From: HOT METAL MAGAZINE (Australia)
Issue: No. 58
Date: December 1993
Author: Val Potter
Title: "R E P R O B A T E S C O R N E R"
WASP may be no more, but frontman Blackie Lawless will never die! Val
Potter has a very *revealing* chat to the heavy metal legend...
Blackie Lawless! Okay, my real name's Steve.
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Staten Island, New York City
Thirty miles north of Los Angeles, in Malibu but in the hills.
I've got 10 acres up there and my nearest neighbours are half a
Level of Education:
Two years of college. I was studying political science.
What did you want to be before you became a musician:
It's what I always wanted to do. My mother says when I was two years
old she'd take me to a store and put me in one of those little carts,
and she's forget something and go to another aisle, and by the time
she came back I'd have people around me and I'd be down on the floor,
doing "Hound Dog" with all the gyrations! She says she should have
known then what I was going to be!
I started playing drums when I was eight, but my parents decided
after three months that I was not going to be a drummer, for obvious
reasons! I started playing guitar and put a little trio together
to play parties. It was the first time I made money, playing music -
$16.35! Little did I know that was a lot more money than I was going
to make for years and years!
I almost got married earlier this year, but it didn't work out
and I would have said her! [laughs] I guess I don't have one; I'm
not as materialistic as I used to be. I used to collect Jaguars
and all kinds of sports cars, and although I still do have them and I
appreciate them and enjoy them, I don't covet them as much as I once
Highlight of your career so far:
Surviving it. Man, I tell ya, I've lived four or five of somebody
else's lifetimes! This business is everything you've heard it is -
and more! It's kinda like The Grateful Dead song, "What a long
strange trip it's been..." I've been doing this for ten years - and
I'm threatening to make a career out of it!
Has any gig been a complete disaster:
Probably the worst one was last year, when we were doing the Monsters
Of Rock tour, and I'd gotten some kind of flu. The doctor saw me on
Wednesday afternoon and the first show was on Saturday, so he says,
"I'm gonna give you something that's gonna kill anything, but it's
gonna get worse before it gets better". Thursday I couldn't even get
out of bed; Friday I was a little better, but not much, and I was
seriously thinking about cancelling us playing. Saturday rolled
around and he was right - I was a little bit better, but it was
bizarre. I walked out on stage, and for the first four songs I didn't
even notice there were people there! At the end of the fourth song,
I picked up my head and thought "Wow - a lot of people have showed
up!" Everything was in slow motion, shrouded in fog. the only thing
I can remember thinking was, "Don't walk off the end of the stage!",
because those festival stages are about fifteen feet high and there's
no rail on 'em! I can't remember anything else, except that the
whole time I was there, I was intense pain. If I never have to go
through anything like that again, it won't break my heart!
Weirdest request from a fan:
I don't think you'd be able to print it! [laughs] Well, probably
a letter I got from a mother who requested to reprint some of the
lyrics from one of my songs on her daughter's headstone.
Has success changed you:
Yeah. In the beginning I prided myself in thinking I had my feet
firmly planted on the ground and I did, in comparison to most, but
even I was not aware of what was ahead. Most people think they
want to become famous, but like the old cliche, it can be a double
edged sword. WASP became a household word, and especially in America
with the PMRC, it got really out of hand for a while. And America
is the kind of place where, if they see someone on TV like the PMRC
telling them I'm the Devil incarnate, there's some lunatics in places
like Arkansas and Alabama, they think they've got to rid the world
of a menace. I got shot at twice, we were having bomb scares at every
show, one of my E-types was tampered with and the left front wheel
flew off after I'd gotten on the freeway, and the FBI had to come in
a couple of times. I was advised not to live by myself and I got tired
of jumping every time a floorboard creaked in the middle of the night.
All of those things have led me to become more of a recluse, so it's
changed me in ways I could never have foreseen. It made me a better
songwriter and there have been parts of it I just couldn't believe,
but there *is* a price to be paid.
Have you ever been arrested:
The first time I was arrested as an adult was in LA, for allegedly
robbing a grocery store. I fit the description of the guy they were
looking for so they took me down and held me for six hours, until lo
and behold, they found out I wasn't the guy they were looking for!
They knew damn good and well I wasn't that character, but they didn't
like the way I looked. Yeah, sure, I stole the asparagus!
(Transcribed by Matthew Bowen, December 1995)
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