Origin – Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres – Heavy metal, Glam metal, Shock rock
Years active – 1982–1989 1991–1993 1995–present
Website – www.waspnation.com
-Current Band Members-
-Band Name –
Few speculation over the origin of the band’s name whether it actually stands for anything or it is written as an acronym. One possible interpretation is “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants,” being the original meaning of the acronym. The song “Show No Mercy,” the B-side of the band’s first single “Animal,” contains the repeated lyric, “White Anglo-Saxon / A violent reaction.”
Debut album W.A.S.P. had the words “We Are Sexual Perverts” inscribed on both sides around the label in the center, while “Winged Assassins” is inscribed on the spine of the first vinyl pressing. When asked about the band’s name Lawless has avoided giving a straight answer: in one interview he answered, “We Ain’t Sure, Pal.” In another, broadcast on the radio program Metal Shop, Lawless said that if one didn’t know what it meant (implying White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), “It’s a bug.”
In a February 2010, Lawless stated the main reason for the name was the periods. He claimed no band had ever used them before (although R.E.M. formed two years earlier) and, in essence, the periods created a “question mark of uncertainty” to make W.A.S.P. stand out more. He then went on to say, “Look where we are: it did!”
W.A.S.P. was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1982 by Lawless, Piper, Rik Fox, and Tony Richards. The band became notorious for its raunchy and, at times, shocking live shows. Lawless was known to tie semi-naked models to a torture rack, and to also hurl raw meat into the audience. The band’s debut single, entitled “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” and its cover were equally controversial.
The first lineup didn’t last for long, as Rik Fox was let go and went on to join the band Steeler with vocalist Ron Keel and guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
The band made an appearance in the 1984 film The Dungeonmaster.
“L.O.V.E. Machine” and “I Wanna Be Somebody” helped the album sell, and set the band up for “Blind In Texas”. The song was released on their next album The Last Command in September 1985. The Last Command.
After The Last Command tour, guitarist Randy Piper departed the band. Former King Kobra bassist Johnny Rod joined W.A.S.P. as Lawless went back to playing rhythm guitar.
W.A.S.P. third album, titled Inside the Electric Circus. It was released in October 1986. “Shoot From The Hip” and the minor hit single “95-N.A.S.T.Y.” helped the band live up to the reputation of one of the possible meanings of their band name, “We Are Sexual Perverts”.
W.A.S.P. became a very prominent target of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization led by Tipper Gore and dedicated to opposing music with lyrics deemed violent or overtly sexual in content. This lowered the band’s reputation to such a degree that concert halls were getting bomb threats, band members were receiving death threats by the hundreds, and singer Blackie Lawless was shot at twice (though not hit). The controversy generated valuable publicity for the band.
In 1987 W.A.S.P. had their song “Scream Until You Like It” included on the soundtrack of the movie Ghoulies 2.
W.A.S.P.’s fourth studio album, The Headless Children, was released on April 15, 1989 and was their first album without any overtly sexually explicit songs included. It was also their first album to sell rather poorly.
Chris Holmes left the band in August 1989, stating that he wanted to “have fun, you know.” Lawless responded with a caustic remark about the fact that “some guys want to stay at home and wear aprons,” hinting at the nature of Chris Holmes’ relationship with his new wife Lita Ford.
The follow-up to The Crimson Idol was Still Not Black Enough (1995), a collection of dark, introspective tunes that extended the Crimson Idol mythology. This time, rather than “hiding behind” alter ego Jonathan Steele, Lawless spoke directly to the audience about his own feelings (as stated in the liner notes).
Chris Holmes returned to W.A.S.P. in 1996 and together they released Kill.Fuck.Die (1997) and Helldorado (1999). The band continued with the album Unholy Terror in 2001. Chris Holmes left the band once again in 2002, stating that he wanted to “play the blues.” He hooked up with fellow ex-W.A.S.P. member Randy Piper’s band Animal, but soon dropped out of that project also. Holmes, for his part, has claimed he never played on Unholy Terror.
Dying for the World, released in 2002, was written and recorded in less than a year which is very fast by Lawless’ perfectionist standards. Its liner notes feature one of Lawless’ strongest statements about political correctness, inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In April 2004, W.A.S.P. released the first part of The Neon God, subtitled The Rise, a conceptual album about an abused and orphaned boy who finds that he has the ability to read and manipulate people. The second part, The Demise, was released in September 2004.
The release of the Dominator album was finalized for April 16 in the UK, April 20 in Scandinavia with the rest of mainland Europe following on April 27.
W.A.S.P. released their fourteenth studio album, entitled Babylon in late 2009. Blackie Lawless has in recent interviews claimed that he is never going to play the song “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” live again, due to his religious beliefs.
On September 21, 2012, the band celebrated the 30th anniversary of their first ever live show by kicking off a world tour at The Forum in London.
W.A.S.P.’s fifteenth studio album, Golgotha, was released on October 2, 2015.
As of December 2017, W.A.S.P. has been working on their sixteenth studio album.
The Last Command (1985)
Inside the Electric Circus (1986)
The Headless Children (1989)
The Crimson Idol (1992)
Still Not Black Enough (1995)
Kill Fuck Die (1997)
Unholy Terror (2001)
Dying for the World (2002)
The Neon God: Part 1 – The Rise (2004)
The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise (2004)
ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to the Crimson Idol) (2018)