAR since 1989.
Although his character’s costume has undergone many changes over the years his on-stage identity always resembles a monstrous fang grinning dog. Beyond the drums he can be seen wielding a large war hammer as part of his act. Behind the drums he is as good as any other drummer in his genre. Jizmak is the only central GWAR character who has been played by only one person.
In an interview with Drummer Zone Brad recalled his beginnings. According to Brad, “At the age of ten, I wanted to quit playing drums, almost as soon as I had started. It was my mother’s encouragement to make me finish what I started, that made the difference and allowed the learning and discipline of playing music a passion for me. In an interview for CDN he recalled his first drum set, “It took four years to get the trap kit and started playing seriously at 14. I had to mow a lot of lawns, cut a lot of grass, save up some money and then my parents agreed to go halves with me. So, if I saved up half of it, they’d chip in the other half. That’s how I got my first drum set.”
Besides Buddy Rich, Brad is influenced by artists like Alex Van Halen, Bill Stevenson, Dave Lombardo, Mikkey Dee, Bill Ward, and Billy Cobham. He recalled, “You name it, I listened to it. I wanted to study everything. For sure I like Billy Cobham! I think the most important quality a drummer should have is to not just be, ‘Oh, I’m so great and I can do all this stuff,’ but he should play within the context of the song. The drummer’s job is to make that song swing.”
According to his gear breakdown: Jizmak’s drums have been painted to resemble distorted eyes or skulls, adding to GWAR’s distinct visual appearance. Currently, his drums are unpainted except for the words, “F@@K”, “OFF”, “YOU”, “C@@T”, “COCK” and “BLOW” scribbled on some of the drums. This might be a reference/tribute to Stewart Copeland, the drummer for the new wave band The Police, who had the similar phrase written on his drum heads circa 1982 during tour. On stage the entire drum kit fits underneath a large arch-like structure.
Brad’s appreciation for his career is evident. In that same interview for Drummer Zone he was quoted saying, “Today, I find it odd that I’ve managed to carve out an enjoyable career as a musician over the past fifteen years performing as a prominent creative member of GWAR.”