The Ottawa Citizen - October 27, 1994

Aaron breaks out of Metal Queen mold:

Meet the new Lee Aaron. The rock singer once known as Canada's metal queen has undergone a transformation with the release of her seventh album, Emotional Rain .

Gone is the contrived rock-chick image that had Aaron wearing black leather bustiers and spike-heel boots. Also gone is her deal with major label Attic Records. And beginning to change is the riff-driven hard rock of albums like Some Girls Do and Bodyrock .

"Near the end of my Attic relationship, I did feel very pigeonholed, very boxed into a corner, having to live up to this `rock babe' thing," Aaron says over the phone from a tour stop in London.

"I think the most honest presentation of myself has always been the live show. It's a hard-hitting, fun, honest rock 'n' roll show when you come to see it live, and I think some of my former marketing gave people the wrong impression."

The new album and the current cross-Canada tour, which stops at Grand Central tonight, are planned to give fans a better idea of the real Lee Aaron. The album lyrics are the most personal she's ever written, while the music is starting to incorporate more texture and subtleties, thanks in part to a different approach in the studio.

Recorded at Toronto's Metalworks studio, Emotional Rain is more of a collaborative effort for Aaron. The songs were co-written with longtime partner, guitarist John Albani, but room was left for input from the backing musicians, who included Psychedelic Furs guitarist Knox Chandler and the Sons of Freedom rhythm section, bassist Don Binns and drummer Don Short.

"I wanted some players to play on this album that were different than your regular studio session guys that play on everyone else's album," she says. "Then I said, `I don't want you to play anything verbatim. Let's leave a little bit of room for creativity and spontaneity.'

"This (album) is the first step in the evolution of where I'm wanting to go."

Though she had offers from other record companies, Aaron started her own label, Hipchic Music Inc., to release Emotional Rain . Hipchic is distributed by major label A&M Records.

"Obviously I (would have been) signed on their perception of the old Lee Aaron, and I just really didn't want to have to live up to that on a creative level," she says, explaining her label move.

Of course, like any major change, the whole process was a risk. But taking charge of her career seems to be paying off. Shows sold out along the western half of the tour, and Aaron says she could feel the album kick in as she watched young fans singing along to the new songs.

Her touring band includes Binns, Short and Albani. And Aaron is playing some guitar, which is also fairly new for her. After two years, she loves being back on stage.

"It feels like a fresh beginning," she says. "People are liking the new direction and a lot of the old stuff as well seems to be growing with me."

Lynn Saxberg
The Ottawa Citizen ©