ARTILLERY guitarist Michael Stützer interviewed Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. for Denmark's Antenna magazine (formerly Metal Reference) when the American shock rockers paid Copenhagen a visit in order to promote their new album, "The Neon God". What follows are several excerpts from the interview:
Antenna: Drummer Frankie Banali keeps coming and going, and what's the story with you again? Musicians keep popping up every time.
Blackie Lawless: "Well, I use Frankie for certain things, and Frankie is not a member of the band. He's a studio musician. And it's funny to 'cause people assume that, because when they see his name on the record, he's probably on the tour as well, but that was never… no one ever talked about that. But what you said. Stet, our [current] drummer, he's been part of this band for fourteen years. So I use Frankie on some things, if Stet's not available. Stet was doing some other tracks. He's got his own studio in Florida, and he was down there doing that, so I use Frankie on some things, and Stat played much more on the second record than he did on the first, and so I just…it depends on who's available at the time."
Antenna: All these line-up changes... have they affected you much as a person?
Blackie Lawless: "I tell ya. This last record had more involvement from the other band members than any record since 'The Headless Children'. [Guitarist] Darrell Roberts was extremely instrumental in making this record. He ran the tape machine for every song, every vocal that I didn't. He punched in and out. I ran the tape machine when he was doing the solos. He played drums on two songs. I play drums on one song! No, actually I played two songs: 'What I'll Never Find' and 'X.T.C. Riders'. Darrell played the drums on 'Red Room of the Rising Sun', and Darrell played drums on two or three songs on the second record. Darrell played bass on some songs. I played bass on some songs. Mike played guitars so we were just constantly changing. We went in and said, 'We’re not gonna do this like a regular record, and we'll change it all around, and we're gonna see what happens,' and because of that, songs like 'Red Room…' happened. 'Red Room…' could never have happened the way we had made records traditional in the past. We were looking for something very psychedelic, very Sixties. Which can be concluded differently? It's like... here you play this instrument but I never played that instrument before. It doesn't matter play it! You know, you figure it out and that's how it ended up. That's why a lot of the tracks on this record sound very different. And that's good. It gives it some variety. It adds a different color."
Antenna: How is the Shock Rock scene today? You started out as being very rebellious and shocking. What do you think of MARILYN MANSON?
Blackie Lawless: "Never seen them."
Blackie Lawless: "Never seen them. Only seen pictures of them! So I really don’t follow them."
Antenna: In the U.S., it still seems to be a bit easier to provoke with outrageous stage shows?
Blackie Lawless: "This isn't what we're trying to do! We're doing it to have fun! They came after us because the kids already knew who we were. They were looking for a way… I'll ask you this: What better way to get attention than to go after an attention getter? So they knew that the kids already knew who we were. When all that sorted in America, Al Gore needed a political platform because no one really knew who he was. So he started conducting this rock 'n' roll witch hunt, and it started to give him a lot of national and international attention. So when it first started, we thought, 'Wow, this is gonna make us sell a lot more records.' And what was funny was that it didn't, because again the kids already knew who we were, and the ones who would buy the record had already bought it. And it's true that they made us a household word but they made us a household word to someone's grandmamma in Wisconsin, and she's not gonna buy this record, so it didn't do… After all that is said and done, more was said than done, so it didn't do anything."
Antenna's entire interview with Blackie Lawless is available in the magazine's first issue, which you can download for free at this location.