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W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless 'I Had Eight Epidurals To Get Me Through Last Tour'

Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon of The Metal Voice recently spoke to Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. in a multi part interview

In part 1 Blackie Lawless gives a detailed health update and talks about the new W.A.S.P. Box set 'The 7 Savage: 1984-1992' deluxe 8LP their 'Capitol Years',

Photo by Perrin Wolfson

Watch Part 1 here

When asked about his current health situation

"It's been a long long road. You know when you start dealing with compound injuries which I mean I've had over the years doing what we do, it's fairly common. I've had the same orthopedic guy for over 30 years and I'm not joking. At the end of every tour I crawl up on his table and say fix me. Any band that does a lot on stage that you know, runs around, is pretty active. Any band, any athlete, any dancer you're all gonna have injuries and it happens and this is just part of it. But it's the first time I've had a compound situation like this and it's been an eye opening experience and it's been a struggle there's no two ways about it. But I've got probably the best people in the country working on me and I don't say that lightly. I mean these guys they're fantastic and we're getting where we need to go. So all things considered we're doing good."


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When asked if he sees himself back at it in 12 months

"Less. The pace they've got me on right now, well let's put it this way. They (doctors) tell me they're thrilled. I mean, I get frustrated because I want to run literally before I'm able to do it and there's things that I want to do that I ask them can we accelerate this? And they just shake their head, no you're not ready for that yet. And it's like I'm chomping at the bit to go and it's like no they're telling me no, you got to stay with the program here and you'll get you'll get where you want to go just trust us. "

"I've had two surgeries and the first one was in mid August and then the second one was two weeks later. So then you have a preliminary healing period you have to go through, which is about four weeks and then you go into physical therapy and then that's when the real fun begins. I don't know of any other way to put it but anybody that's ever been through serious rehab before it's challenging. I've been a gym rat my whole life. I've constantly lived in a gym. But there's a difference between doing this and doing what you do in a gym because when you're in a gym you're usually concentrating on repetitions, this is not that. This is a combination of Yoga, Pilates and what you would normally do in a gym and the movements are considerably slower and it's designed to target specific muscles. You've heard the expression you're using muscles you didn't even know you have, that is really what this is."

When asked about trying to finish the last 40th anniversary tour, in pain

"The first thing that happened was I was doing or seeing chiropractors and they were literally coming to the shows. To give you the full scope of it 10 years ago I broke my right femur. I broke it really badly, I got knocked out of the back of a truck and fell into a pile of bricks and it was like falling into jagged knives and the femur snapped on the right side about two inches below the hip and it split lengthwise all the way down to the knee. I mean it was a nasty nasty break. I've got an 18 inch titanium rod in there right now that is going to be with me for the duration. Problem was it took about a year for that to heal. I wore a quarter of an inch van inch lift in my left or excuse me in my right shoe for nine years after that. Well we went and did a CT scan last summer and the two legs were less than a millimeter of difference from each other so it was determined I didn't need that lift anymore. So on a doctor's advice I took that lift out which was a major mistake because what had happened in those nine years the body will compensate for anything foreign that you tried to use it to make adjustments with and in this case my pelvis rotated forward from wearing that lift. And then when I took the lift out, the body didn't know what to do and it's trying to readjust and so what it did is my back kept going out and I'm seeing chiropractors for it. We get to Madrid in Spain and I get a chiropractor that comes in and this kid was I mean he was unbelievably strong . Honestly I thought a gorilla had all of me and he didn't speak any English. I'm trying to get this kid to stop and I'm literally, I had to start fighting him to get him to lay off. He ruptured one of the discs in my back and so now I'd never had a ruptured disc before and I didn't know what nerve pain was about. I'd heard about it but until you've gone through it you can't imagine what it's like. And the pain goes from your lower back all the way down your leg into your ankle. The best way I could describe it would be to imagine the worst tooth ache you've ever had but it goes all the way from your lower back down your leg into your ankle and you can't get it to stop and it's just excruciating beyond belief. So we found another Sports Medicine place in Berlin (Germany) and they started treating me and they started giving me epidurals over the course of the tour. I had eight epidurals to get me through that tour but they recommended that I stop the tour. I really didn't want to do that. I mean you have people that buy tickets, people wait a long time, a lot of them make travel plans, they fly, they do all kinds of things. You want to do your best to not disrupt that. Not to mention it's 40th anniversary tour, I'm only going to get one time to do this in my life. And quite honestly I got about 30 families that are dependent on me between the band and the road crew and office workers and things like that. So how do you go to people and say you know what my back hurts, I don't feel like playing? You can't really do that so they advised me in Berlin to stop the tour and I said well how bad can it be? I said you do your thing and I'll do my thing and I'll kind of cool it on the movement and you just keep me going and they said no you don't understand this is going to get worse if you don't stop. And I thought they're just being, you know, overly cautious. Well what happened I ended up rupturing a second disc and I ended up breaking my back and so we got through the tour except for the last five shows and I literally had to sit in a chair the last five shows to get through cuz I couldn't stand up anymore. We got home from the tour and immediately I went in with the orthopedic guys and they told me they said you got to do this and you got to do this now because if you don't you're going to be in a wheelchair in a month. And so within the span of two weeks I had had two major surgeries and that brings us pretty much to the point where we are now. So getting it all straightened out is a good thing, you know the doctors that have worked on me are the best in the country. So I'm really really thankful for that."

When mentioning how people have committed suicide over severe back pains

"It's funny you say that because they (Doctors) warned me about that in Berlin (Germany). I'm going to give you the facts, this is the facts anybody that might hear this interview it could be of of help to them because one of the things they warned me they said people commit suicide over this. It's so bad and until you've been through it which I never had been, you can't understand the excruciation (pain), that's one word to describe it but it's worse than that. It's just something you can't escape and it's like I've broken all kinds of bones and had all kinds of injuries nothing compares to this. Over the course of that tour I took 340 opium tablets to get me through it. And there were times I was taking five a night. And what happens is I do the shows and that nerve would get all irritated again and there would be times I couldn't sleep until noon the next day and that was that was a fairly common occurrence. There's no position you can get in that stops it and you're laying there and it's like the pain's off the charts and in your head you're hearing what those doctors are saying about people committing suicide over this and you start to understand. What got me through it was I knew that eventually I would get better but if it was a situation where someone had no hope and that that's what it was going to be I don't think you could live your life like that it just wouldn't be worth it. And I'm somebody that's a great lover of life but when you're dealing with something like that that's inescapable. I could certainly understand how somebody would look at the alternative.You know what sucks about it? I'm not a recreational drug taker, I never have been, you know. I'm the kind of person that I like my wits about me and I like to think clearly And to just to constantly have to stay doped up because that's what it comes down to just to be able to get through it. They (doctors) told me when I came out of the first surgery they said all the pain is going to be gone and I found that really hard to believe because I'd been about 3 months in that process. 3 months is an eternity when you're going through that. I woke up in recovery and they were right, the pain was gone and it was just like wow what a concept to be normal again. And then the bad news was they came in the recovery and said well you know this surgery went fine and we're very happy but you're going to have to have another one. It's like that's not really what you want to hear while you're in recovery because you're thinking okay we're over this hurdle now we're into recovery. So like I said all things considered uh I've been pretty blessed.

When asked what fans can expect in sound quality of the new WASP Box Set compared to older versions of the albums

"Obviously they've remastered, everything which can enhance the process. I've heard it before where it's actually hurt recordings before but if you take your time and you do it correctly what it does is it freshens up the recording and you end up hearing things that maybe you didn't hear on the first pressings. Plus technology's changed now, if the mixes are correct to begin with you can hear spaces on them that you just didn't hear before and I know that I'm getting into kind of a technical world here but for the average person out there what it means is it sounds better and it sounds richer. So that's the whole bonus of doing that."

W.A.S.P. announce 'The 7 Savage: 1984-1992' deluxe 8LP boxset from their 'Capitol Years', with studio album half-speed mastering, LP of bonus tracks, 60 page book, posters and numbered certificate. The 7 Savage: 1984-1992 will be released Friday 27th October 2023 on Madfish and is strictly limited to 2000 copies worldwide.

To order the box set:

Currently on break from the 40 Years Live World Tour and sounding better than ever, W.A.S.P. is one of the most consistent and reliable forces in rock music - unstoppable and unassailable, like a heavy metal juggernaut sent back in time from along- distant galaxy. Frontman Blackie Lawless is undoubtedly one of rock’s everlasting figures – someone’s whose attitude and vision changed the musical landscape around him, in the process bearing fruit to some of the biggest anthems of their time.

W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless comments, "It’s great to see this collection of records be re-released with this detail. For the original recordings to have a new light shown on them with expanded notes and additional photography is special for me, and will be for all those that hold these albums in a special place in their hearts and times in their lives."

Their first five studio albums (W.A.S.P., The Last Command, Inside the Electric Circus, The Headless Children & TheCrimson Idol) contributed enough on their own for W.A.S.P. to be considered one of the greatest rock bands of all-time. Those LPs are all presented in this set, mastered half-speed at Air Studios, London for a superior, sharper, more direct and engaging sound.

Packaged within a deluxe red leatherette effect double slipcase, 'The 7 Savage: 1984-1992' is completed on vinyl with two more LPs: 1987’s Live… in the Raw and new compilation Bonus Tracks & B-Sides featuring the controversial breakthrough anthem ‘Animal (F**k Like a Beast)’.

Compiled with the full cooperation of Blackie Lawless, the box set also includes a 60-page book with exclusive and rare pictures from legendary metal photographers (including Ross Halfin, Tony Mottram, David Plastik and Paul Natkin), along with extensive liner notes from Amit Sharma (Kerrang!, Planet Rock). Also included is an exclusive Blackie Lawless poster, plus an individually numbered circular saw shaped certificate.

DISC 1 - W.A.S.P. (Half-speed Master

A.1. I Wanna Be Somebody [03:44]

A.2. L.O.V.E. Machine [03:52]

A.3. The Flame [03:42]A.4. B.A.D. [03:57]

A.5. School Daze [03:35]

B.1. Hellion [03:39]

B.2. Sleeping (In The Fire) [03:56]

B.3. On Your Knees [03:49]

B.4. Tormentor [04:11]

B.5. The Torture Never Stops [03:56]

DISC 2 The Last Command (Half-speed Master)

A.1. Wild Child [05:12]

A.2. Ballcrusher [03:28]

A.3. Fistful Of Diamonds [04:14]

A.4. Jack Action [04:17]

A.5. Widowmaker [05:18]

B.1. Blind In Texas [04:21]

B.2. Cries In The Night [03:42]

B.3. The Last Command [04:11]

B.4. Running Wild In The Streets [03:30]

B.5. Sex Drive [03:12]

DISC 3 Inside the Electric Circus (Half-speed Master)

A.1. The Big Welcome [01:22]

A.2. Inside The Electric Circus [03:33]

A.3. I Don`t Need No Doctor [03:26]A.4. 9.5. - N.A.S.T.Y. [04:48]

A.5. Restless Gypsy [04:59]A.6. Shoot From The Hip [04:38]

B.1. I`m Alive [04:22]

B.2. Easy Living [03:12]

B.3. Sweet Cheetah [05:16]

B.4. Mantronic [04:10]

B.5. King Of Sodom And Gomorrah [03:50]

B.6. The Rock Rolls On [03:52]

DISC 4 The Headless Children (Half-speed Master)

A.1. The Heretic (The Lost Child) [07:23]

A.2. The Real Me [03:20]

A.3. The Headless Children [05:46]

A.4. Thunderhead [06:50]

B.1. Mean Man [04:48]

B.2. The Neutron Bomber [04:10]

B.3. Mephisto Waltz [01:28]

B.4. Forever Free [05:09]

B.5. Maneater [04:47]

B.6. Rebel In The F.D.G. [05:08]

DISC 5 The Crimson Idol (Half-speed Master)

A.1. The Titanic Overture [03:31]

A.2. The Invisible Boy [05:13]

A.3. Arena Of Pleasure [04:15]

A.4. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue) [08:43]

B.1. The Gypsy Meets The Boy [04:15]

B.2. Doctor Rockter [03:54]

B.3. I Am One [05:24]

DISC 6 The Crimson Idol (Half-speed Master)

C.1. The Idol [08:40]

C.2. Hold On To My Heart [04:22]

C.3. The Great Misconceptions Of Me [09:44]

D.1. The Story Of Jonathan (Prologue To The Crimson Idol)[16:35]

D.2. Phantoms In The Mirror [04:36]

D.3. The Eulogy [04:16]

DISC 7 Live... in the Raw

A.1. Inside The Electric Circus (live) [04:31]

A.2. I Don`t Need No Doctor (live) [03:40]

A.3. L.O.V.E. Machine (live) [04:27]

A.4. Wild Child (live) [06:02]

A.5. 9.5. - N.A.S.T.Y. (live) [05:11]

A.6. Sleeping (In The Fire) (live) [05:27]

B.1. The Manimal (live) [04:44]

B.2. I Wanna Be Somebody (live) [06:43]

B.3. Harder Faster (live) [07:19]

B.4. Blind In Texas (live) [05:41]

B.5. Scream Until You Like It (Theme from Ghoulies II) [03:25]

DISC 8 Bonus Tracks & B-sides

A.1. Animal (F**k Like A Beast) [03:07]

A.2. Show No Mercy [03:48]

A.3. Paint It Black [03:28]

A.4. Savage [03:33]

A.5. Mississippi Queen [03:22]

A.6. Flesh And Fire [04:38]

A.7. D.B. Blues [03:25]

B.1. Locomotive Breath [03:00]

B.2. For Whom The Bell Tolls [03:48]

B.3. Lake Of Fools [05:33]

B.4. War Cry [05:33]

B.5. When The Levee Breaks [07:06]

To order the box set:

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