At a meet-and-greet Q&A session prior to W.A.S.P.'s show at the Sunshine Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Blackie Lawless was asked to comment on the "mystique and controversy" around the band's classic 1984 song "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)."
The infamous track, which was targeted by the PMRC for explicit content in the '80s, had been removed from W.A.S.P.'s live show for more than 15 years, but was reinstated for the recent 40th Anniversary tour.
Regarding the impact "Animal" has had on the band both professionally and personally, Lawless said:
"It was a life-changing moment, that's for sure. It changed everything about the way we approached writing records. It certainly changed me as a person, made me more of an introvert. You know, I didn’t realize… it took me years to understand what had happened, that you get a little PTSD’d up. I mean, we had thousands of death threats. Got shot at a couple times. Bomb scares at lots of shows. We’d be playing a place like this, they’d have to clear the whole room out, sweep the room, take two hours to get everybody back in. This was going on on a regular basis."
Lawless then recalled an encounter he had with Welsh crooner Tom Jones about the song, saying, "We were in the U.K. and it had spread over there, too. And we were doing this run of shows. Tom Jones was either the day before or the day after. And he had heard about what was going on. And I had never met him. But he had been there the night before, we came in the next night. Written on the makeup mirror in the dressing room, he writes, ‘What the hell is going on with you guys?’
"We went to the next town, we were there the day before he was and I said, ‘Well, I can’t really tell ya. But I’m glad you acknowledged it.’ The next place we go to, he had been there the day before us, he says, ‘I love you.’
Lawless continued about the song, “But, like I said, it made me more of a recluse. Because the thing I found is, I ain’t the baddest guy in the world. And if somebody comes up to you and confronts you, you’re going to deal with it. But what does get to you is the shit you can’t see. It’s the stuff that’s coming out of your peripheral vision. You can’t see it coming at you. That’s the stuff that eats at you more than anything.
"And what happened with the PMRC, they got a whole bunch of fringe groups riled up. And there’s some goofy shit going on out there. There’s a lot of people that think ‘Well, if get rid of these guys the world will be a better place.’ So it can get interesting.”
You can watch the full exchange below.