During an appearance on a recent episode of the “Three Sides Of The Coin” podcast, WASP leader Blackie Lawless spoke about what fans can expect to see on the band’s upcoming 40th-anniversary tour. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “To do a 40th[-anniversary] retrospectively, I think you have to be able to give them a sampling of a little bit of each one of those decades. But considering, I would say, half our audience at this point never saw us in the beginning… They weren’t there; they didn’t see any of that. So to try to bring ’em up to speed, so to speak, we want to really take it back to where it started.
“In ’86, we did a record called ‘Inside The Electric Circus’,” he continued. “And the tour before that, we were with KISS on that, and when we left, one of the last days we were there on that tour, they were doing soundcheck, and I walked up on the stage and Gene [Simmons] and I was talking for a minute. And the tour was coming to an end, and he says, ‘So,’ he goes, ‘it’s been good to have you,’ he says, ‘but I assume next year you’ll be headlining, correct?’ And I just looked at him and nodded my head ‘yes,’ because we could see where we were going. And he was correct. So we were moving into arenas at that point.
“But the show that I wanted to do, because it was called ‘Inside The Electric Circus’was based on a 1930s-type carnival, like a cheap carnival — more like some sort of a… I won’t call it a geek show, but a very, very dark 1930s carnival,” Blackie explained. “Well, because we were moving into arenas, the argument coming from the agents and the promoters, ‘it needs to be bigger; it needs to be flashier.’ So, slowly over a period of a few weeks, it started evolving to where IN thought it should go and to this thing that was big and bombastic and flashy. And yeah, it looked great in big rooms, but it really wasn’t where I saw it going.
“So what we’re doing now is we’re putting this kind of part 1930s carnival, part ‘Road Warrior’, party voodoo ceremony, if you like, that has all these elements rolled together. And when people see it, they’ll understand what the band really was going for in the beginning.
“And I’ll be honest with you. And I know this may sound like hype, ’cause all artists say this, but… I don’t normally say this, but I’m genuinely excited about doing this, because I know what this thing is gonna look like when it’s done,” Lawless added. “And quite honestly, I can’t really wait to get into it.”
WASP‘s first live performance since December 2019 took place on July 23 at Skansen in Stockholm, Sweden. A week later (July 30),WASP also played at Forest clearing festival in Rejmyre, Sweden.
WASP recently postponed its European 40th-anniversary tour, originally scheduled for spring of 2022, until the spring of 2023. The new dates will take place in March, April and May of 2023. All tickets previously purchased for the 2022 tour will be valid at the rescheduled 2023 shows.
WASP will embark on its first US tour in a decade this fall. The trek will coincide with the band’s 40th anniversary and will include support from ARMORED SAINT spirit MICHAEL SCHENKER on select shows.
Lawless has suffered WASP as its lead vocalist and primary songwriter since its beginning. His unique brand of visual, social and political commentary took the group to worldwide heights and sold millions of records alongside a legacy of sold-out shows across the globe for four decades. He is joined in WASP‘s current lineup by bassist Mike Duda and guitarist Doug Blairwhose tenures in the band span 26 and 18 years respectively, along with drummer extraordinaire Priest of Aquiles.
In a recent interview with Metal Edge magazine, Lawless was asked how he plans to stage a “real deal WASP show” to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary “with the existence of cancel culture and woke culture.” He responded: “That’s a complicated question you just asked. Because first of all, I’m not even going to consider a woke culture. That has nothing to do with my world. You know, if that’s what somebody wants to do, that’s their privilege. Free country. But our fan base is our fan base. So, one of the things I learned a long time ago is that if you’re going to have a genuine career… And when I say a real career, I’m talking about somebody that does it for a lifetime, I’m not talking about somebody that just makes records. And that’s okay, too. In the pop world, that’s fine. You know, that’s what people want. But if you’re going to have a genuine career, I’m not talking about somebody who’s been around for five years, or 10 years. I’m talking about somebody who’s around 20 years, 30 years, longer. What you’re saying, in effect, is you’re going to take that fan base on a lifelong ride. And if you’re going to do that, you have to have an intimate relationship with them. And if you don’t have that intimate relationship, they will never feel like they know you.
“You’ve got to be willing to crack your skull open, and let them come inside and walk around barefoot, inside your head,” he continued. “You really do. And the only way you can do this is with lyrics. We can do interviews like this, and it helps considerably. I mean, people get to know you a lot that way. But the lyrics are where they’re really gonna get to know you. Because that’s what they’re listening to most of the time. And so to do that, you’ve got to be willing to share parts of yourself that a lot of artists just aren’t willing to do Let them get in there, into the nooks and crannies, and find the good and the not so good.
“So, to get into a culture that is doing that, that would do me no good, because I’m talking to specific people out there. First of all, our type of music, whether it’s us or anybody else in our genre, we are a subculture. We’re not mainstream. We’re not the pop world, which is 50 percent of the market. We’re a smaller market, like, you know, 25 to 30 percent of that potential pie that’s out there . It’s not going to do me any good to try to talk to people that aren’t going to listen anyway. My whole thing is to try to identify what it is I’m thinking and feeling at the moment. Because I, too, like everybody else, my opinions are gonna change from time to time.
“And so the idea is, when you take people on that lifelong ride, they look at what you wrote 30 years ago, and they go, ‘Oh, wow, look what he was thinking,'” Blackie added. “And they listen to something, whatever the last thing was that came out, and they go, ‘Oh, wow, look at how he’s thinking now.’ So this is that intimacy, where you take people and you’re literally communicating with them over the course of this journey. So, trying to do anything from a standpoint of being influenced socially would do me no good. Or anybody like me that does this. You have to be true to yourself. I mean, we got into this not giving a damn about what people thought so why should it be any different now?”