W.A.S.P. album inspired by Townshend

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 30 17:11:37 CDT 2004

>From the Delware Beachcomber at:
(page down)

DEWEY BEACH -- Anti-rock crusaders, it looks like you
can breathe easy.

Infamous shock-rock act W.A.S.P., which is known for
gruesome and sometimes obscene stage antics, is going
to be sticking to the music when it plays Dewey Beach
on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Tickets to the concert, which is open to ages 21 and
over only, are $10 in advance, $13 at the door. 
Calling from a New Orleans tour stop Monday, band
leader Blackie Lawless said the serious nature of the
heavy metal band's new concept album, "The Neon God,"
inspired him to take a stripped-down stage show on the
road. "You don't want people listening with their
eyes," he said.

The album is a rock opera in the tradition of the
Who's classic "Tommy." Lawless said he met the Who's
Pete Townsend after W.A.S.P. covered his song "The
Real Me." "We talked about songwriting," Lawless said.
"He was a huge influence."

But while the Los Angeles-based W.A.S.P. is currently
letting the music do the talking, its past has
received the spotlight in a major way. A VH1
documentary, "VH1's 100 Most Metal Moments," includes
three separate segments about W.A.S.P.'s notorious
stage antics.

Lawless said he should've been included in a fourth
segment, which credited metal stars Gene Simmons (of
KISS) and Ronnie James Dio with originating the famous
three-fingered horn salute that concert audiences
flash in lieu of the peace sign. "(Simmons) saw me do
it first," said Lawless, who was friends with KISS in
New York City in the early 1970s and toured as their
opening act in the 1980s.

Watching KISS' rise from rags to riches was an
education in the ways of the music industry, Lawless
"You watch how to do it. You pay attention to the good
stuff and you pay attention to the mistakes that are
made," he said. "It was educational, but it was also
weird to see how my friends were perceived before they
were famous and then after they were famous. I guess
people I know probably went through the same thing
with me."

Lawless briefly performed with New York garage-punk
innovators the New York Dolls in the '70s. 
He then relocated to Los Angeles, where he played in a
band with a young Nikki Sixx, who would later form
Motley Crue. Lawless taught Sixx how to light his
pants on fire as a stage effect. "It's extremely
dangerous," Lawless said. "When you're a young rock
band, you're looking to get attention any way you

Critics said attention is all W.A.S.P. was after with
its original stage show. It featured Lawless strapping
a woman to a wooden crucifix each night, drinking fake
blood from a skull and hurling raw meat at the

Lawless insists it was a form of "psycho drama" -- a
theater form in which audiences' senses are assaulted
in order to get them involved with the show. "I always
liked the whole idea of avante garde theater," he

Al Gore's wife, Tipper Gore, made W.A.S.P. a
house-hold name in 1984 when she successfully led a
fight to place warning stickers on albums with
explicit language.

Two decades later, W.A.S.P. is still making noise on
the concert trail.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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