The Children's 1st Interview with Blackie
17th September 1999

Interviewed by Julia & Sandra (The Children Of Lawless)

C.O.L:
How are you recovering after the surgery on your elbow Blackie?

B.L:
I was doing pretty good until I started the rehab. I at to wait ten days before we started doing anything. What happens is that you go to a therapy center and you start working with a therapist. Sometimes when you get anxious to do something, if two aspirins work good, maybe ten will work great. I think that I have aggravated it, because it is constantly sore all the time. When I went back there yesterday they did some tests on it, they have this meter that you grip and squeeze and the strength in my hand is not very good. They reckon that I have just been overdoing it. I don't know what this means, I think I am going to have to stop therapy and just let it heal for a while. I have done more damage by trying to get aggressive with the therapy than just letting it go. My arm is so stiff there are times when I can't pick up my arm. I have to reach over with my other hand and grab myself by the wrist to move my arm because to make a contraction to bend it is no fun.

 

C.O.L:
What is your favorite song on Helldorado?

B.L:
Damnation Angels. It started as a germination of a song that we had on "The Last Command" album called Widow Maker. I started playing with the opening riff of Widow Maker and it just kind of built into what it is now. I think musically it is the most complex song on the album, but it does not feel like it when you listen to it. In other words when it comes to music I don't want the listener to think about how complicated it is, I just want them to know whether they like it or not. If they have to stop and think about the technicality it strips away the simplicity, so again you don't want to do that. It flows really well so it satisfies me on both levels, from a creative level of song writing you look on it and say it is fairly complicated, but it flows and the listener can enjoy it because they don't have to think about how complicated it is.

 

C.O.L:
How did you come up with the name for 'Helldorado'?

B.L:
That was Stet! I came up with the concept of the car, and Stet was joking around and said that he had seen something about a Cadillac. The whole concept of the car came from the song "Hot Rods to Hell", that was originally going to be the title. I mentioned something about that in rehearsals and a few days later Stet was talking about the whole Cadillac thing 'The Helldorado', so we decided on that because it was really good. We have since discovered that there is something that they do in Las Vegas every year that goes back over a hundred years, back to the old cowboy days. This is called the 'Helldorado Days' we did not know that until recently, obviously somebody had thought it up before us.

 

C.O.L:
How do you feel the European Shows went and what reaction do you feel you got from the new Helldorado songs?

B.L:
It was hard to say because the reaction was outstanding everywhere. The reason that I say that it is hard to judge because the tour was so different from the two before that. The two before that I did over there (U.K) were the K.F.D record and then has far back as The Crimson Idol in 1992. Both of them where darker kinds of records. The Crimson Idol was well received probably for pretty obvious reasons, if people like it obviously they are going to respond to it. K.F.D was different in the sense that K.F.D in my opinion was the best show that we ever did. From a theatrical point of view it was not designed to give you anywhere near the same response as what Hellodrado was. Helldorado is like a big bombastic party and it is designed to have fun. K.F.D was designed to put your wheels in motion and make you think and to really assault you emotionally and visually. I equate K.F.D in a lot of ways to people going to see some sort of car race. This was because we were looking to take theater to a level that nobody had ever done it before. When I say I equate it to a car race, I think a lot of people are going to go to a car race and secretly they want to see the crash. When they see the crash, they have to turn their heads because the really can't look at it. They think that is what they want but when they get it they can't look at it. There was a lot of this kind of realism in the K.F.D shows so that taught us a lesson. Just because people say that they want something, it does not necessarily mean that they do want it because sometimes they don't know. It is kind of a hard thing to judge when you are the one who is constructing a show, but I will still stay irregardless from a creative point of view without question that K.F.D was the best show that we ever did. There were two different reactions because the shows were literally as different as night and day as far as feeling goes.

 

C.O.L:
What give you the idea to do some of the stage antics on the K.F.D. tour such as the Nun etc?

B.L:
It was reflective of the music. You look at the music and you say what do I have here. Rarely we have ever come up with anything for the stage first, sometimes, but that is the exception not the rule. When you look at the material or the songs when you have finished, you say O.K what does this look like? When I am making the record I can't think about the show at all because I am so busy concentrating on if there is any possible way to make a song better. Then when it is finished and I can back away from it for a couple of weeks, I listen to it and close my eyes and let my imagination run. Even though I have not been consciously concentrating on ideas for the show I am sure subconsciously I have. It is almost like I am trying to get in tune with what I have really been thinking and I guess that is how it works.

 

C.O.L:
Are you going to do anything different for the U.S. Tour?

B.L:
Probably a couple of things, but it would basically be the same. We are contemplating doing a thing called a "Net-Cast". This is a live performance that will actually go out on the Internet. I have been approached by the company who does it and we will see.

 

C.O.L:
We heard that there was going to be a Halloween show is this true?

B.L:
There has tentatively been shows booked even starting a few days before that. The problem now is me, and if I can't go we will have to move everything back. We are going to tour but it is just a question of when I am going to be ready. I got to tell you that I have never had an operation like this before and I don't know what to expect. Listening to my body at this point, and I have broken lots of things and have had lots of injuries before, I know how I heal and historically I heal very quickly. I am one of the kind of people that when a projection is given I am ahead of schedule. For me to be going through this right now is not a good time. That tells me that I have done some damage. The worse case scenario is that they are going to have to take me back in to fix it, which I don't even want to know. The best is to just let it rest and try not to get as aggressive as I did. Like I said I know my body pretty well and this is not a good time. If I am behind in where I should be right now, in which I am that tells me that I have overdone it.

 

C.O.L:
How are the other members of the Band?

B.L:
Everyone is fine.

 

C.O.L:
We heard that there is going to be a biography called "No Exit", can you tell us a little bit more about this, and when it is going to be released?

B.L:
I have been doing interviews off and on with Del James, who works for us and has worked with Guns and Roses also. We have been doing interviews for quite some time now. You know piecing it and putting it together I just want it to be as thorough as I can. As for any kind of release date, I have no idea, probably a year or two or something like that. You get into doing stuff and there are a million different little scenarios that have happened to us. I find that what happened to us before we got a record deal is more interesting than what happened after. In a lot of ways I have lived a charmed life, I really have. I went through a lot of hardship before things happened for us, things that have built character in me. My life has been so well documented after we got a record deal, I think that a lot of that is already well known and a lot of that ends ups being cliché after you become successful. As they say in the movie industry it is fleshing out a character. When you do that it means you give it life, you give it real personality. In other words it is just not what is written on the page, you have got to form an idea in your own mind so you can convey that to the viewer, in this case the reader. This is done so that they can understand who that person is and where they came from. That is really important in this scenario. I can't really go into detail about some of those things because it is really detailed. You got to understand that where I came from as a kid and my religious background Chris's too, we were both brought up very religiously. I was in the church until the age of seventeen of my own free will, and Chris was brought up a very strict Mormon. It is very important that people know where we came from so they now how we ended up the way that we did.

 

C.O.L:
We heard that there were going to be childhood photo's as well, have you got many?

B.L:
That depends on your definition of many. I have to say at this point probably ten of each some are actually pretty good. I have got to say that Chris and I were both good looking kids, what happened to us later I don't know. (Laugh)

 

C.O.L:
Are there any plans to do any more conventions and if so we would really like to see one happen in Europe too?

B.L:
We would love to, but the problem is that you have to find a promoter who is willing to do them. If you have somebody who can do it and knows how to co-ordinate one it can really be a good thing, but if not it is really an impossible scenario. It is not like booking a regular show, you can find promoters who can do regular shows, but to find promoters who can do conventions is a whole different animal and few people know how to do those. But if the opportunity presented itself we would love to.

 

C.O.L:
How do you feel that the last one went in New Jersey?

B.L:
It was great. It is so different than a regular show it is almost like playing a private party because there is no barrier between you and the audience like there is normally. Imagine after the London show when we were talking with all you guys and the rest of the people from the WASP Nation. Imagine that atmosphere all day long as opposed to you coming to see a show and talking for half an hour after the show. It is completely opposite to a regular show as the show is some sort of secondary thing to what else is going on.

 

C.O.L:
We heard that you was going to do a voice of a character in the Crow III movie. We also heard that WASP was doing the sound track. Is this still happening?

B.L:
We were, but that movie has been put on hold and if the truth be known, I think that the whole thing may have been cancelled. Let's just say that there were too many chefs' in the kitchen to determine a direction that they wanted to go. The people at Mirror-Max, which is basically Disney, were becoming increasingly frustrated. It was also because it was going to be a type of animated thing, those are different than the traditional films like doing roles with lots of actors because it is more expensive to do. I don't know who made the decisions there, but I know from my contacts there was a lot of frustration. I know Rob Zombie was supposed to have been involved but he walked out on it because of his frustration with it. I was not in the meetings but I have got a pretty good idea of what was going on over there.

 

C.O.L:
What do you think of the Original Crow movie with Brandon Lee, as it is one of our favorite films?

B.L:
The first one was really good, but the second one even though it did really well, I just thought that it had the potential to be so much more than what it was. Again we are back to the same scenario of people arguing about what the actual story is going to be. I think the second suffered from what the third one was going to also become. The person that I knew over there who was running the whole thing had a legitimate argument, it was like "leave me alone and let me do this" and I don't think that they were giving him that freedom.

 

C.O.L:
Are there still plans to make "The Story of Jonathan" into a movie?

B.L:
Yes, that is nothing I have forgotten about. It has been at the back of my mind for a long time and the question is finding the right company to do it. I have had some offers to do it on a smaller level. I am not saying that I would spend a hundred million dollars to do this thing, that is not realistic either, but for somebody to say O.K we are going to do it but do it on a shoe string, I would rather do nothing than to do it wrong. When the right opportunity presents itself, yes, definitely.

 

C.O.L:
Are there any more plans to create another rock opera like the Crimson Idol?

B.L:
Yes, definitely. I have got an idea where some of the stuff has already been written, but the question is when is the timing going to be right? The idea of Helldorado was fun and we make records depending on the mood that we are in at the time. The mood where we are at right now is like the mood we were in a year ago and I imagine that the next record would probably be in a similar vein. The next story thing is so good. There are parts of it that are hard to describe because it has a spiritual feel to it, and when I say spiritual I don't mean like going to Sunday school, it is emotional like somebody growing in their lives and they start to become more of a whole person. I got to tell you that there is some stuff on here that will make you cry. It is so good and I am dying to do it, but that becomes self indulgent from my point of view and this is not where the band is right now. Everything is still pretty much were we have just came from, I am trying to put my feelers out and say what is best for us now.

 

C.O.L:
Have you got any sort of song titles yet or are you not going to say?

B.L:
(Laughs) I have got a bunch of ideas, but I have not quite finished the story yet, so until I do I really don't want to say anything because it will probably change ten times before I settle on something.

 

C.O.L:
Would you ever like to get into acting?

B.L:
Well you know I think about it sometimes, but to be honest with you everything I am doing for us it just takes up all my time. The problem with me is I have got a lot of things I would like to do. I am really passionate about a lot of things, but there is just not enough of me to go around to do all the things I want to do. Like I said with everything that I do for W.A.S.P, even when the public don't see what is going on - believe me I am one of those guys who just can't sit still. I can sit down for about thirty minutes then I have got to get up and start moving again.

 

C.O.L:
How do you feel about the fan dedication? It seems WASP Fans are the most loyal fans in the world

B.L:
It baffles the hell out of me! (Laugh) I have been aware of what you have been saying for a long time and I was hoping that you would tell me. There are a couple of things that I have thought about over the years and I would like to think it was done through the lyrics. Obviously I am talking about things, good or bad, that are moving people and pushing their buttons. Most bands can't seem to move people the same way. I think my one single biggest talent is my ability to tell a story. By doing that I try to get it into a good lyrical form where I can paint enough of a picture to allow your imagination to take the rest of it and run with it. I am not trying to paint you into a corner and say here is my absolute vision, I am trying to respect the listeners intelligence by saying close your eyes and let me set the table for you. Once I have done that you take it on and run with it, then you tell me what you are interpreting because of that and I maybe wrong, I would think that is the single biggest reason for the connection between myself and the listeners out there. I can't really think of anything that would do it to the degree that it is now. It has so be something to do with the lyrics.

 

C.O.L:
A lot of the feedback that we have from our site is that people say the lyrics are conversational and they can relate to them.

B.L:
I guess if you ask ten different people they would tell you ten different things. When I am writing lyrics most of the time, I mean Helldorado is different in the way that I described, it is like you are drunk but you can't stand up, it is fun. Most of the time when I am writing from that conversational point of view, where it is like 'Hi, this is what I am doing, this is where my life is, where is yours at right now?'

 

C.O.L:
It is really good to have an official fan club like the WASP Nation where all the fans can get information and merchandise from. We have always felt the need for a fan club like this. How do you feel about it Blackie?

B.L:
(Pause) My personal feelings about it are one thing but what it is starting to become is another. I have not said anything about it before but I guess now is a good enough time to start talking about it. We have got a major problem with this fan club and the bottom line is purely money. I don't want to let it go but unless there is a way in which it can be restructured I am not optimistic about continuing it. The quality of what has been going into this, especially the one that has just gone out recently is really good and I don't want to diminish the quality or the frequency of it. Once you have set an idea in peoples minds of what something is supposed to be, if you give them less then it is not good. My feelings about it are that we have built something cool and it feels like a Ferrari, I have got it but it is sitting in my garage because I can't afford to drive it - that is what it is starting to feel like. I don't want to give it up because I have got a real cool thing going on here. I don't know what to do about it and I don't want to give it up, but the reality is coming up and biting me now. One of the cool things that I get out of it is the dialogue that I have with people and there is a community that is being created, I get a lot of positive feed back which gives me information that I might not otherwise get. I don't know what else to say right now and no decision has been made yet.

 

C.O.L:
We feel that there is a need to have a place like the Nation where the fans can write………

B.L:

There has got to be a way of doing it and I don't know what it is yet. I need to talk to some people that have more experience of doing this kind of stuff. If I talk to 10 different people I can start to get an idea. Something is going to have to change, I don't know what but we will figure that out as time goes by. I am not willing to give up on it. I am very sensitive about the idea of anybody thinking that "you said this is what it is going to be and now it is not going to be that, this is a rip-off". I am really sensitive to that idea, I am so afraid that it might have been perceived as that. When somebody says "why didn't you not find this out before you started" well a lot of this is impossible to know before you start. Who do you go to get this information from? It is not like there is a Wall Street Journal where it tells you in black and white clearly what you can and can not do.

 

C.O.L:
If there is one favorite song or album you have done in your career what would it be?

B.L:
The Idol. Charlie Chaplin was asked later on in his career if he had any regrets? He said he had one, he could never get it right. In other words all his work, everything that he ever did, he could never get it right. The Idol as a complete piece of work is the closest I have ever come to get it right.

 

C.O.L:
Who are your musical influences now?

B.L:
They range from A to Z. I have got a lot of them. I look at my work and I still feel tremendous 'Beatle' influence. Like I said I could go up and down the line from A to Z. I am the kind of person who will listen to the heaviest thing out there, but then I will listen to Willie Nelson or something like that. Musicians have an expression, there are only two types of music - good and bad. I do subscribe to that theory because if it's good I love it.

 

C.O.L:
What was it like to be part of the L.A rock scene in the 80's?

B.L:
Looking back at it, I would look upon it as being a privilege because it was a real part of history. You know the funny part of it was that when it was happening we all knew it was happening. It wasn't like 10 years had to go by to appreciate what was going on, I know I sound really arrogant but we all knew, when I say all I mean all the other bands not just the guys in W.A.S.P. We knew we were making history at that moment. It was too big just to go away and when we all got record deals that confirmed what we had already be thinking about. There was a phenomenon going on and it was almost like we were all pieces of the machinery. I am not trying to say we created it all, but there was an whole thing going on. I remember looking at photos of the Beatles when they would do the Cavern club in Liverpool. They would do these daytime lunch shows and have these long lines in front of the Cavern Club. I always thought to myself that is what it must be like before success really happens for you. It is really true, because what happens before you are exposed to the world, if you really have what it takes to succeed you are going to start showing that early on, no matter what it is in life that you do. Again it was not just us, but the other bands that were all part of it too and there was really something happening around here. It was just the vibe and you could feel it every night you went out, it was very similar to what I was just saying about with the Beatles. You could go and see anyone of these bands around here and you would have seen long queues around the block. And the first few times I saw this, I realized I was in the middle something. So many times in life we have things happen to us and we don't appreciate it for what it was at that moment, when that moment as passed we wish we could have had it back again. That is one of the things I can honestly say without any regrets at all. I knew then what was happening, I felt it and savored every moment of it. It was wonderful, its so frustrating trying to put it into words, but at least I have the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing that I appreciated it for what it was when it was happening.

 

C.O.L:
What has been the highlight of your career and would you change anything if you could?

B.L:
That is pretty impossible to answer because there are two things that come to my mind whenever anybody asks that question. Firstly, there have been a lot of them, secondly, to be completely self-indulgent and to say that I hope that it has not happened yet. That is a really tough one. You would have to breakdown the isolated incidents because they are all different. There is not one thing in which I could put my finger on. I have lived a charmed life where a lot of the time I don't think of myself as I did 20 years ago. I am the guy pushing the button, it is almost like I have been put here to do whatever I am doing. I am just physically carrying out the plan because if you think back to what I said a little while ago about you are almost a wheel in a piece of machinery, it is definitely what I feel like a lot of the time. I am just fulfilling whatever my destiny is and where I thought that I was creating the destiny, now I am not quite so sure. I am not saying that I don't have control over it, the whole time that I have been on this planet has been pretty bizarre in a good way. It took me a long time to recognize that it was not happening to everyone like it was happening to me. I have been really lucky beyond compare but the richness and the experiences that I have had in my life, if anyone has had more than what I have had, especially with bizarre things happening to them I would like to know about it as it would make good reading.

 

C.O.L:
How much of the image is the real you?

B.L:
That is like an actor when he is playing a part. The guy that says that it is not me it is just a character, well that is bullshit. When I am performing it is hundred percent real. When I am not you know, lets put it this way, I don't ever at any point think that I am doing anything that is not me. It is just different parts of my personality, I mean everyone has got different phases or parts of their personality and they use them as the see fit. When people have a job they go to their job and act one way and they act like they can do their job. They are acting in one form or another, they go home they are probably pretty different, and it is really no different to what I am doing.

 

C.O.L:
What does a day in the life of Blackie Lawless consist of?

B.L:
It depends on the day. I would say in general I am the kind of person who would like to think that I am living each day as it comes. I would like to think that I am living each day like I am not living any more and I am not doing it out of fear I am doing it out of enthusiasm. I am not so much afraid of dying as I am of not living. I am much more afraid of not living, I don't what to miss nothing. A lot of people are not like that and when I ask them what do they want to do with their life? They say I don't know, I don't understand that at all. I just can not relate to that and like I said I need half a dozen of me to go around to do all the things that I want to do. That is so frustrating there are so many things that you want to do that you don't have time for. I would rather have that problem than to sit around and say that I am not passionate about anything, I would hate that you know. What I am talking about is a passion for life, whether it is love, money, food or whatever other experiences that we have, I am greedy when it come to those things. It is like my name is Jimmy, I take all you gimme.

 

C.O.L:
With the Millennium upon us now, what are the plans for W.A.S.P entering the year 2000?

B.L:
The question at this point is when is the tour going to start? So I think that everything is going to pretty much hinge on this. I do know there is going to be this 'Net-Cast' we have been talking about. That will be done whenever the tour starts or sometime in the tour. Sometime after that there is going to be a record released. It is going to have 3 new tracks on it, and I am very reluctant to use the words 'Best Of' because it will have some of those types of tracks like 'Wild Child' and 'Blind in Texas. In other words it is not going to be a definitive best of box set, it is going to be some incarnation, some animal of all its own. All the stuff will be fastest and heaviest of the stuff we have done, with a heap wrapped around it. It will have enhanced sound, and will be DVD compatible where there is going to be videos intermingled with it. When that is going to be released, I don't know, the original starting point was February, but it looks like its going to be a little later than that now because we want to co-ordinate it with the 'Net-Cast'. We are going to do a thing, more than likely, where we are going to fly in journalists from all over the world, for us to go back and do a show at 'The Troubadour'. That will be where that 'Net-Cast' thing will probably take place, but none of this is in stone yet. Then when that is done, we go back into the studio to finish the next studio album which should be out in September.

 

C.O.L:
Thank you for answering our questions Blackie you can't imagine how grateful we are for you to take the time to talk to us.

B.L:
I am grateful for the job that you guys have done you are doing a super job.

 

The Children of Lawless would like to thank Blackie for taking the time to talk to us and we would like to wish him and the other guys the best for the U.S Tour.

 

EXIT