1.Tell us in a few words why you think people should listen to you over the thousands of bands out there.
I bring a unique touch to any project I’m in. I have developed a style and sound that is my own. The 3 main bands that I was in were One Step Beyond (alternative Metal), Fifteenth Summer (Hard Rock/Metal) and most recently the all-female Dormitory Effect (Metal). Each band sounds different from the other, and between them has garnered extensive accolades, placement in an X-Games soundtrack a couple of indie movies, and coveted spots at music conferences such as SXSW. I have paid my dues, and the experience shows in my playing, songwriting and work ethic. There is no studio magic, no fake numbers pumping up the friend/follower count. Just an authenticity that can’t be manufactured.
2. Name 3 bands you think your music is comparable to
My bands have been compared to Skunk Anansie, Stabbing Westward, Sevendust. As a bassist, I am a finger-style player with a style like and influenced by Steve Harris, Cliff Burton and Stanley Clarke.
3.Tell us about your latest release, how do you describe it and where can we purchase it?
The last release I played on was 2016 EP release from Fifteenth Summer, who are based in Atlanta, GA. It can be heard/purchased on Amazon Music (https://www.amazon.com/Black-Flags-Fifteenth-Summer/dp/B01G8431VG) and Spotify. It’s ventures into Industrial Metal with some solid musicianship from all band members. I have since departed the band, but I am proud of that record and my performance on it.
4.Do you have any video’s and where can we see them? Do you think video’s are important any longer?
Yes; videos are available on YouTube under all three bands mentioned; all taken at our live shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S6PNiwdxYc is one from Dormitory Effect; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VikbIRVTVkI is of Fifteenth Summer playing my favorite track from the EP, Black Flags (you can’t see me but I’m there also doing backup vocals). Unfortunately, none of the bands had the budget for a truly pro-shot video. I do think videos are still important because we live in a visual time; but the flipside of that is people become too focused on the image. While live band videos may be too rough for those who want movie-quality production, those videos show musicians without the studio fluff and bluster.
5. As a PR agent I am going to tell you forthright, It is expensive to make it in the music industry and it is unfair because a lot of great talent gets left behind. How far are you willing to go? How much are you willing to lose to climb this mountain?
I am no spring chicken - I have been this close to being signed with One Step Beyond, who had professional management, and radio promotion done, done scores of guerilla marketing/PR, etc. I know what is involved; I am looking for the right project and group of people who want to be working, professional musicians as much as I do, that are just as willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
6.At one time you could believe that your music was enough , Your live show was enough. Now that you know the reality of the music business what would YOU change to make it more fair to the artist?
With the Internet and things like ProTools and Auto-Tune there is no such thing as “fair” anymore. It is so saturated with folks trying to become famous it is nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. It was easier back in the day when bands and individual musicians earned a reputation through their live performances and word-of-mouth. I was fortunate to be a part of that time when you had to be able to deliver the goods live before you even thought about stepping on a stage because it made me a better player. Now…you just need a camera, live video, be social-media savvy and even the most mediocre talent can get more attention than they deserve, while other less-savvy but more naturally talented languish unheard. I do have to say that there are some amazing musicians out there, and without the Internet maybe we never would have heard of them either. So it is a double-edged sword. I admit to not being as Internet/social media savvy as I should be, but after years of building websites and internet networking, I took a break and lost a step. But I am forcing myself to get up to speed because when I am ready to join another band or release my music solo I want to be fully prepared to promote it as extensively as possible and try to find a way to cut through and be heard.
7.Youve spent tons of money on gear , spent thousands of hours rehearsing and putting everything into your dream. What level of success will you consider “ making it”?
I never had to be a “rock star” as far as mansion/millionaire/groupies – those days are long gone anyway. I just wanted to be able to make a living as a professional musician. Success on my terms would mean being able to make the music I want when I want, being able to get on good tours, and not needing a day job to survive.
8. Have you been on the road? Would you like to tour? And with who?
I have been on short tours and really enjoyed it. I loved getting to travel, meeting new people and turning them into fans with our music. I have played across the country for days straight, and while it can be stressful, it was fun being in that bubble.
I would love the opportunity to tour again! I honestly wouldn’t care what bands it was with as long as the music was in the same realm as what I’m doing.
9.You get 5 members build your dream band and go.
Lzzy Hale – vocals/guitar (Halestorm). Mario Duplantier – drums (Gojira). Mikael Akerfeldt – vocals/guitar (Opeth). Tosin Abasi – Lead Guitar (Animals as Leaders). Me on bass 😊
10.Who would you not throw under the bus for fame?
I would not throw anyone under the bus, even though it has been done to me…twice. I am a strong believer in karma, and those who did that to me ended up not having the progress/success they thought they would have. However, while I was always be kind to prior bandmates – I am still close with just about everyone I’ve ever played with – my loyalties will always lie with whatever current project I am in. I would not go out of my way to assist an old band or prior bandmate and would use every bit of resource gained from my experiences with them for my own benefit. That’s probably not very ruthless, but I like being able to sleep at night and not burn any bridges if possible.
11.Do you know about the business side of music? Do you think the business side or the entertainment side is more important?
I do. Not only am I a musician, but I have also been a band manager, a stage manager and a promoter. Both are important; both need the other in order to succeed and they need to have the same goals and expectations. Of course, there needs to be trust that everyone is going to do their best to make it all happen.
12.What is it about your live show that will make a person remember you?
Well, the obvious – I’m a short Black chick playing bass in a Metal band. There aren’t too many of those LOL…but other than that, most people do not expect me to play as well as I do. I have had other bandmates tell me I’m the reason people remember the band. They say, “This dude told me, ‘Oh! I know your band! You have that little badass bass chick, right?’” If Lemmy and Pepper Keenan go out of their way to acknowledge your playing, then other people will notice and remember it, too. That has happened for me!
13.Your girlfriend, Your family , Your friends are all going to lie to you and tell you that you are awesome, its just how the game works. So who do you trust to tell you the truth?
It’s true for the most part that your closest people and friends won’t be cruel. I did trust my late husband, who was a guitarist and a producer, to be brutally honest about my playing, my band(s), and the musicians in it. My current husband loves music and if something sucks, he’ll say so. And my Mom will never hold back her opinion, and if something doesn’t sound good, I can trust her to tell me what she likes and doesn’t like about it. So, in that regard I’m lucky because I want them to be as honest as possible for my own growth. Otherwise, my old management was a great sounding board, and I have worked with a few producers/engineers on my recordings over the years and not one was shy about voicing their honest opinion about the musicianship or the writing!
14.What constitutes kicking a member out of a band?
Not showing up for rehearsals or always cancelling last minute. Habits that are out of control and they can’t function as a band member. Not contributing when it comes to band responsibilities to the point where it is killing the morale/momentum. Of course, not showing up for a gig unless their ass was on fire.
15.How do you feel about political beliefs inside the band?What if one of your members wanted to wear a pro trump shirt live?
If the band is specifically going to have a political bent, or if a band member is going to be provocative, then all the members should be on the same “side”; everyone should be on the same page with it; and there should be no onstage surprises. In one band I was in (not one of the ones I mentioned, but another, short-lived project) the singer went on a surprise anti-female rant between songs in the middle of our set. The problem was, there were not one, but TWO women in his band (me, and one of the guitarists), and lemme tell ya, it took every bit of restraint to not beat him down right then. It was an incredibly awkward situation to be in, and your message can’t be convincing if it is clear the other band members do not agree. It needs to be a unified front, or it’s going to fall flat. As far as a band member wanting to wear a pro-Trump shirt…we’d have to have a talk…and a spare t-shirt.
16. There are a number of bands and artist out there who are gay or lgbt,
Would you support one of your members changing gender?
Been there, done that, actually! I’ve played with and enjoy music from folks of all orientations. I don’t care; I believe people should be and do what makes them happy because that makes for a better world. I only discriminate against assholes and bad music.
17.Many people consider metal music and metal fans to be racist
Share your opinions, including would you allow racism in your band if the member was talented enough?
Absolutely not. I don’t care how talented a person is, a bigot is something I cannot abide. Metal does have its share of racists or those who may not be racist per se but think that Metal “belongs to them”. I was a featured artist in the book, What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, by Laina Dawes which addresses that issue directly. I have come across my share of folks who really did wonder why I was at a Metal show or playing in Metal bands. I have played to audiences that had White Power hecklers in the audience, I have had bands turn me down or want me out of a band because I didn’t, “fit the image”. So, having dealt with that, there is no way I would tolerate a racist in my own band because at some point, even the professional relationship would break down over something done or said. Some musicians may thrive on that kind of tension or friction; I am not one of them.
18.I am pushing boundaries for a reason, rock n roll is rebellion sex and drugs but things have changed will you stay true to yourself even if it means leaving the band and giving up your dreams?
I will always be me and I am not compromising again. I fought hard to overcome a lot of self-doubt and image issues and accept myself as the talented, powerful, intelligent person I am. One band I was in to cash in on a trend was a last-ditch effort to get signed and it backfired horribly. Another band was changing its musical direction – “selling out” so to speak - to the point where it was losing its teeth and killing what made it unique and made me want to join in the first place. I decided it was best to leave rather to play music I didn’t like and wasn’t excited about.
19.Lets lighten up, If you could get on stage with any band who would it be?
I can’t narrow it down to one, so: Tool. Lamb of God. Slipknot. Metallica.
20.I want you to say something you know will be controversial that you are willing to stand up for.
Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to this country, and after sacrificing everything that is decent to have him win, too many of his supporters are too proud (or embarrassed) to admit he was a mistake. But he will be elected for a second term.