Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx recently conducted an interview with W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless. A couple of exceprts from the chat follow below.
Sleaze Roxx: Would it be fair to say that after "The Headless Children" W.A.S.P. has been more or less been the Blackie Lawless show? Are you comfortable with that?
Blackie Lawless: Well, there was period of time during the period of time that you're talking about... let's just say that a lot of it had fallen on my shoulders. If you look at what we've done for the last few years now, this band has been together for about six years now; the records that we've made are far, far and away much more of a group effort than anything I've done in the past. I'll go on record to say that it also includes from day one and all the early records too. The guys that are in this band now are far superior musicians than anything W.A.S.P. has done before. They guys can compete with anybody in the world — they are world-class musicians — but equally as important is their level of creativity. They bring a lot to the dance, and when we sit down to do pre-production for records, it's like a think tank in there as far as ideas that are being thrown around. To give you an idea, when you asked how much of this is me? On the last album we just did, "Babylon", Doug Blair, our guitarist... if someone made the statement that his contribution was larger than my own on "Babylon", you'd have a fair argument.
Sleaze Roxx: "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)" is a popular song from the back catalog and is one of your signature songs. It certainly helped get the band noticed in the early '80s. How do you feel about the song today and is it still a song that you perform live?
Blackie Lawless: We haven't performed that song in several years now. A lot of it has to do with me personally. I was born again when I was 11 years old; I was in church actively through my teens. No one made me go, I reached a point where I became disillusioned with the church and left. I went for about 20 years when I kept bumping into walls and I had one of those epiphany moments in life where I came to the conclusion that I thought I was mad at God, but as it turned out I was not mad at God, I was mad at man for institutionalizing my thinking, to a large degree. When I came to that conclusion, I then put my guard down and I turned to my faith. That, in large part, is why I don't do that song anymore. It's interesting, because silence, or the absence of not doing something, screams much louder than doing it. This then brings up the question, "Why don't you do it?" and I tell them.
Sleaze Roxx: What's the theme behind "Babylon"?
Blackie Lawless: It just happened. I didn't set out to go a certain direction or sound, I didn't pre-determine anything. The only thing that I pre-determine is putting down in song where I am and what I'm thinking right now in my life. That's the truest way to make a record; forget what is on the charts or what is hot in the market place. You can't do that, or at least I don't. I have to make records that reflect where I am today; who I am at this moment will not be who I will be in five years or who I was ten years ago. In my opinion the only way you'll be able to carry an audience as an artist is to get the band to know you. I think for them to know me I have to be intimate with them and that happens with my lyrics. As a writer, I have to be willing to expose myself to them and a lot of people aren't willing to do that. They don't want to know what is going on in the nooks and crannies. You have to be able to crack your skull open and allow people to walk around bare foot in your head to really find out what is going around in there. If you're going to carry that audience for your career, the only way you'll be able to do that if they think they know you and that is through your lyrics.
Read the entire interview from Sleaze Roxx.