CHRIS HOLMES Isn't Proud Of His W.A.S.P. Gold Records: 'I Didn't Get The Achievement Of What I Wanted Out Of That'
December 13, 2020
In a new interview with MetalDen for RockMeeting, former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes was asked what he is most proud of professionally in his four-decade-plus career. He responded (see video below): "I'd like to say W.A.S.P., but I'm not. I'm proud that I'm 62 years old and I'm still going. All the things that I've done in my 20s and 30s, I shouldn't really be here at all. There's an old saying, 'Burn the candle at both ends'. I burned it at both ends and in the middle — I just threw it in the oven. I'm proud to say I can still play music. Probably 30 years ago, I would have said, 'Wow, I'm proud of my gold records.' They are in a box somewhere, so I'm not proud of 'em; I didn't get the achievement of what I wanted out of that. I'm proud of my new career — [my new solo project] MEAN MAN. It's me — it's nobody else. It's me — Chris; nobody else. Of course, I was a big influence in W.A.S.P. It was just the way I play, and I'm proud of that."
He continued: "I'm not gonna say I'm proud of all the gold records… I don't know how many gold records I got from W.A.S.P. You have to get hold of Capitol and all that crap and ask, 'How many records did we…?' I don't know the statistics and all that crap about how many records that were sold. I never even got all my gold records that I was on, because once you're out of the band, they don't send them to you; they don't give a crap about you. You've gotta still be a working member. I am proud that I played on a [W.A.S.P.] record called 'The Headless Children' [in 1989]. That would be my achievement of my musical career in those days. That was one of my favorite things I'm proud of."
Chris also touched upon his fractured relationship with W.A.S.P. leader Blackie Lawless, who he had previously accused of cheating him out of his rightful royalties for the band's albums that he had played on.
"You treat people how you wanna be treated," he said. "D.T.A. — don't trust anybody, not even your parents or your brother. When it comes to money in this business, don't trust anybody. I trusted my best friend, and it really killed me. And we're not best friends no more. I meet a lot of people [that say] they are brothers. 'Hey, this is my brother. We've got a band.' I'm, like, 'Dude, don't trust him. No.' Don't trust anybody. And treat people how you wanna be treated. If you wanna be treated like an asshole, then treat people like an asshole."
Holmes joined W.A.S.P. in 1982 and remained with the group until 1990. In 1996, the guitarist returned to W.A.S.P. and stayed with the band until 2001. Chris has not played with W.A.S.P. since.
Two months ago, Chris said that he would never consider returning to W.A.S.P. unless Lawless agreed to pay him the publishing royalties that he allegedly owes him. He told Canada's The Metal Voice: "A lot of people think I made money from W.A.S.P. I've never gotten my royalties, or even my songwriting. All the stuff that I wrote, I've never gotten paid one penny. And you know whose fault it is? It's my my fault for not knowing the business, how it is. I trusted somebody.
"After every album, when the album is done, how they split up the publishing with the publishing contracts, the publishing companies — that's where the money comes from," he continued. "I was never told about when that meeting was. Because the other guys in the band never wrote — I was the only one [other than Blackie]. So I'm the only one that they have to screw over to get all the publishing. So I was never told. Then when I dug into it in about 2006 or , I went into Sanctuary Music, had a lawyer go in to find out where all my publishing is, and I was written in as a session player into all the records. And if you don't know about it, and you're not told, and you don't see, you don't know. So I trusted Blackie Lawless about that. And when I found out, it really kind of yanked me wrong. It yanks me wrong — it makes me see he was sticking a knife in my back from the first day, from the first album, and not telling me, and being my best friend."
As far as Holmes is concerned, Lawless is solely to blame for him not getting his due from the W.A.S.P. records that he was involved with.
"If it wasn't for me, he wouldn't be where he's at — I guarantee you that," Chris said. "And then he screws me like that. It's all right. It's been a long time. It's something that I will never, never get over. I'll take that to the grave with me. I'm pissed thinking about it.
"Anyway, that's the kind of person he is. Everybody thinks, 'Wow! He's got the greatest…' Yeah, he's got an outrageous voice, Blackie, yeah, but he turns his back on his bandmembers real bad — he screws 'em. I'm the only guy in the band that ever came back to get screwed twice, which I did. I came back for 'Kill.Fuck.Die', and I was promised half publishing on that album. Didn't get crap. Knowing that I couldn't get in to see what was written in the contracts, of course. That's why I wrote the song 'Two Faced Mother Fucker'. It's about him. It's on 'Shitting Bricks'. And I've got one on the new album. It's called 'The Truth'. It says, 'You can't handle the truth.' It's on my new [album]. I'm gonna write a song about him on every album."
Addressing the possibility of his return to W.A.S.P., Holmes said: "Everybody asks me about a W.A.S.P. reunion. Sure, I'd love to play a W.A.S.P. reunion — if he pays me my publishing. If it doesn't, then he can have a reunion with Randy Piper, Johnny Rod and [Steve] Riley and everybody else. I'm not gonna play it. It's not worth it.
"I came back to W.A.S.P. in '95. I got screwed again," he added. "Screw me once, screw me twice — you're not gonna screw me a third time."
During a November 2017 press conference in Moscow, Russia, Lawless was asked what he would say to those W.A.S.P. fans who continue to call for the band to reunite with Holmes. He responded: "People get divorced for certain reasons, and there's times when the kids want the parents to get back together, but sometimes it never happens. And this is one of those [times]. Sorry."
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