Metal legions need to ditch the 666. One last fling for 6/6/06, then let it lapse, okay? Here’s why.
Following the 1973 lead of the 666 on Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album cover, in 1982 Iron Maiden came up with a catchy little tune called “The Number of the Beast,” about a confused yob who savored flames and evil more than fish and chips. For scriptural color, the sixy numeral got dragged from Revelation 13:18 into the lyrics, and soon metalheads worldwide were carving 666 on their foreheads. ’Cause they were devils, you see, opposite of hypocritical religious prigs. Fine.
Only the Beast isn’t Satan. Back when Revelation was written (c. A.D. 90), the earthly foe of the still-uncorrupted young Christian movement was the Roman Empire, especially as represented by the Emperor Nero — a fire fanatic (hurray) and killer of non-idolatrous innocents (boo) whose name translates numerologically to 666, and who was rumored not to be dead. The empire was the Beast; nothing to do with the idea of an Antichrist (which appears nowhere in Revelation) or Lucifer.
So. Dude in the 666 baseball cap: You’re identifying yourself with oppressive authority, which is exactly what heavy metal is supposed to despise. Keep the horns, but find yourself another number. Marilyn Manson likes 5; howbout that? Pentagrams, y’know. And uniform of Joe DiMaggio.
Evil Is Not Always Good
So it is with a heavy heart that we report metal heroes WASP and Glenn Danzig are going out of their way to perform on 6/6 — WASP at Santa Ana’s Galaxy Theater (they play here a couple of days earlier) and Danzig as a guest of Hank Williams III in the Church of Satan’s silly “A Tribute to Evil” event at the Fonda. Danzig has said before that when it comes to sixes he can’t help himself, but sorry, evil ain’t sexy right now.
And really, WASP mastermind Blackie Lawless should be praying. Because aside from Lawless’ acquittal on battery charges, things haven’t been going well in WASP World. The band’s former road manager and pyrotechnic supervisor was recently convicted in connection with the 2003 Rhode Island club conflagration starring Great White. WASP’s highly ambitious and artistically brilliant The Neon God, about a tortured rock star, didn’t sell. On the group’s last tour, Lawless canceled a bunch of gigs while exhibiting erratic behavior. His reliable drummer and guitarist, Stet Howland and Darrell Roberts, have quit; replacements Mike Dupke and Doug Blair join longtime bass/vocal hellion Mike Duda here.
Lawless may be a carny, but he’s no fake. His aim is beyond entertainment; he shakes you up with blood, passion, loudness and great songwriting, and wants you to walk out stunned, not smiling. He succeeds.
Sometimes weird vibes go along with that. Too bad. But not evil.?
WASP and Lizzy Borden play the Key Club on Sunday, June 4.
Just ’cause this week’s column is all noise doesn’t mean there’s no beauty. You’ll find a lot of GOs below.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.