Lee Aaron
von gl anno 2002


Lee Aaron on stage 2002

Still Going Strong

Back in the 80’ies I have been a real big fan of Lee Aaron, travelling behind on some tours, just because one show was not enough for me to see - that’s how much I liked her! Yes, she had always quality shows there, I have never seen a bad concert from her in all those years, although the line up was always changing. But that’s all so long ago, and I don’t want to bore you (and her ...) with those old stories. Lee Aaron has continuing her carreer and expanding her talent by going into the Jazz and Blues territory. I have to admit I didn’t order her Jazz CD when it came out, although I heard about it, of course, so I was very happy when I heard she will play a show quite close to me. I was so impressed by that concert (review in German here), I bought that CD right away (see review in German) and congratulated her and asked, if she remembered me from the old times. “You look familiar” she replied and made my day and myself very happy, so since I knew she would perform the next day in Johnny Ferreira’s set we settled for an interview:

Lee Aaron als Sängerin bei Johnny Ferreira

It’s one day after your concert here, which you announced from stage as your first (and only, by the way!) ever Jazz show in Europe, can you summarize your impressions from yesterday?

Well, it was fantastic. It’s a long story, I wanted to come over to Europe to do my Jazz show and it’s very complicated for Canadian bands, unless you have a big hit record over here, to just get on to the festival circuit. This opportunity came over with “Johnny Ferreira and the Swing Machine”, I sing in his ensemble also, you know this? He brought me here, I do a guest appearance in the middle of Johnny’s show. (Actually she was on stage 80% of that concert, which was another fantastic gig! - gl) So what happened was the Promotor of the whole Tour with Johnny sent my CD to Muddy’s Club here. You know Muddy’s Club has been voted like the top Jazz/Blues Club in Germany, they were showing me the awards. And this guy loved my CD, and said “I want to bring this lady here for a show”, so for me it was a lucky opportunity and a very very big success! He did a great job advertising, I sold out of CDs yesterday, I only brought one box, I didn’t expect to sell all of them, because I didn’t know people would like the show so much. But it’s good! I’ll be back again now I think! How would I know? Because when I’m doing the Johnny show, my CD is also available, but people are mostly there to see him, so I’m selling maybe 3 or 4 CDs at night. So I was very impressed, the audience was very open and very warm and receiptive and seem to really enjoy. I was a bit nervous, I used three members from Johnny’s band and we only had three rehearsals before this show. John is my drummer from Canada, he was the only one that really knew my stuff! (so it proves how much professional these musicians were, because I didn’t notice anything! - gl)

Lee Aaron mit Drummer John Cody

A little flashback to old times, when we did our first interview in Mannheim in 1985, when you were co-headlining a tour with Bon Jovi you gave me the first real interview we did for our old fanzine. Of course I was not professional, I didn’t have a recording machine, I asked you the questions and you had to wait until I wrote the answers down! Even after all this time I remember you were very patient, so I just had to tell you this finally, thank you after all this time!

I am a very patient person, yeah that’s great, I’m glad to had you there back then, yeah I remember that tour, sure.

Your selftitled album in 1987 in my opinion symbolised a new career chapter, would you agree?

Yes! It was, I think the direction from me of me moving away from Heavy Metal, or Super Hard Rock to more melodic Hard Rock, more Pop-Hard Rock.

All your collaborations with Joe Lynn Turner, Stan Meissner, Rik Emmett, Andy Curran, Harry Hess, Paul Sabu etc etc, the list is very long, were all business oriented or did maybe grew some friendships out of these?

Well, you gotta remember I moved to Vancouver 8 years ago, so I haven’t talked to many of these people in a long time, but absolutely, if we ran into each other at an industry party it goes “How are you, haven’t seen you in a long time, what are you up to” – we all still know each other, but I don’t call anyone every month, no.

Now to your statement, you needed a break and come to silence spiritually after “Emotional Rain”. But I saw references in your work that you are a spiritual person long before for example in the fantastic “Peace on earth” (which is on the 1991 “Some Girls Do” record).

Well, thank you! You know, not many people can hear past the big guitars and the music to see this. And I am a very spiritual person, and ... what can I say? My connection with God in my life is a very important thing, I take it very seriously, and believe me I haven’t had a perfect life! I’m hesitant to say sometimes the word “Christian”, because it seems like all the bad Christians are the only ones to get press. In North America we have a lot of Christian leaders that are corrupt. But for myself my connection with God is really important in my life. When you have a spiritual connections with something outside of yourself, it makes the journey of life a joy instead of a misery – even when your times are tough.

I caught a piece on the net about the opera “120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade” with you in it, can you explain more about your involvement?

It’s a company called Modern Baroque Opera, and the show ran for 16 nights in Vancouver at the East Cultural Centre. It was an Opera, I was part of 12 cast members playing 56 different roles! I played about ten different parts in the opera. For me it was a very big challenge as a spiritual person because the Marquis de Sade was an atheist, you know this? He wrote the 120 days of Sodom, he was a very unspiritual person, he did a lot of awful things to people. He pushed the envelope of life very very far, he did not believe in God at all.

So, don’t get the wrong idea, there was nudity in the opera, but I didn’t take my clothes off, I played several women who had encounters with him in his life. He did rotten things to them and then they went to the police and tried to have him accounted for his actions. So I played like his conscience. I have never done an opera before, and it was a big huge, like a mountain musically for me. When I got the score it was about this thick (symbolises a big book) - it was 120 songs!

But it was a success?

Oh yeah - well it got mixed reviews, because people have really controversial feelings about this man - the Marquis de Sade, so some people thought “Is it really art to portray the life of a man who did such awful things?” For me it was a big challenge musicly and spiritally and I don’t regret it at all. It was a good thing for me, because ... you know ... doing Jazz is a challenge, I did Rock for many many years, and can write Rock Songs, I already know that I can do that, but I have never done an opera – so it was one more exploration for me.

Somewhere it said you were afraid of the pure Jazz critics but after yesterday I think this was not necessary (Now Johnny is starting to play Saxophone in the background, and that’s mostly what I hear on my interview tape :-) ...) Did you really get bad feedback?

You know, the biggest problem for me is (Saxophone real loud, so sorry for transfering problems ... - gl) when people hear the music live, like I’ve done lots of Jazz festivals in Canada, so when they hear me, they go “Oh, it’s totally real, its legitimate!” So, but some critics go “Lee Aaron - the Rock Chick? Forget it!” like they won’t even come and listen! Its about perception, right. Some think, “She did this - so it’s impossible she can be good at that”, so they won’t even give it a chance. But more and more this is changing. You know I am high, I am not ready to give up. I’m doing this because I love this music.

It shows on stage, you seemed relaxed and your talk between songs was not like it was planned it came very natural and sympathetic.

Well thank you, I never plan anything what I say before.

You were mentioning Debbie Harry who did three Jazz Records before she returned with another succesfull BLONDIE record, so right at this moment can you give us your plans for the next year?

Yes, probably by next year you can see another Jazz Record for me for sure.

I’m working on one right now, I’ve done some demos and I’m getting very close to recording. I probably finish the recording by the end of this year and release next year.

Now unfortunately this interview is getting hectic and uncomplete, although I had a lot more questions on paper and in my mind we had to speed up, since stage time was approaching. (And I wanted to be fair to the other guy who interviewed her and also had limited time - he is a major Lee Aaron fan and came down from Sweden!) So Karen was reading fast over my questions and picked out: ”Who were the biggest jerks you ever toured with?”

Ahm ... you know what: all I can say is: Big stars are all real people and some of them are nice people and some of them are big jerks, and I don’t wanna name any names! And sometimes the people that you expect to be the biggest jerks are very nice! And then some people you think will be nice turn out to be jerks. Just like real life.

Ok last question, one minute left: Last year you did a song with DEMON DRIVE for their CD, did you know this song before? (As a matter of fact two members of the band met her the night before for the first time, they were only exchanging CDs before - and you can see this on the picture I took below.)

Yes, it’s a Suzie Quatro song, I know that, in fact they asked me to do it, as Suzie Quatro said she is retired ! (So I wonder, because she is still playing those Oldie Shows - for example in November 2002 here in Mannheim! –gl) I did it because I used to be a Suzie Quatro fan and it was a fun thing for me to do.

Lee Aaron mit Frank Kraus (links) und Jochen Mayer von Demon Drive

End of interview here. I was glad I had the chance talking to her, it felt a little bit like a old friend, because her music, especially the 3rd and 4th record meant very much to me - probably more than she thinks. I want to make a comment to her saying about the critics, even though that was the only show in Germany by her, I did not see any other Journalist from any Music-Magazine covering this concert, which is a shame in my opinion. Back then all magazines wanted to have fotos of Lee Aaron, now she returns with great music after years of absence from European venues, she looks beautiful and where are all these people? There were some fans from old times bringing records to sign, but whats more important everybody who saw her, had a good time. Example: a friend of mine, who has never heard her stuff before,went after the show directly buying the CD! As an artist she has succeded here. My only small point of criticism is that she could have played maybe only one song, (and I certainly wouldn’t ask for “Deceiver”! - maybe “Only human” or “Barely holding on”) from past times, I don’t think that is asking too much. Other than that I think she is still much more stronger than people give her credit for.

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