Why W.A.S.P. Stopped Playing ‘Animal (F— Like a Beast)’ Live
W.A.S.P. achieved widespread notoriety — and nearly derailed their career before it began — with their 1984 single "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)." But despite the song's iconic status, W.A.S.P. haven't played it live in more than a decade.
The savage, bestial anthem was originally slated to open W.A.S.P.'s self-titled debut album, but Capitol Records scrapped it at the last minute, succumbing to pressure from the Parents Music Resource Center. (The song reclaimed its album-opener status on the 1998 CD reissue of W.A.S.P.) "Animal" made the PMRC's "Filthy 15" list of morally objectionable songs, and Blackie Lawless' band of heathens was forced to issue it as a single on the independent Music for Nations label, complete with classy cover art featuring a codpiece punctuated by a circular saw.
Although "Animal" remains one of W.A.S.P.'s signature songs, they haven't played it live since 2006, according to setlist.fm. Lawless dropped the song from the band's sets after becoming a born-again Christian, and in a 2009 interview with Norway's FVN.no (via Blabbermouth), he vowed to never play it again.
Listen to W.A.S.P.'s 'Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)'
"We haven't done that song for several years. And it's totally because of my religious faith, and it's something that I don't want to do anymore, and I will never play that song again," Lawless said. "What can I do to be a positive influence? So I'm looking at what I'm doing and I'm trying to create the best example that I can. I don't want 13-year-olds going around singing that song. If that's something they wanna do later in their life, that's their business. But, like I said, it's a question of faith and the religious conviction that I have."
Yet as W.A.S.P. prepare to embark on their 40th-anniversary U.S. tour — their first stateside trek in more than a decade — it appears Lawless' anti-"Animal" stance has softened. In a new interview with SiriusXM's Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk (via Blabbermouth), the frontman said he's "leaning in the direction of" performing the infamous tune on the road this year.
"I don't know [if we will play it]," Lawless said. "There's a part of me that says it's already out there. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. Do I owe it to the fan base to really make this a true retrospect of what we've done? If I had to give you an answer right now, I would say I'm leaning in the direction of doing it."
Fans who want a shot at hearing "Animal" live for the first time in 16 years can buy tickets to W.A.S.P.'s upcoming 40th-anniversary tour now. The trek kicks off on Oct. 29 in Anaheim, Calif., and runs through Dec. 9 in San Francisco. Armored Saint will join them on the road, with additional support from Michael Schenker on select dates.