WASP – Blackie Lawless, lett på tråden! (retro)

WASP – Blackie Lawless, lett på tråden! (retro)

(…this article is in English…)

A pleasant Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P. called yours truly, who was both nervous and sweaty, on a too-hot June evening. Having mentioned to him that this is my first phone interview, we went running. Questions were given, responses were received, and the result is as follows

My first question will of course be: How satisfied are you with "Dying For The World", Blackie?

Sometimes when I put out a new record, it will take me up to a year to back away from it, to tell what it really is, so it`s way to soon to tell right now. The only indications I give, is when I talk to journalists, and when they tell me what they think. But as far as myself is concerned, I can`t tell right now.


How satisfied are you with 2001`s effort, "Unholy Terror", then?

Well, I think it`s a good record. I listened to it a couple of months ago, and it sounded really great. I also think that if a record still sounds fresh after you have listened to it many times, then it`s a good record.

Do you miss working with Chris Holmes?

Hmm…in some ways, yeah. But the guy we have now, he is really great. He is really good to work with, and you can hear it, you know, when you listen to this record.

He is a bit younger than Chris, isn`t he?

Yeah, but I don`t think that matters, as long as he is good to work with.

"Unhallowed Ground" from the new record, also one of my favourite songs… You`ve got two versions of it on the record. Why is it so?

Honestly, there`s more than only two versions of this song, but only two of them ended up on this album. You`ve got, of course, the original version, but also the acoustic version which closes the album. The reason that I did that for, is most of all because I like both versions. But a second reason is that I`ve learned that if you want people to hear what you sing, take the band away.


The stories behind the songs, what gives you inspiration?

When it comes to "Unhallowed Ground", it`s pretty obvious. I went down to Ground Zero in October last year, down to New York, and there was things there like nothing you and I have ever seen in our lifetime. And that`s were the song came from, and also the name of the record. Like I was saying before, when you want people to hear what you sing, take away the band. Then you`re able to concentrate on the lyrics, and people can hear the emotions in the song. You see, in a heavy rock band, there`s a lot of internal competition between the instruments. Sometimes it works for you, but sometimes it can work against you too, depending on what you`re trying to say. So that`s all the reasons behind that. When it comes to the other songs, there`s a song about religion (Black Bone Torso), but there are also three or four songs that has to do with anger and revenge, and some towards the eventual war we`re all going to end up with in the Middle East. So I figured out "why don`t make some music for those guys?".

My favourite W.A.S.P.-album is "The Crimson Idol", which is an conceptual piece. Have you ever concidered making a new concept-album?

While we were working on "Dying For The World", we were working at the same time on a record, which is going to be a conceptual sort of opera like "The Idol". So that will be the next record, and we`re already working on it as we speak. "The Idol" is, by the way, my favourite W.A.S.P.-album too.

There has been a ballad or two on almost every W.A.S.P.-album. Do you feel like you have to do a ballad every time you put out a new record?

Well, first of all, people use the expression "ballads", but I don`t see things like that. I mean, I`m just creating music that`s reflecting the moods that I`m in. I`m looking for appropriate music to fit along with whatever the lyrical concept is. You know, when I think up a title for a song, a lot of times it tells me what the music and everything is supposed to be. If I come up with an idea like "Fuck like A Beast", I say to myself: "what does this sound like?"

It sounds like a rocker!

Yeah, I mean: "does that sound like a ballad?", and you go "hmmmm, I don`t think so!" (laugh), you know, that`s like I said, I`m letting the songs talk to me. I don`t automatically think "how much is bad, how much is slow…" I don`t want to get caught up with thinking like that. You know, it locks your creativity.


OK. "Evermore" from "Unholy Terror" sounded like "Forever Free" from "The Headless Children", do you hear it yourself?

A little bit yeah, they were written at the same time, and "Evermore" were supposed to be a reprise for the end of "The Headless Children". But, this song wasn`t finished then, so I just figured that I would wait until later. That`s really what I wanted to do.

There were rumours of you releasing an album of only acoustics some years ago, as a side-project. Did you do this?

What we`ve been wanting to do, was to do " The Idol " acoustically, with videos and all that. We still want to do this, it`s just a question of time, but we`ve been so busy with everything we`ve been doing lately, so there`s really no time to do it now.

I mean, "The Idol" could have been released as a solo-album for you?

When we were going to release that record, I thought about doing it solo. We told people what we wanted to do, and all this mail came back from the fan-club. All of them said " you should not drop the name W.A.S.P.".  "W.A.S.P." are an idea, a concept, and that`s what I thought about, I thought that when you`re inside a band, you can`t see things the way the world sees it. I thought about that when I got all those letters, and they were absolutely right, so we never gave the thought about dropping the name any more serious thoughts.


Are you going on tour now?

We`re going to do a short tour in the fall, but I don`t know yet were we`re going to play. To be honest with you, my only concern now is to complete the conceptual record I was talking about. We`re also going to remix " Dying For The World " in 5.1 (Super Audio-format), and that`s going to take me about six weeks. After then, when the tour is finished, we`re going back and completing the new record. That special record is being recorded in 5.1, but will also be released in that form, which means you can play it in your DVD-player, watching the lyrics and looking at photos while you listen to the music. And, to take in consideration that we will do " The Idol ", we tour it and promo the record for about a year. Also, the new " Crimson Idol " is probably going to end up in a double record set. I hope it will come out next year, but I don`t know yet. So, if you take all these things I just told you, and put them all together, and at the point you and I are talking right now, I would say completing this, with the tour and everything, it will take about three years. That`s the reason there`s been no time to do anything else.
And, on top of all this, we have all the old W.A.S.P.-videos being released on DVD, probably this year. As you see, it`s a lot of work.

You have probably wanted to quit W.A.S.P. sometimes? What motivates you and makes you continue the life of rock `n roll?

You know, whenever you feel like you have something to say. When I got nothing more to say, I`ll stop, but I still feel like I have something to say. That`s the most important thing.

And all the fans do inspire you, don`t they?

Sure. And you get a lot of information from them when you talk to them, for example with the thing I told you about, the thing about changing the name. All this mail came in, and it was unbelievable! They tell you very quickly what they want. So, if you listen to them sometimes, they can be very helpful.

It has been some years since you added a cover-song on your records, why?

Well, you know…looking for the right song. That`s not something you can force to happen, you just have to find the right song. I haven`t heard anything lately that captured my imagination. If I choose to add a cover-song, I`ll do it for one of two reasons; if I think I can do it better, or if I think I can do it different, and hopefully both. So that`s the reason why I would want to do that.

So what do you think of metal nowadays, with this NU-metal shit going on?

To be honest with you, I don`t listen to it, so I can`t tell.


Why did you release " The Sting "-DVD?

I didn`t, it was a record-company that I`m no longer involved with. I haven`t seen it, I haven`t heard it, I don`t know anything about it…they released it, I know that, and like I said, I haven`t got anything to do with it.

Have you heard about a Swedish band called Satariel? You see, there were some rumours going on that you were about to add clean vocals on their debut album, are these true?

Hmm…no, I haven`t, and it would have been quite difficult for me to do vocals for a band I haven`t heard about, wouldn`t it? (laugh)

Do you have something you want to add about " Dying For The World " that I haven`t mentioned, Blackie?

(Thinking) No, I think you`ve got a good opinion of what the record is about. And for your first telephone-interview, it was pretty good!

Thank you! I`m so nervous that I`m shaking…

(Laugh) And I would like to say thank you for taking your time to do it, I really appreciate it. Thank you, Hans, and take care. Bye bye!

It is me who shall thank you! Take care, bye bye!