Metalzone.gr recently had the chance to interview W.A.S.P. main man Blackie Lawless. Blackie in an in depth interview reveals the idea behind their latest release Babylon to be released on October 13th 2009. However being the personality he is he reveals his thoughts on the current political state in U.S.A., how Obama is losing ground on his popularity and how his health plan is inappropriate for the United States, how the Media produce a diverted picture of the world and what is going on. He talks about how love is what is really missing in the world today and how Gene Simons was at the right place at the right time and had convinced him of not giving up in the early stages of his career. Blackie Lawless is a messenger, an extremely talented and unique messenger as he likes to call himself so read- listen to this interview and find out for your selves exactly what’s the message he is delivering is.
Scroll down the page to download the audio of the interview.
Metalzone.gr: On the other end of our line we got the reason why I started listening to heavy metal Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. Hello Blackie welcome in Metalzone.
Blackie Lawless: Thank you for having me.
Metalzone.gr: First Of all I’d like to congratulate you on your latest release Babylon. Can you tell us a few things about this release?
Blackie Lawless: It basically started about a year ago. When I was watching a lot of the world leaders especially the big EU leaders experiencing what they were calling this global financial crisis. While talking about that they started saying about potentially having a one world system, a one world government and maybe a one world currency and I started thinking to myself are these guys been reading their Bible? Do they not understand what they are saying about a one world system? That’s really direct bible prophecy. So I went back and I started doing a really deep study of Revelation and The Bible and it was very interesting, because it was a lot similar to what they were saying. Even just a few weeks ago I heard one of the leaders out of the EU say that they believe that by the year 2018 they can have everybody in the EU micro chipped. And when I heard that….Ouowww! You know 20 years ago I wrote Headless Children and in that song there’s a line that says “Four horse men sit high up in the saddle and wait and ride the bloody trail of no return …” And when I heard these guys saying that I thought are we closer to that now than we were then? Because I am not sure these guys understand what they are really saying. But this is potentially really scary stuff. When I started looking at the idea of what they were saying that’s the idea of where Babylon came from. BABYLON is this idea of civilization that was a long time ago that will really rise again and comparison to the Roman Empire will rise again and the Roman Empire is what is by many people believed to be what the EU is now. It’s an observation of looking these things and really asking the same question, are we closer to this now than we think we are.
Metalzone.gr: Do you think that the Apocalypse is coming?
Blackie Lawless: What I am trying to say to people is keep your eyes open and pay close attention to the politicians that you elect. I talked about this for twenty years. And I am not going to sit here and tell you about what I don’t know about. Even Christ said to his disciples when they asked him when will all this happen he said no man knows the hour. So I am not going to sit here and try to tell you that I know that something like that is going to happen, but what I am saying is take the time to think about the people who represent you, because if you don’t use your freedom you will lose your freedom. It happens in the EU, it happens in America, because we get very comfortable. We become complaisant and politicians really understand that. They need that to do the things that they do and this is why they become so corrupt. And one of the things I am very encouraged about is – I don’t know how much you see over there about what has been going on in America though the past 4 or 5 months – the people here are really starting to speak out. There was a protest in Washington DC last Saturday (September 12th) 75.000 people were there. And that’s one of the biggest protests I’ve ever seen in my life in this country. Obama, when he came in a lot of people were enthusiastic about the things he was saying but they didn’t really understand what his policies were going to be. Because he says one thing and does another that’s what all politicians do. And people are really begging to understand what he is about because he is a socialist. And in America, our system isn’t based on socialism. His approval ratings, his popularity has fallen faster than any other president’s. He is below 45% now. That’s pretty amazing for a guy that just became president, this doesn’t normally happen. That’s happening because the people understand where he really wants to govern. The place he wants to govern from which is really from the socialistic point of view. That’s the reason for all these protests going on. The one that was in Washington is not the only one. It’s been happening in every major city in the US over the last couple of months. I was a little kid in the 60s but I still remember the protests that were going on because of Vietnam War. This, what is happening in America right now is bigger than that. You may not be seeing it over there because I know that most of the media especially in Europe are really pro Obama, they are going to do their own version of censorship. They’re not going to show you what’s really going on. But believe me when I say to you that this is the biggest thing I’ve seen in this country in my lifetime.
Metalzone.gr: Do you feel that as an artist it’s your dept to speak out to your perception of the world and what’s going on? Do you feel that it’s your duty to point out what you feel is wrong?
Blackie Lawless: I think dept is an interesting word and in all honesty that is precisely the way I feel. Because, I was blessed beyond compare. My life has been pretty amazing. I have been given so much. When you’re 20 years old, all 20year olds are the same you’re selfish. They think they got all answers within themselves. But as you get older, and especially if you’ve had some success, you start to ask the question “why me?”. “Why was I chosen to do this?” When you start asking yourself these questions the one thing that keeps coming back to you is that you’re here to perform a service. I feel I am a messenger and I think that this is what really my job is. That’s my purpose in life. Most people go through life trying to figure out what their purpose is and they never find it. But I’ve been lucky enough and have been blessed enough to have this shown to me. And really what I do for a living and what you do for a living is very similar. There’s very little difference. We’re both reporters. The only difference is that when I put words together I make them rhyme. But that’s the really only difference. What I am doing is that I am writing down what I see, the things I hear and I am reporting back to the people. From my experience because I get to see so many things in the world and see so many places I see it from a point of view that most people are never going to see it from. Because you go enough places and you see enough things and you’ll start to begin to understand the real truth of what’s going on. Because in every country, I don’t care if it’s Greece, America or Russia, there’s going to be censorship by the government to some degree. It may not be as bad as Russia or China but there’s going to be influence from the government over the media to some degree. Some places are worse than others. They are always going to tell you, cause they have friends in the media, or they have specific interests tied to a government so their going to be friendly to that government. That’s certainly happening here in the US with Obama. The problem with reporting is where censorship really lies. It’s not in the reporting of the stories. It’s NOT reporting the stories. That’s where real censorship comes in. That’s the one that is the sneakiest. It doesn’t seem like censorship but that’s really what it is. Because they are not telling you the whole story. I’ve been doing interviews for about two weeks now and the one thing that the journalist keep telling me is the European understanding about American healthcare is that Obama is trying to help poor people and the republicans who are big and rich don’t want that. It’s very interesting because when we are doing an interview I am listening to the journalist as much as they are listening to me. I am trying to see what they are really interested in. The best interviews are conversational where you go back and forth and you have a mixture of ideas. And when I listen to those journalists I get an idea of what their media is telling them. And it’s interesting, not because of what they are telling you but what they are not telling you. That too is censorship. From my point of view to be able to go to a lot of different places and see a lot of different things I feel my job is to tell the truth the best way I can. No matter whether it’s good or it’s bad. Tell the truth. Because all arts is designed to make people think. Whether it’s movies, it’s music or painting, if it doesn’t make you think then it’s not really art. And in the music world if it doesn’t make you think it’s just somebody making pop music. And that’s ok too because there is a place for that. But art is a different thing. Art is designed to provoke thought! If it doesn’t do that then you’re just making fast food for the ears. I feel that’s my job.
Metalzone.gr: Do you feel heavy metal is something higher than a style of music? I mean do you fell it’s a way of life a wake up call…
Blackie Lawless: You know the English literal Winston Churchill, he said that if you’re in twenties if you’re not a liberal you have no heart. When you’re in your forties if you’re not a conservative you have no brains. That’s an interesting way of putting it. When we’re in our twenties we have an idea of what we think the world should be and even as wonderful as those thoughts may be when we get a little older we start to understand that it’s not going to work like that. The best thing that you can do is try to make the best place for yourself to be and also at the same time help as many people as you can. That’s really what you discover as you get into your forties. And I really feel that way now. My whole thing is to serve, that’s really the reason I am here. The idea of the music that we do and bands in our genre is that we represent that rebellious spirit. Somebody was asking me just yesterday about being so honest. Do you understand that real honesty, I mean just brutal honesty for me is one of the highest forms of rebellion. Your mother always told you when you were a little kid always tell the truth, we sometimes get away from that. But to me the whole spirit of rock and roll, heavy rock or rock in general that is the spirit of it. So when you say is it a lifestyle? Yes it is. But part of that. The metal community is one of the most prejudice communities there is. They like to think themselves as liberal but they are not. They are extremely conservative about what they like. So by definition that’s conservative whether they understand it or not. They are prejudice against things they don’t like and they don’t want to listen to anything else. That’s ok, but let’s just recognize it for what it is. Let’s tell the truth. Because to me the truth is one of the highest forms of that rock and roll rebel spirit. So you’re absolutely correct when you say it is a lifestyle but at the same time let’s examine what that life style is.
Metalzone.gr: It’s funny that you should mention the truth because I was going to ask you, you say that when you write an album you do a lot of soul searching and during that process I imagine that you discover truth about yourself, truth about lies you told yourself in the past before you knew who you are. How do you do that soul searching over the years?
Blackie Lawless: Well I think it’s the same for everybody. It’s an on going thing and it constantly evolving. As a songwriter when you write lyrics if you write truthful lyrics they really act like miniature diaries. And you go back ten or twenty years and you look at those lyrics and you can easily see who you were at that time. And I do that all the time, all song writers do, if they do things like social comment and things like that. And if you look at it and you go “Ouaou” look at what I was thinking then I don’t feel like that now. Because who you are now is not who you are going to be 5 years from now because we are always in the process of changing and re thinking. I got to tell you. Where I am now is radically different to where I was even a year and a half ago. This election really changed me. It opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had not been paying attention to. Once you discover the truth and I don’t mean an opinion I am talking about the truth, you can’t go back. We were talking about Obama he says if you want to know who I am look at the people I surround myself with, so I went back and I started looking at the people who are around him for the last 20 years. It was horrifying the things I discovered about him. It’s a whole other interview but I have nothing against the guys I was just doing what he said. And when I looked at it even what he does even now the people that he is surrounding himself with, as a president he is not going to pick these people to work with him unless he knows what they think. And when you see these people who are admitted socialists and communists… There was one of them who had to resign last week because some people found a video on this guy doing speeches where he is talking about being a communist and a socialist. And the guy who he hired to run the FCC – FCC stands for Federal Commission – the people who oversee basically the airwaves for television and radio here. So what this guy is in charge of is basically censorship. He does a speech two weeks ago, and he is on video tape saying this now, where he is praising Hugo Chaves from Venezuela for his Marxist ideas and his ability to control the media in Venezuela. This is the man Obama has appointed to run the Federal Communications in the United States. It’s Unbelievable what is happening in this country right now! Never in my life time have I ever seen anything like this. And that’s the reason why all these protests are beginning to happen in America. And they are huge protests. Washington was 75.000 – that’s a lot of people! When I say things like this, when I am talking about the truth I am not asking people to believe me, anybody reading this, or listening to this could say that’s his opinion, hey you know what? Don’t take my word for it. Go do your own homework. Find out for yourselves. The internet has a lot of garbage in it but there are places where you can go to get reasonable ideas and all these are there, the videos that I am talking about, these people that have been around him, they’re all there, it’s easy to find, again, do your own homework. Because the truth is the most powerful thing, it will stand out for itself, it doesn’t need me or anybody else.
Metalzone.gr: How do you feel when you are as perceptive as you are in what’s going on around you and feeling that you can’t do much to change it?
Blackie Lawless: You obviously had some experience in that because you wouldn’t ask that question unless you had some experience in that. You already know the answer. It’s difficult. I had a guy in Germany ask me almost the same question the other day. It wasn’t so much a question as it was a statement about how difficult it was. Remember what I said a while ago about once you see the truth you can never go back?
Blackie Lawless: Well that’s what it’s all about. Once you truly understand something, and then you’re talking to someone who doesn’t understand, man it’s like talking to the wall! And I am not talking about you trying to give them opinions, there’s a big difference talking about what we believe to be true and something that we know it’s absolutely true. And when you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t understand absolute truth it becomes very difficult. There was a very famous writer in America back to our American Revolution couple of hundred years ago, his name was Thomas Paine and the famous thing that he wrote for was “These are the times that try men’s souls” and when you’re trying to tell somebody an absolute truth and they can’t comprehend to listen to comes out of them it too will try your soul.
Metalzone.gr: People always react when you tell them something they don’t like even if they know it’s true.
Blackie Lawless: Because people by nature I think are… we are the kind of creatures that it’s built into us to resist the idea of being subservient. In other words to humble ourselves is very difficult because of our ego. Ego is a good thing because it gives you pride and motivation and all that. But when it gets to the point where it doesn’t let you see whatever the truth is, then that’s when it becomes distractive but that too is part of the growing process. Some people can get there and some can’t. You find after a while you can’t worry about everybody else, only thing you can worry about is yourself and try to make yourself better. Clever as I may sound and all that stuff, I am like everybody else I don’t care who you are, it is a work in progress, you got to really be willing to break yourself down. And really humble yourself. And say why am I here what’s the purpose, is this all about me trying to promote my career, or am I going to be of service? And that’s where I feel that I am right now. There is no other way to describe why I’ve been blessed the way I have. I am just trying to do what I think I’ve been put here to do.
Metalzone,gr: When you talk like that, I have to ask. Do you think that you’ve been placed by God?
Blackie Lawless: Absolutely
Metalzone.gr: You have deep faith...
Blackie Lawless: Yes.
Metalzone.gr: Next question is less philosophical. I wonder, the course from Crimson Idol to Neon God. Are these two albums related somehow?
Blackie Lawless: One is bigger than the other. The Crimson Idol was a very humble idea, a very simple idea, I used the idea of a guy who wanted to be a musician but it really wasn’t about a guy trying to be a musician it was about a guy trying to find love. And that’s where the Neon God and The Idol are similar that theme was common to both of them, trying to find love and acceptance. The difference between the Neon God and the Idol is that the concept of the Neon God was bigger, as far what this guy was trying to do; this guy was trying to take over the world. The whole central idea of the love thing was very much common to both cause that was the real motivation behind both stories.
Metalzone.gr: Could this be what’s missing nowadays? More and more people don’t get enough love and they end up chasing mundane things in order to cover that starvation?
Blackie Lawless: Well what was the last thing Christ told his disciples before he left them? Above all other things, love one another. If that’s the last thing he told them, it gives you an idea of how important it is. And it’s more difficult to do. For whatever reasons we have our differences and I think it’s natural, but it’s something that I think we have to continue try to work at.
Metalzone.gr: I think it’s not just loving one another but also loving oneself.
Blackie Lawless: That’s probably the beginning of it all. But for me, I know what I had to do for myself, and I had to humble myself, before I could get to those points, I had to be willing to give it all away, and I mean that literally. This is something I don’t think I’ve ever talked about in any interview before, but that’s really the place I had to get to, to totally surrender yourself. Because that’s what it’s about. We were talking about people’s egos and things like that, about why it’s difficult to communicate sometimes, it’s because they don’t want to surrender. And when we say surrender I mean surrendering everything, ideas, all of that stuff. Break it down, strip it down, go look for the truth. Not the things you were taught as a kid, that may not be true, or things you were taught in school that may not be true, because a lot of this textbooks are somebody’s ideas in that, that’s not the truth. I wrote once all history is written by winners which is an old idea I am not the one that invented that but it’s true. If we’re not really willing to really surrender ourselves, we can not humble ourselves, and I think that’s really the beginning of understanding. You get to a point when you wake up one day and you think you know what, I don’t know anything. And that’s the beginning into knowledge and wisdom.
Metalzone.gr: There was a great ancient philosopher in Greece who said one thing I know is I know nothing.
Blackie Lawless: He was a wise man! I’ll tell you a story. One day… most people know I knew Ace Frehley, I knew him from long time ago when we were kids but Gene (Simons) was a big influence in my life. Not so much because of what KISS did as a band but because there was one time in particular, I was about 19 and I was really I thought that’s it I’ve had enough in the music business I was going to quit. And so I called Ace one day and he wasn’t there but Gene picked up the phone and so we talked for a few minutes. He said how are you doing – he knew the band I was playing and he knew the guys, and I told him I am tired of what I am doing. I don’t think I am ever going to make it. I am thinking about doing something else. He says, don’t quit whatever you do. You have something that’s different from other people. If you keep doing what you’re doing you will eventually get there. And he talked to me for about 30 minutes, and after we finished talking it was that pep talk that I needed. And it made me feel a lot better. Over the years we would talk and as my career started happening, and I remember one day we were on tour. We were at sound check one day and he sitting out in the audience and I went over and we started talking and we’re just basically shooting a breeze and he had this troubled look on his face and I said what’s the matter, is everything ok? He goes, 15 years ago I thought I knew everything, and now I don’t know anything! And I look at him and I got really mad! I got really angry with him. I told him what are you talking about you’re the guy that’s in a big way responsible for me being here and now you’re telling me that everything you told me before was a lie? I got mad and walked off. As years went by I started to begin to understand what he was talking about. Gene is like I think 9 years older than me, and he had already been down that road before he was experiencing it and I too later would experience it. Here’s the guy that I admire so much telling me that he don’t know what’s going on anymore and I didn’t want to hear it so I walked off and not in a nice way either. I said I am out of here forget it. I just didn’t want to listen. But I would eventually begin to understand what he was saying. When you get to that point, that’s the beginning of true knowledge. Because until we humble ourselves or for some reason become humbled whether it’s by our choosing or not, that’s when we begin to understand. That’s when the real education begins.
Metalzone.gr: Do you feel kids today can do that? Maybe I am a pessimist but I don’t see many bands around like you.
Blackie Lawless: That’s the eternal question. I young people now and let’s go back to what Winston Churchill said when you’re twenty if you’re not a liberal you don’t have a heart. Part of being a liberal is …and I am not saying that we should not help each other because we should. When John Lennon is singing about the song Imagine, when he is singing about let’s create the perfect world and let’s have peace and harmony and love one another, and everyone should be equal, there should be no poor people and his doing this video in a place called Tittenhurst which was his house at the time in London. That was this huge mansion on 100 acres outside of London. That thing was worth millions and millions of dollars and he is talking about oh let’s everybody be equal, so we can all get along, and have no country and no wealth, and this guy is in the middle of his house singing this song. You got to be kidding me. The hypocrisy of that idea of liberalism is what just drives me insane. Because I look at, in America now you have the baby boomers that are really now running the country who are part of that 60s mentality. That say oh let’s create a Utopia and all that stuff. If you go back and you look at all Hebrew law it says if you work you eat. If you don’t you won’t. That’s just the way it is. You have to be responsible for yourself. If somebody has a problem and they need help that’s different. We all should be compassionate and help and I mean that. And I don’t mean to help a little and walk away, help these people to really raise themselves up. But there’s difference in that and just giving things away. I used to go out with a girl she was an editor for the biggest rock magazine in Sweden a few years back. She told me that because the Swedish system is really socialistic, she was being taxed about 52 to 54% of her income and her mother who was an alcoholic and did not work was getting as much money from the government as this girl was working. This girl was working pretty hard. Finally after a while she just quit. Because she thought why I am doing this why am I killing myself when people like my mother and people who are just lazy don’t want to work. You take dreams away from people and they die. That’s the problem with it. The ideas when you’re twenty are wonderful but when you start to put them into a real world application they don’t work. And I am not saying to not be compassionate because we should but we were asking a while ago are kids different today than in the past. I am sure there’s some complaisance there because kids in America and kids in the EU have had it good for so long that they forget about our grandparents that paid the ultimate price to give us this freedom, this prosperity that we have now. Some complaisance is coming about because of that. But at the same time, you’re probably familiar with the American humorist Mark Twain the writer, I read something he wrote years ago I think it’s funny, he wrote when I was 15 years old my father, I’d ask him a question and he was the dumbest son of a bitch that walked the face of the earth. An amazing thing happened when I turned 21. How much he had learned in 6 years. If you put that in perspective to what we are talking about I think it’s going to be the same no matter where you are or who you are. As much as I get frustrated from time to time about all the silly things I hear coming out of people, because of that idea I am willing to give them a chance and think ok maybe eventually you’ll get there.
Metalzone.gr: Needs patience
Blackie Lawless: And that too is a very powerful concept. (laughs) So back to Thomas Paine, “These are the times that try man’s soul”
Metalzone.gr: A lot of quotes for one interview..(laughs) Back to your album you’re going to be on tour soon and you’re visiting Greece….
Blackie Lawless: We’re doing Thessaloniki and Athens I believe it’s in November. As I was saying the best interviews are conversational. You obviously thought about this. For any artist it’s the easiest, and I would imagine for the journalist too. Because you get more insight to the person than the same 20 questions over and over again and I thank you for the things that you’ve asked me because it’s very refreshing.
Metalzone.gr: I can do the typical questions we do when an artist releases an album but I am not talking to just any artist. I feel the on the other end of our line is one of the most important people heavy metal is all about. I couldn’t just ask you, what’s the name of your album, where did you do your production and so on.
Blackie Lawless: I really do appreciate that but as much as what you’re saying is very flattering, I understand, I really understand that I am just the messenger here and I am just fulfilling my destiny here. Again I appreciate what you’re saying but it’s not about me it’s about a bigger picture.
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