W.A.S.P. NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 1997
The first leg of W.A.S.P's North American tour ended somewhat abruptly as headliners W.A.S.P. and special guests Motorhead could no longer see eye to eye. There had been tension since the very first gig in Connecticut and as those troubles continued to brew, the pressure became a little to much for Lemmy Kilmister and his lads to handle. After a show on June 28th in Michigan, Motorhead's cancellation of the remaining eight tour dates lead W.A.S.P. to decide that it would be best to cancel all remaining dates except for three shows shceduled for California.
So why did the W.A.S.P./Motorhead tour fall apart?
The waspnation has learned that Motorhead were perturbed over that fact they had to go on every night before W.A.S.P., something that given the logistics of W.A.S.P.'s live spectacle and Motorhead's stripped down show, was unavoidable. This upset Motorhead who egotistically believed they were the main draw but the clashes continued over any and every petty item imaginable. Every thing from nightly riders to the size of dressing rooms were an issue for Motorhead. Motorhead accused W.A.S.P. of purposely "sabotaging" their sound checks. W.A.S.P. and crew are the first to admit that sometimes they ran over but anyone who's ever been on a tour understands that shit happens. Usually on a nightly basis. Motorhead's road crew certainly understood but Lemmy was sure that it was a conspiracy. Then there was the issue of lighting. W.A.S.P.'s lighting designer, "Big Kenny", volunteered to assist Motorhead since they had no light tech. Drummer Mickey Dee requested 'four yellow lights' on him the whole set but then when he saw how well lit W.A.S.P.'s drummer Stet Howland was, Dee made a remark that 'he'd better get as many lights as Howland or else there was going to be trouble.' After the third show, Lemmy belligerently confronted W.A.S.P.'s lighting designer but Big Kenny handled the situation like a professional. Blackie Lawless later confronted Lemmy telling him he owed Big Kenny an apology and if he ever was disrespectful to any member of his crew that they had his blessings to do what they had to do. Incidentally, when the tour ended several members of Motorhead's road crew jumped ship to come work for W.A.S.P.
After their final show together, Motorhead sent out a one-sided press release stating: 'While most eyes (and ears) were on the Tyson/Holyfield fight, it was in a Detroit suburb that the revered Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead was forced into a fist fight with the fading Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P.' What the press release omitted to state was the circumstances and eye witness details of the incident between Lawless and Lemmy. Lemmy, frustrated with whatever was bothering him on that day, approached Blackie in an aggressive manner. His body english was purely confrontational. Blackie who'd had his fill of Motorhead's whining, stood up ready to take care of business. When Lemmy muttered the words "fuck off', Blackie threw down the towel he was holding and took two steps forward. There was no need for a third step because Lemmy RAN AWAY. He wasn't pulled away, wasn't held back, and there was no fight per se. Motorhead didn't cancel the remainder of their tour with W.A.S.P., they ran away from it.
The official W.A.S.P. PRESS RELEASE
NOTHING BUT THE FACTS
17 JULY 1997
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Motorhead have recently issued a press release outlining the reasons why they pulled out of W.A.S.P.s current KILL FUCK DIE tour of America which they were Special Guests on. The Press Release they issued is an amateurish attempt to cover up the facts behind their departure and is a complete fabrication of the events that took place.
The accurate series of events is as follows:
*In April this year W.A.S.P. were asked by The Agency (both bands mutual U.S. agents) to consider taking Motorhead as their Special Guests on their forthcoming tour. In an effort to give their fans value for their money W.A.S.P. agreed.
*Motorhead accepted the Special Guest slot and requested that W.A.S.P. give them co-headlining billing. W.A.S.P. granted the request out of respect to Motorhead and their achievements in Heavy Metal history. At the same time it was made clear that the tour was controlled by W.A.S.P. and all decisions relating to it would be W.A.S.P.s alone. This was agreed by both bands management and it was understood that this was a condition of the tour taking place.
*Throughout the weeks leading up to the tour Motorheadss management made it very clear that they were having financial difficulties in general and these were compounded by problems they were having making their budgets work. Subsequent to this and following a commitment by W.A.S.P. to pay some of their costs (for a monitor system W.A.S.P. did not need) Motorhead decided to proceed.
*The first few days of the tour were a logistical nightmare as is the case for most tours. This was compounded by a general bad attitude on the part of key members of Motorhead who were obviously not happy to be on the road again particularly in light of the commercial failure of their recent album.
*The night before the New York show Motorhead were thrown off the tour as a result of their unprofessionalism, being abusive to crew members and general inebriated state which made it very difficult to deal with them and put on a good show for the fans.
*The day of the New York show a conference call took place between the bands respective managements and agent where Motorhead asked to be allowed back onto the tour. Once again in an effort to give the fans the show they were promised W.A.S.P. relented after an undertaking from Motorheads management that they would be professional and straighten themselves up. Further to this it was also a condition that Lemmy would personally apologize to those crew members shared by both bands that he had been abusive to or lose their services. Lemmy of course being the big man that he is couldnt bring himself to apologize. Those crew members continued to work for W.A.S.P. and Lemmy was forced to put himself deeper into debut by hiring additional crew members for Motorhead purely because he couldnt act professionally.
*The week following the New York date and conference call went off smoothly with only minor glitches and a mutual respect rebuilding between both parties.
*Just as it seemed that things were going to work out and that Metal fans were going to continue seeing the best package of the summer Motorhead called in with the news that they had to pull off the tour after the Chicago date. If they pulled out at the time they stated that they would lose $40,000; if they continued to the end of the tour their loss would have been even greater. This example of poor planning on Motorheads part not only robs the fans of the show they were promised but is completely indicative of their complete lack of professionalism.
*Following Motorheads decision to pull out W.A.S.P. elected to cancel the next five shows as the fans in those cities were not going to see the package they bought tickets for and there wasnt sufficient time to advertise the correct package. The last three shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Ana took place with the public fully aware that they were going to a show that did not include Motorhead. Motorheads insinuations to the contrary are libelous and a fabrication.
*Motorhead are complete amateurs who after twenty years still cant plan a tour properly and professionally and are fabricating stories to excuse themselves for not giving Metal fans the show they were promised.
*Blackie Lawless said Its the fans that are losing out and them we feel sorry for. Well never allow Motorhead on one of our shows again.
*If Blackie Lawless is Mike Tyson as Motorhead state in their press release then Lemmy must be Frank Bruno as when it came time for fisticuffs Lemmy crossed himself ten times said his Hail Marys and ran the 100 yard dash faster than Donovan Daily. Blackie Lawless said Beating up on Lemmy would be like beating your grandfather. In hindsight Im just glad he had the foresight to run. I come from the school that says dont kick a dog when hes down and let me tell you hes down and beaten.
*W.A.S.P. are planning a live album for release in 1998 which was recorded on their final dates of the U.S. tour and from their Japanese tour in September.