REVIEW: W.A.S.P. – “Mean Man” (7″ single)

It’s a holiday weekend in Canada!  Happy Thanksgiving.  Because it’s a holiday weekend I thought I’d be lazy and just review two songs instead of an album!

W.A.S.P. – “Mean Man” (1989 7″ single)

I bought this at a record show in 1995.  For $8 it seemed like a great deal:   Non album track “Locomotive Breath”, purple vinyl, and a “means test”.  A what?

“Locomotive Breath” is one of my favourite Tull tunes anyway, so I was fine with Blackie and the gang pummeling their way through this cover.  The riff is perfect for a metal band like W.A.S.P. to utilize anyway.  They do it straightforward and it works.

The A side was from The Headless Children LP.  In my opinion, that’s the best W.A.S.P. album anyway, and has my favourite lineup:  Blackie, Chris Holmes, Johnny Rod, with Frankie Banali.  Not the best song from that album, though.  It’s catchy and has a solid riff with a tough-guy singalong chorus.  The lyrics are a pretty funny send-up on guitarist Chris Holmes, that’s why he’s on the cover!  I’m sure the song did nothing to ease the public’s image of Chris, after being seen drunk in a pool in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. 

Blackie stated on MuchMusic in 1989 that Chris was not drunk, and that it was an act for the cameras.  It certainly does seem staged.  Either way I think this song and single was clearly an attempt to capitalize on that image!

The purple vinyl is cool, gotta love the cover image, and as for that “means tester”, it works like a mood ring.  Push your thumb on it and it changes colour due to your body heat.  The best I seem to do is somewhere between “hard” and “firm”!

3/5 stars

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5 comments

  1. These guys for a time filled a void for me when Kiss ditched the theatrics ie.Lick it Up/Animalize.
    The first WASP record was that fill for me,the songs,direction,look,plus they were in all the magazines.
    Caught them in Winnipeg on a bill second to Krokus while Helix opened the show.
    Tons of press followed so how could u not get hooked,here was band thinking they were KISS but weren’t KISS but it was close enough for me.
    The second album Last Command had some good tracks but you could see that ol scenario where a band plays there debut in the bars for years get big than when it’s time for a followup they fall short on the material.
    For me the two singles Blind…. And Wildchild were the best tracks,by the third album Inside the Electric Circus there sound was becoming stale,so I kinda moved on,but once I heard the The Real Me on Headless Childern I dug it and got back into them but aft awhile I kinda moved on but for a time they were alright…..
    I mean geez how many bands can say hey have a torture rack onstage……
    My 3 cents…..

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  2. Deke I totally agree once again. You could tell with that first album that it had their best stuff on it, and then the second had to be written. There was another song I liked, I can’t recall which album it was on, “9-5-Nasty”. But Headless Children was a turning point. At the time it was probably the heaviest album I’d bought in a couple years!

    Between Headless and the first album, that’s a pretty good summation of the best W.A.S.P.

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  3. I don’t know from W.A.S.P., not really. I’ve heard songs but never an album. But I love the means tester. Somewhere between hard and firm ain’t too bad, my man! ;) And you’ve gotta admit, given all the leather those guys wore, it’s a helluva lot better than a scratch ‘n sniff patch.

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