Let me take you into the electric circus, give a you sneak peak behind the dark curtain of the dirty world of rock ‘n’ roll... and back more than half a lifetime.
Let me take you back to Tuesday 28 October 1986, to be precise... and let my story unfold.
Yours truly, a meek, 20-year old hack (shit, I’ve just given my age away) is standing timidly outside a dressing room door in the Ulster Hall. Now, I’m not known for being meek and timid (not even way back then...), but on this occasion I had good reason to be that way – and, if truth be told, fucking scared. I literally was quaking in my DMs. Why? Well, I was about to be ushered into the presence of the awesome Blackie Lawless. He and his W.A.S.P. bandmates had brought their ‘Inside The Electric Circus’ tour to Belfast’s most historic venue – and I probably was about to die! Another why? Because I had been told the man was going to eat me alive!
OK, more back story. A month earlier – on 28 September to be precise –the now defunct ‘Sunday News’ had printed a story headlined ‘THE BANNED’. Yes, big bold capital letters on that headline. Yes, you guessed it, I wrote it. (Well, I was the only serious rock journalist working in Norn Iron at the time). Basically, it was an account of how W.A.S.P. had been booked to play the selfsame Ulster Hall two years earlier, in support of their self-titled debut album, but had been banned by the city fathers from doing so (in those days, the council had to sanction every gig played at the Hall, and they were still very nervous after some punks had pogo’d their way through the floor), due to excesses of their stage show. The article detailed those excesses, documented the story of the ‘Animal...’ single. However, although it was a tabloid newspaper, it did not sensationalise things: I told the story in a straightforward (no looking back), factual manner.
Which, in my usual rambling fashion, brings me back to a young rock journalist standing, terrified, outside a dressing room door. Apparently, according a friend inside the Ulster Hall, Blackie had seen the article and was none too pleased... I was going to die... probably very painfully...
The door opens and I am told to come in... I swallow hard and enter, very sheepishly. Inside are all four band members, the tour manager, various roadies and the gig promoter. Blackie is in the middle of the room, sitting cowboy-style on a reversed chair: even sitting down, and out of his stage gear, he’s an impressive muthafucker. Chris Holmes is leaning nonchalantly against a wall: Johnny Rod is sitting quietly in a corner, and drummer Steve Riley – well, it takes a moment for me to recognise him without his wig on...
There’s a chair sitting opposite Blackie. It’s obviously for me. It obviously where the execution is to take place...
“You’re the wee cunt that wrote that shit about us,” Blackie says, very matter of fact, with the promoter lurking ominously over his left shoulder, nodding. I gulp. I don’t know what to say or do. “You saw the piece,” I stammer. “No, but I heard about it.”
Somehow, I become very brave all of a sudden. As I said, I had been warned that Blackie was angry. I had one hope. An hour earlier, I had swung by the paper’s office and picked up a copy of the offending issue. I now reach into my bag and proffer it to him, open at the appropriate page. “Tell you what, here it is. Read it. I’ll wait outside. If you want me to fuck off I will. If you still want to do the interview, then fair enough.” Fuck me. I’ve just stood up to Blackie Lawless. I head to the door.
I don’t make it. I’m reaching from the handle when, expecting a barrage of beer bottles to come my way, I hear a roar of laughter. It’s from Blackie. I nervously look over my shoulder.
“Come back,” he drawls in his LA accent, as he tosses the paper to Chewie Holmes. “That’s one of the most honest articles I’ve ever read about us. You’re obviously a fan. Sit down. Have a beer.”
I’m gonna live. And I’m gonna interview Blackie fucking Lawless. AND I’m gonna have a fucking beer with him.
“One more thing,” Blackie growls. He looks over his shoulder. “Get out.” He’s talking to the promoter. Said fat bastard leaves, even more sheepishly than I was going to.
The interview? Well, to be honest, it’s all lost in the mists of time. I was still so fucking nervous I pressed ‘play’ on my tape deck instead of ‘record’ and ended up with 40 minutes of dead tape. But, what the fuck... I stood at the side of the stage drinking beer as the band soundchecked... I nearly got crushed to death when Chris Holmes hugged me at the end of the gig... I had one of the best days of my then burgeoning rock journalism career...
And I lived to tell the tale...
W.A.S.P. return to Belfast when they play the Mandela Hall on 28 November. Tickets are on sale now.

Authors: Monk

Read More: http://piedpiperbelfast.blogspot.com/2010/09/close-encounter-of-lawless-kind.html