The Crimson Idol

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The Crimson Idol
Studio album by
Released1992 (1992)[1]
StudioFort Apache Recording Studio in Hollywood
GenreHeavy metal
ProducerBlackie Lawless
W.A.S.P. chronology
The Headless Children
The Crimson Idol
First Blood Last Cuts
Singles from The Crimson Idol
  1. "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)"
    Released: 1992[3]
  2. "I Am One"
    Released: 1992[4]
  3. "The Idol"
    Released: 1992[5]
  4. "Hold On to My Heart"
    Released: 1992[6]

The Crimson Idol is the fifth studio album by heavy metal band W.A.S.P., released internationally in 1992 through Capitol Records and on May 24, 1993 in the United States;[7] a remastered edition was reissued in 1998, containing a bonus disc of B-sides and live material from 1992.[1] The album charted within the top 40 in five countries.[8] It is a concept album, telling the story of the rise and fall of a fictional rock star named Jonathan Steel.[7][9] In 2018, Napalm Records released a re-recording of the album, along with a DVD of the film that was originally to accompany the album, under the title of ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to The Crimson Idol).[10]


Taking nearly three years to complete, The Crimson Idol was originally recorded as a Blackie Lawless solo album, but bandleader Lawless bowed to fan pressure and released it under the W.A.S.P. name.[citation needed] Unusually, the album's tour—named The Crimson Idol Tour—took place fifteen years after its release to mark its fifteenth anniversary, commencing on October 26, 2007 at the Principal Club Theater in Thessaloniki, Greece.[11]

A film recorded for the album was also shown in public for the first time, which was played along with the band as they performed their tracks to it in synch. The shows marked the first time that the album has been played from start to finish by the band since its recording. "Mephisto Waltz", the seventh track from The Headless Children (1989), served as the show's opener, followed by "The Titanic Overture", the first track from The Crimson Idol. All shows had a long encore section ranging from 2–6 songs, containing W.A.S.P. classics as well as "Take Me Up" from their 2007 album Dominator.

In 2017, W.A.S.P. played the whole album again on tour to mark the 25th anniversary of its release. The tour, dubbed Re-Idolized: The 25th Anniversary of the Crimson Idol, took place from September through November 2017 in Europe. All shows had a short encore, usually about four or five songs, as well as a few of their classics and the title track from their 2015 album Golgotha.

A re-recorded version of the entire The Crimson Idol album was announced on January 23, 2017.[12] Details and the cover art of ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to the Crimson Idol) were released on November 17, 2017.[13]


The story of The Crimson Idol revolves around a teenager named Jonathan.[9] He is the son of William and Elizabeth Steel, and brother of Michael Steel. Michael is the favored son of his parents, but Jonathan is a complete failure in their eyes. After Michael is killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, Jonathan runs away from home and starts to wander the streets, becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. While walking past a music store, he sees a guitar and desires to become a rock star. He breaks the display window with a bottle of booze, thus beginning his journey into acclaimed excess.

Jonathan plays the stolen crimson-colored guitar as often as he can in order to obtain money to record an album. He then meets a man named "Chainsaw" Charlie, the president of a major record label. Charlie promises to make Jonathan a star, and introduces him to Alex Rodman, who will become his manager. Jonathan goes on to achieve his ambition of becoming a rock star, but finds out that life is not as glamorous as it seems. Despite now having fame and fortune, he still longs for the one thing he always wanted, that being the love and acceptance of his parents.

One night before a concert, Jonathan calls his parents in an attempt to reconcile their differences and heal the emotional wounds between them. According to the story, "less than fifty words were spoken"; the last four were "we have no son". Realizing that he will never be accepted by his parents, Jonathan decides to commit suicide. During the aforementioned concert, he removes the strings from his guitar, shapes them into a noose and hangs himself.

List of characters[edit]

  • Jonathan Aaron Steel
  • Michael Steel, Jonathan's brother
  • Elizabeth Steel, Jonathan's mother
  • William "Red" Steel, Jonathan's father
  • The Mirror
  • "Chainsaw" Charlie
  • Alex Rodman
  • The Gypsy
  • Doctor Rockter
  • The King of Mercy

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]

Greg Prato at AllMusic gave The Crimson Idol three stars out of five, calling it "essentially a Blackie Lawless solo album" and noting "The Invisible Boy", "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)" and "I Am One" as highlights.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Blackie Lawless.

Side one
1."The Titanic Overture"3:31
2."The Invisible Boy"5:12
3."Arena of Pleasure"4:59
4."Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)"7:48
5."The Gypsy Meets the Boy"4:15
6."Doctor Rockter"3:51
Side two
7."I Am One"5:25
8."The Idol"8:40
9."Hold On to My Heart"4:22
10."The Great Misconceptions of Me"9:44
Total length:57:47

ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to The Crimson Idol)[edit]


The Crimson Idol

ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to The Crimson Idol)

  • Blackie Lawless – vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, arrangement, executive producer
  • Doug Blair – lead guitar, background vocals
  • Mike Duda – bass guitar
  • Mike Dupke – drums
  • Frankie Banali – drums (on "The Peace")
  • Benji Howell – producer
  • Mark Zavon – engineering
  • Ralph Ziman – director
  • Logan Mader – mixing

Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1992 Norwegian albums chart 11[8]
Swiss albums chart 24[8]
Austrian albums chart 30[8]
Swedish albums chart 31[8]
German albums chart 35[8]


  1. ^ a b "The Crimson Idol". Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  2. ^ The Crimson Idol (CD release "7994432").
  3. ^ "W.A.S.P. – Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  4. ^ "W.A.S.P. – I Am One". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  5. ^ "W.A.S.P. – The Idol". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  6. ^ "W.A.S.P. – Hold On To My Heart". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  7. ^ a b c d Prato, Greg. "The Crimson Idol - W.A.S.P.". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol (album)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  9. ^ a b "The Story of Jonathan Parts 1 & 2". Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  10. ^ "W.A.S.P. To Release 'Reidolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol)' In February". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  11. ^ "W.A.S.P. Announces 'The Crimson Idol' 15th-Anniverary Tour". Blabbermouth. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  12. ^ "W.A.S.P. To Release Re-Recorded Version Of 'The Crimson Idol', Embark On 'Re-Idolized' Tour". Blabbermouth. 2017-01-23. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  13. ^ "W.A.S.P. To Release 'Reidolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol)' In February". Blabbermouth. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-19.