"The pain is overwhelming": Blackie Lawless details physical suffering on current tour

Blackue Lawless, arms outstretched, holding a flame
(Image credit: George Chin/IconicPix)

W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless has written a lengthy blog post detailing his physical condition, after fans attending shows on the band's current European tour raised concerns about his health. 

"It has become obvious to many of you that either watching the shows live or on YouTube that there is something physically wrong with me," writes Lawless. "There is. I've done my best to hide it, but there are times during many of the shows the pain is overwhelming, and it then becomes impossible to disguise."

Lawless then goes on to detail the injury, revealing that he is currently touring with a herniated disc in his lower back. The injury stems from an accident that occurred more than a decade ago, when when he broke his leg after being tossed off the back of a truck onto a pile of bricks.

"The nerve roots that attach to my spinal cord are extremely inflamed," says Lawless. "Effectively the root nerves at the spinal cord are being choked and that leads to even greater inflammation that then moves from the spinal cord and can eventually go all the way down the leg and reach into the foot, causing numbness, weakness, and honestly... pain you cannot imagine."

Lawless reveals that doctors told him to rest and recuperate, but he was determined to continue with W.A.S.P.'s 40th anniversary European tour, which was originally scheduled for the summer of 2022 but was postponed for a year due to pandemic-related issues. Instead, he's been able to proceed with the dates after undergoing an MRI scan and receiving several epidural injections next to his spinal cord.

"These epidurals are painful in themselves because when the medicine is injected it puts pressure in and around the spinal cord," says Lawless. "When we were there on Saturday the pain was horrific and the nurse looked at the table I was on and it was covered in my sweat. The injections take about 20 minutes and it hurts badly the entire time. 

"This nurse there saw my whole body was shaking and while the Doctor was doing the injections she reached over and started gently rubbing and caressing my left calf. I could not see her face but she could see the pain I was in and little she could do for me to stop it. 

"I’m a big man, but I swear that I wanted to cry because here was a woman who had sworn an oath to help people anyway she can. It hurt so damn bad but just her touch was telling me she knew what was happening to me and that she was there for me. It was like an eternity of absolute hell and tenderness all at the same time. I will never forget her and that moment for the rest of my life."

Lawless finishes by saying that the band are committed to finishing the tour, and that he hopes to have recovered by the the time W.A.S.P.'s US shows begin in August. Full dates below.

Read Blackie Lawless's full statement

W.A.S.P. 40th Annivesary Tour

Apr 19: Gavle Gasklockan, Sweden
Apr 20: Eskilstuna Lokomotivet, Sweden
Apr 21: Karlstadt Nojesfabriken, Sweden
Apr 22: Stockholm Stora Fallan, Sweden
Apr 23: Huskvarna People's Park, Sweden
Apr 25: Oslo Rockefeller, Norway
Apr 26: Oslo Rockefeller, Norway
Apr 27: Norrkoping Flygeln, Sweden
Apr 28: Kalmar Kalmarsalen, Sweden
Apr 29: Gothenburg Tradgarn, Sweden
May 01: Bremen Aladin Music Hall, Germany
May 02: Mannheim Capitol, Germany
May 03: Oberhausen Turbinenhalle, Germany
May 04: Stuttgart LKA Longhorn, Germany
May 05: Saarbrucken Garage, Germany
May 06: Geiselwind Music Halle, Germany
May 07: Munich Backstage Werk, Germany
May 10: Zurich Komplex 457, Switzerland
May 11: Lausanne Les Docks, Switzerland
May 12: Milan Live Club, Italy
May 13: Padova Padova Hall, Italy
May 14: Ljubljana Kino Siska, Slovenia
May 15: Brno Sono Music Club, Czech Republic
May 17: Romania Arenele Romane, Bucharest
May 18: Sofia Arena, Bulgaria

Aug 04: San Luis Obispo, CA
Aug 05: Wheatland Hard Rock Live Sacramento, CA
Aug 07: Portland Roseland Theater, OR
Aug 08: Vancouver Vogue Theatre, BC
Aug 10: Seattle Moore Theatre, WA
Aug 11: Spokane The Podium, WA
Aug 12: Garden City Revolution Concert House and Event Center, ID
Aug 13: Salt Lake City The Depot, UT
Aug 15: Omaha Steelhouse Omaha, NE
Aug 16: Minneapolis The Fillmore Minneapolis presented by Affinity Plus, MN
Aug 17: Moline The Rust Belt, IL
Aug 18: Eau Claire RCU Theater, WI
Aug 19: Clive Horizon Events Center, IA:
Aug 20: Gary Hard Rock Live Northern Indiana, IN
Aug 22: Grand Rapids GLC Live @ 20 roe, MI
Aug 23: Indianapolis Egyptian Room @ Old National Centre, IN
Aug 24: Wheeling Capitol Theatre, WV
Aug 25: Stroudsburg Sherman Theater, PA
Aug 26: New York Hammerstein Ballroom, NY
Aug 27: Hampton Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, NH
Aug 29: Wallingford The Dome At Oakdale Theatre, CT
Aug 30: Philadelphia The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA
Aug 31: Warren Packard Music Hall, OH
Sep 01: Toronto Danforth Music Hall, ON​
Sep 03: Montreal Mtelus, QC
Sep 05: Cincinnati The Andrew J Brady Music Center, OH
Sep 07: Memphis The Soundstage at Graceland, TN
Sep 08: Little Rock The Hall, AR
Sep 09: Dallas South Side Ballroom, TX
Sep 10: Oklahoma City The Criterion, OK
Sep 13: Tucson Rialto Theatre, AZ
Sep 14: San Diego House of Blues, CA
Sep 16: Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium, CA

Tickets are on sale now.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.