Hair Metal Monday 09/21/2015

This week's entry is one of the most controversial band of the 80's, but one who's best work came after they toned down the antics and became a "serious" band.

W.A.S.P. exploded onto the LA scene in 1983 taking the shock rock theatrics of Kiss and Alice Cooper to the next logical level. Blood, raw meat, fire and naked women on torture racks were all staples of their live set. Their lyrics were also designed to shock - "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)" was supposed to be their first single before Capitol records pulled the plug and refused to release it. The band put out 4 albums between 1984 and 1987, each getting further and further down the evil + sex + violence rabbit hole. By 1988 vocalist/guitarist/main songwriter Blackie Lawless had had enough. Battles with the PMRC, boycotts from religious groups, death threats and declining sales convinced Lawless it was time for a change.

Spending almost a year in the studio, in May 1989 the band released their masterpiece. 'Headless Children' stripped away the image and the sex and violence lyrics were replaced by songs about depression, the horrors of war, the fear of nuclear holocaust and the dangers of an over reaching government. Rarely had one band done such a complete 180. First single, "The Real Me" (a cover of The Who classic) was declaration of independence. A rallying cry that they'd severed ties with their past. The results lead to their biggest critical and commercial success.