Doug Blair reveals W.A.S.P. crew does ‘L.A. boot camp rehearsals’ for any tour or festival run
W.A.S.P.‘s long-time guitarist Doug Blair was recently interviewed by Thomas Amoriello Jr. for Boston Rock Radio.
W.A.S.P. have had a number of drummers since Mike Dupke left the band in 2015. Blair indicated the following in that regard (with slight edits): “Yes, since Mike Dupke left to enjoy his family — and he is certainly missed — we’ve been lucky to have several amazing players joining us on the throne. Obviously, excellent drummers have been in short short supply for decades, hence the **musical chairs** in so many top bands! I like to say we’ve covered a few countries with the guys: a Swede, an Austrian, an American, a Canadian from Germany, and a Brazilian! It’s actually been an enlightening process — so many cultures and backgrounds! And we enjoy working with each one!
Otherwise, the ‘break in’ process — and not only for new drummers, most often for crew also — occurs in the L.A. boot camp rehearsals that we subject ourselves to preceding each tour or festival run. Any weaknesses or anxieties are sweated out there! Many of our genre’s bands just fly in and rehearse at soundcheck — and that’s enough for them. Not the case here. All of us need and want to re-enter that ‘void’ — even if only for a few shows. Because every show lives on its own, regardless of its context — and nowadays in infamy, with everyone recording and posting incessantly in Hi-Def. So, we take that very seriously — maintaining our live performance ‘QC threshold’ at a level that we’ll be proud of discovering any recording of any show from the past!”
In regard to what he has learned from W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless over the years, Blair stated:
“Id say that I/we — speaking of Stet Howland, as we both came from our own New England trio ‘Run 21’ to W.A.S.P. in different ways and times — were quite well-prepared from our formative club work, to join this band. But I’d contend that notion was only from a performing/touring standpoint: we had not developed our own songwriting skills or styles yet.
To me, Blackie is the quintessential singer/songwriter cut straight from the Dylan / Mitchell / Springsteen mold, yet just packaged up in a different era’s wrapper. The iconic songs, to me, are applicable in any environment and time. They’re timeless, and like Elton John and Bowie staples, will likely be re-adopted by newer artists and enjoy musical reincarnation.
These writers can seamlessly open their hearts and souls, find a few chords on a guitar or piano, and change countless lives with the result. Simple as that. So, what have I learned? That’s a great question. Through observation, watching the process, being privileged to add to the orchestrations and arrangements of the core ideas, I’ve come to understand more fully that certain processes can be collaborative. But the main core elements of a song and the writer’s delivery, are usually developed independently and must remain fully personal. So, you learn how and when not to get in the way of that.
In regards to ‘bandleader’, we’ve seen how a functioning democratic group can achieve big things when we all work hard together — mostly on the live elements of the overall project. He always maintains a strong, dependable team around the business and the band. This is the crew — including many Germans, Brits and Finns over the years, the agents and promoters, production firms and various audio/video partners, etc. And we discuss things clearly and respectfully, so I always say that communication is key to any successful outfit.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Doug Blair by Thomas Amoriello Jr. at Boston Rock Radio‘s website.