LIZZY BORDEN On METAL BLADE RECORDS' BRIAN SLAGEL: 'He Convinced Me To Start Making Records Again'

LIZZY BORDEN On METAL BLADE RECORDS' BRIAN SLAGEL: 'He Convinced Me To Start Making Records Again'

Lizzy Borden was recently interviewed by Jack Antonio of “Do You Know Jack”. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On his new album, “My Midnight Things”:

Lizzy: “After I put out ‘Deal With The Devil’ and ‘Appointment With Death’, it was right around the collapse of the music industry. It got to the point where it was like, ‘What’s the point in making records if I can’t get it to my audience?’ There was no way to do that — there was no system in place, and people were getting very used to downloading for free and not buying the records. We were touring all over the world, playing in front of a young audience all over the world, so I didn’t really need to put out another record, but I did miss being a recording artist. I love that part of it — I love playing new songs live, I love putting new shows together. [Metal Blade Records owner] Brian [Slagel] came to me and said, ‘Look, it’s a different world now — we were able to weather the storm and figure out to do this now, and how to make it work.’ He convinced me to start making records again, so here I am.”

On his long professional relationship with Slagel:

Lizzy: “He lets me do what I want to do, so there’s no interference like I would get at a major label. [He said,] ‘Do whatever you want to do.’ He liked what he heard – he heard some of the demos and loved them. I already knew that he was going to like the album. If he likes a band, then generally, he likes what they’re doing, so he lets them do what they want to do.”

On why he decided to produce the new album himself:

Lizzy: “The way that producers work nowadays, it’s a little different. I usually write and record at the same time, and I needed that kind of hands-on thing. A lot of these producers, they sign on with a band and they have a block time — ‘Okay, we have four weeks to make this record,’ or whatever it is, and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is in the end. They just have to finish it at that moment in time, and I didn’t want to be structured like that and just say, ‘Well, I only have this much time to make this record, and whether it’s done or not, that’s all I get.’ I knew right away that since it’s the first record back, I definitely didn’t want to be under those confines, so I decided I had to do it myself. I was glad I did – I worked through so many different things, and I couldn’t have done it in a band situation, and I couldn’t have done it with a producer, unless it was Elliot Solomon, who did ‘Master Of Disguise’ and ‘Deal With The Devil’. He’s the only one who could have understood that way of working, because he taught me how to do it that way.”

On whether the album’s title stems from his late-night writing and recording sessions:

Lizzy: “That’s a small piece of why I called it ‘My Midnight Things’, but it was a small major piece, because I recorded it in my studio in North Hollywood in an industrial place. After closing time, it’s dead — it’s like a ghost town. I spent a few months there by myself and sometimes I wouldn’t even see anybody for a couple of weeks. I wanted that to come out in my voice when I was singing these songs late at night. There’s no distractions, so my imagination was the only thing that I had to work with. I just went with it and kept it going, and it bled into each song.”

On layering vocal harmonies:

Lizzy: “Since ‘Master Of Disguise’, the last two albums, I’ve been doing a similar thing. That’s my influences from QUEEN and a lot of other bands. With QUEEN, there was four guys, so you could hear the [individual] voices, and they all blend together as one. With me, it was just myself, so I really wanted to fight to try and find different personalities within each harmony, and flush that out. That was really my focus on that. I knew this was going to be a very vocal record — it was going to be all about the vocals, all about the song. It wasn’t going to be about showcasing musicians or anything like that — it was all going to be about the song and the vocals. My whole thing was to get the music to enhance the vocals rather than having some guitar competing with everything, or the bass over-playing. I just wanted the song to rule. If that meant pushing the guitars out of the way, that’s the way I wrote it. If it meant playing a more straight bass line, that’s the way I did it. I let the song control where things were going to go. That’s kind of what I did on ‘Visual Lies’ and ‘Master Of Disguise’, and those are my biggest-selling records, so I wanted to have that same sort of format going with this record.”

On why he hired mixing engineer Greg Fidelman:

Lizzy: “I really loved the way he mixed the last METALLICA record. I thought it was really good, and even though my record doesn’t resemble that kind of music, I just thought that he had the right take on what I was trying to do. We hit him up, and he loves LIZZY BORDEN, so he took the job right away.”

On his plans for live shows in support of “My Midnight Things”:

Lizzy: “What I do for every character, I create a whole character, a whole look, and then I create the stage show. That’s the way I always do it. For this one, it’s going to be a big deal. So far, I think it’s the biggest production we’ve done since ‘Visual Lies’, at least what we’re talking about right now. Then I’ll put a cool lineup together, and we’ll hit this world tour soon.”

“My Midnight Things” — the first album from the theatrical rock frontman in 11 years — will be released on June 15 via Metal Blade Records. The record was mixed by Greg Fidelman (METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH, ADELE, U2) and mastered by Tom Baker (DAVID BOWIE, ROB ZOMBIE, MARILYN MANSON, TOM PETTY).

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LIZZY BORDEN On METAL BLADE RECORDS' BRIAN SLAGEL: 'He Convinced Me To Start Making Records Again'
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John Fogerty and ZZ Top Kick Off 'Blues and Bayous' Tour: Set List

John Fogerty and ZZ Top Kick Off 'Blues and Bayous' Tour: Set List

One of this year’s most eagerly awaited package tours began last night (May 25) when ZZ Top and John Fogerty opened up their Blues and Bayous Tour at the Borgata Spa & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

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John Fogerty and ZZ Top Kick Off 'Blues and Bayous' Tour: Set List
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KLAUS MEINE Cites 'Friendship,' 'Teamwork,' 'Chemistry' As Keys To SCORPIONS' Success

KLAUS MEINE Cites 'Friendship,' 'Teamwork,' 'Chemistry' As Keys To SCORPIONS' Success

SCORPIONS vocalist Klaus Meine was recently interviewed by Australia’s Heavy magazine. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On the band’s upcoming Australian tour with DEF LEPPARD:

Klaus: “When they were young, when they played America for the first time, their management back then — Peter Mensch, Cliff Burnstein — they put them on tour opening up for SCORPIONS in America in the early ’80s. This is before they really started breaking big-time, so we know them from way, way back from the early days. [Since then,] we shared the stage a couple of places, festivals, all over the years here and then, but we never really did a tour together. This goes all the way back to the early ’80s. We’re really excited about it, and this time, they opened up for us back then, and now we’re special guests to them.”

On whether it will be hard to condense the usual length of their concert sets:

Klaus: “We have to figure out — it’s probably got to be a 70-minute kind of set, so it’s not the full headline show. We really have to find a good way to just find the right songs and the right dynamic to make it work and give our fans a good chance to see the best of this band, all the decades, all the big classics, the big hits. You have to find the right dynamic in a shorter set and make it work, but it will be the best of, the essence of, the DNA of what the SCORPIONS are all about.”

On the group’s longevity:

Klaus: “I think it’s the fact that the band’s been always based on friendship. The chemistry of this band has been always a very important part of it, and it was always about teamwork. Being a German band, we had a different kind of start, to go take our music all over Europe and then all over the world. There are not too many German bands who really broke worldwide, so it’s a very unique story about the SCORPIONS, but it has been always built on friendship and on teamwork. You can see it now after all these years. The passion is still there for what we’re doing, and [we’re] still excited to work hard and rock hard and win those fans over.”

On the difficulty of breaking out of Germany:

Klaus: “It was difficult in times without social media, without Facebook and YouTube and all of that, but there was a stage everywhere, and even if it was a small stage [or] it was a small audience, we were always ready to go out and play live in front of rock fans. In ’77-’78, we went to Japan the first time, and then it was just a small step to go to America, and we became a part of the international rock family. But for a German band where English is not your mother language, it was not easy, but we felt this was our way — this was the way we wanted to go. By the time we came to America to share the stage with Ted Nugent, AC/DC, AEROSMITH, VAN HALEN, all these bands, that was a tough competition. It was not easy, but it make this band very strong at the same time.”

On his memories of recording “Wind Of Change”:

Klaus: “There was a special feeling around it. First of all, because it was so different, with the whistle opening and all that. I remember that I was pretty nervous when I presented it for the very first time to Rudolf [Schenker] and Mattias [Jabs] to get, like, the first feedback, but they liked it. Of course, nobody really knew that the song would be such a worldwide hit, not to [mention] the dimension because of the reunification in Germany and the end of the Cold War and all that. It was a different song, and I felt very strong and I felt good about it, because it just reflected what we were going through between ’88 and ’89 in the Soviet Union, and being a German band, it was all about, like, ‘Here we are — this time, the Germans are coming with guitars.’ It was very emotional, so therefore, this song was very special for me from the moment I wrote it, but it was a long way until it was recorded. I think it was the third single that was released out of ‘Crazy World’, and of course, it became a big hit. To this day, wherever we go, people sing the words. Just recently when we played in Mexico, it’s like everybody’s singing, and it’s hard to figure out my voice because the audience is so loud.”

On whether the group has started working on any new material:

Klaus: “In the last couple of years, we’ve been constantly touring, and there’s really little time to go into the studio. But, of course — with Mikkey Dee in the band, [it] gives us a whole new shot of energy, and he goes, ‘Come on, guys — we’ve got to go into the studio and write a couple of new songs.’ 2018, we’re pretty much booked until the end of the year, but let’s see what the future will bring. It’s always great to go back into a state of creativity and go back to the studio, and hopefully there will be a time next year where we do this.”

SCORPIONS will perform a handful of American shows with QUEENSRŸCHE in August and September. They mark the group’s first U.S. shows since the band canceled the final five dates of its fall 2017 tour due to Meine‘s “severe laryngitis.”

SCORPIONS are currently promoting “Born To Touch Your Feelings – Best Of Rock Ballads”, an essential anthology of the band’s new and classic recordings, which was released last November via Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

SCORPIONS‘ previous release was 2015’s “Return To Forever”, partially comprising songs the band had in the vault from the ’80s. It was the final recorded appearance of SCORPIONS‘ longtime drummer James Kottak, who was dismissed from the band in September 2016. He has since been replaced by Mikkey Dee, formerly of MOTÖRHEAD.

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KLAUS MEINE Cites 'Friendship,' 'Teamwork,' 'Chemistry' As Keys To SCORPIONS' Success
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MONSTER MAGNET Frontman Says He's More Of A 'Rock Guy' Than A 'Musician'

MONSTER MAGNET Frontman Says He's More Of A 'Rock Guy' Than A 'Musician'

MONSTER MAGNET frontman Dave Wyndorf was recently interviewed by PureGrainAudio. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On managing to remain relevant:

Dave: “I wish I had a plan. I never did have a plan — I never expected to be around that long. It’s just me writing the songs and trying to attack the music from a different angle, really — trying to get a different vibe off of the kind of music and the kind of chords that I like to hear. I’ve never really chased after new music because I love a certain type of music that I think I’m good at. That’s all it really is — I’m just trying to pose almost like the same figures in a different light each time out. I also look around and see what’s out there, and if there’s anybody else doing what I’m doing, I’ll avoid that. The whole time I’ve been around, I’ve never seen anybody exactly do what MONSTER MAGNET does, so [I say], ‘All right, I’ll do another take on this. I’ll do another take on that.'”

On keeping things simple:

Dave: “Rock’s rock — it’s certainly not brain surgery. I’m pretty easy to please in that respect. I never was impressed by prog rock when I was a kid. Everything that’s happened now, already happened. I hate to sound like an old guy, but all this shit [already] went down. Once people come out with math rock and stuff, they’re like, ‘Wow, those guys are so fuckin’ much better than me.’ I’m like, ‘It doesn’t matter. I just like to rock.’ Very simply put, if I can’t pull it off technically, I’ll make it happen in another way. I usually like to keep riffs pretty simple. I don’t need to go searching around for brand new styles. There’s at least two schools on how people look at music. A lot of guys in rock bands will go, ‘You’ve got to be faster and better and constantly innovate.’ It almost goes into jazz. I never looked at myself as much a musician as I was just a rock guy, a songwriter. For me, my rules for being a songwriter [don’t] involve crazy chords. It just really involves chord changes and melody. However I do that is my business.”

On the visual element of MONSTER MAGNET:

Dave: “When I first did MAGNET, I just kept thinking how it would look — how would it look from an album cover, from what I was singing about and what was the best way to get that message across without being too simple. All I really wanted to do was try to incorporate all my favorite stuff from when I was a kid. [When] I started MAGNET, I wasn’t a kid — I was, like, 26 or 27, and I already said to myself, ‘I’ve seen it all. All the best shit’s gone.’ I already was kind of a punk rock snob at that point. I kept trying to think, ‘What would be my favorite band? What would all that stuff be?’ It wouldn’t just be the music; it would be the lyrics, and the lyrics would reference stuff that I thought was cool that maybe nobody else knew about — movies, comic books, books, obscure references to religion, any kind of cool-ass shit I could fit together and try to write lyrics that both make sense, but also be visually evocative and fit the music. I was like, ‘What’s the weirdest word I can pick here that means what I want to say, but in the most meta-context?’ I would throw in stuff that eventually became a weird kind of writing style, like poetry. If people are just going to catch a couple of words, they’re going to have to catch ‘volcano’ or ‘exploding planet’ or ‘tits’ or whatever the cool reference would be, and that’s how I started with the visual [element].”

On favoring abstract songwriting:

Dave: “I was scared of writing a direct song. Writing a great direct song is such a gamble, because unless you hit the mood of everybody that’s going to listen to it and they all agree that this is, like, ‘talking about my generation’ or something… I was kind of afraid to do that. One, I wouldn’t be able to do it right, and number two, I was too cynical — I was like, ‘This has to mean more. It has to mean a couple things.’ I’d rather people walk away from a MAGNET song going, ‘I don’t quite get what he said, but I think I know what that is,’ or ‘It hits me in some way.’ I can sing those songs year in and year out and never get tired of it.”

On how he feels the band has changed over the years:

Dave: “The playing got better, as far as I’m concerned. The guys who are in the band [now] can play stuff the way I imagine it. Things got a little bit more muscular riff-wise, and I started adding on the top a lot more garage-y, fucked-up sounds to give it a little gnarlier [feel], a little bit more off-time shit. We got into a pattern there, and I didn’t want to be in a certain playing style. That’s where doing somewhat of the same music over and over, it becomes important to get the right person to play it, because there [are] differences. It’s good to change it up every once in a while, especially if you’re going to be around for as long as we have.”

On the group’s longevity:

Dave: “It’s weird being in a band for this long. I thought I would do what everybody else does, which is hang around for three or four years, and then the world kicks you out. I just kept ducking and weaving and going one place to the other. I didn’t want to stop, because it’s just too much fun. It’s too cool.”

MONSTER MAGNET‘s 11th album, “Mindfucker”, was released March 23 via Napalm Records.

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MONSTER MAGNET Frontman Says He's More Of A 'Rock Guy' Than A 'Musician'
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