Blackie Lawless: ‘Obama Reminded Me Of Hitler’
W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless gained notoriety in the 1980s for throwing raw meat at his suitably rabid fans, and for stage shows featuring semi-naked women on torture racks.
His best-known songs include Fuck Like A Beast, Wild Child and L.O.V.E. Machine. But overtly sexist topics have been on the back-burner for a number of years now, as Blackie increasingly explores a socio-political agenda.
W.A.S.P.’s upcoming new album, Babylon, is themed around biblical visions of the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse – because Blackie reckons “our so-called world leaders are on a mission to march people straight into hell”.
Highlights from an interview with Classic Rock’s Geoff Barton follow…
GB: You wrote the songs on Babylon while the world was experiencing a global financial meltdown.
BL: It’s no secret that I wasn’t Bush fan, neither Bush No.1 nor Bush No.2. In general, I don’t trust politicians. But when this supposed global meltdown was happening a year ago and I saw all these world leaders calling for a one-world government, a one-world system and a one-world currency, I thought to myself: “They gotta be kidding.” I mean, do these guys understand what they’re talking about? I don’t think that they do.
GB: We’ve got a taste that over in the UK already. A lot of our important political decisions are made by bureaucrats in Brussels.
BL: For somebody who’s been an honorary Brit now for 25-plus years, it breaks my heart, honestly, to watch what’s going on over there. I was thinking this morning about The Kinks’ song [Living On A Thin Line] where the lyrics go: ‘All the stories have been told/Of kings and days of old/But there’s no England now.’ And I thought to myself: “Where was the precise moment when it took that turn?” It’s not how it used to be. When did it become so socialised? It’s unrecognisable.
GB: You could say it’s been years of attrition.
BL: It certainly would have been. And that pains me because I’ve always had a real fondness for your place. You look at some of the stuff that comes out of your country now and I grit my teeth.
GB: What sort of stuff makes you grit your teeth?
BL: The whole Lockerbie situation. Freeing that Libyan bomber was a despicable act. Plus, as I say, you look at how it’s been socialised. I was watching a TV programme the other day. It was a British kid here in the US. The interviewer asked him: “What did you come here for?” The kid said: “I wanted to start a small business and I couldn’t do that in the UK.” There’s no help from the government. You can’t get a bank loan. There’s no incentive to get anything done. Those days are gone. I thought to myself: “Is this where America’s going?” It really hurts me to watch your country go that way. The pride factor has gone.
GB: You were a supporter of John McCain during the US presidential election campaign.
BL: By default.
GB: So, how are you finding life under Barack Obama?
BL: I was very, very critical of Obama during the campaign. I wrote a long letter and I sent it out to all the press the night before the election. I pulled no punches with this guy because I had really done quite a bit of research on him while the election was going on.
He’s one of these old-time 60s radicals from way back. He thinks he’s going to change the world and he’s hell-bent on doing that. When he stood there the night of the nomination and he said that he intended on “fundamentally changing” America – a chill ran down my back. Thousands of people were just standing there, wildly applauding, and it reminded me of Hitler standing on the steps of the Reichstag.
I thought: “These people don’t understand what this man is talking about, what his true intentions are, and how he is going to go about doing this.” This man, like I said, is straight out of the 60s school of radicalism where he thinks he’s going to be Robin Hood and rob from the rich to give to the poor.
I subscribe to the theory: if you work, you eat. And if you don’t, you don’t. It’s really no more complicated than that. Do we want to be compassionate? Yes. Do we want to help each other as best we can? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that I bust my hump to create something and somebody comes along and decides that I can’t keep that anymore. That’s not what either one of our countries was really built on.
* Babylon, the new album from W.A.S.P., is released on October 12.