Johnny Rod reveals Blackie Lawless turned down proposed W.A.S.P. 1987 era reunion a few years ago
Former W.A.S.P. and current King Kobra bassist Johnny Rod was recently interviewed by Metal Mike for the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast.
Rod was in W.A.S.P. from 1986 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 1992 during which time he played on the albums Inside The Electric Circus (1986), Live… In The Raw (1987) and The Headless Children (1989).
On how he got his bass gig in W.A.S.P., Rod indicated (as transcribed by the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast with slight edits): “When we did the second King Kobra album, there was a lot of political bullshit going on at Capitol Records and they dropped us. Before that in ‘86, we went on tour with W.A.S.P. and Ted Nugent. At that time, Blackie [Lawless] was thinking about making a change and going to guitar and I didn’t know that. He told me after that he was watching me play every night on that tour. I get home and I find out that Capitol is dropping King Kobra. At the same time, management called to see if I’d be interested in talking with Blackie and checking things out. So I’m like, ‘What the hell!’ One thing led to another and I ended up playing on Inside The Electric Circus.”
With respect to the live album Live…In The Raw and W.A.S.P. using tracks after he left the band, Rod commented: “That was great! It was recorded at Long Beach Arena in 1987. It wasn’t re-recorded in the studio. Now some songs were recorded on a different night at California Theatre in San Diego. That’s where we recorded “Manimal” and “Harder Faster”. They were definitely actually “live”. We were working on those while we were on the road and they ended up on the album. Blackie and I used to switch off a lot of vocal lines with each other when we played live. Rock n’ roll is meant to be live. I can understand if you have tracks for certain sound effects like we did for [The] Headless Children. Using tracks for singing and playing parts live is bullshit. That’s one of the reasons that Stet Howland left W.A.S.P. [as] he got sick of playing to a click track and a sequencer. He said one night it fucked up during “L.O.V.E. Machine” and it kept going “L.O.”…..”L.O.” After that he said, ‘Fuck it, I’m done!'”
On the album The Headless Children, Rod stated: “My favorite W.A.S.P. album is The Headless Children. It really felt like a band at that point. I got a letter from John Entwistle about my bass playing on our cover of The Who’s “The Real Me”. He said I did a fantastic job on it, and I still have that letter framed! Blackie tried to mold himself after Pete Townsend. Pete Townsend is a great writer and Blackie was leaning toward that rock opera thing.
In terms of The Crimson Idol (1992) era, Rod noted: “I don’t know why he wanted me back for the tour. I was like, ‘Pay me and I’ll do it!’ I think it’s a great album. I think that what he was going for story wise, he got it. I think the production quality could be better, but that’s just me. That album is a bit self-indulgent and pretentious though.”
Finally, with respect to a 1987 era W.A.S.P. reunion, Rod revealed: “I tried to get a reunion together a few years back because I think the fans would love it…. especially if it was me, Chris, and Blackie… and get Stet or Steve Riley on the drums too. We had management contact him, but he wouldn’t do it. We’re all in our ’60s…. Let’s put this bullshit behind us. I guess some people can’t let things go…. but I can.”
You can listen to the interview with Johnny Rod on the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast below:
W.A.S.P.‘s “The Real Me” video (from The Headless Children album):