W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless Reveals Where He Got His Stage Name From
It's one of the great names in rock and metal. Blackie Lawless is a name you don't soon forget, but that's not the W.A.S.P. leader's given name. So how did the man born Steven Edward Duren back in 1956 come up with the moniker that most know him by? The singer-guitarist revealed the name's origins during an appearance on the Eddie Trunk podcast, as heard below.
"I've had it since I was about 13, well the first part anyway," says the musician.
"My mother was from Houston originally and there was a guy there who had that first name Blackie and apparently he was some sort of local gang member. My mom had worked for the USO during the second world war and she was a professional dancer. She would do these shows and they would go around to service clubs. And this guy walked in one night and got into an argument with one of the sailors," says Lawless.
"He took a switchblade and he stuck it in the guy in his stomach and walked around the guy with the blade in him, so he did a circle around his body. And I heard that story, and it left a lasting impression," he explains. "So with the color of the hair and all, it just stuck. It's been with me ever since."
As for the last part of his stage name, Blackie tells Trunk, "I know you being a football fan, you're probably going to laugh at this, but during the '70s there was a guy who played for the Dallas Cowboys who was an all-pro center named Burton Lawless. The back of their jerseys with that name on it, I couldn't resist that."
When asked if anyone ever called him by his birth name, Blackie humorously revealed, "If I go some place where somebody doesn't know me, but very few people do. Even before my mom passed away, she used to call me Blackie. So, you know, when your mother calls you by that, that's your name."
The man known as Blackie Lawless is currently out on tour fronting W.A.S.P. on their 40th anniversary tour. Dates for the current leg run through mid-December with a U.K. and European tour leg to start next March. Get dates and ticketing info here.