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W.A.S.P.

One of the heavier bands to come out of the early-'80s L.A. metal scene, W.A.S.P. quickly rose to national infamy thanks to their shock rockimage, lyrics, and live concerts. Unfortunately, once the novelty and scandal began to wear off, the band found it difficult to expand, or evenmaintain, their audience by relying only on their music.

Leader Blackie Lawless (bass/vocals) was already a rock & roll veteran when he relocated to the West Coast and founded W.A.S.P. with guitaristsChris Holmes and Randy Piper and drummer Tony Richards. The band soon established a reputation as a ...read more

One of the heavier bands to come out of the early-'80s L.A. metal scene, W.A.S.P. quickly rose to national infamy thanks to their shock rockimage, lyrics, and live concerts. Unfortunately, once the novelty and scandal began to wear off, the band found it difficult to expand, or evenmaintain, their audience by relying only on their music.

Leader Blackie Lawless (bass/vocals) was already a rock & roll veteran when he relocated to the West Coast and founded W.A.S.P. with guitaristsChris Holmes and Randy Piper and drummer Tony Richards. The band soon established a reputation as a ferocious live act, thanks in large part toLawless' habits of tying a semi-naked model to a torture rack and throwing raw meat into the audience. And with the release of their self-explanatory independent EP, Animal (F**k Like a Beast), W.A.S.P. became impossible to ignore.

They signed to Capitol Records, and with songs like "I Wanna Be Somebody" (an absolute anthem to blind ambition) and "L.O.V.E. Machine" leadingthe way, their self-titled 1984 debut was an instant success. W.A.S.P. took their horror show on the road, and their momentum continued to buildwith the following year's The Last Command, which featured new drummer Steven Riley and the band's biggest hit, "Blind in Texas." Later thatyear, the band gained even more prominence as one of the biggest targets of Tipper Gore and the P.M.R.C. (Parents' Music Resource Center), agroup of Washington housewives leading a crusade against violent, sexist song lyrics. Though the incident (which included Senate hearings on theissue with guest speakers as disparate as Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister) would cause more publicity than actualresults, it served to make W.A.S.P. a household name -- for good and for worse.

Ironically, the band toned down their act for 1986's Inside the Electric Circus, a lackluster, repetitive album which saw Lawless switch to guitar(replacing the departed Piper) and the hiring of bassist Johnny Rod. The blood and guts were largely gone (as were the good songs), and despitereleasing a strong live album entitled Live...In the Raw the following year, the band's popularity began to plummet. The all-time low arrived withthe release of Penelope Spheeris' heavy metal "rockumentary" The Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years. An expose about the L.A.metal scene, the film's most dramatic and depressing sequence showed an inebriated Chris Holmes drinking himself into a stupor in full stage gearwhile lying on a float in his mom's swimming pool. In a movie filled with debauchery and decadence, this scene was by far the scariest.

1989's Headless Children (featuring ex-Quiet Riot sticksman Frankie Banali) was a return to form, but it couldn't revert the band's slump andW.A.S.P. disbanded soon after. Lawless eventually returned as a one-man show for 1993's The Crimson Idol, an ambitious rock opera/conceptalbum billed as Blackie Lawless & W.A.S.P. Resurrecting the band's old shock rock antics, but alas, not fame and fortune, the album flopped, andthe following year's greatest-hits set, First Blood...Last Cuts, seemed like their last chapter.

But the resilient Lawless returned once again, luring guitarist Chris Holmes back into the fold and recruiting bassist Mike Duda and drummer StetHowland for 1996's Still Not Black Enough. This lineup has continued to tour and record for a number of independent labels, with their albumsincluding 1997's K.F.D., 1999's Helldorado, and 2001's Unholy Terror. The band released Dying for the World in 2002, an exceptional collection ofunusually serious material inspired by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It was followed in 2004 by the conceptual Neon God, Pt. 1 andPt. 2, with Dominator arriving in 2006. « hide

Similar Bands: Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Motörhead

LPs
Babylon
2009

3.6
57 Votes
Dominator
2007

4
53 Votes
The Neon God: Part 2 - The Demise
2004

2.9
29 Votes
The Neon God: Part 1 - The Rise
2004

3.4
27 Votes
Dying For the World
2002

3.6
37 Votes
Unholy Terror
2001

3.4
27 Votes
Helldorado
1999

2.4
36 Votes
Kill, Fuck, Die
1997

2.7
38 Votes
Still Not Black Enough
1995

3.2
39 Votes
The Crimson Idol
1992

4.2
131 Votes
The Headless Children
1988

4.2
128 Votes
Inside the Electric Circus
1986

3.4
82 Votes
The Last Command
1985

3.7
108 Votes
W.A.S.P.
1984

4.1
148 Votes
Live Albums
The Sting
2000

2.3
7 Votes
Double Live Assassins
1998

3.4
7 Votes
Live...in the Raw
1987

4
23 Votes
Compilations
The Best of the Best
2007

3.8
3 Votes
First Blood... Last Cuts
1993

4
6 Votes

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