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Queen of Metal / Lee Aaron Project / 2 Precious vocalist
Lee Aaron

FIBM:   What's new, what have you been up to lately and what's in the future?

Lee Aaron:  Well...."Beautiful Things" my 11th disc was released in 2004 and I toured in support of that, right up until I gave birth to my first child in June 2004. Since then I've scaled back and have only been doing selected dates. I've been writing and have a new album in the works……… my husband and I are also expecting our second child in February 2006. I always wanted to have a family but spent so many years on the road and focused on my career that there was no time. Now is right time for me. With that said I still plan to record future albums.

FIBM:   When did you start playing in bands? How did you get started?

Lee Aaron:  I started playing in a band when I was 15 years old - I wasn't the front person or focal point then. I played keyboards and sang about 50% of the vocals. We were discovered when I was 17 playing a summer festival concert by a local manager and he was the person who re-vamped the whole group, pulled me into the lead singer position, selected my wardrobe, and coached me on stage antics. I was quite malleable, impressionable and naïve then. He subsequently fired the whole band and tried to surround me with local "power players". I was far too green to realize I was being sculpted and manipulated. He pulled together my first record and distribution deal but it was almost solely based on the fact I was a "sexy rocker chick" than the fact that I actually had any talent.
FIBM:  You have such an incredible voice, were you always able to sing like that or did you work to develop it? When did you realize you had such a strong voice?

Lee Aaron:  I started singing in musical productions at the age of five and continued to do throughout my teenage years as well. My initial training was theatre, where you learn skills like strength and projection and, perhaps most important, proper vocal technique.

FIBM:  In 1982 you were in the Lee Aaron Project, in which you released a self-titled record. Any memories come to mind from those recording sessions?

Lee Aaron:   I remember being young and nervous and concerned with doing a great job. I had some local heavyweight players on the album and felt fairly intimidated by that. My manager plied me with Southern Comfort to get good vocal performances out of me……I guess it worked.


FIBM:  Why did you leave the Lee Aaron Project and go solo? What was going on in your life at that time?

Lee Aaron:
  The Lee Aaron Project was never a "real" band in the first place. It was exactly that - a project record. It was my first manager's scheme to get my name into the mainstream - to team me up with well known players. While I co-wrote a few tunes the album is largely covers. What I really wanted was to be part a band where I could be a core songwriter. That is what I found with my co-writer of 11 years, John Albani, from "Metal Queen 1984 - Emotional Rain 1994.

FIBM:  What was it like for you to be playing in a mostly male dominated genre? Did you ever feel you were treated differently, or did you feel you had an advantage?

Lee Aaron:
  Being a woman in the genre of rock in the 80's was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you were an anomaly.....there weren't very many of us...and even fewer that were actually good. That quite often worked in my favor in terms of getting media attention. A curse, because the 80's were an era that totally objectified women....almost every video featured long haired pretty boys with eyeliner and pointy guitars playing crotch rock with scantily clad, tight assed girlies dancing about and fawning over their psydo-maledom. So there was constant pressure - from the labels' marketing standpoint - to be a tight-bottomed scantily clad chick too……..which tends to eclipse the fact that one has talent or not. After many hits and the release of my 6th album, most of the industry still didn't realize that I actually wrote those hits. Plus I was part of an industry machine that sold the idea to other young girls that to be worth anything you need to look like this.

FIBM:  We all have heard the stories about the backstage antics of bands? What was it like backstage after your show? Did you have male groupies? Any good after-show moments come to mind?

Lee Aaron:  Well....I wouldn't exactly say male groupies in same sense that one thinks of female groupies. I had VERY avid male fans that were in love with my public image but I personally would never have any interest in becoming involved with or even liasoning with someone who didn't know anything about me as a real person. I've had a few stalkers - one that even trailed me across the country and followed me while doing personal errands including going to the doctor. Weird. He had to be extracted from my shows and put on a bus home by my trusty road crew. A couple of them were quite scary because, lets face it, there was something a little off there in the first place. There are a million road stories....hmmmmm....the last show of each tour is always a forum for antics. Paul Delong from Kim Mitchell dressed like a woman and rolled a roast chicken on a roller skate across the stage during my show……We once had a drunken medieval battle using the lids from room service trays and hotel fire extinguishers - got in a wee bit of trouble for that one.

FIBM:  Describe a typical DAY IN THE LIFE of Lee Aaron during the years 1982-1985.

Lee Aaron:  Wake up - get off the bus - check into the hotel - get a few more hours sleep - shower - meet the local record rep - go do interviews all day long - go to sound check - do another interview or two - eat - get ready for the show - play the show - do a green room meet and greet - get back on the bus headed for the next town - drink until you could pass out on the tour bus

FIBM:   In 1984 you released two albums. Why did you release two in one year, Lee Aaron & Metal Queen? Any moments stand out during that year?

Lee Aaron:  Lee Aaron actually came out in 1982, however in 1984 when I signed to ATTIC Records and released Metal Queen they bought out my former label and re-released my first album as well the same year.

FIBM:  What was the recording budget for Metal Queen? Please share a couple of studio moments from those sessions.

Lee Aaron:  A grand total of $25,000.00 We had a great time recording that album. I actually cut all my vocal tracks without headphones and used little live studio monitors instead. It was technique that me and the producer came up with to get a more LIVE sound.

FIBM:  What was the reasoning behind your appearance in OUI magazine? What was your thought a year after the magazine was out? Was it something you are ok with now, or do you regret it?

Lee Aaron:  Between the ages of 17 and 20 I was coerced into quite a few questionable photo sessions by my first manager. As I mentioned before I was completely naïve and inexperienced to the industry and I did many things without questioning their validity to the musical side of my career. Do I regret some of the very sexual marketing? Yes, today I do, however a couple of years after I lived through that manipulation and exploitation I developed a very thick skin as I came under a great deal of attack from certain media for my choices. I tried to defend it by saying that I was a forward thinking woman...a forerunner for the liberation of women in charge of their own careers. In fact, my manager pretty much scripted that response for me as a stock answer to such attacks. The ironic thing is, that when that happened I wasn't in charge of anything at all. I was lying to myself so I wouldn't have to feel bad about being exploited at such a young age.

FIBM:  What was it like for you to do that photo session? Were you comfortable in that setting?

Lee Aaron:  Uncomfortable and no.

FIBM:  Who were some of the bands you toured with in 1984? Was there a favorite?

Lee Aaron:   Motley Crue, Ratt, Bon Jovi in '85. The Crue guys were really nice and gentlemanly - to me anyway.

FIBM:  In 1985 you released Call of the Wild? I remember, at the time, thinking what a great record it fillers, great musicianship, I really thought you were going to be the next Pat Benetar, but better. Although, overseas and in Canada, as far as I understand, they seemed to get it. But here in the States, a lot of people did not know who you were. Did your label not promote as much in the States? Any thoughts about that, or frustrations during that time?

Lee Aaron:   It's a rather complicated story. When I signed with ATTIC Canada in 1984 I gave away my worldwide distribution rights (another piece of bad advice from manager #1) so basically it was up to them to secure US distribution. The president of the label had a dream to start ATTIC AMERICA, and wanted me to be the leading act on the label. For quite a few years he tried to get investors on board and launch the label with enough funding, but it never happened. In the meantime, between '85 and '91 several US offers came and went. The president of ATTIC was holding out for a label deal - he wanted a US distributor to take on all his acts - when most only wanted to sign me. I had no control over that. Also, the VP of Attic was also in charge of marketing in the early 90's. I had fought very hard to earn back credibility and respect after the Bob Connolly (first manager) days. This VP took out full page add for the first single off the album 'Sex With Love' in a well know Canadian trade magazine that basically said "Hear SEX on the radio - see SEX on TV - see SEX on tour." I flipped. In 1992 it was the reason I fought to get off ATTIC altogether.

FIBM:  How was it working with famed producer Bob Ezrin? Any memories from those recording sessions come to mind. Was he sober at that time? Did he share any cool Kiss / Pink Floyd stories?

Lee Aaron:   I worked with Bob Ezrin when I was only 23 years old. I was in awe of him and his accomplishments. He pulled in Dick Wagner - Alice Cooper's guitar player to lay down a few tracks as well as to present a couple of tunes to us. I also think he wanted a buddy from his glory days to hang with while in Canada…..after all we were just a bunch of kids. At one point he locked John Albani and I out of the control room for hours because he was experimenting with a mix idea on the intro of "Barely Holdin' On". When he finally allowed us to set foot back in the studio he had stripped the intro of every single instrument except a click track and vocal. Albani and I were dumbfounded. This is what took 5 hours? Was Ezrin sober? Nope. It was obvious that our production budget was being spent on a few extraneous luxuries besides gear and studio time.

FIBM:  How did you meet John Albini and what was it like to work with him, throughout the years?

Lee Aaron:  I met John in 1984 when he was hired by my first manager to come on board to sing background vocals and assist with song arrangements for "Metal Queen". He and I hit it off and formed a strong songwriting partnership that lasted 11 years. He also strongly disagreed with the overt sexual marketing that Bob Connolly was subjecting me to at the time and talked me into walking out on my management deal the following year. I learned a lot from John in the beginning.

FIBM:  Do you stay in contact with him? Why did you part ways?

Lee Aaron:  We talk occasionally still. He lives and works out of Nashville these days and has a successful production company. We parted ways in 1995 amiably as we were moving in different directions musically.

FIBM:  During the 80's, what did you think of Lita Ford?

Lee Aaron:  During the '80's our paths never crossed.

FIBM:  In 1988 you did back up vocals on the Scorpions song, Rhythm of Love, what were your memories from that session and how did that come about?

Lee Aaron:  Virgin Records had hired Dieter Dierks to record one of my concerts in Manheim in 1987. At the time the Scorps were recording Savage Amusement and needed a high backup vocal on that particular tune. Don Dokken and Udo Dirkschnieder had both attempted it without success. I guess it had never occurred to anyone involved to have a female singer try it. When Dieter heard my voice he approached me backstage and asked me if I would extend my stay in Europe and join the boys in the studio to give the tune a try. I did…..and the result is the song as you hear it today. My road manager ( a lovely German lady) accompanied me on the trip. Rudy and Matthias took her next door to a local pub while I was recording and got her absolutely wasted on a drink they had invented called Tequila Bang. When the session was over I had to baby-sit her and get her back to hotel safely……which was quite funny because it's normally supposed to be the other way around - road manager babysitting rock star.

FIBM:  During the eighties were you able to survive on record sales and touring alone? Were you always recouping, or did you receive royalty payments?

Lee Aaron:  I made great money in the 80's on touring and from songwriting royalties. I never, ever saw a record royalty....which is quite a typical and familiar story for many artists that signed deals young and uninformed. When I got out of my record contract in '92 my lawyer said that my deal was "two steps short of white slavery" (his words - not mine) with my artist requirements to record and tour. My saving grace was always the fact that I was a writer.

FIBM:   In 1989 you released Bodyrock, which sold extremely well? What was that year like for you and what were a few highlights?

Lee Aaron:  I toured for 14 months for BodyRock. A lot of it was a blur. I suffered exhaustion, burnout and a failed marriage because of it. Highlights were finally recieving gold and platinum album awards - but I paid a price.

FIBM:  Out of all the bands you have toured with, who treated you the best? Who were the biggest jerks?

Lee Aaron:   Nazereth, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue were nice. Thunder had pretty big egos. Bon Jovi's crew were jerks. I had about one square foot of stage space and zero monitors by the end of that tour in '85.

FIBM:  What is your favorite Lee Aaron (rock release) and why?

Lee Aaron:   I like them all and hate them all for different reasons. I can't really listen to my own stuff too much because I pick it apart.

Lee Aaron, BACK in the day
We at Full in Bloom Music would like to apologize
for our extremely shallow minds, but how could we resist.... It's as nice as any sunset we've ever seen.
Not sure how long this picture will be up,
so enjoy it while you can.
Photo by BMpictures

FIBM:  3 highlights from you career through the eighties.

Lee Aaron:  Seeing the world and getting paid for it. Playing a concert in the Austrian Alps. Drinking Beaujolais Noveau in Paris.

FIBM:  Were you affected by the grunge movement of the 90's or were you unaffected by it? What were the 90's like for you?

Lee Aaron:   Grunge pretty much killed the career of most corporate rock acts, myself included. It was actually a blessing because I was able to leave my record contract and start making records that weren't defined by a genre specific market.

FIBM:  In 1994 you released Emotional Rain. It seemed that the hard rockin' Lee Aaron was taking a break? Was that a conscious decision or was it just a natural progression? What was going on in your life at that time? In retrospect, what are your thoughts on that record?

Lee Aaron:  Yes and no. I felt that I needed to update my sound so I made a decision to hire interesting players that I liked - the drummer and bassist from a cool west coast band called The Sons of Freedom, Knox Chandler and Reeves Gabrels who played in the Psychedelic Furs and David Bowie's Tin Machine respectively. It definitely altered my traditional hard rock sound but I was quite happy about that. When you have a lot of success doing one thing, i.e.: being a hard rock diva, your record company and your fans are usually not anxious for you to step outside of the box and evolve as an artist. I had been through a messy divorce and wanted to write about subject matter that was deeper and more meaningful than I had in the past. I was tired of being on an industry treadmill that encourages you to pump out the same record over and over again. So I didn't. I think Emotional Rain gave me license to experiment even further musically on future records.
FIBM:  What have you learned from the music industry? What would you do differently if you started over?

Lee Aaron:  I have learned that the music industry is largely based on money, connections and perception - and very little about music. It's sad but true. If I were to do anything differently I would start out with a very clear sense of myself as an artist rather than letting the industry define me.

FIBM:  What led up to you singing Jazz / Blues?

Lee Aaron:  Discouragement with the industry and a desire to create music simply for the love of the music. You don't get into jazz and blues to get rich.

FIBM:  Who are some of you major influences in that genre?

Lee Aaron:  Nina Simone, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, Ella and Billie of course.

FIBM:  In 2000 you released Lee Aaron, Slick Chick. What was that year like for you?

Lee Aaron:  It was a great year. I was prepared to catch a lot of criticism for stepping out into a genre that was uncharted territory for me - but the support was overwhelming. I received very good reviews, for the live shows and the disc. Probably because my motivations were genuine.

FIBM:  You seem to have been able to reinvent yourself with ease. Did you ever feel that it was an uphill battle or was it a natural progression for you?

Lee Aaron:  Some people think that reinvention is something preconceived or calculated. For me it was neither. I simply decided to continue making music for the sake of the music without concern about how popular I would become or how much money I stood to earn. When you strip yourself of the industry machinations - like a long line of individuals ahead of you with their hand out for a percentage - there is so much more freedom because no one is pressuring you to fit into a box. Maybe it comes across as natural because I'm not hung up on fitting in anywhere.


FIBM:  In the 80's you were beautiful and in 2005 you are just as beautiful...What gives? What is your secret?

Lee Aaron:   Thanks. That's sweet of you to say. I've often said that I have no right to have somehow managed to stay well preserved, as I abused myself during my rock stardom in the '80's. No secrets……I try to keep my mind busy. I like learning new things

FIBM:  Any chance of the rockin Lee Aaron to make an appearance in the future?

Lee Aaron:   No. The Metal Queen has officially retired.

FIBM:  Lee Aaron is transported back to the year 1982? Is there anything you would do differently?

Lee Aaron:   My hair…………it looks pretty poofy and ridiculous.


FIBM:  What is your most disgusting habit?

Lee Aaron:  Pride. Humility. When I'm conscious of either, I'm pretty disgusted with myself.

FIBM:  What is the most feminine thing you do?

Lee Aaron:  Boss boys around. Wear boys' ice-skates.

FIBM:  If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?

Lee Aaron:   Well, I believe there is a God and when I get there I'm going to ask him why I got stuck with my insane family.

FIBM:  Greatest Rock band of all time?

Lee Aaron:  U2

FIBM:  What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?

Lee Aaron:  Putting my 16 month old daughter to bed - and this bloody, marathon interview has taken me 2 weeks to finish.