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”!