They're Back...
CoC interviews W.A.S.P.
by: Adrian Bromley
I am the first to admit that I have never been a big W.A.S.P. fan. I never really got into the band's music or controversial issues that they faced against 'Joe Public' or the PMRC in the 1980s with such albums as their self-titled debut in 1985, 1989's _Headless Children_ and the critically acclaimed theme record, _The Crimson Idol_ (1991). Bluntly put: I never was a fan.

But like most times in this business as a music critic/writer you are faced with the task (or in this instance given the opportunity) of talking to a band or band members that you may or may not want to talk with. W.A.S.P. was the task I was to face.

As I walk into the classy Essex Clarion hotel in downtown Toronto, I'm already primed (and somewhat worried and nervous) to interview original W.A.S.P. members Blackie Lawless and Chris Holmes, who have just reunited after an eight-year breakup with their Castle Record's debut album, the mind-rippin' industrial-tinged _Kill Fuck Die_. As we approach the hotel suite where the two are awaiting my arrival, visions of Lawless all decked out in a blackened shroud and skulls and satanic symbols bounce back and forth in my head. Images of a drunken and violent Holmes (as seen in the movie _The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years_) is embedded into my brain. I'm scared now.

I eventually am introduced to Holmes and Lawless, both of whom are relaxed and somewhat tired from a long day of press. The interview begins with Holmes pointing at my handheld tape recorder and asking me, 'Is that a Sony?' I answer cautiously, 'Um... no... a Genexxa.' Holmes' eyes light up and the towering Holmes, tattooed sleeves and all sits up from the sofa chair and thunders toward me sitting on the bed across from Lawless and grunts, 'Shit... we should break that right now, that ain't a Sony.' I'm thinking, 'Why me?'

While Holmes is rather rambunctious, he is quite peaceful and quiet for the most part. It is Lawless, wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants, who is rather calm and willing to talk about the reuniting of Holmes and himself. 'It was a simple phone call that got this thing going again for us,' utters Lawless talking about how easily Holmes and himself mended their ways. Holmes juts in, 'It was rather quick after I had accepted the collect call.' They laugh in unison.

For as long as W.A.S.P. has been in this industry (since 1985), you'd have to think that making records and writing songs was easy for them. Piece of cake. Not true answers Lawless, as he discovered with penning material for _KFD_. 'It becomes harder for myself as a songwriter because I become more selective of what I write about. I want to take my time when writing the songs I make now. To be able to make them mean something and have a lasting affect.'

Knowing now what I was to experience next, I should have avoided this question to some extent. I ask, 'The album title _Kill Fuck Die_: Why? What fueled the ideas?' Holmes rapidly responds in a loud bellow, 'You live in Los Angeles and see how you feel with all the guns and violence and murders that happen! It is a dangerous place to be but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I'm reading here in the paper that the other day like all these people have been shot over the last couple of weeks, Fuck!, ' he yells, 'That is the last fucking page of the Los Angeles time everyday.' At this time Holmes begins to stand up and act out a mock take on life and times in Los Angeles. He stands by the curtain clad windows of the hotel, drawing them back and forth while staring out the window mumbling names like George and Martha as he proceeds to make gunfire sounds, ending with a shallow scream. I make a quick glance to Lawless perched on the bed across from me and we both let out a huge ball of laughter. Lawless almost falls off the bed.

I agree with Holmes about his take on life in Los Angeles and the ideas put forth towards _KFD_ and he says, 'That's the way I look at it. Ah well, _Kill Fuck Die_!' Lawless lets out a huge dose of laughter and says, 'This is too much. You had to get him going right?' Holmes finishes, 'That's a normal day for us who live in Los Angeles. To other it's not.'

While on the topic of the album title and the general make-up of material and ideas for _KFD_, Lawless goes on to talk about the formation and ideas of the band in the 1990s, having to live on the edge and be a dangerous entity in the music industry if you want to get noticed. 'We talk about how we are a dangerous band and all but when we got back together we said to each other that we had to be the nastiest, stinkiest, filthiest fucking band on the planet. That's what we attempted to do and will continue to try to do.' About the lyrics of _KFD_? Lawless says so blatantly, 'There is not a lot of deep philosophical thought and social significance within our lyrics on this record.'

At this point in time the conversation meanders away from a basic Q&A session and goes more into gibberish about bands of the 90s, touring (which is set to start in May, what Lawless describes as 'an intense show; not for the faint of heart'), and growing old.

Looking at Holmes and Lawless, you can tell that they are getting on in the years but there still seems to be a youthful glow in the eyes. And long years in this business has not slowed down W.A.S.P. or their desire to keep going in this business. Holmes quips, 'When I started this business with W.A.S.P., people thought I was an old fuck. Fuck! I'm gonna die doing this!'

Lawless leaves the room to use the toilet. I'm left with Holmes. Trouble? Who knows? I ask him, while his partner is 'draining a vein,' about being a songwriter. He corrects me. 'I don't consider myself a songwriter. I'm an entertainer. I like to make music and go out and tour and put on a show. Other people might call themselves songwriters but not me - I'm an entertainer and that is what I do.' His eyes light up as he tells me that. I am starting to believe him and for once in this interview I feel a bit more relaxed.

Lawless returns. At this point in time my 25-minute interview is wearing down and I am starting to notice that after about 6 hours of interviews during the day, the two are getting restless. Lawless is squirming on the bed and Holmes proceeds to pace around his small sofa he has been sitting on during the interview. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the interview than with the way Holmes so effortlessly provided me with a real closer. The topic: critics. Both Lawless and Holmes have mixed feelings about the way one of their records is either praised or panned. I ask about that topic and Holmes once again stands up and walks towards me saying, 'I'm gonna tell you how I feel.' That nervous feeling comes back to me as the 6ft+ guitarist meanders over to me on the bed I am sitting upon. He stands over me with a halfhearted grin and leans into my tape recorder microphone and mutters, 'Fuck'em! That's how I see it. I don't care what people say about what we do. Fuck'em!'

Lawless laughs as Holmes sits down. Lawless ends the interview by saying, 'We really don't give a fuck what people say about the record. We don't care what critics or music journalists really say about _KFD_. We are doing this for ourselves and our fans. That's about it. Fuck everybody else.'

I leave the interview with a real feeling that all the mayhem and shit that came along with W.A.S.P. in the 80s may be coming around again once more when _Kill Fuck Die_ hits stores at the end of April. Lawless and Holmes together again - watch out!

(article submitted 13/5/1997)


CHATS
9/1/2002 A Bromley W.A.S.P.: Dark Reflections
5/13/2001 A Bromley W.A.S.P.: Unleashing Terror Once Again
ALBUMS
8/4/2007 K Sarampalis 8.5 W.A.S.P. - Dominator
8/12/2001 A McKay 7 W.A.S.P. - Unholy Terror
6/15/1999 A Bromley 4 W.A.S.P. - Helldorado
4/13/1998 A Bromley 8 W.A.S.P. - Double Live Assassins
GIGS
11/21/2007 K Sarampalis W.A.S.P. / House of Games An Evening with W.A.S.P.
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