W.A.S.P.'s BLACKIE LAWLESS: Stage Production For Upcoming 40th-Anniversary Tour Will Be Like A 'Dark Carnival'
October 6, 2022
During an appearance on a recent episode of "The Ron Keel Podcast", W.A.S.P. leader Blackie Lawless spoke about what fans can expect to see on the band's upcoming 40th-anniversary tour. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, in '86 we did a record called 'Inside The Electric Circus'. And I had, as a kid… I was born in Tampa [Florida]. Before I moved to New York when I was seven, in Tampa, there's an area there that's just south of Tampa called Gibsonton. And Gibsonton is an area where a lot of people from the circus go in the off seasons in winter there. So I grew up — literally — around seeing circus people. As a matter of fact, where we lived, there was a family that were trapeze artists. And when I was a little kid — like, when I was five — I'd walk over there and I'd watch 'em rehearse. And I was fascinated by it. So the whole idea of the circus has been something that's really been part of my makeup. So we visited this in '86. But what happened is when we were moving into playing arenas… What I originally wanted to do was more like an old-fashioned 1930s carnival. But because we were moving into bigger venues, everyone said, 'Well, it's not big enough. It's not flashy enough. It's gotta be bigger. It's gotta fill up those rooms.' So what we ended up doing was a much more flashy production. And it was good, but it was not my original idea. So I'm getting an opportunity now to go back and do this thing that looks like a 1930 carnival, but this is a dark carnival. And dark in the sense that when we first started, and [we were] making the demos, one day we were in the studio and something happened and a piece of gear broke down and we had to take a few hours off. And so there was a movie theater across the street and 'Road Warrior' was playing there. And so we said, okay, we wanted to see the movie, so we went over and watched it. And I was absolutely riveted to it. And I remember thinking, 'All right. If we go out and we do this stuff live, this is what we're gonna look like; this is what we're gonna feel like.' And the whole idea, when we wearing the pants that had no backs in 'em and all that stuff, all that came from the 'Road Warrior'. We thought for sure we would get busted on this, and we were waiting for those questions. And we never once got busted on it, and we couldn't believe it. [Laughs] Because we stole our whole act from that movie — the girl on the rack; all that stuff came from that movie. So if you can imagine today an old 1930s kind of sideshow, dark carnival-slash-'Road Warrior', that's what this is gonna look like."
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. will embark on its first U.S. tour in a decade this fall. The trek will coincide the band's 40th anniversary and will include 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.
In a recent interview with Metal Edge magazine, Lawless was asked how he plans to stage a "real-deal W.A.S.P. show" to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary "with the existence of cancel culture and woke culture." He responded: "That's a complicated question you just asked. Because first of all, I'm not gonna even consider a woke culture. That has nothing to do with my world. You know, if that's what somebody wants to do that's their privilege. Free country. But our fan base is our fan base. So, one of the things I learned a long time ago is that if you're going to have a genuine career… And when I say a real career, I'm talking about somebody that does it for a lifetime, I'm not talking about somebody that just makes records. And that's okay, too. In the pop world, that's fine. You know, that's what people want. But if you're going to have a genuine career, I'm not talking about somebody that's around for five years, or 10 years. I'm talking about somebody who's around 20 years, 30 years, longer. What you're saying, in effect, is you're going to take that fan base on a lifelong ride. And if you're going to do that, you have to have an intimate relationship with them. And if you don't have that intimate relationship, they will never feel like they know you.
"You've got to be willing to crack your skull open, and let them come inside and walk around barefoot, inside your head," he continued. "You really do. And the only way you can do this is with lyrics. We can do interviews like this, and it helps considerably. I mean, people get to know you a lot that way. But the lyrics are where they're really gonna get to know you. Because that's what they're listening to most of the time. And so to do that, you've got to be willing to share parts of yourself that a lot of artists just aren't willing to do. Let them get in there, into the nooks and crannies, and find the good and the not so good.
"So, to get into a culture that is doing that, that would do me no good, because I'm talking to specific people out there. First of all, our type of music, whether it's us or anybody else in our genre, we are a subculture. We're not mainstream. We're not the pop world, which is 50 percent of the market. We're a smaller market, like, you know, 25 to 30 percent of that potential pie that's out there. It's not going to do me any good to try to talk to people that aren't going to listen anyway. My whole thing is to try to identify what it is I'm thinking and feeling at the moment. Because I, too, like everybody else, my opinions are gonna change from time to time.
"And so the idea is, when you take people on that lifelong ride, they look at what you wrote 30 years ago, and they go, 'Oh, wow, look what he was thinking,'" Blackie added. "And they listen to something, whatever the last thing was that came out, and they go, 'Oh, wow, look at how he's thinking now.' So this is that intimacy, where you take people and you're literally communicating with them over the course of this journey. So, trying to do anything from a standpoint of being influenced socially would do me no good. Or anybody like me that does this. You have to be true to yourself. I mean, we got into this not giving a damn about what people thought so why should it be any different now?"
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