W.A.S.P. will kick off their 40th anniversary tour later this fall, and if you know anything about their stage performance, you’ll know that the show is just as important as the music. In a new interview, frontman Blackie Lawless expressed that he’s not concerned about “woke culture” and how they might perceive W.A.S.P. during the upcoming tour.
One component of W.A.S.P.’s career that may have raised some eyebrows over the years was their 1984 hit “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast),” which was dubbed a part of the “Filthy 15” by the PMRC. Back in 2009, Lawless, who’s a born-again Christian, declared that he’d never play the song live again because it went against his faith. But earlier this year, he revealed he’d had a change of heart and was leaning more toward performing it during their 40th anniversary tour for their fans.
The rockers also used to use a lot of graphic imagery and props during their performances back in the ’80s, including blood, torture devices and more. Whether or not their upcoming shows will mirror their ’80s performances, we don’t know for sure — but Lawless isn’t focused on whether or not their shows will stir up any controversy regardless.
“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,” the frontman told Metal Edge.
Lawless elaborated that to have a “genuine career” that spans over several decades, the artist needs to assure that they’re connecting with their audience and fans in an intimate way, since they’re likely to be loyal for a long time. And to do that, the artist needs to be honest and let the fans really get to know them.
“You’ve got to be willing to crack your skull open, and let them come inside and walk around barefoot, inside your head. 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,” he explained. “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.”
The vocalist noted that his thoughts and opinions have changed over time, which has been reflected in the music. But he’s aware that there will be some who go back and dissect parts of the band’s past, so he isn’t fixated on appeasing anyone.
“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.’ 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,'” he continued.
“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?”
W.A.S.P.’s 40th anniversary tour with Armored Saint starts Oct. 29 in Anaheim, Calif. and runs through Dec. 9. See all of the scheduled dates and get tickets here.
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