W.A.S.P. – I Wanna Be Somebody
W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982. They emerged from the early 1980s Los Angeles heavy metal scene.
The band’s popularity peaked that decade, yet they continue to record and tour, making them one of the most enduring of the West Coast heavy metal bands. W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock-themed image, lyrics and live performances. They have sold over 12 million albums.
W.A.S.P. was a prominent target in the mid-1980s of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization that pushed for warning labels on recorded music. The band immortalized its fight with the PMRC on the song “Harder, Faster” from their 1987 live album, Live…In the Raw.
Their most well-known songs include “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)”, “I Wanna Be Somebody”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “Wild Child”, “Blind in Texas”, “Forever Free”, “Mean Man”, “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)” and “The Idol”, as well as their cover versions of Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and The Who’s “The Real Me”. The band’s most recent album, Golgotha, was released in 2015, and they have reportedly been working on new material.
W.A.S.P. began following the demise of Circus Circus, an L.A. band featuring Blackie Lawless and Randy Piper. The original lineup of W.A.S.P. was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1982 by Lawless, Piper, Rik Fox, and Tony Richards. The band became notorious for its raunchy and, at times, shocking live shows.
Lawless was known to tie semi-naked models to a torture rack, and to also hurl raw meat into the audience. The band’s debut single, entitled “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)”, and its cover were equally controversial.
The first lineup didn’t last for long, as Rik Fox was let go and went on to join the band Steeler with vocalist Ron Keel and guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. He was replaced by Don Costa, the bassist in Richards’ former band, Dante Fox (which later evolved into Great White). Shortly afterward, Don Costa also left the band and his position on the bass was filled by Brayden Parker . At the same time, guitarist Chris Holmes joined the band.
W.A.S.P. signed to Capitol Records for their debut album, W.A.S.P., released on August 17, 1984. The debut was at one time planned for release with the title Winged Assassins. The band’s first single “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” was omitted from the album in the United States to prevent it from being banned from major chain stores.
Shortly afterwards, the band made an appearance in the 1984 film The Dungeonmaster.
“L.O.V.E. Machine” and “I Wanna Be Somebody” helped the album sell, and set the band up for “Blind In Texas”, a song written in St. Paul, Minnesota, by Lawless. The song was released on their next album The Last Command in September 1985.
The Last Command is still W.A.S.P.’s highest charting album, peaking at No. 47 on the Billboard album chart. “Blind In Texas” is perhaps their best known song, more than 20 years later. The Last Command was also the first album with new drummer Steve Riley. The former Keel drummer replaced Tony Richards at the beginning of the 1984-1985 tour.
After The Last Command tour, guitarist Randy Piper departed the band. Former King Kobra bassist Johnny Rod joined W.A.S.P. as Lawless went back to playing rhythm guitar.