The Crimson Idol
is a concept album by heavy metal band W.A.S.P.
, released in 1992 on Capitol Records
Although it was released under the name W.A.S.P., The Crimson Idol is basically a solo album by W.A.S.P. leader Blackie Lawless, since none of the other members of W.A.S.P. had anything to do with it. Blackie has written and produced the whole album, plays bass guitars, keyboards, and also does all the vocals. Guitars were played by Bruce Kulick, and drums by Frankie Banali and Stet Howland. The album was re-released in 1998 as a double cd, with live versions of songs on the second disc.
The Crimson Idol is a concept album. It tells the story of Jonathan, a teenager who becomes a rock star. Jonathan Aaron Steel is the second son of William and Elizabeth Steel. He has one brother, Michael, who is five years older than him.
Early in life, Jonathan notices that his brother is their parents' favorite son, who can do no wrong and is perfect in their eyes. Jonathan on the other hand was a complete failure to them. He was the kid they didn't want. He looked nothing like his brother, not in his appearance nor in his actions. And yet Jonathan admired his brother like a hero.
When Jonathan turned 14 years old, Michael was killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. This left Jonathan so devastated that he couldn't even bring himself to his brother's funeral. This angered his parents even more, and from that moment on Jonathan didn't care anymore. He started to wander the streets, discovering drugs, alcohol and women. This opened up a new world for him, a world of excitement and danger. One day when he walked past a small music store, he saw the one thing he knew he needed: a guitar.
With the guitar he discovered a whole new passion: making music. Now all he wanted to do was to make something of his life by becoming a rock star. He ran away from home, to the big city, what he would call the Arena Of Pleasure. After two years of hard work, playing as often as he could, trying to earn some money to make a record, Jonathan met a man named Charlie. He was the president of one of the biggest record companies, and he would make Jonathan a star. What Jonathan didn't know was that Charlie didn't care about the musicians, he just cared about money. Charlie hooked Jonathan up with a young manager, Alex Rodman, and they started to make Jonathan's first album.
Just before the release of his first album, Jonathan met an old gypsy woman. She offered to read his fortune, and he accepted. What she told him wasn't very pleasant.
Jonathan quickly became a star. He sold lots of albums, and got more money, cars, women and friends he could ever wish for. He was living his life to the fullest. He was what he always wanted to be, an idol. The only thing missing was the acceptance of him by his parents.
One morning when Jonathan was partying with his friends, his manager came in and threatened to leave him if he didn't clean up his act. He thought Jonathan was wasting his talents, and what Jonathan could do for Alex' own carreer. At that point Jonathan realized they didn't love him. They loved his money, his success, and what it can do for them. He called up his parents, to finally ask what they thought of him. All he wanted was for them to be proud of him. But instead they replied: "we have no son".
The final rejection by his parents was too much for Jonathan. He wasn't happy with what he had become, and he was tired of making others happy. On what turned out to be his final show, he commits suicide.