W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985, Capitol)
- Wild Child
- Fistful Of Diamonds
- Jack Action
- Blind In Texas
- Cries In The Night
- The Last Command
- Running Wild In The Streets
- Sex Drive
Blackie Lawless – Vocals/Bass
Chris Holmes – Guitars
Randy Piper – Guitars
Steve Riley – Drums
Total Time – 41:14
My first W.A.S.P. experience was an advertisement in Circus Magazine. It was an ad for a record store that had tons of import records, especially KISS, so it immeadiately caught my eye. In the bottom corner was a picture of W.A.S.P. and price information for an import copy of the ANIMAL (FUCK LIKE A BEAST) E.P. In 1984, at age twelve, anything that has the word “fuck” in it was interesting. One look at the album cover for the E.P. and I had to know what this band was about. I never got around to buying said E.P., or their 1984 self-titled debut LP, but I ate up any information on the band that had become one of the most dangerous in the Rock world. The stories of their live shows increased the intensity: “sacrificing” a chained woman, the electric codpiece, throwing raw meat into the crowd. It was shocking, it was crazy, it was everything to an impressionable youth.
I finally got around to buying THE LAST COMMAND on a trip to New Hampshire with my family. My favorite record store was Good Vibrations and there happened to be one near our hotel so I scraped all of my allowance money and bought the cassette. What could be better than a cassette from the most notorious band out there? Add the WARNING! sticker that stated, “Lyrics May Be Considered Offensive By Some Audiences”. I carefully peeled that sticker off and put it on the back of the case (it was still there when I sold it a few years ago!). The headphones didn’t come off the rest of the trip!
The first five songs comprised Side One: ‘Wild Child’, ‘Ballcrusher’, and ‘Jack Action’ were fast and furious and full of sexual themes. C’mon….. Ballcrusher? Jack Action? I knew what they meant! ‘Widowmaker’ is a slow power ballad that I always thought was a poor man’s ‘God Of Thunder’ (KISS). It’s good but I could see that Blackie Lawless was imitating Gene Simmons and that was an insult to my fandom! My favorite off Side One was ‘Fistful Of Diamonds’, a song about money, fortune, and greed. The opening is pretty cool with a tickertape running in the background while a financial news report states the current market trends…..it fades…..in come the guitars!
‘Money makes me crazy
Money drives me insane
Diamonds, silver, gold and
I want it all – it’s mine to claim
I hold my hand out, I take it all’
‘I want a fisful, fistful of diamonds
The millions are calling my name…..’
Side Two opens with ‘Blind In Texas’, the ode to drinking excess in the Lone Star State. The first single and video for the album, it’s a good song but overplayed over the years. ‘Blind In Texas’ is the W.A.S.P. song that usually gets put on the ’80s compilations, it gets old quick. The video is a bit cheesy as well. My favorite part is when the band is playing onstage in the rocky desert and Blackie does his best Paul Stanley dance. Man did this guy just rip KISS (and Alice Cooper) off!
Power Ballad #2, ‘Cries In The Night’ is one of the under-rated songs on the album and another personal favorite. I really enjoy the guitar work of Holmes/Piper on this track and Blackie uses his painful wail. No sex, no innuendo, no excess…..this song is about loss, a different topic for a band hell bent on complete shock. ‘The Last Command’ and ‘Running Wild In The Streets’ are catchy “sing-a-long” rally anthems, the two weakest tracks by far. ‘Sex Drive’ ends the party with a no holds barred romp.
‘Like a dog in heat
All dirty love is a treat
And ya know it’s just too good to believe
That feeling second to none
You pull the trigger on your gun baby
Gotta get some relief’
Very Gene Simmons……
This is my favorite W.A.S.P. album with THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989) coming in a close second. This album reminds me of Summer, I remember taking my boombox out on the patio and blasting this tape over and over while Mom was at work. If she ever heard the words to some of those songs….. This was a staple in my Walkman also, especially when I took my bike over to my friends’ houses a couple miles away. Good times, good album.
[NOTE -The 1998 reissue of The Last Command adds seven songs: ‘Mississippi Queen’ (B-side), ‘Savage’ (B-side), ‘On Your Knees’ (Live 1984), ‘Hellion’ (Live 1984), ‘Sleeping In The Fire’ (Live 1984), ‘Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)’ (Live 1984), ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ (Live 1984).]