Lee Aaron on the state of heavy metal, touring with Bon Jovi, and lovin’ every minute of Loverboy’s new song


By Steve Newton

Lee Aaron recorded her first album, The Lee Aaron Project, at the tender age of nineteen, joined on that LP by the likes of Rik Emmett (Triumph), Buzz Shearman (Moxy), Rick and Mark Santers, and Frank Soda.

Her second LP, Metal Queen, was released last year. A video of the title track–which showed Lee being “captured’ and menaced by a couple of evil monks–was banned in Australia and restricted from British television.

Just recently Aaron’s third album on Attic Records, Call of the Wild, hit the racks. It was co-produced by Bob Ezrin, who also played keyboards and percussion. Former Streetheart bassist Spider Sinnaeve and April Wine drummer Jerry Mercer played throughout, and were joined by Aaron’s guitarists John Albani (ex-Wrabit)) and 20-year-old Simon Brierly.

Aaron was in town recently on a promotional tour that saw her appear live on CKVU’s Vancouver Show. I asked her about her recent European tour, and her thoughts on “heavy metal”, and censorship.

How was the tour of Europe that you took earlier this year?

Well, the spring tour was with Bon Jovi and that took us all through Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and Great Britain.

I understand you had a bit of a scary moment in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Actually it was pretty crazy–the crowd was a little overzealous. Somehow in the last number I managed to get yanked right into the crowd, and people were just grabbing for my hair, my clothes, any piece of anything they could get from me. And I was freaking for a second, but it happened so quick I didn’t have time to be scared. Then I got yanked right back onto the stage and it was like, “Okay, my hair’s still there.”

Another weird thing happened when we played in Holland, and the promoter thought we were the headliner. Bon Jovi showed up and the marquee said “Lee Aaron with special guest Bon Jovi.” And they went “Whoa!” There almost wasn’t a show that night–their manager was flipping out. But other than that the tour went really well. Bon Jovi was really nice to work with.

So are you more popular in England and Europe than you are in North America?

Yup! Oh yeah. Definitely.

Why do you think that is?

Well, I’ve been asked this a million times, and I just really don’t know for sure. But the only possible explanation I can offer is that there’s not the radio saturation that we have over here. I mean over here you have to have an AM hit single and a hit video to be popular, practically. But there’s a lot of bands that get these hit singles, and people go to see them live and are really disappointed.

And it doesn’t mean anything to people in Europe if you have a hit song. If you stink live, they don’t want to hear about it. They don’t really care about airplay, so if you go over there and impress people live it’s possible for you to become a real big success. I mean they’re starving for good rock and roll.

The English rock press have really treated you well–front cover of Sounds, center-spread in Kerrang!

You know how many horror stories I heard about those guys? People were goin’, “Oh the British press, they’re the worst–they’ll eat you alive.” And I’ve been really fortunate; they’ve been really good to me.

Your second album is titled Metal Queen. Do you see your music as falling into the “heavy metal” realm?

Well, Metal Queen was a heavy track, but not all our music on that album is that heavy. If you think Scorpions is heavy metal, then I guess we’re heavy metal–but to me they aren’t, really. They do some great ballads and they write great commercial “power rock” songs–they’re the masters of that. And to me that’s more along the vein of music that we’re heading towards–it’s the big guitar sound and the big drum sound, but all the melody lines are really hooky.

Do you want to be known by the masses as heavy metal, or do you feel that’s a detriment?

In some ways, yeah, because it’s very difficult to get airplay if they think you’re heavy metal you know, that music seems to be classed as trash–mostly among people in the industry. But, hey, you see writeups on Van Halen in all the metal books, and Van Halen aren’t really a heavy metal band as such. It all depends on what your definition of heavy metal is.

What do you think of the Canadian metal scene, “power rock” scene, or whatever you want to call it? Do you think it’s healthy?

I think it’s really healthy. We’ve got a lot of great rock and roll here. I don’t think a lot of it’s really being recognized the way it should, unfortunately, but that’s the way it goes. I mean radio’s really softened up over the last year–there’s some stations that won’t even play the new Loverboy, give me a break! And I think some of their new stuff–what’s the tune I heard on the radio today–“Lovin’ Every Minute Of It”. I was going, “Wow, this song’s great!”

How do you feel about the “Washington Wives’, who want to have records rated and warnings issued on the covers? Have you heard about them?

Yeah, I think that’s really dumb. I think kids are smarter than most parents, or people, give them credit for. I mean if kids just happen to get off on something because they think it’s neat, that doesn’t mean it’s going to influence them to swear, or to drink and take drugs. If some kid murders his mother, he’s gonna do it anyway, because of his upbringing or because there’s something wrong up there to begin with–not because of a record of a video. Gimme a break!

I mean look at TV shows. I’m not an avid TV watcher, in fact I really don’t know what’s out there, but I was watching TV the other night and The A-Team came on. And here’s this big black guy demolishing people, and machine guns, and people getting their heads blown off. And I’m going, “Hmmm, it’s eight o’clock, and this is a pretty violent show.”

And during the day they show soap operas, and everybody’s pregnant, and abducting illegitimate children, and kidnapping people and fooling around with the next guy’s wife, and having affairs with their secretaries. What kind of morals are those teaching young people? You know what I mean?

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