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W.A.S.P. - artwork by Ian Chalgren

W.A.S.P.


by Jeff Muendel
February 2010

Those who have encountered the band W.A.S.P. are not likely to forget the experience. Like them or hate them, their stage antics tend to be memorable. The group almost literally clawed their way out of the early eighties Los Angeles heavy metal scene the same fertile ground that produced the likes of Mötley Crüe, L.A. Guns, and Ratt. These groups paved the way for many more hair bands to come, but W.A.S.P. was a little bit different. While many of the other groups from that era focused on a cross-dressing, bad-boy image, W.A.S.P. was just plain twisted and scary; the group was more Alice Cooper than Rolling Stones. Band members had circular saws sewn into the crotch of their trousers. Raw meat was cut up and thrown into the audience. Blood was a common stage prop. All of this accompanied aggressively sexual lyrics, buzz saw guitar riffs, and pumping double-bass drums.

At the heart of the group, then and now, was Blackie Lawless. In fact, he is the only remaining original member, and for all intents and purposes, W.A.S.P. is his artistic vehicle. Lawless was born Steven Duren on Staten Island, New York. Famously, or perhaps infamously, he got his first break playing with the legendary New York Dolls. The group was in its final death throes, but it introduced Lawless to New York Doll’s guitarist Arthur Kane. After the New York Dolls finally split, Lawless followed Kane to Los Angeles.

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White Empress cover art by Ian Chalgren

White Empress

An Interview with Paul Allender and Mary Zimmer
by Chris Fox
October 2014

If you’ve heard of CRADLE OF FILTH, COAL CHAMBER, or LUNA MORTIS, you’re already familiar with what the emerging WHITE EMPRESS brings to the table. With the guitar techniques of Paul Allender (formerly of CRADLE OF FILTH), this new six-piece brings some Madison-local flavor with vocals from Mary Zimmer (formerly of LUNA MORTIS) and fellow Madisonian on guitar, Jeremy Kohnmann (Ash Aria).

Allender proclaims that the band is truly one-of-a-kind, as they combine a menagerie of backgrounds and talents. “It sounds like WHITE EMPRESS. It doesn’t sound like anything else,” he explains. Allender says the formation of the band came after CRADLE OF FILTH took a bit of a hiatus. “The whole plan was to take off a couple of years and then come back full station, but that didn’t happen. Basically, that’s when I sort of turned White Empress into not just a project but a full-time band.”

Zimmer says that the band is truly a combination of several ideas melding into a unique sound. “Everybody contributed and wrote their own parts. Paul did the arranging and wrote the core of the music - it was almost done by the time I got it,” she explains. “But I got to write my own vocal parts, which was different for me, and he let me have the freedom to do what I wanted.”

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Wookiefoot - 2013

An Interview with Wookiefoot Founding Band Member, Mark Murphy
by Andrew Frey
November 2013

Wookiefoot is a conduit of evolving consciousness. “When JoJo and I started WookieFoot fifteen years ago, we weren’t exactly sure what we were creating,” begins Mark Murphy, vocalist, visionary, and guitarist for Wookiefoot. “All we knew is that we wanted to be a large community of people doing ridiculous things and sharing our philosophy.”

However, as they lived their music, their philosophy and message evolved and escalated with each of their recordings. Starting by getting Domesticated (2000) they went on to Make Belief (2001). Then they got Out of the Jar (2003). After leaving the jar, they had to Activate (2006) before they could Be Fearless and Play (2009). Most recently, they challenged us with being Ready Or Not… (2012).

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