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Inside the Electric Circus
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  • While W.A.S.P. remained a gimmick-heavy live act (around this time, Blackie Lawless had a codpiece that would shoot sparks!), they attempted to grow musically with each successive release -- most evidently beginning with 1986's Inside the Electric Circus. While Lawless was the band's main leader and songwriter from the beginning, he had even more of a say in the musical direction by switching to rhythm guitar from bass when original guitarist Randy Piper exited the band (ex-King Kobra member Johnny Rod joined on bass). By selecting a pair of early-'70s hard rock classics to cover -- Humble Pie's "I Don't Need No Doctor" and Uriah Heep's "Easy Living" -- it was clear that W.A.S.P. wanted their fans to pay more attention to the music. But it's not to say that the group completely abandoned their brash heavy metal roots -- the U.K. single "9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y." and the album-opening title track packed plenty of scream-along excitement. [The 1998 reissue contains a pair of B-sides previously unavailable on CD: "Flesh and Fire" and "D.B. Blues."] ~ Greg Prato
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