One of the things that I love doing with these Music Milestones is to not only celebrate the longevity of these albums but also get to showcase the ones that were so instrumental in my own Metal upbringing. Such is the case found in the realization that W.A.S.P.’s self-titled debut album had reached its thirtieth anniversary today.
My own personal music journey into what W.A.S.P. was all about was based upon first reading about them in one of the popular music publications of the time. I think it might have actually been Hit Parader based on their having an up and coming sort of column but my memory is slightly faded on whether it was this or Circus. At the time I rarely read anything other than those two magazines. Anyway, they were described as being even wilder than Motley Crue who I was really enjoying and to outdo them seemed to be something that I needed to indulge in. During my lunch breaks I used to walk up to Park Row in Manhattan to hit both J&R Music World and a smaller place called Bondy’s. It was in Bondy’s that I first caught site of the bands EP “Animal, F**k Like A Beast” and I grabbed it. Once home and blasting it to my parent’s dismay, I could not wait for more from this really aggressive and over the top obnoxious Metal band. My fellow fans and I would get the chance when this album was released and while I don’t recall purchasing this on the actual day, it was not long afterward that I would own it and blast it at high volumes. For those new to the program, W.A.S.P. was founded and fronted by their at the time bassist Blackie Lawless who also did all the lead vocals. On guitars we had both Randy Piper and Chris Holmes while Tony Richards pounded the drums. Lawless was the writer on a majority of the tunes on the debut with the exception of “The Flame” and “The Torture Never Stops” that found Holmes being a major contributor.
It was without question that I loved this album from the moment that I first played it and since there was no Facebook, Twitter or even a public Internet back in these bygone days I can lay claim to a large group of my friends first hearing of W.A.S.P. thanks to me. As a hoping to be famous one day musician at the time I learned the whole album on the drums and even made one of my bands do “I Wanna Be Somebody” with me singing it. Oh yes, and my drum set had two buzz saw blades on the front of the bass drums. They would spin as I pounded out the bottom beat during songs and they were the real deal blades and super sharp which my roadies could attest to and I even had one positioned like a bell on the top of my X-Hat device. So you get the picture that the band was influential to me from this I hope. Tha band finally made their way over to my neck of the woods as the direct support for Metallica who were supporting their recently released “Ride The Lightning” album. I’ll get back to that story in a moment because I wanted to say which songs were my very favorites of them all. These would begin with the first three off the release (“I Wanna Be Somebody”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “The Flame”)and then skip over to “School Daze”, “Hellion”, “Sleeping In The Fire” and “On Your Knees”. The three that I left out were good tunes to me but nowhere near my being my favorite. What are your own favorites off of this release? You can tell me in the comments later and I cannot wait to hear what you think of this album since it has remained a very favorite. I even played it while I was writing this little milestone for you.
1. I Wanna Be Somebody
2. L.O.V.E. Machine
3. The Flame
5. School Daze
7. Sleeping (In the Fire)
8. On Your Knees
10. The Torture Never Stops
Oh yes, I promised you some show reporting. So Metallica was headlining two or three shows at L’Amour for “RTL” and W.A.S.P. was supporting the debut. Their stage had two giant skulls on it and was covered in smoke before the band appeared in the middle of it. I was close to the front and considering Blackie’s height, was quite imposing. I was sold and now a lifer as the term applies. Since that time I have continued to support W.A.S.P. until today and have stood behind them through several great releases and lineup changes. For those who might still need this must have release, in 1998 the album was re-issued with the whole remastered treatment of the time and gave us the full original album along with several bonus tracks that I was already loving thanks to EP’s and singles that were par for the course during the bands original heyday. These tracks included “Animal, F**k Like A Beast”, “Show No Mercy” and their excellent cover of the Rolling Stones classic “Paint It Black”.
Below you’ll find a code that will take you to the 2006 remastered edition of the album.
PS: I raised the Metal horns to the 30th Anniversary of “Ride The Lightning” here on the website as well and you can check that out by clicking the link: http://piercingmetal.com/metallicas-ride-the-lightning-striking-hard-at-30-years-1984-2014/