Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. talks new record, religion and possibly a play

W.A.S.P. I’d say a pioneer in the 80’s circuit due to the tense and throughout showmanship spawn from an cross breed between a goat and a pig. Shocking, exciting and, by the time, breathtaking! As this wasn’t enough, Mr. Lawless possessed a unique voice, who’s only predecessor Dan McCafferty from Nazareth could be of question, and you know what – still do!

I got the below in an e-mail from the promo company that I with no regard for my soul will copy/paste due to the reason it contains a quote not obtained by me. So, thank you promo company.

Blackie Lawless, the sole remaining member of the original W.A.S.P. line-up, has returned with the band’s 15th official studio album, “Golgotha”. It marks the end of their longest break between records, and is a potent follow-up to Babylon from 2009. Circumstances such as requiring re-constructive surgery on Lawless’ right shoulder, a 30th Anniversary tour, and Lawless suffering a broken leg in 2013 held up the writing and recording for “Golgotha”, but looking back he considers the delay a blessing in disguise.

It gave us the time to reflect on the music in a way we never really had before,” says Lawless. “Previously, I had taken two years to make a record, but never that amount of time to sit and craft and decide what I liked and what I didn’t. You hear every band say the same thing: ‘It’s the best thing we’ve ever done…’ but the truth is they don’t know because they’re too close to it. You need time to get away from it to really reflect so you can tell if it’s any good or not. That was one of the big benefits of spreading this out over a four year period is I was able to be honest with myself.

Regarding the track “Slaves Of The New World Order”, does that connect in any way to the Illuminati cult? I guess it could. I haven’t thought about them specifically but really when you look at any situation, you know we live in so called democracies, but any time people stop paying attention to what’s going on around them and they’re not really paying attention to what’s happening they get the governments that they deserve. You know we are living in a society now that are all social media.

Last week we went to Europe and I was looking at what’s going on in Greece and those people are in trouble. I mean, they are in serious trouble because it’s one thing if you are a slave but generational bondage is another thing, because your kids, before they are even born becomes slaves to economics and that’s serious stuff you know and what happens is as they get into it and don’t realize that they get in to it ‘cause they don’t pay any attention to whom they are electing.

W.A.S.P. Golgotha Album Cover
W.A.S.P. Golgotha Album Cover

If you look at what’s going on in America right now, a guy like Donald Trump has the numbers that he has right now. There’s two things you have to look on right there because the people that are supporting him are people who actually are paying attention but what does it say when those people who are paying attention becomes so desperate to support somebody like him. You can also say the same thing about Obama getting elected not once but twice. It’s like “Are you not paying any attention at all?!” So that’s what happens when you not paying attention, you get the government that you deserve.

The one voice, so to speak, that says it doesn’t really matter who you elect ‘cause it’s gonna wind up all the same anyway. What’s your thoughts about that? Could be, but you know coming from America I understand how America was founded and the principals that we were founded on and I’m asking myself “Can it not be like that again?”. During the French revolution they had their own version of the Illuminati and they ended up on the guillotine. It all depends on how badly people want something.

Are you saying that revolution is good? I’m not saying that per say. There’s a song in here called “Shotgun”, when you reach the end of your rope and you can’t take anymore. That sometimes what happens. Again. That is a difficult thing to say because the first thing we want is to try to do things peacefully but going back to the foundations of America, sometimes that doesn’t work anymore. If we look upon what’s going on in the Middle East, I mean the argument if America should or shouldn’t be there it’s a whole different issue but when you look upon people you can not negotiate with… Sometimes in this world, some people, the only thing they understand is force.

And that’s the end of the line, you think? I hope not but some people listen a little easier than others. Unfortunately sometimes they need to be enlightened, and sometimes the method that shows them how to do that is not peaceful.

I listened to “Golgotha” before I read the lyrics of the album and thought “Maybe this is a concept album”, then I thought it was a theme album and at the end of it I can’t really make up my mind ‘cause at the same time the songs speak for themselves. Could you enlighten me on this? I agree. I think the title throws people a little bit, it might lead them in that direction but it really isn’t. I really wanted every song to stand on it’s own, that’s really what you strive for. I try to write lyrics that are written on multiple levels. You know, they have many layers.

So when someone looks at them for the first time, maybe they don’t understand the depths that’s there but when they go back and really start to look at it as they go home like “It’s a lot deeper than I thought”. You want it to be on multiple levels ‘cause if you want to hear it for just the rock n roll value, that’s fine, it’s nothing wrong with that but you also want them to be able to look deeper, if there’s something deeper to be had. If that truly exists you allow them to go deeper.

When I’m writing those lyrics I’m conscious of that. Words have value so that entire sentence is really packed with a lot of powerful imagery, and if you do that times four or five lines per verse that verse can have tremendous power. Talkin’ bout slaves it’s a line that comes to mind when I think of that song “We are all just dying men who preach to other dying men”. That is such a pathetic statement, it’s really such a sad statement when you think about it, and in my mind I’m seeing UN and I see Washington and Brussels and it’s like a cartoon when you see the parents go “Wackquackquack”. It’s like is anybody saying anything that’s making any sense here? Because you see what comes out of this world and you go like “What in the world can they possibly be thinking here. It’s mind blowing.

Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.
Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.

I take it lyrics are really important to you. Have that somehow progressed into a more crucial part of your songwriting or has lyrics always been essential? It always has been important for me but it took a political turn… I could never understand that people in a rock n’ roll band have those thoughts that the lyrics aren’t important, but to me the lyrics are as important as the music itself. If someone doesn’t want to listen to that level, that’s okay, but I’ve noticed a lot of people out there that do. So if you have the ability to write like that I think you should.

How do you think your lyrical abilities have developed from, lets say, six years ago during the release of your previous album “Babylon”? I don’t know if they have. Basically what I’m doing, the same thing that you do, I mean, we are both reporters, our medium are a little bit different but we write down what we see and we try to tell the truth as best we can and we report it. So I don’t really see it as much different than it was six years ago. like I said I’m just trying to tell the truth the best way I can.

What is the truth according to you, today? I look at everything from a biblical perspective because I’m a born again Christian so everything I see goes through those eyes, so for me that’s my truth.

How is Mr Lawless a different man from, lets say 1995 to 2015? Maybe not as much as you think. I was having this conversation with Alice Cooper a few years ago, ‘cause he too was brought up in a religious family and him and I both agreed that if you go back and listen to both of us early lyrics you’re gonna see the concept of religion all over those early songs.

I agree absolutely, I mean it’s a good example and it’s the title track of the “Headless children” says “father come save us from this madness we’re under God of creation we’re blind.” At that time I hadn’t even returned to my faith yet but you can see it’s bleeding through in my thought process. Whether I was conscious of it or not, it’s still there. In many ways, on the outside it probably looks like I’ve changed a lot but that’s why I’m saying maybe that change is not as great as you might think.

You said that you kind of lost faith in it for a while? I went to church when I was a kid and I went to church all through my teen years. I went cause I wanted to go, nobody made me go and then I left the church in my late teens. I went to L.A and I went as far away from church as you possibly can go. I studied the occult for three years and then I decided it was no truth in that either so I left that and for twenty years I walked around and I thought I was mad at God and after twenty years I realized that I was not mad at God I was mad at man for the indoctrination and the things that they had done, taken the bible and putting their own opinions in it and the things they wanted to be in it and try to sell it to people and when I discovered that and that was the reason I was angry.

I look at it today that if somebody says to me “what is your faith comprised?” I say it’s Jesus Christ and the bible. Nothing more, nothing less. If it’s not in the bible I don’t wanna know about it. If it’s in there and you have a different opinion, then we can talk about that but don’t come telling me that I can’t eat meat on Fridays or some other ideas of that kind. It’s totally not biblical related at all. I mean where do these guys get those ideas? I don’t wanna know about it.

Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.
Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.

Parts of the Book of Enoch as far as I know, it was cut out of the bible? You have a lot of things to refer to as to the Gnostic gospel, the thoughts of people of what’s should have been in them (the books) how people thought it should have been and the church in 325 AD comes together they canalize what they believe to be all the books in the bible. You really don’t need that to understand what it is to understand the testament.

If you go back and you look in the new testament between the apostle Paul and John they tell you clearly how the bible was formed because when Paul’s in Rome and they’re getting ready to behead him and he says “Take all my scrolls and parchments to John in Ephesus” We know that Jesus tells all of the disciples that everyone is gonna be martyred except this one guy, John, which kinda upsets them ‘cause why is he getting off the hook when the rest of us are getting martyred for this. But there’s a reason why John was spared. John wrote the last few books of the bible including Revelations. It makes sense that he was the one putting the book together and even the historians agree that the bible was formed probably before the end of the first century. So everything that was in it at that time was everything that was supposed to be there and nothing else.

Let’s go more into the album itself. What do you think is more of a challenge, writing a debut album or the follow up because as I see it “Golgotha” is kind of a third album in a series? That’s interesting you say that because I’m too are starting to see that. I didn’t intend for that to be that way but I kind of agree that that is the case even though I didn’t intend for it to be like that. Cause when you are working on an album you don’t see the whole album, you only work on one song at the time and the picture doesn’t start to reveal itself until you get towards the end and you can see the complete piece and you look at it and go “Ooh! So this is what’s it gonna be”. Like I said it’s gonna reveal itself for you then but while you are working on it you necessarily don’t gonna know what’s it gonna be.

You have to trust yourself to think that whatever is gonna happen it gonna take shape somehow. But to think that you could do three albums together that have some kind of cohesive… like a glue that sticks together, I wish I could tell you that I envisioned that but I didn’t.

So this is pretty much as big as a surprise for you as anyone of the fans? It may be not bigger but equally as much.

During the writing process, you just focus on one song at a time then? Yeah. You have ideas for other songs but you try to just focus on one song at the time, at least that’s what we do. When I did the “Crimson Idol” I wrote the story first and the record revolves around the story so that’s kinda easy but the other albums are not like that. It’s just the collection of individuals songs so a lot of times you don’t really know where the album is going to go so it starts to finish it reveals itself to you so it’s all a discovery process.

Do you ever think about making these three somewhat coherent albums into something else, like a play or movie or something? Funny you are saying that ‘cause our bass player mentioned something about that, not all three records but just “Golgotha” itself, he said This whole thing is an interesting story, so that might be something to think about, but honestly that’s just talk right now but who knows.

I take it as it’s not an impossible thing though? Probably.

Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.
Blackie Lawless W.A.S.P.

You know what, I spoke this very evening to a guy named Ross the Boss, is that someone you might know of? Manowar, right? Yeah, him and I also spoke to a guy named Jeff Waters from Annihilator and I told them both that I’m gonna talk to Blackie Lawless later on and both where like “No way!!” Especially Jeff said you had such an impact of his guitar playing and his sound making and his music over all so I asked him, just for fun, do you have a question for Blackie and he said “No, I don’t. All I have is praise for that man”. That was exactly what Ross The Boss said too. You know one of the commandments of being Christian is being humble and so honestly the thing, my work, I try to not take to much credit for it but for hearing what they said, that’s wonderful! I mean it really is. I appreciate what they are saying but I try to keep my feet as close to the ground as I can. I’ve been through a period in my carrier when my feet left the ground and that’s not a good place to be.

When was that? Probably around the Electric Circus in 1986 I went through a period in life when I felt like a real rock star and after that I just realized that this is not what I want, this is not where I wanna be. I got into this to write songs and to try to communicate to people. Lets put it this way, if you are not happy in the first place it’s never gonna make you happy. It’s like money, if you’re not happy to begin with money is not gonna make you happy. So you can achieve both those things, fame and fortune but if you don’t like who you were to begin with you got a problem. So what I’m saying is that I do appreciate what they are saying VERY much but as I said I’m trying to stay as humble as I can.

In your own words how do you wanna portrait Golgatha to the main public and the readers of Azaria Magazine? Well, first thing I wanna do is that I’m trying to make people think. Things as who they are and where they are in life and how it applies to them and if can do that with this record then it’s been successful. I don’t measure things in terms of record sales or popularity or any of that you just trying to make the best record you can so it speaks to people. And like I said if I can do that I have been enormously successful.

www.waspnation.com

Alexander Lundmark

The Azaria Magazine is an international magazine focusing on the alternative lifestyles extreme internationally with focus on fetish, tattooed models, tattoo artists and music

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