Kingston Whig - Standard - August 31, 1996

Goodbye Lee Aaron, and hello to Karen:

Former Hard-Rocker Seeks New Image as Frontliner of 2preciious

The powerhouse vocalist fronting Vancouver-based 2preciious is named Karen - and if she had her druthers that would be the last word on the subject.

One day it might.

But just as Alanis Morissette, sure to have one of the best- selling CDs of the decade, still battles the ghosts of her teen disco past, Karen is still haunted by her former nom de guerre.

"The name Lee Aaron has a stigma attached to it with so much associated with that pop-rock, 1980s formula songs, big-hair sort of era," says the singer who now wants to be known as simply Karen.

"Because this project, the way it came about was real honest, I just went, `Well what do you want to call yourself and I'm like, why don't I just be Karen because that's who I am.' It feels really right, I feel comfortable in these shoes."


To her family, friends and for cheque-signing purposes, Karen was always Karen Greening. She acquired her stage persona after joining a band called Lee Aaron when she was 15.

She also became known as Canada's hard-rock pin-up chick after her 1984 release Metal Queen earned her the fist-pounding adulation of metal heads across the country and in Europe.

Today she sounds more like Shirley Manson of Garbage than the satin-shorts-garbed guttural screamer who belted out:

"She come like thunder risin'/from the ground/she takes you under/ she moves without a sound."

Then again Karen, even as Lee Aaron, has been trying to soften her edge for almost a decade with more melodic, pop-oriented material.

She's teamed up with the musical core of the now-defunct Sons of Freedom - three musicians named Don - and relocated to their West Coast turf last year after selling her belongings.

"Not that I don't like Toronto, but when everyone wants to have this sort of myopic view of you I found it very suffocating," she says in a husky voice on the line from her new home in Kitsilano, a Vancouver neighborhood.

She also parted company with longtime guitarist John Albani and left behind some not-too-nice memories of a bitter marriage breakup.

Time for change

"It was just time for a change," a sentiment Karen expresses lyrically in Shed, a song from the debut release by 2preciious.

"I need to get out of this place/a change of scene, a change of space/ this town has sucked out my last breath/ I need a new address."

"Because I wasn't writing as Lee Aaron, I felt I had a whole new spectrum to explore lyrically," she says.

The CD's first single, Superbitch, a "twisted little song" with crunchy pop riffs, is already showing up on music charts.


Facts about 2preciious:

Who: Karen (vocals), Don Harrison (guitar), Don Binns (bass), Don Short (drums)

Album: 2preciious (1996 - Spastic Plastic)

Single: Superbitch

Quote: "To go from an artist that makes $15,000 a night to, well, $1,500 if we're lucky being a new band, obviously my motivation wasn't money." Karen on discarding her former nom de guerre Lee Aaron.

Betsy Powell
Kingston Whig - Standard ©