Friday, October 14, 2016

Rocktober Deep Cut Artist #10: W.A.S.P.

For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.

Band or artist:  W.A.S.P.
Where from:  USA (Los Angeles)
Years active: 1982-present
Number of studio albums:  15
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100:  N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200:  Headless Children (#48)

W.A.S.P. is one of those '80s Sunset Strip bands that had a pretty decent amount of success, but never quite crossed over to mainstream audiences.  That's probably not a coincidence, as the band's live shows were legendarily raucous and raunchy, with semi-nude women and raw meat being thrown into the audience. Frontman Blackie Lawless was known to wear a codpiece that had a saw blade on it.  Seems like that would benefit no one, sexually anyway.

W.A.S.P. is probably best known for two things.  First, in 1985, Tipper Gore and the PMRC put the W.A.S.P. song "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" on the group's "Filthy Fifteen" –- a list of songs the Washington-based morality group believed were harmful to America's youth.  The song is great, and it's my ringtone.  Fuck the PMRC.  Second, guitarist Chris Holmes gave us probably the most memorable moment in the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization II:  The Metal Years.  Holmes was interviewed by documentarian Penelope Spheeris while he sat in his pool, fully clothed, completely shitfaced, chugging vodka -- with his mom sitting on the side of the pool.  It was a poignant moment and showed the darker side of the rock and roll lifestyle.

The band has continued to make music over the past 30 years, although Lawless is the only original member left in the band.  The song I'm going with is "I Wanna Be Somebody," which is the first song off of their self-titled debut album.  It was also the band's first video.  The song is a solid hard rock song, and garnered enough love in the metal community that it was ranked #84 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs countdown a few years ago.  I can't think of a more appropriate message/anthem to represent the Sunset Strip in the '80s, where everyone was trying to be somebody (and soon).

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