Ex-W.A.S.P. Guitarist CHRIS HOLMES Says BLACKIE LAWLESS Never Contacted Him Following Cancer Diagnosis
September 13, 2022
Former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes, who recently completed seven weeks of radiation therapy in his battle with cancer in throat and neck, was asked in a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice if he has heard from W.A.S.P. leader Blackie Lawless since his diagnosis. He said: "Blackie could have helped to pay for some of my treatment, but [he didn't]. But Nikki Sixx [MÖTLEY CRÜE] did. He gave me a lot of money. He was the first one; he forked over 500 bucks, and I love the guy for it. Thank you, Nikki. I love him for that."
He continued: "About the first month I was sick, [I got video messages of support from fellow musicians] and [I got one from JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford]. [In his message, he said], 'Chris, this is your Metal God, Rob Halford.' And it was kind of cool. Rob talked a little bit on there. And then the guitar player that took [Glenn] Tipton's gig [Richie Faulkner] thanked me. A bunch of… tons of people did. But nobody from W.A.S.P. did. It's kind of weird. Nobody. [Blackie] didn't send me a message at all. I thought he would, but he didn't. But that's okay; I didn't expect it. Glenn Hughes did. I met Glenn on the [BLACK] SABBATH tour [in 1986, when W.A.S.P. was the support act]. What's sad is I haven't been able to talk to him since he was fired [from SABBATH]. And we were good drinking buddies [on that tour]. He's got a heart of gold."
This past July, Holmes said that he was told by his doctor that he was cancer free. At the time he noted, "I'm glad the kind of cancer I had is treatable. A lot of cancer isn't." But he added that he was "still suffering from all the radiation that was done to my neck… It'll probably take six months from right now till my neck's back to normal."
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.
A few hours after Chris's diagnosis was made public in February, Lawless released a statement via W.A.S.P.'s social media in which he said: "The entire W.A.S.P. family are all optimistic of a positive outcome concerning the diagnosis for Chris. I certainly wish him the very best."
Last year, Holmes told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that W.A.S.P. was "a group, a band" on the first LP. "And after that, the second album, it wasn't a group — it was a one-man show," he said. "And it's been a one-man show after that ever since. It's the way it is. Look at the records. It's the way it is in that band.
"W.A.S.P. never played any shows until I was in the band, so where does a band start — when they record or when they do their first show?" he continued. "I came in before the first show, and it was 'one for all, all for one.' But then when money came into it and fame, people changed — they change real bad. And I never changed. I don't change. I haven't changed the way I think, the way I am. I'm not gonna change. I am what I am."
According to Chris, he, guitarist Randy Piper, drummer Tony Richards and Blackie were all part of W.A.S.P. initial management contract, but Blackie was the only one signed to the record label. "Everybody thinks we [all] signed to the label, but it wasn't [like that]," Holmes told "Trunk Nation".
"I never learned about the business till about 10 years ago," he explained. "How do you learn about the business? You've gotta be in there with the manager and all that stuff, so I was always kept from that… I put my trust into somebody, and [I found out later that he was] sticking a knife in my back. I didn't find that out until 2010 or '11.
"Once [W.A.S.P.] became [all about] one person, [my attitude was] 'Hey, I'll just do my thing, and leave me alone. I'll play my guitar.'"
Despite the fact that he only got songwriting credit on a couple of the songs on each of the first four W.A.S.P. records, Holmes was adamant that his input was essential to the band's overall sound.
"If I would have quit after the first album, the way I play guitar, the way I play is really important to writing those songs," he told "Trunk Nation".
"If I hadn't joined in the beginning, it would have never worked. Blackie told me that the first day, when he came and talked to me to play in W.A.S.P. He says, 'I've got this band. It's not gonna work unless you're in it.' He told me that to my face."
In October 2020, 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 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."
This past February, Lawless shot down Holmes's claim that the guitarist was "screwed" out of receiving royalties on the W.A.S.P. albums that he performed on. Lawless discussed Holmes's tenure with W.A.S.P. in an interview with "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Asked to respond to Holmes's assertion in Chris's recently released documentary "Mean Man: The Story Of Chris Holmes" that he was financially taken advantage of during his time in the band, Lawless said: "I don't really know much about… I spoke to [former W.A.S.P. guitarist] Randy Piper a couple of years ago. I don't really know what's going on with the rest of the guys. And I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about with Chris about not being paid.
"Chris, at two different points in his musical career, received settlements from this band; he signed documents as such," Blackie explained. "And he was paid quite well.
"I haven't seen what you're talking about. The answer I'm giving you right now is based on what you just said to me."
The W.A.S.P. frontman went on to confirm that he hasn't seen Chris's documentary and was once again asked about Holmes's claim that there is money and songwriting credits that he didn't get that he's due. Lawless said simply: "That is not true."
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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