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The Top 12 Ugliest Musicians… Ever…

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Ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes “ugly” I recently asked some of the Internet’s top music sites to answer the following question:

“Who do you think the ugliest musician/band ever to walk the planet
is and why?”

I took the responses I received and shared them with a large group of music loving friends who then voted on the submissions. After the votes were counted I put the selections in order from ugliest to least ugliest. The resulting list contains the top dozen ugliest musicians, or the real “Dirty Dozen.”
Please remove all sharp objects and children from the room before viewing the pictures displayed below. (Click images for expanded versions)

1. Shane MacGowan (The Pogues)

Looking for the ugliest rock star is something of a fool’s adventure. After all, rock isn’t about being pretty. If Keith Richards looked like Hugh Grant, the Rolling Stones might’ve gone the way of Herman’s Hermits. Ugliness denotes disregard for the bourgeoisie ideas of beauty, it suggests defiance in the face of the photogenic, it is emblematic of “listen to the music, man”. Beautiful people seldom make stirring music, in much the same way as the handsomest jock and prettiest cheerleader seldom had anything interesting to say in high school. So with these caveats in mind, I’ll say the most heroic rock performer is none other than Irishman Shane MacGowan of the Pogues. The Irish have produced many a handsome lad, and many a fair lass, but MacGowan got one of the most asymmetrical heads, biggest flappy ears, and worst teeth from his genetic pool. Makes me all that more convinced the Pogues were a great band.

Selected by uao of Freeway Jam

2. G.G. Allin

GG GG (born Jesus Christ Allin) started out sort of homely, but through a lot of effort, made himself truly ugly – which was a reflection of the world as he saw it. He often performed naked and would cut huge gashes in his face and body on stage. He’d urinate and deficate on stage, and then throw his feces at the crowd. A self-described asshole, GG didn’t just do this as a performance, he lived his life that way. A friend was a potential enemy, but the audience was the ultimate enemy. He was famous for endurance, in the amount of damage he would inflict on himself. He once bashed a microphone against his mouth repeatedly until his front two teeth were knocked in. He promised suicide on stage, but ended up dying in a friend’s apartment in 1993, of a heroin overdose after escaping naked from a police-raided show nearby.

Selected by drake of thus spake drake

3. Gene Simmons (Kiss)

Gene Simmons True ugliness lives on the inside, although in Simmons’ case, it clearly seeped outward rather early on. Homeslice’s abhorrent, dismissive attitude, lamentably huge ego, evil and ruthless business sense and purportedly nasty views on women, minorities and gays makes him a clear winner for Uggo King. How any dipshit has ever fucked him is a mystery to me-and to top that, as a young lad, he was studying to be a Rabbi! Led off the path, indeed.

Selected by Joan Hiller/Publicist, Sub Pop Records

4. Lemmy (Motörhead)

Lemmy Maybe I just have an unfortunate, politically incorrect bias against giant carbunkles, especially when they adorn the face. Or maybe I am spot on. Lemmy (Ian Kilmister) of Motörhead fame has been rockin’ his ugly self for decades. He started in the music biz as a roadie for another famous unpretty boy, Jimi Hendrix in 1967. Lemmy has that haggard look that only decades of hard livin, venereal diseases and Rock & Roll can produce to such an excessive degree. The man has taken no prisoners in his life, his music or his look. I raise my glass to you Lemmy, Rock Diety of the unseemly throngs.

Selected by Robert Burke of musicradish.com

5. Thom Yorke (Radiohead)

Yorke BRILLIANT? Absolutely.
GROUNDBREAKING? Almost always.
PRETTY? Uh… no.

But I think it is perhaps fitting for a band like Radiohead to have a leader who, while full of a certain charisma, falls completely outside of what would normally be considered attractive by many. Thom Yorke is hell-bent on the public respecting him for his music and not for his image… and luckily, his face is perfect for that. Nothing quite lines up on it, you know? Sorta under-, or maybe over-, cooked.
But when he’s on that stage and pouring his emotions out over the crowd, he is nonetheless mesmerizing and easy to look at… kinda transcends the whole good looking/ugly thing.

Selected by Chris Anderson of worthy<-MUSIC

6. Jim Skafish (Skafish)

Skafish Rock ‘n’ roll and ugliness go together like Sonny and Cher – I mean when they were actually together. Part of the visceral appeal and importance of rock ‘n’ roll has always been its power to transgress and shock, and “ugliness” — both audio and visual — is integral to this power.

But there is ugliness and there is UGLINESS, and while the examples of natural and nurtured butt ugliness may be rife in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll, I don’t think anyone has ever quite reveled in their physical freakishness quite like Jim Skafish. Skafish was the leader, singer/songwriter and namesake of the luxuriously quirky Chicago band of the late-’70s and ’80s, which had a sensational self-titled debut album for IRS in 1980 wherein Jim dwelled quite artfully and painfully into the uncomfortable realities of being a sensitive and misunderstood outcast on classics such as “Disgracing the Family Name.”

I mean ugly: the guy has a beak like a toucan, had a bowlcut that Three Stooges-Moe would have scoffed at (now shaved clean), and translucently pale skin over an oddly androgynous 6′ 3″ frame. Beat that with a stick and walk away.

Selected by Eric Olsen of Blogcritics

7. Madonna

Madonna Not being a supermodel myself, I can’t really name an “ugly” musician without being overly hypocritical. Physically. we all have our charms. What bothers me about musician’s appearances is when they are not
Someone like Madonna, who constantly changes her physical look to sell more albums and/or stay popular is far more repulsive to me than the Elephant Man singing reggae ever could be.

Selected by David of Largehearted Boy

8. Alex Van Halen (Van Valen)

Alex Van Halen As a youngster growing up in the late seventies I didn’t really care what musicians looked like as long as they rocked. Then I saw a picture of Alex Van Halen. His mug instinctively made made my skin crawl worse than Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees combined. It was the face I imagined staring down at me in my nightmares from the side door of a beat-up
van, asking if I wanted some candy and could I help him find his puppy. A creepy, ugly dude. I’m only thankful that for the last thirty years he’s taken
those huge sunglasses off maybe twice. As David Lee Roth once said: “No, no, no. Don’t take them off, don’t take them off. Leave them on, leave them on!”

Selected by J Shifty of Ribaldry & Schmaltz

9. Haterush

Haterush A few months ago, I noticed that a European heavy metal label called, “Black Lotus” release a number of albums onto rhapsody. Most of these releases were from bands coming from Greece and Sweden and they were chock full of quality headbanging. It actually proved to be quite a rewarding surprise. I even compiled a Radish list called Greek Power Metal which can be found in the Rhapsody Radish archives. Among the bands I discovered was probably the ugliest looking group I have ever seen called, “Haterush.” These guys can jam pretty well but MAN OH, MAN…These guys are ugly!

Selected by Pantagruel of the Radish Message Board

10. Gwar

GwarBecause I just can’t bring myself to call an actual person “the ugliest musician ever,” how about an entire band? I selected GWAR as the ugliest band to walk the earth. Anyone in their mid- to late-20’s will remember GWAR as the object of Beavis and Butthead’s eternal adoration and worship, which probably got them the recognition they still enjoy today. Categorized in Rhapsody as “Comedy Rock,” it’s easier to laugh at the ridiculous getups these guys wear than the actual music. Especially known for showering their audiences with fake blood, vomit and other bodily fluids, the erstwhile “aliens bent on destroying earth” attempt to destroy and/or corrupt humans whenever possible. Their heavy-metal theater act has been going on for 20 years now, but the sheer monstrosity that is GWAR will go on…forever.

Selected by Amanda of Rhapsody in Blog

11. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

Waters Despite everyone who’s ever been identified as a Rolling Stone, I’m always shocked to see Roger Waters’s face, particularly in the early photos (like the one on the Piper at the Gates of Dawn cover): his face looks as though it’s been squeezed through a soda bottle and smushed. What really shocked me after I saw that photo was when I discovered that it hadn’t been distorted or psychedelicized. That was actually what he looked like!
Since then, well…on the one hand he gets less horrifying as he ages, but on the other hand, now he’s both old AND ugly. Rarely a good combination.
Oh…and his nasal shriek when he sings is almost as hideous as his face. That’s what truly places him in the Hall of Homely.

Selected by Michael J. West of Popular Music Musings

12. Journey

Waters Journey was without a doubt the ugliest band in the history of rock and roll. Sure, their songs sound fun on “Laguna Beach” and “Family Guy,” but have you seen their videos? Calling them butt ugly is an insult to
butts. Frontman Steve Perry, amazingly enough, wasn’t even the ugliest dude in the band. They couldn’t even find decent photos of themselves to use on their self-titled arcade game.
Fun fact #1: Journey made three mostly instrumental albums before hiring Steve Perry.
Fun fact #2: Journey still tours but with a different singer named Steve who’s even uglier than Perry.

Selected by Jake Brown of Glorious Noise

Honorable mentions include Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Lyle Lovett, Ric Ocasek, Jimi Hendrix and Gillian Welch. Please add your own nomination to the comments.

Robert Burke spends much of his time lovingly crafting thematic playlists at the Rhapsody Radish.

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  • Eric Olsen

    fascinating and thanks for asking me to participate: I see many of my colleagues included “spiritual” ugliness in their deliberations

  • Yea, I thought that the “spiritually ugly” route was a good way to go. I agree with largehearted boy on Madonna, but you know, after examining her above picture closely. Those eybrows and that hook nose really show how physicaly unatractive the woman was before the surgery and fashion upgrades.

  • Wow. Nobody said Frank Zappa in specific, or the Mothers of Invention as a whole? Not only are they ugly, but they wear ugly dresses!

  • Nancy

    I still think after all these years that Mick Jagger is one of the ugliest (physically) critters ever to prance on a stage.

  • I like this piece a lot, especially the pictures. Robert Burke rivals Teletart for my newest darling Blogcritic that I adore 🙂 I hereby nominate him for the main music critic for this site rather than the ridiculous Senator Al Barger. Unlike my past nominations, you all know Robert Burke is the far, far better writer and totally deserves it.

    He’s a legend and a hero, but Joey Ramone was one weird, ugly mofo. He was some kind of alien mutant, who had like 3 rows of tiny shark teeth and an odd head.

    John Mayer is an ugly goofy dork.

    Scott Stapp, formerly of Creed, was a fat ugly dork. Ditto for Steve, the lead singer from Smashmouth. There haven’t been many fat lead singers in rock bands, so they tend to stand out.

    Rick Ocasek might deserve on that list because of his googly eye.

    I’ll have to think of some others.

    That is all.


    Hows about a shot of yer own mugs for comparison?


    Oh, and you mistakenly posted a picture of Richard Ramirez instead of Alex Van Halen…wait a minute, Richard Ramirez IS Alex Van Halen!!!!!!!

  • Burke is so right about Gene Simmons, one of the biggest douchebags fronting one of the worst bands in human history.

    That is all.


    Of course, Alex got more play on a bad night when he was semi-comatose, lying on the floor with vomit all over him than we’ve all collectively bagged in our entire lives. And really, isn’t that what’s most important?

    np: Megadeth-“Scorpion”

  • yow, i like the sonny & cher reference in the Jim Skafish bit…because that dude looks like sonny & cher put together.


  • ClubhouseCancer

    Re Comment 3: “I think it’s your mind.”

  • Nancy

    Just what is Barger a senator of? Or where?

  • Eric Olsen

    BAB, what is with the “main music reviewer” references all the time? Surely you are familiar enough with the site to know there is no such thing and that dozens of writers post music reviews every week.

    Nancy, Al was the Libertarian candidate for the Senate from Indiana last year

  • Eric Olsen

    Mark, Thanks – did you know Skafish? (musically, that is)

  • no, actually i don’t. should i?

    (and let this be proof to those that know me that i don’t own every freaking recording ever made…tho i’m workin’ on it!)

  • I’m easily confused. I see “New CDs” next to the Senator’s name. Robert Burke is a national treasure.

    That is all.


    It was downright cruel of you to post a picture of Robert Waters after he began the hormone injection therapy treatments. If a man wants to alter himself to look like the Queen Mother, that’s his business!

  • Eric Olsen

    no, that was Nicolas Cage

    New CD releases is simply a weekly feature Al does

  • Eric Olsen

    Mark, yes, you should really check the guy out – his site is here. That first album on IRS was pretty great

  • Are all the comments written by the “Selected by…” authors? The paragraph from Joan Hiller/Publicist, Sub Pop Records particularly caught my eye.

    Also “I recently asked some of the Internet’s top music sites” may not be entirely truthful here. Sorry.

    Asked some music types would seem to fit the bill, however.

    And only one woman? Madonna’s not even ugly.

  • Eric Olsen

    yes, each selector wrote his/her section

  • Eric Olsen

    and I agree Madonna isn’t ugly, but she is broken

  • Temple,

    Yes, all text that goes with each selection was written by the person who selected it.

    And as far as I’m concerned these ARE “some of the Internet’s top music sites”. If you don’t agree with me go collect your own list from your own favorites. In the meantime I will continue to give praise where I choose to. These are, after all, MY OPINION pieces.

  • If you guys would read what largehearted boy said you would see he chose Madonna because of the “internal ugliness” she radiates.

    Although I think those eybrows could comfortably house a family of bush monkeys.

  • Eric Olsen

    Robert, you are so avuncular toward your writers

  • Matt

    What about Ian Stewart, who basically put the Stones together but was deemed “too ugly to be a Stone” by their manager Andrew Loog Oldham? Too ugly to be a Stone? That’s a special kind of ugly!

  • Nathaniel Winn

    I’m not so sure Madonna’s ugly. Yeah, she’s got a gap-tooth–but so does my brother. Overall, she’s kinda hot.

    Eddie Van Halen looks tons worse than Alex!

    Forgot Neil Young! I’d trade him for Roger Waters.

  • aha! great fun to be had here, even though i find shane to exhibit a wonderful beauty. i could stare at that mug for hours, long after i’d got bored lookin at, i dunno, david beckham or someone.

    and honourable mention to Gillian Welch? come on now, in the right light she’s very pretty.

    great fun, nonetheless

  • The Theory

    Lyle Lovett?
    Iggy Pop?

    and is there a light to make Gillian Welch pretty? I mean, I love Gillian, but I wouldn’t buy a photo album of her.

  • The Theory

    oh, and while Primus may boast one of the best bass players, ever, that doesn’t mean Les Claypool becomes any prettier for it…

  • Cool list, but you missed a few good ones:

    Geddy Lee of Rush
    Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman of Yes
    Ringo Starr

    …to name a few

  • Eric, Nice word, “avuncular”
    Thank God for Dictionary.com

    After looking it up to see if you were complementing me or insulting me I must say I’ll take that as a complement. I really do LOVE every contributer and they all have KICK ASS websites! Including yourself.

    Now.. would you like to play “horsey” with uncle Bob?



  • avuncular: like an uncle in kindness or indulgence

    Uncle Bob is the best uncle I never had.

  • Huh?

    How could Gene Simmons be on the list when this guy is in the same band?

  • Gene Simmons is spiritually uglier, that’s why.

  • Duane

    This kind of stuff is really just a load of crap. It just validates the popularity of talentless but beautiful-with-makeup people, let’s say, Britney. What purpose is served by declaring that Roger Waters is ugly? Sure, this would be fun on a Friday evening with a few pals and a few beers, but to post this kind of drivel in public shows a lack of class.

    What next? The ugliest founding father? The ugliest classic Greek author? The ugliest Blogcritic?

    There’s my recommended daily allowance of moral indignation.

    Carry on.

  • seems to me you missed the top two:

    Neil Young and Donald Fagan. I would link to pictures here, but this is an expensive monitor. I can’t risk blowing it up.

  • Ah Duane, take a chill pill. This serves the same purpose as Roger Waters music itself. It’s called “Entertainment”

  • Fun stuff….

  • Duane

    Gee, I didn’t see that “chill pill” response coming from five miles away. Good one, Robert. As far as “entertainment,” your post has the same kind of “entertainment” value as a traffic accident.

  • We all have opinions there Duane.

    The only difference between mine and yours are that mine were good enough to get you to leave comments.

    So, I win.

  • Duane

    OK, I concede. Hehe. I get it.

  • JR

    If staring at a traffic accident helps you figure out what went wrong, the knowledge might just save your life. That’s pretty valuable to me.

  • that’s actually the most attractive GG Allin photo I’ve ever seen.

    y’all should see the gallery on his site

    there’s even a pic of his open casket… needless to say, not for the squeamish.

  • The Theory


    I’ll try. I’ve rather been going through a creatively dry period and haven’t had the mental stanima to gather cohesive thoughts on music. But I haven’t forgotten about the place. nooooo… not by a longshot.

  • Wow Lemmy was not number one.

    How about Steve Grimmett of Onslaught, Grim Reaper and Lionsheart fame? He is one scarey looking bloke even when he sings a ballad.

    Course he will kick my butt the next time he sees me…possibly…more likely his wife.

    Geddy Lee defintely.

  • GG Allin is, of course, the spitting imagine of V.I Lenin.

  • Who’s Uncle Bob? Me?

  • Vern Halen

    Britain has socialized medicine, so I’ll bet Lemmy could get those facial warts removed anytime. Does intentional ugliness count, or is it a lifestyle choice?

  • godoggo

    Gosh, I always thought Jimi was quite pleasant looking.

  • Joey

    All good choices.

    Krieger from the Doors
    Alice Cooper
    Chrissy Hind (in a special way)
    Mishell Shocked
    The Runaways (collectively)

    Old farts are always ugly, especially when in “wardrobe”

    The Ramones (fer sure)

    I never really liked Madonna’s gapped toothed smile, nor Love’s mudflapped camel toe.

    Hmmm..everyone stated above certainly qualifies.

  • uao


    GG Allin really does look like Lenin. However, I can’t help thinking Anton LaVey when I see the pic above.

    Funny thing on GG Allin was he was fairly thin and scrawny early in his career; when he died, he had the bulk of a jailhouse weightlifter when he died. As his own brother once pointed out, every tour of GG’s ended with GG in the hospital or in prison.

  • uao, i never noticed the LaVey thing, you’re right! but in those concert videos, when he’s jsut done a cack and then stands up pouting, i just think – camp Lenin, that’s all it is. i keep hopin he’ll maybe break into a yack about “Peace, Bread, Work, Freedom”, but no, another shit, another fist to someones head. what a charming rascal he was.

  • A good but flawed list.

  • Dave, this list is 100% opinion. Opinion by its very nature cannot be flawed.

  • Eric Olsen

    re Allin: talk about a doomed aesthetic

  • JR

    Shee-it, I look more like Lenin than that dude. In fact, I used to post a picture of Lenin on my office door, ’cause frankly he was better looking than I am. Still fooled people, though.

  • uao


    Re: Dave’s comment

    I don’t think he was saying the opinions were flawed…

  • uao “I don’t think he was saying the opinions were flawed…”

    hmm.. now I am completely confused. What flawed list was he refering to then?

  • uao

    A good but flawed list?

    The faces are flawed…? Get it?

    If he didn’t mean that, he should have.


  • godoggo

    Yes, that would have been funny haha indeed.

  • Mary Anne

    Most were good choices and some of the runners-up and suggested ones from others are good also.
    I grew up knowing Jim Skafish personally. Our Dad’s were good friends. He wasn’t any better looking as a child or a high schooler – and was whiny and obnoxious. A snot.
    I could devulge a lot of tales of his youth ! He sux.

  • Thom Yorke reminds me of a cross between Clay Aiken (pre “monkey-do” from this years Idol finale) with really bad teeth, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E Neuman


  • rob

    prince – annoyingly ugly

  • hehe…i’m with rob.

    but madonna? come on! cut her some slack.

  • johnson

    tom petty and the heartbreakers. they embrace their ugliness, hence the name heartbreakers. gotta love em.

  • tootles

    No way on Journey. Waaaaay too many others were/are worse.

  • Rocker

    Journey UGLY? Like what the heck were you thinking? They were one of the cutting edge arena rock bands. They created that image. As for where to listen to them, I listen everywhere. I guess those with their nose too high in the air, can’t come down where the really good rock is. DID YOU FORGET MEATLOAF in your consideration of ugly? Or is it just that he was sperm donor that he was left out?

  • Der

    We the people did not get to vote. De Nada.


    if personal attacks are not allowed in response to a poll that attacks musicians and labels them as ugly, then what the heck, you only have power of the delete button to send me away. That’s the only difference between your attack and what my response to that attack would be. But my repsonse would just be deleted? NO FREE SPEECH ALLOWED HERE UNLESS YOU ARE THE CRITIC. NOT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE.

  • Oh for heaven’s sake Der and “Free Speech”. There was never a vote. It’s an OPINION PIECE. Calm the hell down.

  • sat

    madonna is a Musician??

  • Roger Waters in São Paulo, day 24, march 2007, the dark side of the moon, i’am go, and you ??? hehehehehe

  • How can we forget Lionel Richie

  • reggie von woic

    Richie’s face and hair cancel eacth other out.

    All i’m gonna say is that Bono is beautiful on the inside…

  • Hillbilly

    Roger Waters is, but especially used to be, really ugly indeed. I watched clips from “Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii” 1972, and man… he looked terrible there!

    Don’t forget another famous rocker who is among the ugliest things I’ve ever seen with a guitar: Pete Townshend of The Who! He too looks better today, but back in the 60’s… oh boy!

  • meatbag

    No one said Devin Townsend. Hello? Skullet, anyone?

  • I’ve always thought Roger Waters was the ugliest guy on earth… glad someone else does! This was pretty funny, really, though I think GWAR should have been higher on the ugly ratings… they’re ugly.

    But I enjoyed it, very much.

  • yyyyyyte6

    wow hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahaahaha

  • leann

    What are you smoking? Roger Waters is hot. And nice rationalising for putting Madonna on there.

  • Anis

    What are the use of Comments?

  • Ronnie. James. Dio.


  • jake

    Iggy pop used to be adorable. ANd come on, Steve perry’s not bad looking.

  • L.G.

    I don’t get why people think Pete Townshend is so ugly. He just looks like an average dude to me.

    Does it really matter anyway if they are ugly? They’re musicians, not models. Also not everyone has the same idea of beauty. This is kind of pointless IMO.



  • John McVie. And Simon Le Bon.

    Hey, Alex Van Halen is kind of cool. Great drummer.

  • Sami

    I think some of these ugly musicans would be honored.

    I’m glad you put Thom Yorke on there. He has such an interesting face. Really worth mentioning.

  • Cardie

    I don’t think Mick Jagger or any of the The Rolling Stones are ugly its just that they don’t have plastic surgery, and that’s how you look after 48 years of living that life style. Although I may be wrong as most eleven year-olds are.

  • Mumbles SLam

    Where’s Ke$ha on the list? Oh wait, she’s not a musician. But, neither is Madonna…

  • blah

    Roger Waters is absurdly beautiful, and is sexy as hell. Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger are both very attractive too.

  • hi

    Roger Waters is a sexy beast- what you talkin’ ’bout.

  • bob burns

    i nominate matthew wilder

  • renamon0000

    Roger waters… ugly as hell