Blackie Lawless, was born Steven Duren on 4th September 1956. He lived in Staten Island, New York, where he hung out with Ace Frehley of Kiss Fame. At the age of 13, Blackie was stabbed in a fight and at 14 he was sent to Military School to learn discipline. After 18 months of a two year sentence he was thrown out after beating up a Sargent Major.
Blackie was nine when he got his first guitar and in that same year he earned 16 dollars and 35 cents in his first band called THE UNDERSIDE. At the age of 16 Blackie played with an East Coast band called BLACK RABBIT, tauting his talents around local bars. Another early band was called ORFAX RAINBOW in which he played for quite a while. When a singing vacancy came up with the legendary NEW YORK DOLLS, after Johnny Thunders leaves, Blackie takes it up - he had just turned 18.
After six months playing with the then dying NEW YORK DOLLS, Blackie and fellow DOLLS bassist Arthur Kane decide to leave New York and head to L.A. They form a band called KILLER KANE and release a 33 ½ EP. This includes the tracks MR COOL on Side 1, LONGHAIRED WOMAN and DONT NEED YOU on Side 2. Blackie is known at this time as "Blackie Gooseman". Eventually KILLER KANE breaks up, Arthur decides to go back to New York and Blackie stays in L.A.
In 1977, Blackie and Randy Piper join together to form a band called SISTER. SISTER where amongst the first groups in L.A. to experiment with occult symbolism and face make up. It is also believed that Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) also played in the band for a while. Out of the SISTER experience Blackie meets up with Chris Holmes. While browsing through the "Beaver Hunt" section of Hustler magazine, Blackie spots ex - U.S. Marine Chris and decides to contact him.
Unfortunately, the late 1970's were a bad time for Heavy Metal and SISTER failed to generate record company interest despite their loyal club following. Other bands that Blackie had played in around this time were CIRCUS CIRCUS and LONDON.
Blackie and Randy stayed in contact and in 1982, when Blackie felt that he had good enough material to form a new band he contacted Randy. Chris and Tony Richards were also added to the line up. The band also dabbled with bassist Don Costa for a while before he joined Ozzy.
W.A.S.P were now formed and in late 1982, they started live gigging. Their first gig was at a place called "The Woodstock" in Orange Country, and by May 1983, they were able to sell out the then 3000 seated "Santa Monica Civic Hall". Momentum continued with a number of sold out gigs at the "Troubador".
Late in 1983, Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood went to see the band. He was extremely impressed with the music and outrageous live performances he decided to get involved. A substantial recording contract was agreed with Capitol Records in early 1984 and the band started to record their debut album "W.A.S.P".
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