IN MANY WAYS I've had a very special life. Not because I'm different than anyone else, but because of what I've been privileged to see, feel, be a part of and the great gifts of passion I possess. I've been blessed many, many times over and I find myself asking 'Oh Lord why me?" on a daily basis. I've witnessed things and seen life almost 'Forest Gumpesque'. As a child I saw Elvis and Rock 'n' Roll being born. I saw the first men go into space. I remember the news flash on television when I was in school that president John Kennedy had been assassinated. I saw the 60's and the Beatles change the world. I watched as the first men walked on the moon.
We've all been privileged to be part of the greatest generations the world has ever known. I saw all this from where I lived. My home was New York City.
Its been said that New York is the Capitol of the World, but growing up there, for me, it was just home. I could look out of my bedroom window and see the Statue of Liberty and beyond that were the World Trade Centers. My family was in construction and we had friends and family who helped build those great structures.
W.A.S.P. were on tour in America in August and September 2001. I was in Manhattan August 31st to do a day of press interviews prior to a show in New Jersey later that evening. As I was leaving Manhattan (New York City) route to the show I looked over to the skyline of the city. Leaving that place always made me sad. The further away you get from the city, the only thing you could see were the World Trade Centers (as they were the tallest buildings there) and I said to myself "Take a good look, its gonna be a while before you see them again". Little did I know.
September 11th changed all that. Even as I write this, the hurt is still overwhelming. I feel like crying but I'm numb at the same time. I guess the numbness is a self-defense mechanism.
I did a lot of thinking about what happened on that day (as we all have I'm sure) and tried to figure out not so much why this happened (I know why!) but what does it indicate. Specifically where is all this leading us, and when I say "us" it's not just an abbreviation for the United States, I mean the whole "World". I'll come back to this thought later.
In the Gulf war in the early 90's W.A.S.P. got a lot of mail from the United Nations Forces (American, British, European and others) telling us that they would blast metal music from the loud speakers of the armored tanks when they would go into battle. The sound could project two miles away and when the Iraq troops would hear the music they knew "death" was on its way and they would run like the cowardly mother fuckers they really are. What a vision!
So thinking about that takes me back to what I was saying before about where is this leading all of us. Sooner or later this problem in the middle east is going to have to be dealt with. It's not "if" it's "when". It's not just about America and Israel, it's equally about Europe and the rest of the civilized world. "They" are coming after us and will not stop. You ask who is "they?" (See Bible - "seed of Cain"). The names don't matter, whether it's Bin Laden, Hussein or whoever it's all the same. They are all "Antichrist wannabes" and we're going to deal with them either now or later. So based on the idea of the letters we got from the soldiers in the 90's I thought: ok, why not give our guys (United Nations Forces), a fresh batch of new songs to go onto battle with.. Something that will inspire us and scare the fuck out of them. Think of this album largely as a collection of songs to "go kill people with".
Fuck political correctness:
That went down with the Trade Centers.
As the line says in the song "Stone Cold Killers": "my God will kill your god".
I will admit that in addition to giving our guys some new "fight" songs, writing this record was also therapeutic for me. I went back to New York in October of 2001 (to see my beloved Yankees in the World Series - Game 4 - thanks for the memories Tino and Derek, it was truly unbelievable and really helped the city to heal) and I went down to "Ground Zero" (sight of the Trade Centers). Nothing could ever prepare you for the magnitude of something like it. An absolute "war zone" and at the same time a gigantic wake for the 3,000 firemen, policemen and people from all over the world that lost their lives there. It's impact as a tragedy is immeasurable but one of the things that hit me the most was that this place was now sacred. That though was the direct inspiration for "Hallowed Ground" and was the first song written for the album. After the song my emotions of reverence soon turned to full blown anger, "Shadow Man", "Hell for Eternity", "Stone Cold Killers" are the reflections of that. If "Hallowed Ground" was my wake and my time to mourn, then the big payback was "Revengeance". I think that one title says it all.
I listened to the Beatles "Revolver" album a lot when I was making this record and "Trail of Tears" was very much musically inspired by that album (Thank you John...) I used a lot of reverse tape (backwards) throughout the album for effects purposes. No, there are no hidden messages believe me, when I have something to say I won't hide it!
Lyrically though it was inspired by one of the greatest atrocities the U.S government ever made to happen. After the great American Indian Nations were enslaved and exiled onto reservations and interment camps (basically prison camps) the majority of the Cherokee Nation were made to march on foot, under guard by the United States army, from the South East of the United States to Oklahoma. With little food and drinkable water and no medical attention, over 4,000 died resulting from the march that took ten months. That march would be named 'Trail Of Tears'. The translation in native Cherokee language is "The Trail of Tears they cried". Another 5,000 would die in the prison camps awaiting removal to Oklahoma but never made the "trail".
It's ironic that I seem to be born of two fathers. One with a dedication to the United States where I live but to my American Indian Heritage as well.
At times there is definite conflict in me because I love them both. I can't change the past so I try to understand that I am a product of both worlds. If it sounds difficult, you're right!!!
"Black Bone Torso" is a somewhat abstract view of the ongoing cover up by the Catholic Church and the child molesters they hire (and hide) as priests. I always thought the outfits they wear with the black jackets and collars were surreal.
"My Wicked Heart" is sort of a prayer asking for forgiveness for my anger before I do it "Father forgive me for I know what I do".
The idea of "Dying For The World" as a title has a number of different meanings for me. The first being trying to please everyone else around you, very little or nothing for yourself. Think about that one for a minute. If you are constantly killing yourself for others and neglect yourself, then you better do something about it quick. The second was the idea in the Bible "what does a man profit if he gains the world and loses his soul?" The third was the events of September 11th 2001. Time will be marked by that event for the rest of our lives. The future events in the world will in many ways be defined by that event. It's a continuation of what I was talking about in the beginning of the events this generation has witnessed.
If it's true that I make records that reflect who I am at the moment, then you better believe that I'm "fucking-a-mad".
"Johnny get your guns", cause we're going!!!