Aaron sweater! But Lee's not about to pull the wool over our eyes.
By Dave Reynolds
LEE AARON recently ventured over to London from her Toronto homebase, in search of a recording deal and managed to fit in the obligatory interviews, a personal appearance at the excellent 'Shades' HR/HM Import shop (who said service with a smile was dead?) and, most of all, her debut gig in Europe, at the infamous sweat hole known as the Marquee, using the Manchester outfit SAM THUNDER as her backing band.
Thus, an interview was in order, kindly arranged by Canadian rock expert and "famed" wordsmith Paul Suter, Lee's 'promoter' and chaperone for her visit. Having met Lee two days earlier, I was only too pleased to get another opportunity to speak to her.
So where did it all start? "I made my big debut in kindergarten in Winnipeg in the christmas show singing 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'. That's where my musical career started! When I got into high school in Toronto I was really into theatre. I used to really idolize Barbara Streisand. I started singing in a rock band when I was fifteen and my music just gradually veered towards Heavy Metal".
"The first band I was ever in, I played keyboards and saxophone half the time and we were only a part-time band then, people thought I should be more upfront 'cos I guess I have that sort of upfront personality and that's the way it went. I think, maybe i'd really like to start playing keyboards again".
How did the TRIUMPH/MOXY/SANTERS connections come to fruition? "At the time of the album I was playing with my backing band which was the drummer from MOXY, Billy Wade;
the WRABIT guitarist Dave Aplin and the bassist from RECKLESS Gene Stout. My manager dug up some old MOXY tunes that hadn't been recorded and we decided to do those, and like everone who's a musician around Toronto are friends, so he just asked people if they wanted to come and play on the album. MOXY had just broken up at that time and the guys in the band weren't doing anything, and SANTERS sort of stared around Toronto the same time as I did and like they come down and we worked on some tunes together.
"Anyway, at the time we were recording the album the management company I was working with, had a guy with them who used to be TRIUMPH'S tour manager. He asked Rik Emmett if he wanted to come down and play on the album. At first Rik didn't know if I was legitimate or not and he didn't know if I could really sing. He come up to see me one night, so Rik decided in the end to appear and it all worked out fine".
Why is there a DOUCETTE sticker on the album cover, and Rick Doucette doesn't appear? "Well, Billy Wade, my drummer used to play with Rick Doucette, that's why the DOUCETTE sticker is on there".
Are there any plans for the TV show you filmed in Canada to be shown in the U.K.? "Yeah, the show was done with Frank Soda at the Adelaide Street Theatre in Toronto and was broadcast across Canada.... it depends on any U.K. record deal I can get".
Did you enjoy your showcase gig at the Marquee? "Oh yeah, I was sort of expecting a really critical crowd. I'm happy. One of the reasons I did the date at the Marquee was to prove that I was a legitimate artist". (And not
just a hype following perhaps the somewhat unfortunate Kerrang! centrespread which was great in men's eyes, but not to the female H.M. libbers)
So you'd like to come over here again as soon as possible? "Oh I relly like it over here, if I can get a deal with a major label I may be able to come over to do a tour in the autumn with my Canadian backing band".
Did SAM THUNDER do a good job at the Marquee? "I was happy, considering the band only had twelve hours of rehearsal (At ROCK GODDESS' homeground in Wandsworth), I think they pulled it off really well".
The presentation of the show surprised a lot of people. Lee had decided not to wear any of her skimpy stage outfits, preferring to sport a red skin-tight leotard instead. Lee went on to explain the reason behind her original choice of clothing.
"In Canada every female vocalist wears what I wore at the Marquee, so I decided to sort of establish myself and get people to take notice of me....something I don't need to do anymore so I've stopped wearing that kind of stuff...."
The same can be applied by the legendary 'Oui' sessions, the pictures of which faded to do her natural beauty justice.
"You know, America thrives on sensationalism, unlike in England. I mean if I couldn't sing, worth a shit, the people in America wouldn't care as long as I wore skimpy clothes and chnged behind a screen, that's good enough for them
(obviously the only success BLACK MAGIC will have is over there!) but over here, they appreciate more the fact that I can sing. I had to do the 'Oui' thing to get noticed and I don't think there is anything wrong in it. Every male artist can get away
with doing similar things, like Mick Jagger can strut around the stage with a microphone down his pants and Dave Lee Roth can wear pants without an arse in 'em so...."
Do you regret doing it? "Oh no! I'm sure I'll carry that sort of sex symbol image with me, but what's wrong with that? I mean it's not phoney, I'm sure every woman likes people to find her sexy y'know, it's not that it's totally exploiting and disgusting, it's just me".
Back to music, have you plans for a second album yet? "My second album will be done by the end of the summer and it's going to be better than the first".
We hear you've had quite a few T.V. and film offers? "Yes, I've been presented with a couple of different movie scripts. Steven Greenberg who did a movie called 'Porkies' has sent me a script for a movie called 'Making it'. It's all about a young girl in a rock and roll band. When I read through the script I could relate to it because it reminded
me so much of myself, and he's considering me for the part and looking at my video work, things like that. So he's sort of sitting on that at present, just like record deals!".
"I also did a T.V. chat show when I went down to New York....things like that too. Actually the album has been doing really well down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States....it's done better in Europe than it has in Canada".
Do you listen to many Heavy Metal bands? "I love IRON MAIDEN, er, JUDAS PRIEST. I like the new DEF LEPPARD stuff. LED ZEPPELIN have always been a mainstay though". Lee also expressed a desire to meet TWISTED SISTER due to Dee Snider's rave review of her four-track E.P. on Visual Vinyl.
So, finally. Whether you return to Britain depends on the all elusive U.K. deal then? "Yeah, but if I don't get a deal you'll be able to get my second album on import anyway so, I'll be back again somehow, I'm pretty confident I'll get some sort of deal anyway, y'know I was offered a place at the Reading Festival....It means
more to me to make it bigger over here than in Canada or anywhere, because Britain is a sort of testing ground for new bands, it would be nice to come over to do a tour with a major band over here".
LEE AARON is obviously going to make it big over here, major label or not. Watch this space!
© Metal Forces, Autumn 1983.