Metal Asylum recently conducted an interview with W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Asylum: Are all the songs on "Babylon" about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Blackie: Well, only a couple; it was a nice starting point. I'm always looking for something that's gonna get people thinking. You try not to make fast food for the ears, you try and get people to think about their lives a bit. "Babylon's Burning" and "Thunder Red" are about the Horsemen, the original plan was to do a song about each horse but after I got through the first two you don't want to beat (haha) a dead horse, I just felt like I said everything I wanted to say in those two songs, you know. We were gonna do four different covers, with four different colors, and after I looked at it lyrically, I didn't think I could say anymore than what I said already. After that I just did what I thought was socially observant about things I know about. One of the things I talk about a couple times on this record, was what fame does to the performer and the audience.
Metal Asylum: You talked about fame too in "The Crimson Idol", right?
Blackie: Yeah… but I think really after all these years "Crimson Idol" was about a kid who was a musician and gets famous and all this stuff and he finds out fame really isn't what he is looking for, but really "Crimson Idol" is about love. It's a real simple story and at the time when I did it I thought it was more complex than it was. But looking back on it you can see what it really boils down to, and I'm not diminishing the value of the album because it is real powerful, part of the reason it worked is because its something everyone can relate to. Especially that whole idea of not getting what you want from your parents, or being loved in general, that's what struck a nerve in people. And at the time I was almost writing it as a footnote, but when I look back it was much bigger in the story than I gave it credit for.
Metal Asylum: Why include two cover songs on "Babylon"?
Blackie: We recorded about 15 songs, and "Promised Land" was a good song at the end of the album because we take you to a real dark place up till then. I honestly didn't think "Promised Land" was gonna make it to the record, and it was the first one we recorded. We hadn't been in the studio for a while when we recorded "Babylon" so we decided to put on some training wheels and ease ourselves back into recording, and "Promised Land", I think that's a great version. But more importantly, where does that song take the record? It wasn't like it was a great master plan to take you to this real dark place throughout the whole record, and take you to the promised land when it was done, but it was all an accident.
Metal Asylum: Is there an overall message to all these songs on "Babylon"?
Blackie: Oh, yeah! Pay attention to the world and what's goin on around you. What really got me going was it was the end of Bush in the office and we are listening to these guys about this global financial crisis, and I was listening to some guys in Brussels at the EU and they were talking about "maybe a one-world government and system." And then another guy said, "If we have a one-world system then we should have a one-world currency." A third guy said "we feel by the year 2017 we could have all micro chipped." And I'm thinking do these guys have any concept of what they are suggesting? I mean, we are talking 666 potentially here. And I went back and refreshed my memory of Revelation in the Bible, did some study on it and some other books in the Bible, and I was astonished to how accurate the predictions in the Bible were in comparison to what these guys were talking about. You know, what you should do... do what I did, take five minutes and look up microchipping, and watch what comes up its far more advanced than you might think it is. There's a school in Oregon where kids have microchips in their hands for lunch and they wave their hands in front of a bar code counter to pay for their lunch. It's really scary stuff. When I saw all of this, it's really what got me going.
Metal Asylum: When you did the anniversary tour for the "Crimson Idol", did you record any shows from DVD?
Blackie: Yes, we did. None of the footage is finished and I'm not sure when I'm gonna have time to finish it. Don't know when the release would be proper for it. The [20th] anniversary will be in two years , so I think would be the time to release it. It will include the short film originally shot for the album, plus the music videos, plus a 45-minute narrative interview in the studio (old Fort Apache) while we were making the record. I did it the day after we shot the back cover for the album, so what you have is me literally walking through the studio and how it was recorded. The footage is really cool; I re-watched recently.
Read the entire interview at Metal Asylum.