THE COMEBACK OF W.A.S.P.
80s Heavy Metal Band On Successful 40th-Anniversary World Tour
By John Maturo
Heavy Metal is a music genre that has evolved for ages dating back to the early 1960s. It has a cult following where both young and older fans can come together. The 1980s was a golden era for the genre and introduced the world to many great bands and artists. One of these bands that came out of the metal scene fresh off the sunset strip in Los Angeles, California, was a band called W.A.S.P.
W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 with Blackie Lawless, the founder and leader of the band. They emerged from the early 1980s Los Angeles heavy metal scene with other famous bands such as Motley Crue, Van Halen, and Ratt. The band’s popularity peaked that decade, and they were ready to take over the music world. Their shock rock value and themed image and lyrics made parents and critics dislike the band while making the youth of their time love them. Having that controversy on their shoulder made W.A.S.P. the prime target of the Parents Music Resource Center, an organization that pushed for warning labels on recorded music. As time passed, so did the decline in the music genre and sales for the band. Eventually, by 2010 the band wasn’t touring in the states anymore because promoters did not believe they would sell out shows; therefore, they only toured in parts of Europe.
It wouldn’t be for another 12 years until the band announced a 40th-anniversary world tour to promote the anniversary. The band presented a different lineup of musicians except for founder and frontman Blackie Lawless, who is the star of the show. Promoters were initially concerned about ticket sales in the states because the band contained only one of the original members, but they soon found out how wrong they were.
When W.A.S.P. embarked on the U.S. segment of their world tour, almost every show throughout the United States was sold-out. Audiences had positive feedback on the band, and their performances during the show gave every customer their money’s worth. I was fortunate to attend their November 17th show at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey. Entering the theater was challenging because of the large crowd. Fortunately, I got to the front of the stage to watch the entire show as closely as possible.
The overall show was amazing. The crowd was pleased to see the return of W.A.S.P. with Blackie Lawless and the band bringing the same energy they had 40 years before. Concertgoer, Joanna Posillico, shared with me her take on W.A.S.P.’s return, saying she “was so happy on W.A.S.P.’s return to the states. They’re one of my favorite bands, and I’m happy that I can say I saw them once in my life.”
After the show, Luis Valdiviat told me about his meeting with frontman Blackie Lawless. “It was a mind-blowing performance. I’m still shaking from the encore. It’s great to know that they still got it after all these years, and I was also very fortunate to pay extra on my ticket for the meet and greet and got to meet Blackie himself. He’s a really nice guy, and I would love to meet him again.”
W.A.S.P. ended the U.S. leg of its tour on December 9th in their home state of California and is back on the road in Europe to kick off 2023.