BLACKIE LAWLESS Page 2
SHOCKWAVES: These bands are influencing a younger generation of kids, exposing them to hardrock and metal. Do you think WASP has this potential to build on a younger audience?
Blackie: Only time will tell...the secret to longevity is youve got to farm new generations. You cant live with the original fan-base you have. So far, it seems to be working for us. And, although Im aware of those things, I just try to write stuff I feel strong about.
SHOCKWAVES: I know here in LA, there is really no rock radio exposing bands like WASP, and MTV could give a rats ass about metal...How does a band like WASP keep their fans informed?
Blackie: We started a thing called the WASP Nation, which is our fanclub. And were creating a network...we have like twenty websites and no other band has anywhere near that. I think it goes back to the honesty of what songs are about, and Ive been willing to expose myself to people emotionally where a lot of artists dont want to do that, because its too painful, or too private, or whatever. But thats the only way people are gonna get to feel that they know you.
SHOCKWAVES: The same band that you recorded with will also be touring with you, right?
Blackie: Yeah, itll be myself (vocals/guitar), Chris Holmes (guitar), Mike Duda (bass), and Stet Howland (drums). Stet has been with me since 1990, hes had a longer tenor in this band than anybody, except for Chris and myself.
SHOCKWAVES: Lets talk a bit about the early days of Blackie Lawless. Back in New York, I know you did a stint with the New York Dolls and in LA you had Sister and Circus Circus before forming WASP...
Blackie: I actually only did a couple shows with the New York Dolls, a lot more has been made out of that. But thats what got me to California. The first incarnation of WASP was a band Chris and I had called Sister, and where I met Randy Piper was a thing we did for about six months called Circus Circus, and thats what led to the formation of WASP.
SHOCKWAVES: Castle Records recently re-issued the entire WASP catalog with a bunch of bonus tracks...
Blackie: Yeah, we added all the European B-sides which werent released anywhere else in the world. Theres as many as 17 tracks on each disc. Weve also been in the process, the last couple of years, of compiling a book. The stuff thats gonna come out of this book...I dont know if people are gonna believe a lot of it! The truth is definitely stranger than fiction.
SHOCKWAVES: As far as the business side, you obviously have a great deal of knowledge about the music business. Many people have stereotyped metal musicians as not being too bright when it comes down to business, and lets face it, a lot of the rock and metal musicians from the 80s that used to sell out arenas are now working at Burger King. But, from what I understand, youve managed your finances quite well. What advice would you give to young bands entering this business?
Blackie: Educate yourself. There are books out there like This Business In Music and things like that...read everything you can get your hands on. The problem is that most guys who get in this business are living on a dream. Most people think they want to be famous. Because, if it does happen, they quickly find out its not what they thought it was. Therefore, you have to really be in it for the work. The work itself is really the reward. You really have to look out for yourself. I dont like using the cliché "Its easy to be ripped off in this business" because that desensitizes people because they hear it so much. I was actually thinking about doing a workshop video talking about what not to do, and how to protect yourself. There is so much invisible stuff in this business where a guy can get ripped off and never see it happening until its too late. And as business minded as I am, and as closely as I watch things, Ive had it happen to me...not to the point of catastrophic, but even when youre watching, things can slip through the cracks. And the first thing you know, youve lost ten million dollars. Your career is flying past you at light speed, and success is intoxicating in its own right and everything becomes so much bigger than you are, and you become just another wheel in the machine. And if you havent done your homework, its like taking sheep to the slaughter...it is grotesque what can happen! The statistics state that only one in a million get a record deal, and out of that, only 2% of them make any real money. Ive been lucky, Ive tried to educate myself and Ive made some good investments. You see, rocknroll never really made anyone rich, it just gives you the vehicle to get rich with. Even the Beatles, after they sold like a billion records, they only came out with like ten million dollars each, and considering what theyve done, thats not a whole lotta money. Youve gotta be sharp, and most guys...its really pitiful to watch whats gonna happen to them - they have no chance, no matter how talented they are.
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