MTV Europe, Headbangers Ball WASP special
Location: Nottingham Rock City, UK
Date: 7 February '97
Blackie and Chris were interviewed by HBB's Vanessa Warwick
Vanessa: Just to start off with, you've been playing some shows in Europe, how have things been going? Everything looking good?
Blackie: Well, we're doing a seven show "pep rally" (?), effectively is what it boils down to, because as you mentioned the album's out on March 24th, and Chris and I have not played together in public for seven years, so we decided to come and give everybody a teaser before we do the real tour in the next couple of months.
Vanessa: Well you're certainly creating a buzz, everybody's talking about the WASP show, which I guess is exactly what you want?
Chris: (makes a bzzz sound and mumbles something about creating a buzz all the time)
Vanessa: (to Blackie) You mentioned that it's the first time you've played together in seven years, and I know that there was no love lost between you and Chris for quite a while and I was just wondering who made the first move to get back together, was there any kind of catalyst, or what happened?
Blackie: Well, to be honest, it wasn't like a situation of "love being lost", it was...our lives went in different directions and... I came over here and I did a promotional tour about a year and a half ago for the album "Still Not Black Enough" and... the one thing I kept hearing from the press over and over again at the end of every interview was "Blackie, please go do a show again, please go do a show again" and I'm thinking to myself, these guys must be bored out of their minds because there's nothing going on in the rock world right now, so what the press didn't know is I was already within an eyelash (?) of wanting to do that so that was the push that I needed...so when I went home in August of '95 I called him (motions to Chris) within a week of being home, and it was interesting because you never know, when you don't talk to someone for six years you don't know what they're gonna react like, you don't know if they're gonna tell you to screw yourselves or whatever, and I was actually nervous when I called him...and, I called him up, and like I said we hadn't spoken for six years but it was amazing, we talked for about 30 minutes, and it was like we hadn't spoken in a day, you know we picked up right where we left off so...
Vanessa: That is the sign of a good friendship.
Blackie: ...well, yeah, there's been a lot of water under the bridge, like I said both our lives went in separate directions, and it was never really a hostile split, it just...you wake up one day, and...it's like any other kind of marriage that ends up in divorce, you grow, but you start to grow in different directions and you wake up one day and you go "how'd I get here" and you don't know that.
Vanessa: Well, you found the answer to that...anyway, you're back together again, and who else is in the band, Chris, tell us the musicians?
Chris: There's Mike Doda (sp?) on bass, he's an LA musician that we kinda picked up from Skid Row (huh?), and the drummer's Stet Howland, he played on "The Crimson Idol" with Blackie, played on "Still Ain't Black Enough"...
Blackie: "Still Not Black Enough". He's not like, you know, a newcomer to the situation, he actually toured with us in '92.
(live: "On Your Knees" / "I Don't Need No Doctor")
Vanessa: What was it like when you went back into the studio, did the chemistry immediately...(at this point the sound cut off)
Blackie: Well, the way that him and I work, is I keep him from going too far one direction, he keeps me from going too far the other direction, that's the reason the two albums I made on my own are effectively solo albums, that's why when the two of us work together there's some sort of a wacky chemistry that makes it sound like the quintessential WASP and...for the first eight months we kept this whole thing a secret, we had to lie to a lot of people 'cause people were calling us, friends of ours and they're going, "You two guys working together again?" and we'll go "Nope!" and a week will go by and they'll call me back, "You sure you're not working together again?" and I'll go "Nope!" because, reason we couldn't let it out, is if we'd have done that too soon, it wouldn't have had any impact, we got ready to do these shows, so we had to lie to a lot of people for a long time, but we were working, basically, he's got a small studio down at his house, and we would work down there and we would write ideas and every few days he'd come back up with new improved versions of the things we had done, so it's a concentration (?), a situation of him and I put together.
Vanessa: Would you describe it as a concept record or would you say more that the whole thing, that the live show, and the album artwork, and the album itself, that's all a big concept?
Blackie: What we...it's not a concept album per se, but what we always did in the beginning was try to package everything as if it was one complete unit, in other words where you can't differentiate the difference between the live show and what the album is, and the packaging and all the marketing that goes behind it, it should be...one gigantic extension of each other...you know, and that's what we're trying to do again now.
Vanessa: I'm sure you know that a certain Mr. Marilyn Manson is a big fan of yours, you played at his party in Los Angeles, did you? (WASP was supposed to play at Manson's after show party)
Blackie: No, we were going to, they requested that we did but we just didn't have time...matter of fact, we were on our way to Spain when they were actually playing LA so there was just no time to do it.
Vanessa: The album and the live show is very politically incorrect...
Vanessa: Yes. And I want to know why did you feel the need to be so shocking and what do you hope to achieve from it?
Blackie: Within a week of him and I getting back together the one thing we determined was that if we were gonna do this again we did _not_ want to be a trip down memory lane. We felt that if the movie "The Exorcist" scared people 20 years ago, (it) won't scare people now. The WASP show of 12 years ago won't scare people now. If we were gonna come back and we were gonna do that...or do _this_ show, in this decade, we were gonna have to be the nastiest, the stinkiest, most vile band on this planet. And with the show that you're getting ready to see up here tonight, I think we're hitting the bullseye.
Vanessa: The lyrics deal with murder, suicide, unpleasant deaths and sex. I just wondered, where did the inspiration for those come from, I wondered if perhaps like some films and stuff?
Blackie: The whole thing started with the movie "Apocalypse Now", and the finale on this record is a song called "The Horror", and it's specifically the part in the film where Marlon Brando is talking to Martin Sheen when they're in the cave at the end and he's explaining to him what that trip of insanity is, that dark space that all humans have, and so that was the basic inspiration for that song, but...we had three little words in it - Kill, fuck, die - didn't make sense. Sounded good, but didn't make sense, didn't know what to do with it, so...we thought, we're on to something here, why don't we try this again in another song. So we wrote the spinoff, which eventually became the title track "Kill Fuck Die", but it still didn't make sense in of itself (?), we had to have something that made sense for it, so in writing that song I came up with a line in the chorus that said "that's all you get from life, kill, fuck, die, that's all you get from life" and when I had that I went "Yes, thank you, I have an anthem for the nineties."
Vanessa: So a little bit of a different outlook to "birth, school, work, death". Chris, do you think this record is going to appeal to all WASP fans? Do you think the older fans from, like, eight-nine years ago, are they gonna be able to swallow it?
Chris: I think they gotta listen to it for about three or four times and they'll start swallowing it...it's like the first album, it's not like "The Headless Children", it's more fast, the drums are kickin' ass...doesn't slow down, it's like grabbing on to a tornado and letting it go, you know, where it goes...
Vanessa: The live show, then. You, um, debase women...
Vanessa: ...I believe that you rape a nun with a knife?
Blackie: Well, nun, yeah, a nun's kinda...
Chris: Nuns are different from women, aren't they?
Blackie: They're in a different category...well, you know what it is, it's...like I said, we didn't wanna be a trip down memory lane, we said if we're gonna do this, it's gonna be intense. We're not doing anything that you're not seeing on TV as it is...
Vanessa: That's pretty sick. Do you debase yourselves?
Blackie: (starts to laugh) Well look at me now, you know it's not like, this isn't exactly 10 Downing Street (Britain's Prime Minister's address), now is it...of course it might be..!
Blackie: Like I said, we didn't wanna do anything that was a trip down memory lane...and the way it happened was, when we were writing the songs at Chris' house, he would come back every couple of days and he's, you know, he's using a drum machine to write this stuff, and he's a guitar player, he's not a drummer, he thinks like a guitar player, you know so he'd come back, with all these whacked out riffs and he goes "What do you think about this, this is radical, isn't it", and I go "I don't know about this, this is pretty out there" but the more I started listening to it I thought yes, this is what we need to do. And by comparison, I know that there are some fans out there when they're first gonna hear this record they're gonna go "Wow, what is this?" but...I don't know if this is the best record we've ever made, but I know, without question...it's the most intense record that we have ever made, and it may take people a few listens to grasp what this is all about but we feel that we've made the right record for right now.
Vanessa: Chris, you know people have been saying that it's great to see WASP back at their kind of bloody roots, are you feeling as excited about this record as you did about some of the earlier WASP records as well?
Chris: Well, kind of...I haven't been playing for about six years so it's more of a quest than excitement for me. The vibe is, I just enjoy the shows each night...each kids are different, you know (?)
Vanessa: What are your plans for '97 then, Blackie, do you think this is gonna really catch on and really take off in Europe or do you feel that there's gonna be a market there for you in the USA as well with what you're doing?
Blackie: Well they'd better do good 'cause we've morgaged everything to make this happen so (laughs)...you know, when I left here last time, everybody kept pushing me, and I'm thinking "God, these guys must be bored to death" and then I went home and I thought, you know, it just feels right. I remember what it felt like in '82 and '83, the difference being between then and now is then it was localised to Los Angeles, this time it's a global situation...but I do feel like something is happening again, I don't know just what and I don't know how far this is gonna go, our plan for '97 is we're gonna do two passes of America and two passes of Europe, and one of the Orient, and then make another record next year, but as far as how big any kind of metal movement is gonna get, I don't know that. One thing I do know is that when you compare what's happening now to what happened ten years ago, the 90's have done to the 80's what the 60's did to the 50's...and there's a lot of people that think traditional metal is coming back - I've got my doubts about that. I think, what it is right now, the bands that are out there - Tool, Rage Against The Machine, all that kind of stuff...I mean, that's some intense stuff. It pales the 80's by comparison. Those people, that are waiting for traditional 80's music to come back, I think they're gonna be waiting a long time.
Vanessa: So I guess, just to finish then, Kill Fuck Die sums up the 90's, the situation of the 90's?
Blackie: If we wrote "I Wanna Be Somebody" in the 80's, this is that exact reflection ten years later.
Vanessa: Is there anything you'd like to say to people watching out there in Europe? Any message?
Blackie: We've had some unbelievably dedicated fans for a long time, and I know you guys have wanted to see the two of us work together. Now you get your wish, we'll see you this year!
(live: "Wild Child")
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