W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless has captured the imaginations of fans for decades with his theatrical stage presence and powerful vocals. As a figure who has remained shrouded in mystery and controversy, there’s much about Lawless that even the most devoted W.A.S.P. enthusiasts may not know.
Embracing A Rebellious Persona
Lawless’s choice of his stage name is not just a random selection but a reflection of his artistic identity and personal ethos. The name ‘Blackie’ was inspired by a character from the classic television series ‘Our Gang,’ a choice that hints at an appreciation for cultural icons and perhaps a nod to a sense of nostalgia or childhood influences. The surname ‘Lawless,’ on the other hand, is a self-chosen moniker that symbolizes his rebellious spirit.
The New York Dolls Connection
A common misconception among fans and critics alike is the extent of Lawless’ involvement with the glam rock band, New York Dolls. In 1975, when Johnny Thunders departed from the band during a Florida tour, the band sought new guitarists. Blackie joined the band during this period, but his tenure was brief, lasting only for the remainder of the tour.
The Shift From Bass To Guitar
Lawless is renowned not only as a vocalist but also for his skills as both a guitarist and a bassist. Lawless transitioned to playing bass for W.A.S.P. in 1982. This shift occurred after he decided to part ways with the band’s original bassist, Rik Fox. Despite this role change, Lawless eventually returned to his roots as a guitarist after the initial albums of W.A.S.P. He explained his willingness to adapt roles for the band’s success during a VIP Experience Q&A session, emphasizing his commitment to teamwork and achieving goals.
Solo Vision Within A Band
Beyond his prominent role in W.A.S.P., Blackie has ventured into solo projects. For instance, ‘The Crimson Idol’ holds a unique place in the discography of W.A.S.P., as it was originally conceived as a solo album by Lawless. Many fans expressed a strong preference for the album to be released under the W.A.S.P. name, even before the era of the internet. Lawless reflected on the importance of this fan input and realized that while his name would be credited in the album’s booklet, it wasn’t necessary to have it on the front cover.
The Classical Music Influence On Lawless
Lawless has often credited his affinity for classical music to his childhood experiences, highlighting how it has significantly shaped his approach to songwriting and music composition. This classical influence is evident in the complexity and depth of his compositions.
Blackie’s Commitment To Activism
Known for his strong stance on various issues, Lawless has been a proactive advocate for animal rights and has involved himself in several humanitarian causes. In 1985, he also came together with other metal artists at A&M Records Studios in Hollywood for HEAR ‘N AID, an initiative led by Ronnie James Dio to aid famine relief. This project involved recording the song ‘Stars’ and producing a documentary to raise funds for combating hunger worldwide.