Unveils Climactic Conclusion of THE NEON GOD
W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless is quite possibly the busiest man in hard rock currently. Having just completed a nationwide and European tour in support of the first act of the band’s 2004 2-part conceptual opus The Neon God, W.A.S.P. is planning yet another run around the world to support the forthcoming conclusion of said epic entitled The Neon God Part 2: The Demise, which is slated for release through Sanctuary/Metal-Is Records on September 28th.
Produced & mixed during this summer, Blackie was ardent in his mission to make The Neon God Part 2: The Demise as potent and intense as its story dictates, so much so, that he was flying back & forth between venues and his Fort Apache studios in Burbank, CA during the first two weeks of the band’s summer tour! The Neon God addresses a tale of deep emotional quandary and revelation, the intoxication of power and the consequences of corruption. It is a story that everyone has experienced at one time or another - the need to belong, the quest for love, the desire for control, and the futility of vanity. Lawless, forthright and ever evolving as a musician and a human being, drew influence for the album’s concept through extensive observation of the world and numerous soul-searching journeys through the deserts of America’s Southwest. Part 1: The Rise was met with radiant applause, heralded as “compelling” by Metal Edge Magazine, “peerless” and “bombastic” by the Las Vegas Mercury, and Hit Parader Magazine attested that it “rarely ceased to entertain”. LA Weekly embraced the concept with vivid appeal, testifying the album as “a lavalike mountainside flow that pulls you inexorably from track to track.”
Deplorably renowned for his lewd behavior coming up through a music community where ‘excess’ meant ‘success’, Lawless frequently engages in musical endeavors that strip his soul and offer glimpses of the man beneath. In a way, each progressing W.A.S.P. release is another chapter in the uncompromising life of Lawless. With a catalogue spanning nearly 20 years, early titles, such as the self-titled debut and The Last Command represent youth and the indulgence of freedom. Releases like The Crimson Idol, Unholy Terror, and Dying for the World peel the blinders from society’s eyes and reveal humanistic truths and offer foresight into an unwritten future.
Ambitious in design, but no less persuasive than previous work, W.A.S.P. has reached a milestone many years in the making. The powerful, high-emotion story is set to the backdrop of W.A.S.P’s trademark nail-biting, theatrical style, from the guitar and soul-searing vocal performance of Blackie Lawless to the intense percussion work of returning drummer Stet Howland, the bludgeoning bass work of Mike Duda, and the rampaging lead guitar styling of Darrell Roberts.
A second leg of The Neon God World Tour is anticipated to commence in early October, bringing yet another inimitable performance to rabid, music hungry fans, for a W.A.S.P. concerts are no average performances. As Orlando Weekly humbly states, “they know that ‘rock show’ is comprised of two equally important words.”
OFFICIAL W.A.S.P 2004 Bio.
W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless • Frankie Banali • Mike Duda • Darrell Roberts
Why am I here?
That question of describing the compelling fascination of hearing a new W.A.S.P. album likewise serves to define the magnitude of contemplative passion, as narrated by The Neon God. The first of a two-part conceptual album, Part I–The Rise begins to distinguish what will possibly be regarded as the most ambitious work of a prolific career that has distanced an abundance of varied creative expression. Controversy ignited by the reactionary firestorm of “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” prompted Capitol Records to preclude the track from the debut W.A.S.P. album twenty years ago. But the notorious success of that song as an independent single, paired with a visually extreme stage show, would constrictively define the band for its first several years, until the witch hunt of moralist congressional hearings–ultimately masking distinct political ambition–provoked an affirmation of stylistic diversity. That impact was demonstrative as a more conscious lyrical commentary, driven by the intensity of a harder musical edge, resulting in the release of The Headless Children in 1989.
With the curtain of a career defined until then by the salaciousness of songs like “Wild Child” and “L.O.V.E. Machine” pulled back to reveal a greater depth of substantively emotive music, the gamut of The Crimson Idol delineated Biblical arcanum and Shakespearean pageantry to celebrated effect. The introspective aspect of Still Not Black Enough led to the raging anger of Kill Fuck Die, the uneasy allegorical performances of that subsequent tour meant to incite debate over the impending cycle of a Presidential electoral campaign.
The release of Helldorado in 1999 marked a return to the rambunctious spirit of recklessness that categorized the first albums, a suitable respite to antedate the seriousness of the following album. Unholy Terror constituted a topical assessment of misguided supremacy, with certain songs like the title track and “Charisma” proving to be subtly precursory of the themes of The Neon God.
“My intention was to try to create something for the ages,” says vocalist Blackie Lawless about the ponderous undertaking that was already being formulated during the creative process of the Dying For The World album two years earlier. “I wanted something that, twenty years from now, people could still get into.”
Transcending the enormous shadow of The Crimson Idol, regarded by many as the consummate example of a conceptual album, proved to be considerably challenging to the frontman. “From a story point of view, there’s no comparison,” he says, alluding to the inevitable comparisons that will initially be drawn between the two separate projects. “This is War And Peace, versus somebody just reading the preface of the first page,” is his sweeping metaphor for the complexity of ideas wrapped within The Neon God.
From a musical aspect, the eleventh W.A.S.P. studio album stands equally as intense as that of predecessory releases, distinctively interesting as a result of a more divergent use of the subtle elements of his own formative inspiration. “Red Room Of The Rising Sun,” in particular, is a song eagerly described as “a wonderful opportunity to do something that I would never otherwise be able to do–go back and musically visit Haight-Ashbury.”
The necessity of freedom to allow one’s own imagination to visualize different aspects of the story was something about which Blackie was completely conscious. “I was careful not to give it geography,” says the New York native, resulting in an individual interpretation to present a greater impact that words and music alone could achieve. Other songs display different examples of intensity, such as the emotive wail of “What I’ll Never Find,” something the songwriter admits “tore me up when I wrote it.”
Comparatively, tracks like “Asylum #9” resonate with an expected forcefulness that is categorically W.A.S.P. “The song kicks ass,” Blackie laughs. But the anguish of “The Raging Storm” was the song admittedly hardest to write of the fourteen tracks. “I went to the studio and spent twelve hours a day by myself,” he says, explaining a painstaking process of “just crafting one line, then stopping and looking at it.” Lyrically written on multiple levels as representative of both individual perspective and societal collectivism, the symbolism of The Neon God is immense, with conflict between narcissism and conscience being a fundamental statement.
“What does it take to create a monster?” Blackie asks rhetorically, the resolution of that question being a large focus of the first disc of The Neon God, with regard to a namesake character derivative of the same perverse charisma as that of David Koresh or Jim Jones. “Where does somebody have to get tweaked–and how often–to turn them into something that can potentially be this?” That psychological elaboration fuels a character to dangerous proportion within his own mind. “What takes this character further than other cult leaders,” he explains, is the messianism that “he actually believes, at times.”
“In my mind,” he continues, “I saw something very similar to the Manson family, or what Hitler had done with the Brown Shirts,” he allows, describing those situations of charismatic power inadvertently developed to a far greater degree than any initial intention.
Meant to be indicative of the commonality of the human psyche that questions its own necessity of purpose, the instigational intent of The Neon God is a challenge of introspection within an ambiance of the societal conception of its own false messiahs. Opening one’s mind reveals The Neon God to be the story of a focal character as a euphemism for individual humanity.
Do you believe?
Part One of THE
W.A.S.P. The name is legend, having become associated with such controversial and mind numbing releases as The Headless Children, The Crimson Idol, K.F.D., Unholy Terror, and the notorious self-titled debut. April 6, 2004 will see the band evolve further with The Neon God: Part One The Rise, a conceptual rock opera that explores the tragedy and consequences of one boys search for acceptance and purpose in his existence.
Opening with the line, Oh tell me my lord, why am I here?, The Neon God delves into such deeply emotional (and personal) inquiries, such as where does one fit into the great cosmic enigma? How does love fit into the equation? Should I use my gifts and talents for good or for evil? These are the primary thoughts all people have regarding their existence at one time or another. When addressed by a youth and coupled with an extreme dose of fear, a lethal combination develops.
Part One The Rise tells the story of an abused and orphaned boy who finds that he has the ability to read and manipulate people. By utilizing his gifts, he is able to build a following whose devotion and allegiance create a loyalty so intense that he is poised to become a dark Messiah for the 21st Century. The tracklisting includes:
Part 2 of The Neon God story will be released by Sanctuary/Metal-Is Records over the summer and will complete the awe-inspiring and jaw dropping story.
Over the years, W.A.S.P. have created some of the most controversial and thought-provoking records in the history of metal. The Neon God is a labor of love for the band, an album that Blackie Lawless has talked about making for years. The Neon God is the next evolution in the musical beast that is W.A.S.P