Rockbrat remembers: When Blackie Lawless came to Sydney (1985)

Sydney metal heads gather for Blackie. Note the Circus mag in Rockbrat's hand

Late 1985 and WASP had a buzz about them that made them the hottest property in international heavy metal. Cowboy Col and Mr. Rockbrat played the first WASP album and 1985’s Last Command til death on the Rockbrat stereo. Man those songs were anthems for teen rebellion in a way that modern bands just don’t deliver anymore. So it was that Blackie Lawless, WASP main man made a promo visit to Sydney to test the waters for a possible tour. Alas that tour never eventuated, but Utopia Records (then located in Challis Arcade, Martin Place) was the location for a meet and greet session.  Late on that day, Mr Rockbrat and I gathered with our denim clad metal brethren (a time when any headbanger worth his salt was identified by the back patch he wore) outside in Martin Place to meet rock’s chosen warrior.  Part of the excitement was viewing the gathered mass of headbangers and checking out who was wearing the KISS shirt, or spying imported tee shirts etc. I remember a guy was wearing one of those KISS paper jackets that were available during the 1980 KISS tour. In my mind, heavy metal was larger than life, and guys like Lawless were bona fide rock stars who represented a salvation away from the drudgery of high school.  I got to meet Blackie and shake his hand and greeted him with an awkward  “G’day Blackie.” He signed a copy of the ‘Animal – F**k Like A Beast’ single for me, which I still have. I remember Rockbrat got a magazine photo signed, and later procured some autographed posters.  You couldn’t wipe the smile from my melon. WOW, meeting Blackie Lawless! It didn’t get any better.  Those first couple of WASP albums are heavy metal classics, and sure, you can download them now and they may be just a file to you, but when I listen to them, 25 years after their release, I can still recall the anticipation and excitement of meeting a heavy metal hero.

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