BLACKIE LAWLESS Explains Why No Bandmembers Appear On W.A.S.P. Album Covers

November 10, 2022

During a "VIP Experience" question-and-answer session at a recent W.A.S.P. concert, frontman Blackie Lawless spoke about why he went back to playing guitar in the band after handling the bass duties on W.A.S.P.'s first couple of albums. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I had a chemistry between Chris [Holmes, guitar] and Randy [Piper, guitar] — andTony [Richards, drums]. Tony was stunning as a drummer and performer. Tony was one of those five-point guys. He looked great, looked great in photos, performed great, could sing his ass off, performed his butt off. When we lost him, we were mortally wounded and we knew it. But the other two, I knew they were never gonna play bass. So I go, 'Well, I've got the chemistry with the guys to make it work. I'll do it.' I'm a team player; I don't care how the job gets done, just get it done. So when I had the opportunity to go back, I took it."

Asked by one fan if Tony Richards is still around, Blackie said: "I hear his name pop up from time to time. People ask, 'You've got any regrets?' There was nothing we could do about it, but losing Tony, like I said, we were mortally wounded. I'll give you an example. You look at that first album, it's all four of us on the cover. The second and third album, it's just me, and that was a conscious decision we made, because when Tony was gone, we were not the same band anymore, and we knew it. In the early days, we promoted ourselves as a band, and we felt when Tony was gone, we didn't have that strength anymore, so we used me for the first two covers after that, but if you think back, no bandmember has appeared on any cover since. And I'm not blamingTony for that — it's unfortunate what happened — but I never felt that we had the strength of a band as a unit like we had in the beginning. So, like I said, you look at every record we've done since, no one is on that cover anymore. And that's the reason for it. 'Cause I remember what we were. And I had my memory refreshed over the summer, listening to that stuff. 'Cause I got to hear outtakes, and I got to hear individual tracks that I hadn't heard, and I'm listening to Randy and Tony sing. They were singing their asses off. Those suckers were good. And I listened to it, and it kind of made me sick to my stomach, because I remembered by listening to it how good we were… Those guys were badasses."

Last year, Holmes discussed his tenure with W.A.S.P. in an interview with TotalRock Radio. He said: "Blackie, while I was in the band, made some really bad decisions — really bad decisions — that killed the band.

"I've known him since I was 18, 17 — when he supposedly got done playing with the [NEW YORK] DOLLS or whatever; I knew him them. And not in my farthest dream could I think in the first album that that would have happened with him. It got so unbearably about him than anything else. It was radical. The band was four people when it started; that's what made us. And then with Tony gone; [Blackie] has to be on the cover [of W.A.S.P.'s second album, 1985's 'The Last Command']. His idol was Muhammad Ali. And that's only one person; it's not a team. That's what he wants. On the road, he's made some bad decisions. And I even would tell him about it, and he wouldn't listen to me.

"W.A.S.P. could have been a good band if he could have kept all the people together. I guess it's a good band now."

W.A.S.P.'s latest release was "ReIdolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol)", which came out in February 2018. It was a new version of the band's classic 1992 album "The Crimson Idol", which was re-recorded to accompany the movie of the same name to mark the 25th anniversary of the original LP's release. The re-recorded version also features four songs missing from the original album.

W.A.S.P.'s most recent studio album of all-new original material was 2015's "Golgotha".

W.A.S.P.'s first live performance since December 2019 took place on July 23 at Skansen in Stockholm, Sweden. A week later (July 30),W.A.S.P. also played at Skogsröjet festival in Rejmyre, Sweden.

W.A.S.P. recently postponed its European 40th-anniversary tour, originally scheduled for spring of 2022, until the spring of 2023. The new dates will take place in March, April and May of 2023. All tickets previously purchased for the 2022 tour will be valid at the rescheduled 2023 shows.

W.A.S.P. kicked off its first U.S. tour in a decade last month. The trek coincides with the band's 40th anniversary and includes support from ARMORED SAINT and MICHAEL SCHENKER on select shows.

Lawless has led W.A.S.P. as its lead vocalist and primary songwriter since its beginning. His unique brand of visual, social and political comment took the group to worldwide heights and sold millions of records alongside a legacy of sold-out shows across the globe for four decades. He is joined in W.A.S.P.'s current lineup by bassist Mike Duda and guitarist Doug Blair, whose tenures in the band span 26 and 18 years respectively, along with drummer extraordinaire Aquiles Priester.

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