W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough (1995, Castle)
- Still Not Black Enough
- Somebody To Love
- Black Forever
- Scared To Death
- Goodbye America
- Keep Holding On
- Rock And Roll To Death
- I Can’t
- No Way Out Of Here
U.S. bonus tracks:
- Skinwalker (replaces ‘Breathe’ from the European release)
- One Tribe
- Tie Your Mother Down
- Whole Lotta Rosie
Blackie Lawless – Lead & Background Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Sitar, Piano, Organ & Synthesizers
Frankie Banali – Drums
Bob Kulick – Lead Guitar
Stet Howland – Percussion (on ‘Scared To Death’)
Mark Josephson – Electric Violin
Tracey Whitney – Background Vocals
K.C. Calloway – Background Vocals
Total Time (European) - 38:30
Total Time (U.S.) – 51:23
By the end of 1989, W.A.S.P. as a band was all but a one man show, the Blackie Lawless show. After lead guitarist Chris Holmes left the band in the Summer of ’89, Blackie Lawless effectively began his solo career. Due to contractual obligations, THE CRIMSON IDOL (1992) was released under the W.A.S.P. moniker. That album was all Blackie with hired guns Frankie Banali (drummer-Quiet Riot) and Bob Kulick (guitarist) helping out. Fast forward to 1995, Lawless creates another solo album with Banali and Kulick, STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH. Due to label and fan expectations, the album is released under the W.A.S.P. name also.
The album is solid but not in the traditional party-time L.A. vibe that the band was famous for. Blackie writes excellent songs and assembles very talented musicians to interpret his ideas but some of the songs, mostly the slower tracks, show Blackie’s introspective and conceptual style that was the basis of THE CRIMSON IDOL.
Many of the songs sound like vintage W.A.S.P. : ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Goodbye America’, ‘Rock And Roll To Death’, and ‘Skinwalker’ (from the U.S. version). Any of these songs could have easily fit on albums like THE LAST COMMAND (1985), INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS (1986), or THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989).
The slower songs sound a little out of place. ‘Scared To Death’ is a superb song, with a great arrangement and accompanying vocals from Tracey Whitney, but it just doesn’t have the W.A.S.P. feel. Same with ‘Keep Holding On’, cool ballad but you don’t really expect a love song from one of Hard Rock’s most notorious frontmen. It’s these songs, along with ‘I Can’t’, that point to the different direction Blackie was taking with his solo material.
My only major complaint is with the cover songs. This version of the Jefferson Airplane classic ‘Somebody To Love’ is plain awful. The European release would be that much better if it was dropped and replaced with ‘Skinwalker’ from the U.S. pressing. At least the European press only has one cover tune, the U.S. has three! Queen classic ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ is forgettable but this version of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ isn’t that bad, but how can you really screw up an AC/DC song?
So is it a W.A.S.P. album or a Blackie Lawless solo album? A little of both actually. Any material Blackie sings is immeadiately linked with W.A.S.P. and some of the old school vibe is included on half the album. It’s the other half of the album where Lawless creates a more emotional concept that doesn’t fit the band history. It’s a solid album but not a great album, I favor the European version due to the least amount of covers. Favorite songs here: ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Scared To Death’, ‘Skinwalker’, and ‘Goodbye America’.