Manowar was formed by ex-Dictators and Shakin' Street guitarist Ross the Boss. The original lineup included vocalist Eric Adams, bassist Joey DeMaio, and drummer Donnie Hamzik. The group's kitschy approach was designed to be the raw, primal, macho antithesis of classic rock. Their music was based on aggressive riffs, and their lyrics were mostly about fighting, violence, and death. The group dressed in animal skins in concert to underline the point.