Sunday, December 1, 2019

Interview With Canadian Heavy Metal Icon Lee Aaron

Back in the '80s, this is how I and many others first saw and heard Lee Aaron. Singing the title song from this album, I personally heard such strong vocals and a great Heavy Metal ballad coming from the heart of Canada.
It would appear on Much Music's Power Hour and played there on the channel, not just on that show but on regular rotation as well.
I had the opportunity to send some questions to whom I consider to be a Canadian icon and she graciously answered them for me. It was a thrill to just be able to ask some questions after all of these years.

Hello Lee Aaron and thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. 
You are very welcome!

I have been a long-time fan of yours from the early days of seeing you on Much Music and Metal Queen being shown on there quite often.

Thank you! That's a long time ago now! I have to say it was very fun to be part of that whole MTV/Much Music era when it started out. It was such a novel, new thing for artists to be using video as another creative format. Making videos as an extension of the music was another cool way to have the audience understand the meaning behind the songs.

This being your first live album, any thoughts on why this was not done years before?

There have been live performance DVDs out there but yes, never a live album. During my tenure with Virgin (10 Records in England), we totally had plans to put one out and had recorded an entire show on our 1987 German Tour with Dieter Dierks mobile recording studio. Unfortunately, the label who A&Red that endeavor went under by '88 so the tapes ended up in some bankruptcy archives somewhere. I'm so happy that we've finally been able to put one out for the fans now. It includes a lot of our newer material as well. The DVD companion makes it a real authentic concert experience. We are still an old-school band that plays with no assistance from backing tracks or click tracks so what you're hearing is the real deal.

Do you feel the concert experience has been somewhat tarnished by cellphones, people recording the show or are you okay with it?

Ha, ha! I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones. I love that folks can take photos and record a tune and take a little bit of their unique concert experience home with them. What really bothers me is that there is often no discernment or system to filter anyone from posting the footage to social media or YouTube where the audio is bad sound quality and the photos may be quite unflattering. it's hard to have any control over that stuff. I recently attended a Jack White and The Racontours show and they had a company that locked every attendee's phone in a lock bag. They insisted that everyone be completely PRESENT for the concert. I think was an awesome idea actually. It forced everyone to be mindful during the show and not distracted by their devices.

Your song "Barely Holding On" is one of my favorite ballads and your vocals are so incredibly strong on it-and you even sing it on the
the live album as well seems so personal when you sing it.

Thank you! I still love to sing that song and I'm aware that it's a personal favorite for many fans. I think the message of that song resonates with anyone who's gone through tough times, I mean, we all have by this age right? It's not too hard for me to find an authentic emotional place to sing from when I perform it.

Outside of your music, any jobs or hobbies you have going on?

I do have LOTS going on but don't usually talk about it too much. Firstly, I'm a parent, along with my husband John to our 2 children and like it or not, they take up a lot of time! I also manage most of the 'behind the scenes' stuff with the Lee Aaron machine - merchandise, writing, recording, production, videos, record partners, media and tour organization. Music and songwriting ARE my hobby! Any spare time I have I'm recording little ideas or writing down lyrics. I also work with special needs and gifted children in my local community who require individualized programs to learn. I help design and implement them. It's quite rewarding as well as fun!

Do you have any new Canadian artists that you are listening to, also who would you say is your favorite singer?

My tastes are pretty eclectic. Lately, I'm really digging The Raconteurs and The new Waterboys. I saw the Waterboys live recently and Mike Scott still has an incredible voice still. I don't have a favorite singer...I like a lot of vocalists. Ann Wilson and Stevie Nicks were definitely early influences though.

I personally consider you to be A legend in the Canadian Heavy Metal scene, any thoughts on that?

Wow...that's quite a compliment. When I think of legends I think of artists like the Stones or Dylan or Iggy Pop. The nice thing about legends is that they usually continue to keep making new music. I hope to continue to do that so, thank you.

What has it been like for a woman in a predominantly male genre of music? 

It's changed a lot over the years. Things that passed as 'normal' in hard rock scene the 80's - like women in bikinis being sprayed down with hoses and draped across fast cars as decorations - would outrage this new generation. That rampant sexism has been turned upside down and that's a good thing. Back then I was constantly battling to be heard and taken seriously. The idea of a woman producing her own albums or even being the principle songwriter was often dismissed. Today I work with an amazingly talented group of guys (in my band) who are mindful and respectful. We're all equals...and they aren't threatened by the idea of a girl-boss!

I want to sincerely thank Lee Aaron for answering my questions and for Nathan T. Birk for making it happen.

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