Roger Scales of TheyWillRockYou.com recently conducted an interview with W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
TheyWillRockYou.com: The video imagery that was captured on the first single "Babylon is Burning" was perfect to what you were trying to get across to your audience in that song. I understand that "Crazy" will be the next video attempted. How is that progressing?
Lawless: We were going to start shooting the week before the tour started, but we decided to wait until the end of the U.S. tour before we shoot. We want to meet with the director next week to finalize some additional ideas I had and then we hit the road, but so far so good.
TheyWillRockYou.com: I recently went through and listened to "The Crimson Idol" (1992) from beginning to end after having not listened to it for quite some time and it still sounds as fresh as the first time I heard it 18 years ago. If you were to retire after this tour, hang up the saw blades and start a whole new chapter of your life doing something else other than creating music and I wrote the band's epitaph and stated that W.A.S.P. begins and ends with "The Crimson Idol" as their most creative piece of entertainment ever released, would you be OK with that?
Lawless: I wouldn't say no. As a writer, you're always going to see your efforts as one piece of work. Let's say, for instance, you had written a book and it was a bestseller you wouldn't want people pulling chapters out of it, would you? I like this chapter better than that one… but that one I'm not so keen on. So you're always going to try and see things as a complete body of work. That work is not finished until you're finished. I'm resistant to give your opinion a complete thumbs-up yet, but at the same time at this point would not completely disagree with it.
TheyWillRockYou.com: What should fans look for from W.A.S.P. 2010 in terms of a live show and concert? Is it tough to pick a set list from such a varied back catalog? Do you feel compelled to play more songs from "Babylon" as opposed to some of your older material to satisfy a hardcore W.A.S.P. fan?
Lawless: Well, the first thing you need to do when you release a new record is that you always have to be conscious of how much new material are you going to play. There is a good percentage of that audience that may not have purchased that record or even heard it yet. So if you go out there bombarding them with a bunch of new stuff, I've always looked at that as being self-indulgent. Sometimes you have to look at things as an average ticket buyer. If you're going to see an act, you have to ask yourself what would I want to hear? What's in that catalog and take an average account across the band's history. That's really how you have to approach it. That's how we always have approached it. I mean, you've got some acts out there and they go out and play all B-sides. You cannot do that. You're cheating your audience. 99% of that audience will look on in disbelief and say, "What are they doing?" Who could blame them for that? Hell, I'd do the same thing if I went and saw someone I liked and didn't hear an average of what they've done. Bottom line is you have to be real real careful about doing too much new material. If the new record is really good, it's going to find an audience all on its own. You don't have to jam it down their throats. We are currently playing two songs off this new record ("Babylon is Burning" and "Crazy") and I think that's plenty for right now. If "Babylon" finds an audience, then we'll do more tracks on down the line.
TheyWillRockYou.com: The band is in its 28th year. What do think is the secret to W.A.S.P.'s longevity?
Lawless: Well, that's a tough one. You ask ten different people your likely going to get ten different opinions. As simple as it may sound for a band, I think it's the songs. If the songs aren't there, you have nothing whatsoever to talk about. It all starts and stops with that. There may always be certain fans that may like something about an artist's personality or their live show, but at the end of the day it's the songs that make or break your enduring popularity. Always has and always gonna be!
TheyWillRockYou.com: I'm a huge fan of the "Hear N Aid" project (1985) that you were involved with along with Ronnie James Dio and some other huge bands of that era and I'm just curious what memories you have looking back at that experience nearly 25 years later?
Lawless: I think everyone was very intimidated being there on that night when we recorded "Stars". You could feel that sort of tension in the room as the night wore on. Chris (Holmes) and I got there about 6 p.m. and we didn't start to shoot the video for that song until about 9 p.m. Needless to say, as the cameras started to roll, most everyone was slightly inebriated. For us, there were a lot of guys in that room that we had grown up listening to and idolized so that certainly led to some of that tension. Being in the presence of that "rock royalty" was very scary. As the years have gone by, I've found out that they were all feeling the same thing. It's funny how everyone can have the same effect on everybody else. I have nothing but fond memories of that night, and the cause, of course, was a very cool thing.
Read the entire interview from TheyWillRockYou.com.