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Blackie Lawless – Vocals & Guitar for W.A.S.P.

Date: 03/31/04
Interviewer: Rich Catino


1. What are your feelings about the finished product for the new release “The Neon God”? Did it meet all your expectations?

BLACKIE: I have always said those questions are better left off to the listeners coming to that conclusion because any artist that tells you anything five minutes after a record’s finished don’t believe a fucking thing they say because they are too close to it at that point. In reality this thing was ten years in the making, but really effectively in the studio was two years of intensive work. I’ve been working fifteen hour days and I have not had a day off since Christmas. Any artist that tells you that something has met their expectations right after it came out, anything they say to you just take it and chuck it out the window. It’s the truth, cause they are all gonna tell you it’s the best thing they ever fucking did, they don’t fucking know, it takes a year to get away from it to know. At this point, you are better off pulling fans off the streets and asking them, but I understand why you are asking the question.

2. How much, if any, part of the story of Jesse (the main character in “The Neon God”) is a piece of your childhood? Is this purely fictitious?

BLACKIE: Nothing. Well I did a lot of research on cult leaders and the one things you find is they all have the traumatized childhood in common. You take someone who has been abused as a kid that suffered a tremendous amount of trauma to eventually get to a point where they feel they need that hug from the masses that they can’t get from anywhere else, your dealing with deep psychological problems there.

3. What inspired the story, if anything?

BLACKIE: I was looking for the single greatest common denominator that we all have in common, the one thing that we all think about the most that we sometimes don’t talk about. It’s that first lyric you hear on the record, “O tell me my Lord why am I here?” That’s the thing we all think about the most whether we talk about it or not. You know you go through life and you say ok does my life mean anything, am I good or bad, will my life had meant anything when I am gone? What is this all about, is it a game? It’s all the stuff we think about, I was looking for that one idea that rolled all those things together. What’s this journey that we are taking, what’s it all about.

4. Can you tell us a little bit about Part 2 of the story?

BLACKIE: No not yet, we don’t want to get that far.

5. What is “The Neon God” similar to as far as its vibe and why?

BLACKIE: For me its coming from such a different place because it’s a story line, maybe musically yeah I could compare it to something, but you know what when I look at art I don’t want to break it down that much I want to leave it in it’s most simplistic form. You take away the beauty of the simplicity if you do that.

6. When performing songs Live from “The Neon God” will you include the acoustic interludes that connect some of the songs?

BLACKIE: Not sure yet how much of this record we are going to do. I think a lot is going to depend on the response from the fans. I don’t want to go out and force feed material to an audience that does not want to hear it or not yet ready for it. This tour starts May 2 and goes until the first week in December.

7. Who is going to be the touring drummer?

BLACKIE: We have about three guys we are looking at now. There is still one other guy we want to look at first. They are basically all unknowns, we did not want people to be bringing baggage and stuff.

8. What kind of set list are you working on?

Blackie: Have not even got that far yet, I mean we are still in the studio working, that seems like it’s a million miles away and we don’t start rehearsals for the tour until the 14th of April.

9. Have you ever considered in the set list instead of doing for example “Blind in Texas” or “Wild Child” maybe doing something else from that album?

BLACKIE: Yeah I have considered that a lot but a lot of times you have to take an average when dealing with a lot of people and what they want to hear. Based on conversation you have with people from time to time. I understand what you are saying and there is validity to it, ever artist goes through this. But if you go up there on stage and don’t do some of those songs, you are gonna have a mutiny on your hands and a lot of pissed of folks.

10. What is planned for the stage show, will you still drink the blood from the skull?

BLACKIE: I doubt that seriously. When I did the Crimson Idol I just became downright belligerent and I was determined that people were going to listen with their ears and not their eyes. This record follows suite in the sense that we will probably do some of the visuals but I don’t want to do anything that is going to take away from what the idea is of this record. I am not sure yet what we will do yet.

11. After the Great White concert tragedy are you still allowed to use the flaming W.A.S.P. logo on stage?

BLACKIE: Well anybody can do what they want as long as they have the proper permits and clearance which is what we always have had. Those sorts of things are done improperly of course tragedy can happen. If you are doing it the way you are supposed to it will be safe. I mean you don’t go in a cracker box and let a bomb off, that’s not good. All of our stuff has always been licensed, but a lot depends on local jurisdictions also, some places just don’t allow it.

12. Is the First Blood Last Visions Video Collection and Live at the Lyceum show still scheduled to be released together on DVD?

BLACKIE: Eventually. They went back and found out a lot of restoration has to be done to them before they can be released.

13. Will it include all the videos and conceptual footage shot for the Crimson Idol?

BLACKIE: I couldn’t tell ya, probably not. I want to keep all that stuff separate and there is some material that was never released, I would rather keep that as a cohesive package.

14. I (Rich), have read you were not happy with the Live at the Key Club DVD that was released, why is that?

BLACKIE: I have never seen it and I did not want to.

15. Do you plan on filming another performance for a DVD release?

BLACKIE: We are talking about it and another thing we will further discuss when we get into rehearsals.

16. If somebody asked you to give them the definitive W.A.S.P. record what would it be and why?

BLACKIE: I don’t know if there is such a thing. A favorite record is one thing and you said definitive record. Boy, because who we started out as and then we did “Headless Children” we became a different band at that point. I always thought we had two different audiences, one the “Crimson Idol” people and then the “Fuck Like A Beast” people. To say that there is one definitive album I doubt there is.

17. Are there any plans to turn the story of “The Neon God” or “The Crimson Idol” into a film?

BLACKIE: We have to see the response from the audience, they will tell you what they want. I know that the response to The Neon God has been much more immediate than when the Crimson Idol came out. I did not think that was going to be possible but I am so glad to hear the positive response it has received already.

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