Welcome to the Rocktopia Interviews Section (* For Members Only)
Interview with Darren Upton
13 March 2012
Interview by Neil Daniels
British based writer Darren Upton is the author of the W.A.SP. biography, Sting In The Tale. Visit www.waspstinginthetale.co.uk for further information.
What prompted you to write a biography of W.A.S.P.?
There were several factors that prompted me to write the W.A.S.P. biography. I had just come out of a rather destructive and consuming relationship. Writing seemed like the perfect vehicle for healing myself in addition to focusing my efforts on something constructive. The other reason was that since the age of thirteen, W.A.S.P. has been my favourite band. I felt that after thirty years, it was about time someone wrote the entire history of Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P.
Have you had any feedback from Blackie?
No I haven’t. I sent an e-mail to Blackie’s publicist, asking if he would interested in telling the fans his side of the W.A.S.P. story. I never heard back from her or received any word about what Blackie thinks of my book. What’s interesting though is that after my W.A.S.P. biography surfaced, Blackie began a thirteen part history of W.A.S.P. on www.waspnation.com. Was I in any way responsible for Blackie coming out and telling his story? I would like to think so.
Where does W.A.S.P. stand in 2012 in terms of creativity and significance in the metal world?
In terms of significance, I think that W.A.S.P. have earned their status as rock legends. Blackie and W.A.S.P. never reached the size of Metallica or Iron Maiden, but their loyal fans still turn out to see them live across the globe. In terms of creativity, Blackie always keeps the fans guessing as to which direction he will shift in next.
What is your favourite era of the band’s career and why?
I would have to say my favourite era was The Live… In The Raw , because it was when I discovered them for the first time. The power and energy on that live record was just incredible!
Can you take me through the research process?
One of the first things I did was to create a mind map, which is a diagram of what the book should contain. The first steps of research were random and chaotic. I spent around five hours a night trawling the internet for interviews and magazine articles. I would then write everything down and attempt to tie it into some kind of narrative. My first interview didn’t happen until August 2010. I also scoured Amazon for heavy metal books that would yield a decent amount of W.A.S.P. history. I could count the number of books I found on the fingers of one hand and still have digits left!
How long did it take you to get the whole book together?
From start to finish, the whole book took around a year and eight months.
What obstacles did you face when writing the book?
The first obstacles when I had the idea was that I had no computer, no money and no contacts! I used to visit the library at the very start of my research for an hour a day, since that was the limit for using their internet facilities. A good friend of mine saved me from becoming homeless by letting me lodge at his home for around three months. He owned a computer he hardly ever used and let me borrow it for however long I wanted.
Why did you decide to self-publish it?
I decided to self-publish my book because I was driven and impatient! I didn’t want to submit my work and have to sit around waiting for an acceptance. I set my own time scale and just made it happen.
What’s the feedback and sales been like so far?
The feedback has been amazing, more than I could have dreamed. Sales right now are steady and increasing well.
What’s your favourite W.A.S.P. album?
My favourite W.A.S.P. album is Live…In The Raw. Of course I love them all and it’s so difficult to choose a clear favourite.
What do you think the future holds for the band?
I think that W.A.S.P. will continue to release albums around three years apart, plus continue to tour. Blackie won’t hang up his guitar until he is unable to play or has no inspiration left.
Who are your other favourite bands?
My other favourite bands are AC/DC, KISS, Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden, Monster Magnet.
What’s your music collection like?
I don’t really have much of a music collection any more. It’s funny that although I’m a big rock and metal fan, I don’t listen to music while I write.
Are there any rock biogs that you’d recommend?
I would certainly recommend The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell by Marilyn Manson and Neil Strauss. I also enjoyed White Line Fever by Lemmy.
Are there any rock writers that you enjoy reading?
My favourite rock writer is Neil Strauss. I’ve also read almost everything else he’s written that isn’t rock related, such as The Game and Emergency.
Do you have any more books planned?
I do have more books planned but right now I’m focusing on promoting W.A.S.P. Sting In The Tale.