Due to Blackie Lawless’ severe back injuries sustained during W.A.S.P.’s European leg of the 40th-anniversary tour, the band has made the difficult decision to cancel their previously announced 2023 U.S. tour
However, fans need not despair, as the tour will be rescheduled for the spring of 2024. For those who have already purchased tickets and VIP packages, refunds will be available at the point of purchase.
Blackie Lawless comments: “The extent of the trauma I endured on the 2023 European tour was far greater than originally diagnosed and surgery will now be needed to correct the problem. In addition to the original herniated disc, as that tour continued, a second disc became herniated. Upon returning home, a second MRI also revealed a broken vertebrae to my lower back.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with the best specialists in the U.S. and I’ve been in intensive rehab since we got home. It’s going well but the damage was pretty extensive and all the doctors agree moving the tour a few months back will be the safest thing. It’s all been as the result of an injury that happened several years ago. I’m working my butt off to get ready and I’ll be up riding on [my mic stand nicknamed] Elvis… bigger and badder than ever. If the Torture Never Stops, then the 40th Never Stops!”
Blackie Lawless recently opened up about his experience during W.A.S.P.‘s recent European tour on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” on May 25. Despite enduring a herniated disc in his back, he showed incredible determination and resilience by completing the tour while performing seated. He said: “This past Monday was my 10-year anniversary from when I broke my right femur. And it’s a long, complicated story, but what’s been going on with my back is a direct reflection of what happened with that femur being broken. Because I wore a lift for nine years, and come to find out I did not need that lift. And that was only determined last summer, so the lift was taken out.
“But the spine had adjusted to me walking with that lift. And when we took it out, then that’s when the problems started. And it actually started at the beginning of the U.S. tour. And I was able to get through the U.S. tour okay, and we thought it had settled into place, but when we got to Europe, we quickly discovered, about two weeks into the tour, that was not the case. And what was happening is that the vertebrae were compressing some of the disks. I ended up rupturing a disk, and then that starts leaking out a gelatin that then wraps itself around the nerves coming out of the spinal cord.
“And that then creates this thing called nerve pain. And I don’t know if people understand what that is, because I had heard of it but I had never experienced it before. And it is pain that you cannot imagine. It is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.”
Blackie continued: “I had to go to Berlin four times to get treatment. I received eight epidurals throughout the tour. That was the only way I was getting through it, because the pain is literally off the charts. And the doctors there told me, they said, ‘This thing can become so intense, people commit suicide from it.’ And I can see why people would do that.
“The first time I had to go in, you have to go into a surgical center because it’s not something that can be done in a regular doctor’s office. So we were in a hospital in Berlin. So they take me into the surgical room, or the operating room. And he told me, he said, ‘Now I’m gonna inject this needle or insert this needle into you and I’m gonna touch your spinal cord with it.’
“He said, ‘I want you to get ready for this.’ Now, I didn’t know what that meant — until he did it. And when he did it — I really don’t have accurate words to describe what that feels like. The closest way I can explain it is it felt like an explosion, like a bomb went off inside my legs. And he said, ‘I’m gonna have to do this one more time.’ And I swear to you, I grabbed the table with both hands.
“You see these movies about mafia and things like that, where they’re pulling guys’ fingernails off with pliers. You don’t need that,” Blackie Lawless added. “You just show somebody a needle — they’ll give up their kids. I’m here to tell you — there’s nothing like it. I mean, you cannot fathom it unless you’ve been through it.
“So, anyway, they were able to keep me running, but they were afraid that I was gonna do further damage. So the deal was halfway during the tour that I would pull back about 50 percent of the movement that I was doing. But it started getting worse and worse. And we got to Zurich about two and a half weeks ago, and something happened during the show, and I knew something wasn’t right. And that’s when we went to sitting after that.
“We got home this past Saturday, and I went straight to the doctor’s office. And they looked at me, and we said, ‘Okay, let’s do new pictures.’ So we did new pictures this past Monday.
“I have a thing, and they determined this in Berlin — it’s called mechanical compression,” Blackie Lawless revealed. “And what that means is you get vertebrae that start pushing against each other, but they grind against each other at the same time because they start to cramp. Well, when we were doing the show in Zurich, it was cramping really bad and I couldn’t get it to stop. And I was literally, literally hanging on to [my mic stand] Elvis while I was trying to sing and play at the same time.
“So we did the new pictures on Monday, and I have a cracked vertebra now in my spine. But as bad as that sounds, it’s not the first time it happened,” Blackie Lawless said. “It happened the first time in ’92 on ‘The Crimson Idol’ tour. I got a little too close to the edge of the stage one night and some of the fans pulled me off the stage into the audience, and I ended up upside down in the crowd and they fell on top of me, and I broke a vertebra then.
“So this is the second time I’ve been through this. So it’ll heal on its own. I start therapy tomorrow — it’s a swimming pool thing that I’m gonna have to do to start first. But they say they’re gonna have me up to speed in eight weeks to start the tour. So I’ll be ready to go.”
Presented by Live Nation, W.A.S.P.‘s “The 40th Never Stops World Tour 2023” had an exciting lineup for its North American leg. The tour was set to commence on Friday, August 4, at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo, California, with numerous stops across North America, including cities like Vancouver, British Columbia; Omaha, Nebraska; New York City; Memphis, Tennessee, and more. The journey was intended to culminate on Saturday, September 16, at the iconic Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California. Joining them on all 33 dates of the tour was the special guest, ARMORED SAINT.
Having just concluded their first U.S. tour in a decade, W.A.S.P. experienced tremendous success, with their final show on December 11, 2022, at The Wiltern in Los Angeles selling out. Impressively, the U.S. tour boasted a total of 18 sold-out shows since its commencement in late October 2022. A highlight of their performances was the revival of the band’s classic song “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast),” which had not been played live for over 15 years, adding an extra layer of nostalgia and excitement to the tour.