By Bob Nalbandian

SHOCKWAVES: Your newest CD, Helldorado, sounds like old-school WASP! It’s very reminiscent of The Last Command era--very upbeat, good-time rock’n’roll whereas your last studio album, Kill F**k Die, was a lot darker and moodier...
Blackie: When Chris (Holmes) and I got back together in ‘95, we had both come out of really bad relationships. He had just divorced Lita Ford and I had been in a relationship with a girl who I find out, after three years, that she was gay. So, needless to say, we had fuel for the fire. We’ve always made records that reflect who we are at the moment, and that record could have just as easily been called "Hate." We were ready to kill the world. And that is a vicious record, no question about it! I think in a lot of ways Helldorado was the record people might have anticipated us making, but there was no way we could have done that at the time. That record (Kill f**k Die) ended up being like cheap therapy for us. There was a lot of bad feelings, we had to exorcise some demons. It’s almost like going through that dark mourning period, and when we came out of that period it was like the sky was blue again.

SHOCKWAVES: You’ve self-produced this new record, as well as Kill f**k Die...
Blackie: We’ve actually only worked with two producers, and I’ve produced all the other records. We just feel more comfortable on our own.

SHOCKWAVES: The Double Live Assassins album you released last year (recorded during the Kill f**k Die tour) is one of the best live albums I have heard in ages!
Blackie: It started as an afterthought...we were just taping our shows, as we do every tour...Zurich, Switzerland was the first night that we knew we really had something.

SHOCKWAVES: Very few bands these days release live albums (with exception to boring-ass acoustic, "un-plugged" albums), let alone a double-live CD...and that album sold really well!
Blackie: I’ve been hibernating for the last year making Helldorado so I don’t really know what’s going on out there, but by the indications, it looks like this music is really coming back again. I mean, that live album did really, really good! And I was like, wow! Maybe we’re onto something. I know that band Buck Cherry is making a noise right now, so it looks like the cycle may be coming around again.

SHOCKWAVES: WASP has always done well internationally, especially in Europe, where you’ve maintained a consistent following since day one. Most other LA bands from the ‘80s have either died or are trying to re-group...What do you feel contributes to your longevity?
Blackie: It’s really our fan-base. Like I said, we’ve always made albums that reflect who we are at the moment, and when you do that in a lyrical sense it becomes more conversational with the people. It’s like you have that bond with the fans. A lot of bands just make the same record over and over again, and if that works, then more power to them. But I’ve always tried to maintain more of a personal relationship because that is the way you can really become intimate with your audience.

SHOCKWAVES: You mention in your bio that writing this album was a what ways was it a challenge?
Blackie: When you go through that cycle. We feel like we’re back at the beginning again. Going through all the stuff we’ve been through, with the PMRC and making records that had a lot of social comment....and then you come back around again and say "this is the way I feel, I wanna do this again." But if you haven’t done that in a while, you’re not really sure if it’s gonna fall-out again like it did before.

SHOCKWAVES: So what about the new WASP stage show...Is it gonna be as over-the-top as your previous tour?
Blackie: It’s gonna be bombastic! We’re gonna spread torment and terror everywhere we go! We’ve got blood everywhere, feathers looks like Colonel Sanders got all gacked out and went berserk!

SHOCKWAVES: A lot of the newer breed of hardrock/metal bands, like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, they’ve obviously been influenced by metal bands from the ‘80s, notably WASP. What do you think of these bands?
Blackie: Most of it I like. I can definitely see the influence between those bands, Monster Magnet, bands like that. I just look at it and smile.

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