Darren P. Upton: Author of
"W.A.S.P. Sting in the Tale"
What inspired you to write a book about W.A.S.P.?
I was inspired to write a book about W.A.S.P. because I was a frustrated fan. Why didn’t we have the W.A.S.P. history we wanted to read? W.A.S.P. were the first band that gave me an innate sense of power and excitement when I listened to them. When you are a puny thirteen year old with a life that sucks, you look for some escape. Heavy Metal music was mine. Even though I don’t possess a musical bone in my body, I looked up to people like Blackie and Gene Simmons of KISS. Their no bullshit, uncompromising attitudes made them into my role models.
With the huge amount of Metal books lately, why do you think that no one did a W.A.S.P. book until now?
I don’t know why no-one else had written a W.A.S.P. book until now. There was talk of one W.A.S.P. book surfacing on the official W.A.S.P. website, W.A.S.P. nation, but I’ve not seen it. This person claimed to be asking Blackie’s permission to release their book.
Did you contact Blackie himself or his management?
Yes. I contacted Blackie’s publicist but didn’t receive any reply. I also spoke to a few of his friends who only agreed to speak to me about Blackie if he agreed to it. Since I got no reply from them, I guess he vetoed it.
Has Blackie seen or read your book? If yes, did he have any comment?
I don’t know whether Blackie has seen or read my book. Since he had no input into my biography, I don’t think Blackie will speak publicly about W.A.S.P. Sting in the Tale. He knows from the single "Animal (I Fuck Like a Beast)" single and the PMRC, that anything you give attention pushes it to notoriety.
You had several ex-members in the book that you interviewed first hand. How helpful was that?
Throughout the years, Blackie has been the mouthpiece for W.A.S.P., telling his side of the story. I felt it was time that the fans got the whole history, and where better than from the ex-members themselves? Hearing from the main members like Chris Holmes, Randy Piper, Johnny Rod and four others gives you a more balanced view of what really went on behind the scenes. The real importance of those interviews with Randy Piper, Chris Holmes and Stet Howland in one night was that it was the moment that secured my book funding!
Have you ever written a book before? What was the process like? Did you secure a publishing deal or do it on your own?
No I had never written a book before. To begin with, the whole process was quite organic. I just began collecting information from every W.A.S.P. era I could. Six to eight hours a night were spent scouring websites, looking for anything I could use. It took around nine months until I secured my first interview with ex- W.A.S.P. bassist, Rik Fox. My biography didn’t have a title or even chapters for around seven months! The toughest part of writing is deciding what to edit out. I decided to self-publish with a friend of mine. The reason was to keep my original vision of the book.
Where did you get all the great photos?
Most of the photos came from a photographer named Frank White.Frank had been photographing W.A.S.P. since 1985, right up to the present day. I picked the shots that were unusual, that the fans wouldn’t have seen before. The rest came from fans who were ecstatic at seeing their photos in print.
As a huge W.A.S.P. fan you must have a huge collection of memorabilia. Can you tell us about it?
I used to own a huge collection of W.A.S.P. vinyl. There were so many really cool limited edition pieces in there. Over the period of around twelve years, I moved house eleven times, and each time the vinyl would sit in the box. There was never the space to display all my collection, so I let it go. I began collecting again for the purposes of my W.A.S.P. book, but that’s mainly tickets, adverts, interviews and magazine clippings. My favourite is Japanese. I can’t read any of the text, but the characters are so beautiful!
How hard was it to do the W.A.S.P. family tree?
The W.A.S.P. family tree was a nightmare to perfect! W.A.S.P.’s timeline was so difficult to trace. The extra effort is certainly worth the initial aggravation. My printers told us that having the W.A.S.P. family tree printed white on black was going to cost much more than without it. I stuck to my guns because I wasn’t going to compromise my vision. My best friend and business partner wasn’t too impressed but he swallowed it.
What was the highlight of the project for you?
The highlights were the interviews, especially Chris Holmes. I laughed the hardest ever talking to him! I caught up with Chris and Stet last November at a Where Angels Suffer gig in England. It was an honour to personally give them a copy of my book as a way of saying thank you. I’m still blown away when I read messages from fans telling me how much they enjoyed reading my biography.
Do you have any other book projects on the go? Who would you like to write about next?
Right now I’m putting together a W.A.S.P. photo book, showcasing every tour they have ever done, in full glossy colour. It will cost a great deal to produce, so we will see what happens. I’m also thinking of writing about another band, but I’m keeping this idea under my hat, lest it gets stolen!
How can people buy your book?
Here are the links for my book. If you order from E bay, I will personally sign your copy.