Norway's Metal Express Radio recently conducted an interview with W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Metal Express Radio: "The Crimson Idol" was originally intended to be a Blackie Lawless solo album. Did you ever regret going back on this?
Lawless: "No, never. I've read that several sources say that it was the record company that made me not do that, but I'll tell you that is not true. What this is really about is what the fans wanted. I got a lot, and I mean A LOT, of fans telling me that they wanted this to be a W.A.S.P. album — and remember, this was before the Internet too. I asked myself what was really the point; I mean, my name's probably gonna be inside the booklet after all, so why the hell do I have to insist on putting it on the front too?"
Metal Express Radio: Well, it's not that bad of an idea, is it? The story deals to a large extent about your life?
Lawless: "It does … just as much as it deals with other people's lives as well. Jonathan Steele is a mix of several people I know, and although there are aspects of my own life put into the mix, this is far from an autobiography."
Metal Express Radio: The story does, however, deal with the theme "addiction." Jonathan's parents can easily be said to be addicted to their Christian faith — which was also the case with (the real) Blackie parents, and Jonathan surrenders himself to a deadly cocktail of cocaine, booze, and rock 'n' roll. Blackie still has an ambivalent view on drug (ab)use among the band members.
Lawless: "I – erm – I won't lie to you. I'll be honest. I don't care, and have never cared, about what people do in their free time. It's all for them to decide how they live their lives. When we get together, on the other hand, I prefer them to be conscious and able to participate as adequately functioning human beings."
Metal Express Radio: How far would it have to go before you fire someone for drug abuse?
Lawless: "Why do you ask me that question??"
Metal Express Radio: Is it wrong to say that you decide who's in and who's not in this band?
Lawless: "Where's that ever been written?"
Metal Express Radio: I mean, being the only founding member still in the band, as well as the one writing the vast majority of the music, wouldn't it be weird if you did not have the last word?
Lawless: "Let me tell you something. I should really get the other guys in here, but I won't bother. Just listen to what I'm telling you. In every band there are different members, different people, with their own individual opinions and approaches to life. As opposed to what you seem to think the majority of the guys leaving this band left because of a clash of opinions, not drug abuse. Also, this was not because they disagreed with what I said, but because they disagreed with what other band members said. This is nothing but a natural consequence of people working together."
Read the entire interview at www.metalexpressradio.com.