This is Lee Walker from www.PlanetMosh.com conducting an interview with Lizzy Borden
Lee – Welcome to Hard Rock Hell. For those people out there who are just discovering the Lizzy Borden band as a result of this festival appearance how did the band come into being?
Lizzy – We’ve been playing for almost 30 years and we are reaching new people every single show that we play. People always say “oh I’ve heard of you, but this is the first time I’ve seen you” and there’s preconceived notion that come with that coz they see a picture and they think “ooh is that a death metal band or are they a glam metal band”, but truth is we’re everything. I mean we can do a piano ballad or we can do power metal song, we can do whatever we want and that’s the way the band was always designed, so when we get first timers that see us for the very first time and get to understand what we do that’s the only clarification we have and I’m fine with that coz our live show represents what we do.
Lee – When you started the band off back in 1983 did you ever think you would still be playing at gigs and festivals close to 30 years later?
Lizzy – Well you know what, I never thought about it, I liked the industry, making records, and touring that time in the studio creating and then creating something from that on the live stage, something theatrical and I love bouncing back and forth between the two and the way that technology has come around, we’re able to do a lot of it ourselves as apposed to depending on a director or something like that, so its been an amazing experience. But yeah I never thought about when it was going to end or how long I was going to do it, I just liked the work ethic that was involved. It was a blue collar thing but it was like do the album, then do a tour based around the album and then when that’s done we gotta do it again.
Lee – What bands/artists were your main influences when you started off?
Lizzy – Erm, as far as singing goes Ian Gillan, David Bowie and Rob Halford, all the great singers, I didn’t really listen to any one person I listened to everybody, I wanted my voice to be well rounded, I’d listen to Glenn Hughes I listened to opera singers, blues singers, rock singers, erm everything coz I wanted to learn from everybody. That was the only way I thought otherwise I would have sounded like someone in particular.
Lee – What has been your favourite album to record?
Lizzy – “Master Of Skies” was probably the biggest challenge for me, because we used a 40 piece orchestra a horn section and all these different phases of production, the album took a year to write and 5 months to record in 3 different countries. It was an intense record because we didn’t know, we were trying to break free of the metal scene the way it was, we thought it could be expanded and I didn’t want to just be just banging my head, I wanted to be a song writer, so that was the one that broke me free. “The Appointment with Death” record, the last one, was probably the best lyrics, the best delivery of singing that I have ever done and it stamped my way of doing things with multiple harmonies, seven octave range moulded around here and there and that’s kinda what I’ve been known for at least the last four or five records, so “Appointment with Death” kinda stamped that out, this is my style on a record this is the way I do things. This is the way the music sounds we can go from a rock song to a piano ballad to anything.
Lee – What is your favourite song to perform?
Lizzy – Well the one that I cannot not play is “Me Against The World”, I have to play that song and it means something to me every night, American Metal means something to me every night coz its kind of like a universal theme. I wrote it about the Hollywood scene in the early 80’s, but really its become a universal theme, we can come here to Wales and have every one in the audience screaming “American Metal”, its just unheard of its kinda weird because it crossed the barriers it’s a universal theme now. But I love playing the new stuff, we’re a band that lives in the present and looks to the future, we don’t look at what we’ve done, we look at what we’re gonna do, so I love playing songs off “The Appointment with Death” like “Live Forever” to me is a good favourite and “Under Your Skin” is a really fun song to play too.
Lee – You have altered your stage image/persona many times over the years. What has been your favourite image/persona?
Lizzy – I like them all, for whatever reason they were created you know, I got into that David Bowie mentality of creating a character and then ripping it down and then starting from scratch again, Lady Gaga is doing it now, and I was always interesting in that I didn’t always have to be the exact same thing, I can do anything I want, starting on a character and working through it. And for this show that we’re doing I worked with a guy who does all the masks Alice Khan, he made me the masks and everything so I can change the look of the character in a split second, so we were able to work on that, and this character has the most dimension. The Most outrageous character was the Oblivion character on the “Visual Lies” album that was probably the most over the top, outrageous character and he was forcing it right down your throat, but this one has the most dimension.
Lee – Throughout the years you have played at countless venues and festivals. Which has been your most memorable to play?
Lizzy – Erm Last night, it’s the one I can remember! (Laughs.) No it was a great show last night, we had so much fun with the fire breathers and the grinders and all of that, and the fact we had so much frustration in playing this festival as we were meant to be playing last year so it took a year but we finally got to play it. There was a lot of pent up frustration over not being able to play this festival, we threw it all out on the table last night, gave it everything we had, Its hard to squish our show into 60 minutes, but we love playing festivals, we’re a festival band we’re geared to that, the shows are created for that, so playing Wacken last year was amazing, Sweden Rock a few years ago was amazing, we’ve played Bang Your Head a few times, you know all the great festivals. We headlined Keep It True, so every one of them is special, and different including this one. This one I will remember for a long time.
Lee – You are just over half way through your current tour (“Death Takes A Holiday”). How is the tour going so far?
Lizzy – Its exhausting, this is a gruelling road, we started in Mexico with Megadeth playing to 25,000 Mexicans, then we’ve been over here, this is the only day off we’ve had, this is my day off so (Laughs) its been gruelling, but its been so successful, I mean the audience Response we’re getting every night, and there’s so many people who say “Oh I wanted to catch their show but never did” and your getting them to come out and actually see the show and they think wow, so I think we’ve got a bunch of life long fans from this tour. So we’re gonna come back, starting at Hellfest in France with Black Sabbath in June I think, and do the summer festivals. So hopefully all the work we’re doing on this tour will transcend to that.
Lee – Are you playing any UK Festivals next year?
Lizzy – I hope so, I’d love to get on Download. We played Reading in the 80’s and it was amazing, but we haven’t played the UK since ’91 so it’s been so long. We played London the other night which was pretty interesting, we played the original Marquee, the Astoria we played every venue there, we played The Underworld, it was interesting to be at a pub and to play London after all these years. We’re reintroducing ourselves and we have been for the past 5 years to really, the world has got really small so we’re able to do a lot more than we could do back in the 80’s. So because we’re reintroducing ourselves we know it’s a building process, we’re almost doing it like a brand news band
Lee – Are there any bands from the rock/metal scene do you recommend keeping any eye on right now?
Lizzy – I don’t really listen to a lot of music, coz I don’t want it to influence me, coz in the early 80’s you start listening to other metal bands and it starts creeping into your music and so I stopped listening to it. But I see a lot of young bands, infact singing is coming back into music to me is thanking heaven because guitar players, young people are starting to learn how to play guitar, but singing has been kinda left out. I grew up withy so many great singers but the kids today don’t really have a lot of good singers to look up to that are in their own age group, so now that singing is coming back I think it’s a great thing.
Lee – Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to your fans?
Lizzy – Yeah, come out and see our shows, the shows are building ever year, a new record, we’re going to have a new single out by March I think and a new album by summer. We hope everyone gets the new record and gets out to see us during the festival season and bring me a flag from their country, I like to wear it on stage (Laughs)