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W.A.S.P. Interview: Welcome To The Terrordome

By Frankie Perry, Contributor
Friday, January 11, 2002 @ 11:26 AM

W.A.S.P. Continue To Assault T

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“I Got Laid More Before I Got Signed. It Was Like A Job”
- Blackie Lawless

Modern civilization has been trying to censor the music industry for years. Our political society has tried to destroy creativity by attacking, what they feel is, immoral lyrics with dark overtones. They felt it would cause our youth to turn to drug use, suicide and even murder. All at once the moral watchdogs started their battle against Heavy Metal.

Watchdog leaders, like Tipper Gore, started targeting bands and tried to get them banned. It backfired. The crusade actually stimulated sales. The publicity was enormous. People wanted to know what the hoop-la was and they bought the albums like fiends on fire. One band that was singled out was W.A.S.P.

From the beginning of their career, W.A.S.P. was targeted for ridicule. When they released the single “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” it frightened the self-righteous guardians of morality. They didn’t grasp the concept of the album. It was controversial and really put their panties in a knot.

What they didn’t bank on was that Blackie Lawless was ready for a long-term battle. Lawless isn’t afraid to tackle titillating and disturbing aspects of sex, violence or any other controversial subject matter. He writes his music with thought-provoking and challenging lyrics. Not even Tipper Gore could stop him or his music. Now, 20 years later, Lawless is still creating powerful and ruthless music. W.A.S.P.’s latest release Unholy Terror is the bands latest work of genius.

Integral to the band’s history, W.A.S.P. has, once again, created a devastating masterpiece. Unholy Terror deals with socio, religious and political hypocrisy. I had a fundamentalist Christian upbringing. I grew up seeing the world through a very different pair of eyes. This album attempts to draw attention to those hypocritical points of view,” Lawless explained. “This record, is no way intended to be blasphemous or an attack on religion, but specifically man’s interpretation of what they believe the Bible says.”

With Unholy Terror in the stores via Metal-Is Records and a coupla blood-soaked tours under his black leather belt, I had a chance to talk to Mr. Lawless about the man behind all the controversy.

KNAC.COM: Your new album is out – I played it and it kicks ass! How are the album sales doing?
BLACKIE: It’s selling at an average of 5,000 to 8,000 units per week.

KNAC.COM: That’s incredible! Your fan base is still solid then.
BLACKIE: You never really lose your fans as such. In some cases, they drop out, but they come back. You can’t judge which bands are selling or have the fan bases by the press. The press only prints the flavor of the week and dictates which way the labels want to push you. The Eagles still sell out arenas and bands like Steely Dan come out of nowhere and win major awards. You don’t see much press on them – but they built true fans – so it proves that you don’t have to be in the all the magazines to sell as much as you did when you were on top to the public eye.

KNAC.COM: You’re right. There are only a few bands left that can fill an arena. It takes at least 3 platinum bands now to fill an amphitheatre. They’ll never know what it is like to play in front of 50 thousand people that are there just for them. The only way they have a chance to do that is in a festival type tour.
”I have this dark sense of humor. What I do on stage is really to amuse myself, but they are designed to entertain and intimidate the fans as well.”
BLACKIE: The industry’s mentality has gone back to the 50’s. Bands, then and now, are built on records. They aren’t putting time into the artists and building them a career with longevity. If the label can get one good single and milk it, they’re happy. The band, in question, maybe has a 5-year life span, if they’re lucky, and are gone. Some bands might get lucky and get a 2nd album out, but that would be rare at this point in the music industry. It’s all about moving units and making money on the short term.

KNAC.COM: You are so right. So many bands are launching and you read about them for about six months then you hear nothing. It’s like they are dead and buried, just that quick. Zakk Wylde said it best – “These bands are disposable crap-like music.” You have been blessed and maintained for the last 20 years. Now you have a kick-ass new release – that must feel really good!
BLACKIE: This last album took 14 months to complete, so it was a long journey on this one.

KNAC.COM: 14 months??? Long time in the studio!
BLACKIE: When I write, I am slow and methodical. We go in with some material and edit it down. I think there was about 40 songs or so. We picked out 10 – 12 to work on. We start with the basics of what it is and think of what it could be. You have to explore all possibilities and that is time consuming. I’ll take a song and twist it inside and out till it is right. Sometimes we collaborate on the lyrics or music arrangements. We aren’t creating fast food for the ear’s we are creating music that you can listen to 10 years from now. We want it to be artwork, a masterpiece that makes you think. (“We” means, Blackie Lawless – vocals, guitar, Darrell Roberts – guitar, Mike Duda – bass and Stet Howland on drums. Guitarist Chris Holmes left before the tour.)

KNAC.COM: You definitely have proven your staying power. You also have some of the most outrageous live shows! I want to know about this fire-throwing penis. That is really interesting to me.
”As far as the flame throwing cock, it shoots flames over the fans head. It’s about a 12-foot flame. We also shoot raw meat, from a canon, into the audience.”
BLACKIE: Well, I have this dark sense of humor. What I do on stage is really to amuse myself, but they are designed to entertain and intimidate the fans as well. It’s like what they did in the UCLA theater department. It was called psychodrama, which was an early attempt at primitive interaction. As far as the flame throwing cock, it shoots flames over the fans head. It’s about a 12-foot flame. We also shoot raw meat, from a canon, into the audience!

KNAC.COM: Where the hell do you get these ideas? I would hate to get slammed with flying meat!
BLACKIE: It comes to me literally in a moments notice. Sometimes I come up with stuff right before the show. I drive everyone crazy.

KNAC.COM: That would drive me crazy! Right before stage time? No Way! So tell me, what is the craziest thing that a groupie has done to get into your pants or at least your attention?
BLACKIE: You got to understand, what’s wild to me is too outrageous for most. So much has been done that it all blurs together. I did have this crazy chick once that sent the health department to my house. She told them that I had a dead horse in the back. Of course there was no horse, but it still took the Health Department 30 minutes to figure it out. After that she sent like 30 pizzas to my house and a few other stunts after that. You have to be really careful whom you screw with. I do know that before I ever had my first record and was just a band on the Strip, I got laid more. It was like a real job. I think it was about 1300 before the label. I don’t know I lost count. It was great recreation though. It was like a fantasy x10. The sex was very extreme. I was like a sex addict – I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, I think that it’s healthy. You fill in the blanks.

W.A.S.P. is now on tour violating the world with the help of the W.A.S.P. nation. To find our when they will terrorize your town go to www.waspnation.com. With that said, you have to pick up Unholy Terror and play it as loud as you can! W.A.S.P. definitely did not hold back on this album. Keeping their trademark chainsaw driven music, this album will not disappoint you and is definitely not for the week.

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