Music / WASP

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The current line up (from left to right): Mike Duda, Blackie Lawless and Doug Blair

"We ain't sure, pal."
Blackie Lawless, when questioned about the meaning of band's name.

W.A.S.P. is a Heavy Metal band from USA. Initially formed from the ashes of Sister, Circus Circus and London, W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock antics (throwing raw meat to the audience, naked models tied to torture racks etc.) and the feud with PMRC in the 80's over their "objectionable" lyrics. Despite its attempts to ban the band, the outrage only resulted in higher album sales. The band took a more serious turn lyrically and sonically in the 90's with The Crimson Idol and, with the exception of Helldorado, has continued to this day. The frontman, Blackie Lawless, is the only member of the band from the original albums, very much a case of I Am the Band.


Discography:

  • 1984 - W.A.S.P.
  • 1985 - The Last Command
  • 1986 - Inside the Electric Circus
  • 1989 - The Headless Children
  • 1992 - The Crimson Idol
  • 1995 - Still Not Black Enough
  • 1997 - Kill, Fuck, Die
  • 1999 - Helldorado
  • 2001 - Unholy Terror
  • 2002 - Dying for the World
  • 2004 - The Neon God Part One: The Rise
  • 2004 - The Neon God Part Two: The Demise
  • 2007 - Dominator
  • 2009 - Babylon
  • 2015 - Golgotha


"I Trope Like A Beast!":

  • As Himself: Them making an appearance in The Dungeonmaster.
  • The Alcoholic: Former lead guitarist Chris Holmes was definitely this in the 80's, as his infamous interview in "The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II" proves. He's been sober for years now, though.
  • Badass Baritone: Blackie's normal voice is this and sounds completely different from his singing voice.
  • Badass Biker: Evoked in "Hellion", "Mean Man", and "Savage".
  • Badass Boast: "Widowmaker", "Mean Man".
  • The Big Guy: While the 6'3 Blackie Lawless has been this for last ten years, Chris Holmes was this during his time in the band, standing at a huge 6'6.
  • Breakup Breakout: After leaving the band, former guitarists Randy Piper and Chris Holmes, created their own bands, Randy Piper's Animal (which later broke up and reformed as Where Angels Suffer) and Mean Man, respectively. While neither band has achieved the success of W.A.S.P., they've both developed followings.
  • Careful with That Axe: "You fucking suck...You fucking suck...You fucking suck...LIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!"
  • Chainsaw Good: Blackie Lawless wore a codpiece with a circular saw on it in band's earlier stage shows.
    • "Chainsaw Charlie" begins with not one but three chainsaws revving up before the music kicks in.
  • Concept Album: The Crimson Idol tells the story from birth to death of rock messiah Jonathan Aaron Steel with eerie parallels to the life of Kurt Cobain.
  • Cover Version: Band has covered "Paint It Black", "Easy Living", "Locomotive Breath", "The Real Me", "When the Levee Breaks", "Whole Lotta Rosie", "Tie Your Mother Down", "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", "Burn" and "Promised Land" by Chuck Berry, "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Ray Charles, "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: On the cover of ''The Crimson Idol.
  • Darker and Edgier: Kill, Fuck, Die, which featured industrial influences and rougher production.
    • Hell, they were this to the glam scene in general, both in terms of sound and onstage theatrics.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jonathan Aaron Steel, the protagonist of The Crimson Idol, hangs himself onstage with his own guitar strings during the final song on the album.
    With these six-strings, I make a noose,
    To take my life, it's time to choose,
    The headlines read of my suicide, of my suicide.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Blackie Lawless is one of the VERY few 80s rockers who didn't do drugs (though he did drink alcohol). The Headless Children album's anti-drug message was somewhat lost on most hard-partying fans in the late 80s.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Eagle-eyed viewers can catch a glimpse of Blackie Lawless and Randy Piper as bikers in the very odd 1980 movie, Can't Stop the Music (the story of the Village People, starring the Village People themselves).
  • Epic Rocking: "The Heretic (The Lost Child)", "Thunderhead", "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)", "The Idol", "The Great Misconceptions of Me", "The Horror", "Wasted White Boys", "Sister Sadie (And the Black Habits)", "The Last Redemption", "Heaven's Hung in Black", "Shotgun", "Miss You", "Slaves of the New World Order" and "Golgotha".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Band's name is a memorable example. However, two out of six of the songtitles are actual acronyms; those being "D.B. Blues" (Douchebag Blues) and "Rebel in the F.D.G." (Rebel in the Fucking Decadent Generation). Other two are Spelling Songs ("L.O.V.E. Machine" and "B.A.D."), one is a phone number ("9.5. - N.A.S.T.Y.") and one is a case of Xtreme Kool Letterz ("X.T.C Riders").
  • Greatest Hits Album: There are three: First Blood, Last Cuts and 1 CD and 2 CD versions of The Best of the Best.
  • Harsh Vocals: Though not quite as much in recent years, Blackie's basically a master of this trope.
  • Heavy Meta: "Rock Rolls On", "War Cry", "Rock and Roll to Death"
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: On the cover of Babylon.
  • I Am the Band: W.A.S.P. has essentially been Blackie Lawless with a backing band for the last twenty years.
  • Instrumentals: "Mephisto Waltz" and "Euphoria".
  • Intercourse with You: They were shock rockers, what did you expect? Examples include "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)", "9.5. - N.A.S.T.Y.", "Don't Cry (Just Suck)", and "Harder Faster".
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Blackie Lawless has never been a heart throb exactly, but he was at least quite handsome in his younger days. Fast forward to 2015...
    • In his defense, Blackie looked great for his age up till about 2012 or so, when he had serious health issues (such as a broken femur) that obviously took years off his life.
    • Chris Holmeshas...gone through some changes, too.
  • Large and in Charge: Band leader Lawless is 6 foot 3 inches tall and typically towers over his bandmates.
    • Chris Holmes is even taller than Blackie. His guitar looks like a tennis racket in his hands.
  • Lead Bassist: Blackie was a Type C from 1982 (when Don Costa left) until 1986 (when Randy Piper left and Blackie took over rhythm guitar duties).
  • Loudness War: Helldorado album.
  • Metal Scream: Blackie does this a lot. "Kill,Fuck,Die" is almost entirely sung like this.
  • Money Song: "Fistful of Diamonds" from The Last Command.
  • Mood Dissonance: Due to W.A.S.P.'s themes getting darker album by album in the 90's, return-to-form album Helldorado with it's Intercourse with You songs and badboy attitude weren't taken well by fans.
  • Murder Ballad: "Jack Action".
  • New Sound Album: Starting with The Headless Children, they switched from singing mostly about being a badass and having lots of sex, and began writing about more serious social and political themes. Aside from the Industrial Metal influences on Kill, Fuck, Die and the throwback Helldorado, they've continued with it to this day.
  • Not Christian Rock: Songs like "My Wicked Heart" and "Babylon's Burning".
  • One-Letter Title: "U" from Kill, Fuck, Die.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted between 1984 and 1987 as the band featured two, drummer Steve Riley and Blackie himself (his real name being Steven Edward Duren). Played straight since, though.
  • Phallic Weapon: "Shoot From The Hip" uses "pistol" as a very obvious metaphor.
  • Power Ballad: "Forever Free", "Hold on to My Heart", "Evermore", "Miss You".
  • Protest Song: "Goodbye America" from Still Not Black Enough.
  • Revolving Door Band: The band has never been able to keep the same line up for more than two albums, meaning there's never been a "classic line up". The one exception was that Mike Dupke performed drums on Dominator, Babylon and Golgotha, but left right after recording the latter.
  • Rock Opera: The Crimson Idol chronicles the rise and fall of fictional musician Jonathan Steele.
    • The Neon God and it's sequel is a story of a boy with an ability to manipulate people.
  • Self-Titled Album
  • '70s Hair: Former rhythm guitarist Randy Piper had this in the music videos for "I Wanna Be Somebody", "L.O.V.E Machine", "Wild Child" and "Blind In Texas".
  • Shout-Out: "The Horror" is about Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.
  • Signs of the End Times: "Babylon's Burning"
  • Skunk Stripe: Are a part of Blackie Lawless' distinctive looks - even when he doesn't have them, it's like they were there, obscured by lighting or whatever.
  • Something Blues: "D.B. Blues" from Live Animal single and Inside the Electric Circus.
  • Spelling Song: "B.A.D." and "L.O.V.E. Machine".
  • Subdued Section: "Helldorado", "Blind in Texas".
  • Take That: "Harder Faster" (from Live...in the Raw) was written with the PMRC in mind.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The line "Virgo, my Leo's rising" in "L.O.V.E. Machine".

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