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Shane’s Music Challenge: W.A.S.P. – 1984 – W.A.S.P.

| 17 January 2014

W.A.S.P. – 1984 – W.A.S.P.

WASP - WASP Cover

By the time I saw W.A.S.P.’s 7 inch single Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) in the record store in 1984, I was a fully fledged headbanger, to the exclusion of much else.

As an aside, this was a pretty self defeatist stance, as not many heavy metal bands made it to Perth, aka The World’s Most Isolated Regional Capital City, in those days. Mind you, metal then didn’t mean what metal now means. Bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and WASP now might as well be thought of as hard or heavy rock compared to the extreme bands that now claim to be the driving front line of heavy metal. Don’t even get me started on what ‘Rock’ is supposed to mean nowadays – that’s a conversation for another day…

WASP - Animal (F--- Like A Beast) single cover

Anyway, there was the picture sleeve of this single, perfectly aimed to pique the interest of all teenage virgin males around the Western world, and for me it did it’s job perfectly. A close-up of singer Blackie Lawless’s infamous codpiece (no, it wasn’t exciting in THAT way) – which sported a circular saw blade emanating from his crotch – all splattered with blood, and a song title containing a particularly naughty F-word (albeit in brackets and asterixed out on the cover). This was a MUST HAVE!

The song did not disappoint either, and nor did the self-titled album which came hot on its heels, sporting a cover of Lawless & Co’s malevolence in a torturistic futurescape – which along with the song lyrics were a rampant source of fascination for those of us who, at this stage, had only dreamt of what exactly went on once you got a young lady naked and alone. (Hey – back off, I was a YOUNG 18, naïve, and both porn and willing ladies were a LOT harder to find!)

Along with faux torture of pretty, lingerie-clad rock sluts, W.A.S.P. used to throw raw meat into the crowd at their shows, and guitarist Chris Holmes was pretty much a degenerate alcoholic, as evidenced by his star turn in front of his ever-less-proud Mum in a swimming pool in the movie The Decline Of Western Civilisation: The Metal Years. Lawless went on to make some out there near-prog concept albums (not sure I’m looking forward to listening to all of them, but we gotta take the good with the bad!) and loudly declare he’d like to run for Governor or President. He didn’t though.

Lawless and W.A.S.P. will always be remembered as one of the original Filthy 15, the list of the 15 “most objectional” songs, according to the PMRC. This list gave him immense publicity, which you can’t find objectionable at all, and in actual fact only Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) and the Satanic references in the included Venom and Mercyful Fate tracks come close to being ACTUALLY offensive (to some). I mean – Prince, Sheena Easton, Cyndi Lauper, Def Leppard?!?! Unsurprisingly, no-one listening to ANY of these songs accelerated the actual decline of Western civilisation!

I never did get a circular saw codpiece of my own though…

Favourite tracks – The album didn’t include Animal (Fuck Like A Beast), but it’s restored here on the Remastered version of the CD, alongside such classics of the emerging hair metal scene as the positive, life affirming, get-out-and-make-something-of-yourself chest-beater I Wanna Be Somebody, L.O.V.E. Machine and the slow burning epic Sleeping (In The Fire).

8/10

Shane

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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