The Province - October 5, 1994

Aaron turns back on 'metal queen': She'll show off her new image here Saturday:

The big hair has been ironed flat and is parted in the middle. Spandex -- remember spandex? -- has been replaced by bell-bottoms.

Not only does Lee Aaron sound different on her current Emotional Rain album, she also is unrecognizable from the pop tart of early records such as Metal Queen or Body Rock.

"There are no beauty shots on the cover of this record," she declares. "The pictures we do have are statement pictures."

The statement is that Lee Aaron is trying to leave her old image behind and wants to make a more mature and contemporary hard rock.

To this end, Emotional Rain features guitarists Knox (Psychedelic Furs) and Reeves Gabrels (from David Bowie's Tin Machine) plus the powerhouse bass-drums combination of Don Binns and Don Short from Vancouver's Black Eye Buddah. Joining the two Dons when Aaron appears at the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday will be a third, Harrison, who also plays with Black Eye Buddah. With Binns and Short, he made up three-quarters of the highly praised Sons of Freedom.

"I really wanted to work with different musicians and I was a big fan of Sons of Freedom," Aaron said.

"I would keep playing their records for my writing partner, John Albani, saying, `Listen to this; wouldn't it be great to have a rhythm section like that?' Then we thought, `Might as well get the real thing."'

The merger of Aaron's mainstream rock with Black Eye Buddah's jabbing, darkly heavy drive is smoother than might be imagined. It helps that, with songs such as Raggedy Jane, Waterfall, Judgment Day and Baby Go Round (the last a song about sexual abuse), the Toronto rocker had made a progression in her writing.

It wasn't an easy passage to make. She'd left Attic Records two years before to set up her own label and she'd also come through a difficult period in her private life. The responsiblities were onerous but they made her more determined to make a change in her career that reflected personal growth.

"This album is more a reflection of where I'm at personally and where I'm going," she says. "There came a point where I was sick and tired of being Lee Aaron and all that suggests. I'm bored with that and I definitely was in need of an evolution. I don't know that you'd call it reinventing myself because, at the same time, it wasn't that conscious a thing."

Consequently, the Lee Aaron that fans -- maybe even some new ones -- will hear at the Commodore will be the one who wails soulfully on Cry and rocks with a Jimi Hendrix funkiness on Had Enough. There'll be older songs, too, even though Aaron admits that she finds some of these harder and harder to relate to her present interests.

"Absolutely. I have to be honest. A song like Metal Queen. I was 19-years- old when I wrote that. Kids scream for it every night and I want to know why. I have to force myself.

"People do so much growing when they're in their 20s," she sighs. "Unfortunately, I did most of my growing up in public."

Tom Harrison
The Province ©