Blackie, it’s always great to talk with you. I was looking
back at the conversations we’ve had before. The first interview was in
2003 and it seemed as if you were going through a transitional phase in
your personal life. It was almost like you were on a mission to find
out who you were. Is that a fair statement to make?
To be honest, I realized a couple of years ago that I’ve been doing
this since the beginning. Go back and look at the first album. “I
Wanna Be Somebody.” If there’s one common thread that runs through
every record that we’ve ever done is the whole idea of “Who am I and
where am I going?” If we’re going to be completely honest we need to go
back to the source.
Looking back, what was going through your mind around the
time the first “Neon God” CD was released? You seemed to be doing a lot
of questioning. Are those records – including “Babylon” – where you are personally?
Yeah, all of ‘em are. When you’re making records you wake up in the
morning and you write down what reflects you at that moment. You can’t
worry about what’s going on in the Billboard
charts or what’s hot in the marketplace. You’ve gotta
write down who you are. You can’t even write about who you were five
years ago. That’s not who you are right now. You have to make records
that reflect who you are right this minute. That’s the only way to make
truly honest records.
Are you at a place in your career where you don’t have a lot
of pressures as far as time frames and schedules? I’m sure that would
make it even easier to make a really honest album.
That hasn’t really changed. Since we started working on “Headless…”
around the end of ‘87, it’s been that way ever since. We learned from “Inside The Electric Circus.” That was a
tired record done by a very tired band. We’d been on the road for
three years. We didn’t even know who we were anymore. The only way you
can become reacquainted with yourself is to take some time and back
off. You need to ask, “Where am I now, where am I going, what just
happened to me?” Since that point nothing has changed.
A lot of people are excited about the release of your latest
CD, “Babylon.” The new
video is getting a lot of attention, too. People are probably reading
too far into the imagery, but a few fans are yapping about the timing of
Obama in the video in
relation to the lyrics in the song.
I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. What’s being said?
I saw a few people likening you to Rush Limbaugh…
(laughs) Yeah, I can see that! We’ll be a new tag team!
But the video doesn’t just show Obama. Vladimir
and Ahmadinejad make
The gang is all there. Hey man, I’m just playing umpire. I’m
calling it as I see it. If folks get upset about it that’s just the way
it is. When that guy was running for President…I didn’t know anything
about him. Nobody did. He says, “If you want to know who I am, go look
at my background. Look at the people I surround myself with. That
will tell you exactly who I am.” Fair enough. I did some investigation
on this guy and I was horrified! I couldn’t believe that a man like
that could even run for dog catcher, much less be President of the United States. I was
stunned that this guy sold himself so well. He is the ultimate car
salesman. The ultimate cheerleader. What he does is have pep rallies.
He’s always there with his teleprompters. He can’t do anything without
them and the minute he does try to speak without one he puts his feet
in his mouth. He can’t think on his feet. The guys is not qualified to
run anything. I thought we couldn’t get any worse when Bush was there.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse – look out. I’m not flying
the Republican flag here, I’m just calling it like I see it. He’s a con
Watch the video by clicking here!
There are so many people that didn’t do any research on Obama and I think they’re regretting it
They’re just going on sound bytes. But, this country belongs to
them, too. If you’re not willing to do five minutes worth of research
then you get what you pay for.
That video touches on subject matter that’s very visual and
interesting to people – no matter their religious beliefs.
It is quite colorful. The imagery that opens up sure allows for a
lot of different interpretation. Where that came from was really at the
end of Bush’s term. They were all going ’round and ’round about this
supposed global financial crisis we were in. “Crisis” is politician
codeword for “We’re getting read to take some freedoms away from you or
pick your pockets some more.” At the same time I was listening to what
was happening in the EU. They were having a meeting in Brussels. These
guys were talking about how bad we’d screwed everything up and since we
couldn’t do it as individual countries that maybe it was time for a one
world government. Another guy spoke up and said we should have a one
world currency to go with that one world government. Then a third guy
chimed in and said that would be perfect because by 2017 we could have
the whole of the EU micro-chipped. I’m standing there gawking with my
mouth open. Do these guys have any comprehension of what they’re
talking about? Do they understand the possible ramifications of what
they’re talking about? This is potential 666 we’re talking about.
Before I did the record I did a detailed study of the book of Revelation
in relation to all of this. I was astonished at the accuracy. Twenty
years ago when I wrote “Headless Children” I referred to it. I said,
“Four horsemen sit high up in the saddle waiting, ride the bloody trail
of no return.” Are we now that much closer to that Armageddon than we were 20 years ago?
It makes you scratch your head.
I’ve had an interest in Revelation since I was a kid. I’ve
noticed that some people like to put you in a certain group if you keep
updated on what’s going on in the world in relation to the Bible. Does
that put you in an awkward spot – the vocalist for W.A.S.P.? Some fans are a little
My job is to be a messenger. I’m a reporter. What you do and what I
do are basically the same thing. I’m just making it rhyme. If I’m
gonna be honest, that’s really the only way to do it. If somebody wants
to know how I write a song – I write what I feel and put a backbeat to
it. It’s a little more complicated than that but that’s really what it
Looking back over the past year, was there a definite change
in point in how you wanted to present your band?
No. The line in the sand was “Headless.” That’s what I was feeling
at the time. I remember when EMI and Capitol heard the original demos
to that record. They were not pleased. They said it didn’t sound like W.A.S.P. and it wasn’t what was going
on in the marketplace. They told me it wasn’t the record I should be
making. Fortunately for us, we had a thing built into our contract that
gave us final say. We had “Right Of Refusal” over anything. Hardly
any band ever gets that. That means we’re going to do what we want and
if you don’t like it, too bad. They were patting me on the back as they
sent me out of the room. That was them saying if the record fails we’d
be out on our ears. That’s a great way to send a guy into the studio
with a positive attitude! Lo and behold it became the biggest selling
record we ever had. The bottom line is that separated us from what we
came from and everything else that was going on as it related to that
genre at that time. We carved our own niche. That’s why I say that’s
where the line was drawn in the sand. About 15 minutes after we did
that record the industry started to change and this genre of music
changed radically. Had we not cut and run when we did I wouldn’t be
sitting here talking to you today. When the boat sank we would’ve been
in it with the rest of ‘em. We made a record that was reflecting our
soul at the time.
What about “Babylon”…Do
you remember putting down the first idea of what would become that
It started with the story I told you earlier about the EU meeting.
“Babylon’s Burning” became the first real song on the album. The first
song we record for the session was the old Chuck Berry song “Promised Land.” That wasn’t intended to
be on the record. When you haven’t been in the studio in a while
you’re looking for a way to get your feet wet again. Playing live and
playing in the studio is two different universes. When I was writing
“Babylon’s Burning” I was doing my study of Revelation. I wanted to
make sure I had my facts straight before I started putting pen to paper.
What was the recording process like this time around? Was it
all face to face or did you use the Internet to track and edit some?
We still do it the old fashioned way. We get together and do
pre-production and rehearsals. We have an analog studio that we built
20 years ago. It’s more expensive to do it like that, but if you’re
going to make an expensive sounding record there’s only one way to do
it. You’ve got to spend the money. It’s more time consuming but the
end result speaks for itself. The sonics that come off that record –
the depth, the dimension, the thud – you can not get that out of digital
recordings. I don’t care what anybody says. When we’re working we’re
literally working within a very close proximity to each other. We’re
feet away from each other when we’re rehearsing.
You spoke earlier of making an honest record. You can’t get
more honest than recording to tape!
We have an old expression: “Uncle tape don’t lie.” You better like
it when it’s going down ‘cuz there ain’t no changing it!
What are your touring plans looking like so far?
We start the US leg on February 26.
What about your set list? How many do you plan on including
We do the title track and “Crazy.”
The show’s about an hour and 45 minutes.
Will we see the infamous mic stand on this tour?
No, Elvis is getting this
tour off. What we’re doing on this tour is we have this big movie
screen behind us. We’re using the promo videos. Everything from now
going back 25 years. The video plays behind us but we’ll be playing in
sync to that video. It creates a pretty cool 3-D effect. You see us in
the movie screen singing and then you see me singing on stage, in time
with the video. It’s neat to watch the audience because they’ll watch
the screens for a second and then they’ll watch me for a second and it
goes back and forth. It’s cool because you’ve also got two bands
playing at the same time. It creates this spectacle and it goes on all
night like that.
Are you going to have little Ghoulies pop out and run around
You don’t need it! We’ve never done “Scream Until You Like It” but
we’re doing it on this tour. We use part of the movie when that song
comes up and it’s going to be really cool.
Blackie, it’s been great as usual. What would you like to
say to wrap everything up?
Mark down on your calendar when we’re going to be in your town. We’re
going to be out until Christmas of this year so we’re going to be
hitting a lot of places. I’m sure we’ll be close to your neighborhood!
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