Tales from a Metalhead: Chapter 10: “I Look Like Dogshit”

Tales from a Metalhead logo

This chapter is part of a book called Tales from a Metalhead written by Metal Express Radio’s President Stig G. Nordahl. The chapters will be posted one at the time and you can find them all here.

The shaped picture disc version.

I have liked W.A.S.P. since the first album came out in 1984. Well, actually I’ve liked them since they released the first single “Animal (F**k Like a Beast)”. It had an aura of mystery and excitement around it, not only because of the title, but also because it was not released in Norway. The single was intended for the self-titled debut album, but it was deemed too controversial, and Capitol Records chose to omit it from the album since they didn’t want to risk the album being banned from major retail chains. This is likely also the reason why the single wasn’t released in Norway. So mail order from Sweden became the solution. As far as I remember, it was advertised frequently on the back of Swedish music magazine OKEJ. Some friends bragged about having the shaped picture disc version of the single illustrated with Blackie’s jockstrap.

Even though the song didn’t make it onto the debut album, it obviously created a lot of buzz around the band. I actually heard their debut album for the first time by coincidence when a classmate gave me a cassette with TNT’s Knights of the New Thunder. That album clocks in at just over 30 minutes so the rest of the tape was filled with W.A.S.P.’s new album. This is a release that still stands solid as a rock. In an interview I did with Blackie, he said that he has demo recordings from those sessions that sound a lot better than what’s on the record. I hope he will release these one beautiful day. The sequel, The Last Command, was also frequently spun on the turntable. Of course, it contains the immortal classic “Blind in Texas” which has been the set closer for most of the W.A.S.P. concerts since the album came out. To me it feels a bit like “Hotel California”; it’s a great song, but I am sick and tired of it.

As mentioned in an earlier chapter, I was looking forward to seeing W.A.S.P. for the first time when they were supporting Iron Maiden on tour in 1986. They never played thanks to the presidency of the municipality of Drammen, where the show took place. This was all due to the press coverage of the band’s previous stage show with naked women, blood and raw meat. “Bloodbath is stopped” was the headline on one of Norway’s national newspapers VG when the band was denied permission to perform. This was the Inside the Electric Circus tour, which was really another era for W.A.S.P. The presidency should have done some research and shown that they had a hint of balls between their legs. We were cheated of what likely would have been a great concert.

The Headless Children with faded autographs.

The next chance I had to see W.A.S.P. on a Norwegian stage was at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo in 1989. This time they toured in support of the Headless Children album. I think this might have been my first concert at Rockefeller, the venue where I’ve probably seen more shows than anywhere else. The band had released a strong album and did a great show. What I remember best is that it was extremely loud. I don’t remember doing an interview at that time, but I recently noticed that I have a signed copy of Headless Children on vinyl. I was probably given some records by the record company to give away to the listeners of my radio show, which I probably did, but hello… of course I had to keep one for myself.

The first time I interviewed Blackie Lawless (as far as I remember) was right after they released the somewhat alternative Kill.Fuck.Die album. I never liked that release. Well, at least not back then. Maybe it’s time to give it another chance. Blackie talked about how they came up with the sound for the record. While visiting a club somewhere in Germany, they heard an industrial song that felt like a punch in the solar plexus. They decided that this was the sound they wanted for their next album. I have discussed the record with Blackie several times and we do not agree. He likes it, I don’t. All due respect to bands that want to try something new though!

In 1998, W.A.S.P. recorded their second live album, called Double Live Assassins. Yes, it is a double album and a very good one too. Ironically it was recorded during the Kill.Fuck.Die tour, but of course they play lots of the classics as well. In the wake of this release I did another interview with Blackie. What I remember best is the response he gave when I asked if he had added more vocals in the studio after the live recording. “The one who says he doesn’t do any overdubs in the studio afterwards is a fucking liar.” I guess I can name a few releases without overdubs actually, but they are older releases.

Blackie also had some interesting reflections on the band’s occasional extreme stage show. I didn’t see them on the Kill.Fuck.Die tour, but I had read that they killed a live piglet. Not sure if that’s true, but that’s just too much for me. I was fine with them taking a fetus out of a nun’s belly though, because that was obviously fake. The fact that the band had such an extreme stage show in the past is kind of strange to think about, given that Blackie has become a born again Christian.

Picture of W.A.S.P
Blackie and Stig. First interview in person.

When the band visited Oslo in 1999 on the Helldorado tour, I did my first in person interview with Blackie. It was a great experience. He is an intelligent, reflective, sincere and well-articulated person who is very interesting to talk to. I mentioned that he had been like a childhood hero, but he stated jokingly that he definitely didn’t want to be responsible for my childhood. This time we took a picture together after the interview. It was the first and last photo I ever took with him. More about it later.

In 2003, W.A.S.P. was playing in Oslo again and I had gotten a backstage pass to make a W.A.S.P. rockumentary with Blackie. He had allocated plenty of time and willingly talked about his entire career as we went through all the records he had released up to that point. The rockumentary is 90 minutes long and is the most popular rockumentary we have done here at Metal Express Radio. It is approaching 90,000 views on YouTube. After the interview, I asked if we could take a picture together to promote the episode. The answer was surprising: “No pictures before I am dressed for stage. I look like dogshit!” Of course, I wasn’t hanging around backstage long enough to take that picture, but it would have been great to have now.

The last time I interviewed Blackie was during the Neon God world tour in 2004. We were discussing the new album. He asked if I thought there were any weak tracks on the album. Clumsily I answered that one of the tracks were very similar to “Sleeping in the Fire” from the first album. He set me straight in a way only he can do (well, he and James Hetfield that is) and made me feel like a fool: “That doesn’t make it a bad song, does it?” Well, of course he was right. I guess I saved the day by saying that the track “Asylum #9” is brilliant. Unsurprisingly Blackie totally agreed to that.

The band has released some strong albums since then. It has been a while now of course. Blackie seems to focus more on the older records on tour. This fall they are visiting Oslo again playing tracks from the first four albums. They quickly sold out the first night so another date was added, and the shows have not been cancelled yet, so that’s great! Maybe it’s time for another interview. It has been a while.

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  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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