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Mandatory Viewing - 86%

OzzyApu, October 28th, 2009

This release was the last one to hold fans over while they waited for The Headless Children. Two years after the release of Inside The Electric Circus and they were begging for something. The live album had already been done, so why not regurgitate all the videos up to this point and string it between interviews as a documentary! For most bands, this would utterly fail, but W.A.S.P.’s videos go perfectly with their respective songs and the antics shown as each member tells their tale; we see what went on behind the scenes of the band.

Not only can you find all of W.A.S.P.’s videos on Youtube, but you can pretty much find this as well, which is how I’m reviewing the album since this is bar none pretty much a collectors item (as in only a collector would fork over the hundreds of dollars required to own this). The quality is particularly good for an 80s band documentary, but there isn’t any real standard to compare it to besides This Is Spinal Tap. There isn’t much fuzz, so everything from speech to miscellaneous noises to the instruments are all pretty clear. The quality itself is pretty damn good for online, which is still amazing as it comes from a VHS over twenty years old. No real issues stem from cut-ups, poor editing, or the usual issues that you’d find from films from someone like Uwe Boll.

As for the content once again, you go from interviews primarily with Blackie and Holmes – Lawless is mainly shown on his ranch with boot that make mine look like sneakers, while Holmes has a full bottle that’s probably less tipsy than he is during the interview (he even knocks it over without noticing). We get brief discussions with the other members, Johnny Rod and Steven Riley. They pretty much only tell their story, especially at this time where W.A.S.P. was mainly the project of both Holmes and Blackie.

Between these interviews and random concert shots are the actual music videos for multiple songs spanning their first three albums (and then some). They are shown in their entirety and are quite varied without even considering the tracks themselves. The videos are shown in chronological order as the band progresses from the early days of Sister into the more stadium epics of Inside The Electric Circus and other songs thereafter. However, I find that they slow the pace / flow of the film; a clip of each music video would be sufficient for me, since the interviews are so interesting that you’d rather hear them talk about the band then watch videos the whole time.

It’s a nice collection – like they gathered all of their music videos up to that point (1988), but the things Holmes and Lawless toss to the interviewer are hilarious. For instance, how Lawless found out about Holmes is one of the most laughable discoveries of any band member, ever. Otherwise, it’s very informative; a lot of explanation goes into what W.A.S.P. were all about in the early days leading up to, and surrounding, the debut. This includes all the antics, aesthetics, what lead to the creation of certain songs, projects, and the events dealing with P.M.R.C., son.

I won’t give the whole thing away, but I’ll definitely end by saying that any W.A.S.P. fan that hasn’t seen this ought to give it a go. There’s a ton you’ll learn from it and it’s a great recap that’ll make you wish you were living in the ‘80s when this band was at their live peak. What’s depressing is how this would be one of the last visual moments where Blackie isn’t scarred. Overall he’s pretty chill in this, but he has that growing anger in his eyes that’ll turn into resentment after the release of The Headless Children.

Let the Good Times Roll... - 88%

DeathRiderDoom, June 21st, 2009

WASP: Videos…In The Raw!!!

Shit, this thing is damn cool. I’ve owned it for quite a while – a few months, and flicked through it a bit, and then kinda forgot about it. Music Videos are more of a social activity, I think – and since I’ve been reducing my often over the top, hedonistic party lifestyle in favour of a more online COD4 playing, winter-hibernating sedentary lifestyle lately – I haven’t really had much of an opportunity to watch it. Yep – sitting around with mates and a few beers is a great way to watch music videos – the only way really. Hence I haven’t watched many of late. As a result – this one is still damn fresh to me, and my recent re-watch – inspired by our W.A.S.P. worship thread here on MA, was thoroughly enjoyable and captivating. What we have here is a collection of big-budget video clips, candid interviews, inside info, live performances and tones scantily clad 80’s babes. Any real W.A.S.P. fan should get a hold of this supreme piece of 80’s metallia.

From the muffled heralding trumpets, and simplistic company presentation logo’s, distorted by years of winding through VCR’s, to the quick montages of band members posing it out on stage, to the soundbites from 80’s babes – the intro to this VHS screeeeeeams 80’s metal. Definitely builds excitement, with plenty of hilarity. Anyway, before long, we kick off into the interviews in this – which are great; you get a lot of in depth info, and some sordid little details courtesy of Holmes and Lawless. Yes – all of Holmes’ interview footage features him sprawled out underneath a tree, drinkin’ and looking pretty wasted – his speech lazy and his words sleazy and ego-laden. Blackie himself, sits on a rather upscale piece of furniture in a dark room in his Texas ranch property, recounting details with a Gene Simmons-esque smugness, reveling in the (by this stage) demise of the PMRC and recounting early shows at the troubadour.

Content of the reviews is definitely stuff you wanna hear about – rather than just the arbitrary, boring uninteresting stuff, or questions the band loathe having heard a million times before (What does W.A.S.P. stand for?). You don’t just get token responses to cliché questions, but some interesting little tidbits; Blackie recounts how he came to recruit Chris Holmes – out of a Hustler magazine shot of Chris – nude – in the ‘For the Ladies’ section at the back of the magazine. He titled himself “Rock n Roll Animal”, and put his junk on display, loud and proud. Blackie later contacted him about playing guitar for the band. An excellent little anecdote. The band also recounts a show in England where they had piss thrown at them, and were so angered they wanted to attack the audience – instead they smashed guitars and amps – some footage of this is thrown in. I dunno about you – but I wouldn’t fuck with W.A.S.P! In addition – you get the famous explanation of the song ‘Blind in Texas’ – ironically written in Minnesota, as well as some speak of the controversial PMRC debacle.

The videos themselves are fuckin’ tops. The live footage from The Lyceum is totally amazing. A dominating live shock rock performance spectacle like no other! A montage of things like Blackie chowing down on dripping meat, explosions and the like is shown, before the full live clip to ‘Hellion’ – a W.A.S.P. classic is belted out. Great camera angles and editing are hallmarks here – besting other videos I’ve seen from the time period (I have a Running Wild live one from the same period), yet not being at the same standard as the immaculate ’12 Wasted Years’ video from Maiden – another VHS in my collection. Anyway, the first clip on here is for ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ – a catchy song I got sick of many years ago. The story is different with video involved though – tonnes of smoke filled, shock rock stagery, scantily clad babes, and that classic scene from the cover of the album just 80’s video clip awesomeness here. The band even ups the sleaziness with the phenomenal ‘L.O.V.E. Machine’. An hilarious opening scene with some totally familiar 80’s nerd taking a babe home after a date – who then denies him a good night kiss – only to succumb to the irresistible animalistic sexual seduction of our favorite sexual perverts – fucking ownage!

‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ showcases the band’s major label budget again with a massive stage being showcased in a mixture of live footage and shot stuff. The thrilling energy and catchiness of W.A.S.P. songs is given added impetus when you see the awesome live performances of these guys – totally animated, and backed by big bucks to give those extra touches. The bands clip ‘Scream until you like it’ shot for legendary B-Grade film ‘Ghoulies’ (which I think I also have in my collection) is again outrageously 80’s! The band intermingles with little animatronic goblins and footage from the hilarious horror-comedy is shown. Killer 80’s-ness – much like Dokkens 1987 clip for the single ‘Dream Warriors’ (Nightmare on Elm St. III), or Fastways stuff. ‘Manimal’ – the videos closer is a compilation of various live performances, and other clips like ‘Wild Child’ – a cheaper effort to produce – but doesn’t seem a cop-out – more great fun here.

All round one of the most fun experiences you can have with music videos here. Totally grab this one and sit around on a Friday with some friends, drinking beer soaking up this great collection of clips and interviews. Among the best videos I’ve seen along with the aforementioned ‘12 Wasted Years’ – but ten times as fun. The English footage is really well-done and the classic 80’s-ness of the early clips is par excellence. Throughout the video you get classic sleaziness from The guitarists, egos’ at their height, and pumping live footage and clips from your favorite W.A.S.P. tracks. An absolutely killer video that every W.A.S.P. fan should check out - glad I have the thing. In fact, coming back to what I mentioned earlier, having just watched the whole thing, I enjoyed it so much I’ve just invited a buddy round to watch the thing. Gonna go pick up a box o’ beers now, kick back and revel in the good times.

-DeathRiderDoom