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Exclusive Interview: Queen V
photo by Mia Tyler
The rock world can now bow down to Queen V with the release of The Decade Of Queen V.
Filled with one blistering hard rocker after another, featuring the tough yet soulful, passionate and empowered vocals of Queen V, backed by an army of guitar slingers (including herself), The Decade Of Queen V encompasses her recorded output from 2005 to 2013.
“Calling myself Queen V was a way to challenge myself to really raise the game and try to hold my own with the people who I respect so much: bands like Queen, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie. And, of course, being a female rocker, there are inherent challenges as rock is a bit of a boy’s club…but I definitely like to hang out and hold my own with the fellas,” she says.
The album opens with “Revolution Baby” (2009) where Queen V snarls “if you think you own me, go to hell,” complete with a Led Zeppelin-styled blues-harp by Jon Paris, and ends with “Wasted” (2009), an anthem-for-the-ages co-written by Motorhead’s Lemmy who shares vocal duties with V.
Other highlights on the album include the brand new “Cry Your Eyes Out,” the gutsy “My Machine (2009), which features a burning lead guitar solo by Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), and the deeply moving “Right Or Wrong” (2005). The 11 tracks on The Decade Of Queen V show that V is not only a fierce Rock ‘N’ Roll siren, but also a nuanced and varied songwriter, able to traverse a diverse range of emotions.
This collection of songs spanning Queen V’s career are solid, strong, and powerful. “I’ve always believed that it’s about songwriting,” she says. “You can color and flavor music any way you want but it has to start with good songs.”
Thanks for taking time out for this, it’s great to catch up! How are things going?
Everything is great – just released a new album Decade Of Queen V. It covers a span of the past few years of this amazing journey I’ve been on and all the key stops along the way, represented by the songs. The band is doing great.
It’s cool to see a record that captures the songs and all the different emotions of your entire career.
It’s basically everything we’ve done – a crash course in the last ten years! (laughs)
Our very first interview was just over ten years ago. You had just done a few shows with Twisted Sister. I would imagine nothing could prepare you for a decade of rock n’ roll like playing for a Twisted Sister crowd!
That is correct! (laughs) That was my first opportunity to play in front of such a large crowd. To be such a huge Twisted Sister fan, that was amazing. It was a huge turning point. Not just for me but for the band and the whole direction of where we were going.
Not that you’ve ever lacked confidence, but playing to a crowd like that had to be a kick in the pants.
It definitely felt like your first day in high school, awkward and not really sure. The more you do it the more confident you become. The Twisted Sister fans have been great to us. Some still show up at our concerts. Those fans are very loyal and you can’t say enough good things about them.
Let’s jump back a little. Tell me about your work in musical theater and how that evolved into Queen V.
When I was a kid I started out on piano. I had older siblings who schooled me on the virtues of rock – bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin and The Who. Musical theater I fell into as a kid. I felt really comfortable there and I knew that was a place I wanted to be and spend my life working and performing. I learned quite a bit from that and years later playing with a band on stage some of that still has an influence but I’ve always been a great admirer of bands like Queen or someone like Freddie Mercury. He was an amazing musician but a hell of a performer, too.
Do you remember hearing a certain song or artist that made you realize music is what you wanted to pursue?
I remember seeing Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll” video. I was literally a little kid but I thought if she could do it so could I. It was like seeing Wonder Woman up there. Or seeing someone like Pat Benatar singing “Fire & Ice” or something like that. It was about being a woman and being strong but being a kickass musician as well.
As you grew into Queen V, it had to be inspirational to come up in New York and be surrounded by all those legendary clubs.
Being around New York, especially in the late 90s and early 2000s was a special time. There was some really seminal clubs that were still in existence – clubs like CBGBs, Don Hills, and places like Brownies, Coney Island High or Continental. It really gave you a sense of not only being a part of history but being a part of the scene there. There were so many places to play, so many bands. Now a lot of that has moved out to Williamsburg. The rock fans are still there and that gritty New York rock sound hasn’t really gone away.
Let’s talk about the new album. It covers your material from the beginning all the way up to a brand new song and video “Cry Your Eyes Out.” Looking back on all those years had to be emotional and gratifying at the same time.
That’s 100% right. It’s been an amazing journey that I’ve been on for the past several years. It’s had it’s up and downs but I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in the past but I’m also really excited about the future. The Decade Of Queen V is actually just starting. It’s more of a look forward instead of a look back. This is a starting point for new fans that are not familiar with us.
How have your goals for Queen V changed over the past decade?
The goals have stayed the same they’re just a little more defined now: make the best music possible, write the best songs possible, perform to the best of my ability and keep growing and write honest music.
V, thanks for taking time out for this! What would you like to say to wrap things up?
Come down to a Queen V show. Experience the band and the songs live. Come say hello and have a great night of rock n’ roll with us! The most important thing, whether it’s us or whoever your favorite band is, don’t let the music die.
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