W.A.S.P.'s BLACKIE LAWLESS: 'The Thoughts Of Retirement Just Don't Appeal To Me'
August 2, 2022
Ahead of W.A.S.P.'s 40th-anniversary fall 2022 U.S. tour, frontman Blackie Lawless told Ultimate Classic Rock that he has no intention to retire anytime soon.
"I don't think of age as a number," he said. "I think it's how you feel, and I still feel like I'm in my 20s. I feel really good. I can do most everything I've ever done, so I feel pretty good about where I'm at.
"The thoughts of retirement just don't appeal to me," he continued. "I see some people use it as a marketing tool, and I've always thought that was kind of a cheap stunt. I mean, if they're sincere about it, then you probably do — I shouldn't say probably — you do owe it to a fan base to tell them if you're indeed gonna stop.
"I mean, my natural reaction, I'm the kind of person that I would want to just do it till I can't do it anymore," he added. "And then I'd just stop. You know, one day you just don't go into the office anymore. I don't want a gold watch from anybody for my years of servitude. That's not my thing. But I do think that you would have an obligation to let people know if you were indeed gonna stop. But that's just not my thing. That's not the way I would go about it. Because what do you do when you retire?
"You know, we were fortunate enough — and I say we [as in] anybody who does this for a living — you did it because you would've done it for free anyway, so what's there to stop? If you physically cannot do it anymore, I get that. But you've been blessed to make a living at your hobby, this thing that's been your passion. So why do you want to stop? I mean, I don't."
W.A.S.P.'s first live performance since December 2019 took place on July 23 at Skansen in Stockholm, 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 May 2022 interview Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, Lawless spoke about the status of his long-in-the-works autobiography. He said: "It's taken a whole lot longer than I thought it would, but it's been one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life. It's a tremendous amount of work because there's so many things, over the course of a lifetime, that you forget about, especially when you do what we do for a living. Anybody that does what we do, it's not like the average person out there where you go to work and you do your thing and you get into a routine. And there's nothing wrong with that; it's different.
"I've often said that I've already… because of the schedule and the way that any band has to do things — you're here today; you're somewhere else tomorrow — it's like you've already lived four or five of somebody else's lifetimes," he explained. "And because of the amount of intensity that goes into the same amount of space that everybody has. Twenty-four hours for somebody that does this is not the same as twenty-four hours for somebody that's in a routine. And it can get a little on the insane side.
"The first thing I did was interview everybody that I could think of and said, 'What are your memories of this?'" Blackie revealed. "So I got those. But then where I got the majority of it from was really going back in my own head. And the deeper I got into it, the more things I had totally forgotten about. Because, like I said, there's so many things that will happen in a given day that the only thing you remember is the most intense thing. But maybe the two or three other things that were just under it were just as intense, but you don't remember it. You remember being on the flight the time the guys got angry with a stewardess and stuffed her in the overhead bin, but you don't remember the two or three things that happened under that. That's a true story, by the way."
Asked what he has learned about himself from digging into his life while writing his book, Blackie said: "In the preface of the book, I write that this has been a process of discovery — both good and bad. I would say, after it's all said and done, that it's been far, far more good than bad, because what it's done for me, it's been like writing a script to a movie. And again, like I said, there's a lot of stuff you forget about. But also at the same time, what it does is it helps you connect the dots of your own life, of maybe things that you didn't really think about were connected, and you go back and you look at it and you go, 'This is as plain as the nose on my face. Why couldn't I have seen this before?' And there's been a number of incidences like that — just things that are personal that might not be something that you could share with anybody else, because it wouldn't make sense to them. But then again there may be things that are. So I'm hoping that when people read this, they'll see a lot of themselves in it."
As for whether fans can expect to see Blackie's book and a new W.A.S.P. album released simultaneously, Lawless said: "That was the plan to begin with, but the book is taking way much longer than I thought. We were talking about doing records and trying to get 'em right. Well, it's the same with this — I'm gonna do it once, and I want it to be right."