W.A.S.P. - Blackie Lawless29 September 2009
The new album 'Babylon' is pretty serious!В It's another amazing display of the W.A.S.P. trademark - American rock'n'roll but with aВ VERY dark sound and of course Blackie's inimitable voice.
W.A.S.P. are set to play in Sofia, Bulgaria on 17 November, so we have 2 veryВ good reasons to talk with them again - a) the new album - b) the forthcoming concert. And here he is , Mr. Blackie Lawless himself:
an interview conducted by Vassil Varbanov
HEY BLACKIE, HELLO HOW ARE YOU?
IвЂ™m good, thank you, thank you, thank you!
GREAT, LETвЂ™S START WITH THIS - EVEN AS YOU RELEASED 2007'S вЂDOMINATORвЂ™, DID YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME KIND OF CONCEPT IN YOUR HEAD WHAT THE FOLLOW UP MIGHT BE? ANY LYRICS, ANY SOUNDS?
No, nothing! Because that wouldвЂ™ve been so far in advance to be thinking like that you know! I donвЂ™t do that! One thing I learned is I try to make records that reflect who I am at the moment! So getting too far ahead doesnвЂ™t help you.
DID YOU GET ANY MONEY ADVANCE FROM THE RECORD LABEL?
Ha ha ha, no! We do it very differently now. We are in many ways like in partnership with the label. I learned a long time ago, when you take money from record companies вЂ“ you become a slave! So, you donвЂ™t want to do that anymore!
THEY SAY THE NEW RECORD IS ABOUT THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE - CONQUEST, WAR, FAMINE, AND DEATH. WHICH OF THOSE 4 IS THE WORST IN YOUR OPPINION?
I guess it depends on how you look at it! They are all basically designedвЂ¦they represent judgement! It depends on if you are on the receiving end of it!
If you are on the receiving end of it then you are in big trouble! But if you are not on the receiving end of it then itвЂ™s not going to particularly apply to you! Twenty years ago, when I wrote вЂThe Headless ChildrenвЂ™, thereвЂ™s a lyric in the song that says:
"Four horsemen sit high up in the saddle
And waiting to ride the bloody trail of no return!"
Well, about a year ago, I was watching politicians in Brussels, in the EU there. And they were talking about this supposed global financial crisis. I learned when politicians talk about crisis itвЂ™s usually some excuse to try and take sort of freedom away from you!
But anyway, these guys were talking about - maybe it was time for a one world government. And then I heard another guy say, well, then we should have a one world monetary system, a one world currency. And the one that really got me was then another guy says that they believe that by the year 2017 that they can have everybody in the Eu micro chipped!!!
Now, you understand what that means, correct?
YEAH, I MEAN WEвЂ™VE SEEN SO MANY MOVIES ABOUT THIS, SOME OF THEM WERE EVEN MADE IN THE 60s, SO ITвЂ™S HARD TO BELIEVE SOMEONE THINKS IT REALLY CAN HAPPENвЂ¦.
HeвЂ™s talking about eight years from now!!! And I вЂm standing there listening to this guy with my mouth open! And IвЂ™m thinking to myself, does he not understand what heвЂ™s saying? Because, I mean this is direct biblical prophecy this man is talking about!
So I went back and I did a detailed study of the вЂBook of RevelationвЂ™ and the Bible! And also a couple of other places like вЂDanielвЂ™ in the Bible that talks about this prophecy. And I was astonished as to the accuracy of what the bible talks about in describing what these guys were saying! And I just thought, you know, are we closer now to that than we were 20 years ago. The whole idea is pretty amazing!
But that was really where the idea for вЂBabylon Is BurningвЂ™ came from!В
THERE WERE SO MANY ATTEMPTS IN TERMS OF VISUAL ARTS TO SHOW THE 4 HORSEMENвЂ¦ SOME OF THEM PRETTY FAMOUS, ESPECIALLY THE DURER ONE..WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVOURITE..AND PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ACTUAL ALBUM ARTWORK..
Well, what I did was I had the two girls that do our website. They did the вЂDominatorвЂ™ album cover and they also did this cover. I told them exactly what I wanted. I wanted them to do what I did. Which was read the вЂBook of RevelationsвЂ™. And then formulate their own ideas out of it. Because I had my own ideas about it but I wanted to see what they were going to do first.
And when they came back to me with the first version of it which is very similar to what it is right now вЂ“ it was identical to what I was thinking! So it was perfect! It tells me what they read was exactly what I read! So I just thought it was pretty amazing the way the translation wasвЂ¦ You know, somebody really takes time to look at it properly. So probably all people will come up with the same conclusion.
TALKING ABOUT BIG BOOKS AND BECAUSE PEOPLE FROM THE NEW GENERATIONS AND MOST OF TODAY'S PEOPLE ARE NOT MUCH INTO READINGвЂ¦ DO YOU THINK IT WAS PART OF A BIG PLAN TO DIVERT PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE BOOKS, FROM WHAT IS WISE, AWAY FROM PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY ETC OR IT HAPPENED NATURALLYвЂ¦
I think it just happened. Because if we look at where we are as a society, one of the things I am trying to tell people about in this record is that elections have consequences!
And weвЂ™ve been given some great gifts, you know, our grandparents paid the ultimate price for us to have the freedom that we have now. And what has happened is our generation has become complacentвЂ¦.
And you know, politiciansвЂ¦they depend on that. Because they know if you are complacentвЂ¦they can do whatever they want. We have a responsibility to our freedom. Because if we do not use that freedom then we will lose that freedom. And with that responsibility, if we donвЂ™t take responsibility for ourselvesвЂ¦they will take that responsibility from us.
And politicians understand that people have very busy lives and donвЂ™t always have time to really look at the issues that are out there. But if we do not, then we must suffer the consequences because of it.
ThatвЂ™s happening in America right now. People believed that Obama was going to be this wonderful president and they are beginning to understand now this man is a Marxist. And you know, IвЂ™m not making this up I mean you can find all this very easily, what I вЂm talking about. Just go on the internet вЂ“ youвЂ™ll see it.
His popularity has fallen faster then any other president in the history of the United States! HeвЂ™s now below 45 % and the reason that thatвЂ™s happening is because people are now beginning to understand who he is.
He was just talking before. He has the ability to charm people; heвЂ™s very good at that. But people didnвЂ™t understand what he really wanted to do. Like I said, the man is a Marxist!
And people in America are beginning to understand this.В And there is a revolution that is happening in America right now. ThatвЂ™s bigger then anything IвЂ™ve ever seen. Two weeks ago on Washington DC вЂ“ A HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE were infromt of the White House protesting against Obama. A hundred thousand people!В And this is happening now in every major city across the US.
Like I said, itвЂ™s the biggest thing IвЂ™ve ever seen in my lifetime in this country! ItвЂ™s astonishing!
LETвЂ™S GO BACK TO MUSIC. THROUGH THE YEARS, THE SOUND OF W.A.S.P. HAS BEEN CENTERED AROUND YOUR VERY PARTICULAR VOICEвЂ¦DO YOU DO SOME SPECIAL TUNING OF THE GUITARS BECAUSE OF YOUR VOICE AND STUFF LIKE THIS?
No. I mean it is what it is, you know, thereвЂ™s nothing special going on. I think most metal bands вЂ¦hum well this is kind of technical but..most rock bands donвЂ™t tune in whatвЂ™s called concert pitch. Concert pitch is 4,40.
Most rock bands tune a half of step lower than that, because this has to do with electric guitar, the way the frequencies resonateвЂ¦
We tune that half step down. We do the same thing that most of the rock bands do. ThereвЂ™s really nothing unique about that!В В
IT IS NOT A LONG RECORD, IS IT?
I donвЂ™t know how long it is, I think itвЂ™s like 42 minutes, something like that.В
I MEAN, YOU HAVE TWO COVER VERSIONS BESIDES YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS - CHUCK BERRYвЂ™S вЂPROMISED LANDвЂ™ AND DEEP PURPLE'S вЂBURNвЂ™. WHICH DEEP PURPLE VOICE FROM THAT ERA DO YOU PREFER - GLENN HUGHES' OR DAVID COVERDALE'S?
Ooh boy, thatвЂ™s a tough one! Both of them are great! I could not make that choice.
THE SECOND SONG ON THE ALBUM, вЂLIVE TO DIE ANOTHER DAYвЂ™ STARTS WITH A TOUCH OF IRON MAIDEN IN THE BASS LINEвЂ¦WAS IT MIKE DUDAвЂ™S IDEA, DID IT COME OUT OF HIS FINGERS?
Yes it did! I think what Mike was playing was probably based on what I wrote on the guitar, so heвЂ™s basically following the guitar line there.
I REMEMBER, SOMETHING LIKE 15 YEARS AGO, BANDS FROM YOUR GENERATION WERE SLAMMING PEOPLE LIKE EDDIE VEDDER, ALICE IN CHAINS AND THE WHOLE GRUNGE STUFF, BUT THE WHOLE MUSICAL CLIMATE LOOKS PRETTY DIFFERENT.
IвЂ™M SURE YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE NEW RECORDS FROM MEGADETH, SLAYER ETC, SOME OF THESE GUYS ARE PROBABLY EVEN GOOD FRIENDS OF YOURS, BUT IвЂ™M CURIOUS TO HEAR YOUR OPPINION ON THE NEW PEARL JAM AND ALICE IN CHANS ALBUMS?
To be honest, I donвЂ™t listen to anything that has to do with our style of music while IвЂ™m making a record! Because itвЂ™s too easy to get influenced by it.
To tell you the truth, when we were making this record, I didnвЂ™t listen to a lot of music because IвЂ™m in the studio 12 hours a day. So when you go home at night, you know, the last thing you want to do is listen to music.
People find that odd, but I tell them If you are a car mechanic and you fix peopleвЂ™s brakes all day long. If you did this for 12 hours a day, the last thing youвЂ™d want to do is go home and work on your own brakes, ha ha. ItвЂ™s a similar situation. What music I did listen to when we were doing this wasВ BLUES and things like that.
TO CHILL OUT?
Well yeah. And itвЂ™s also the roots of rock'n'roll. And itвЂ™s really interesting when you really understand that, you hear the blues in a totally different way. ItвЂ™s kind of like paying honour to our musical ancestors. So itвЂ™s an interesting way of being able to keep in touch with your roots.
YOU SAID YOU WERE NOT MUCH INTO LISTENING TO MUSIC WHILE DOING THE RECORD, BUT THE RECORD IS DONE NOW, HA HA HAвЂ¦STILL NOT LISTENING TO ANYTHING AT ALL?
No, not really, because we are in rehearsals right now and these rehearsals are also lasting about 12 hours a day, so thereвЂ™s really not much time. I donвЂ™t think people really understand the amountвЂ¦ how labor intensive this can beвЂ¦and trying to put a tour like this together, I mean itвЂ™s a lot of work.В
SEPTEMBER 4TH AS FAR AS I REMEMBER WAS YOUR BIRTHDAYвЂ¦
Nooo, letвЂ™s not talk about it, ha ha haвЂ¦.
THE QUESTION ACTUALLY IS WHAT IS THE BEST PRESENT YOU GOT THIS YEAR?
Yeah! Because IвЂ™m at a point in my life where, you know, I donвЂ™t want presents. I really donвЂ™t. To me the thought of what someone would do with a card is far way more important then any gift. I mean, that is the gift!
YOU MENTIONED THE TOUR, SO PLEASE TELL US, WHAT KIND OF BANDS WILL YOU BE LOOKING FOR TO SUPPORT YOU?
We asked the promoters in all the different countries to do support, because we feel that they know better for their areas what they want and what the fans want there. So like I said, we trust the promoters doing that.
LAST QUESTION, AS WE SAID BEFORE, THIS NEW RECORD IS LARGELY INSPIRED BY THE BIBLE. I NEVER THOUGHT YOU WERE A RELIGIOUS PERSONвЂ¦ BUT NOW, HOW COME?
Because my faith is very strong! A lot of the way people interpret me as not religious, well thatвЂ™s not true. Because my faith is very very strong! If you go back and you look even as far back as вЂThe Headless ChildrenвЂ™. Look at the title track, the very first lyric in the song says:
вЂњFather come save us from this
Madness we're under
God of creation are we blind?вЂќ
ThatвЂ™s a man, crying out to his maker! Think Help us! Deliver us! You know, IвЂ™ve been talking about this for a lot longer than people realize. And itвЂ™s because of my faith!
OK, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING WITH US ONCE AGAINвЂ¦
O thank you sir for taking the time, It was good to talk to you again! And tell everybody to get ready, because weвЂ™re coming down there and we gonna knock them out!
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