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| 3 September 2015 | Reply

With tons of new music dropping between now and the end of the year, I stumbled (with the help of a friend – thanks Chip) upon a new disc from a newer artist on the rock and metal scene that is sure to catch attention.  Forget the looks, forget the image – listen to the vocals and guitar work coming from Madame Mayhem.  This woman can rock, as evidenced on her new disc Now You Know  coming October 16 2015.  Mayhem enlisted Billy Sheehan to produce the project and help enlist several heavy hitters to help along the way.  We were able to grab a little of her time to discuss the project, her influences, and her hopes for a tour…


Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time out for us today. We really appreciate it.

Madame Mayhem: Thanks for having me.

Toddstar: Oh, let’s talk about the first thing that’s out there. You have a new album getting ready to come out, Now You Know.

Madame Mayhem: Yes I do.

Toddstar: What can you tell us about this project, Madame Mayhem?

Madame Mayhem: Well, this project is really near and dear to my heart. There are fourteen tracks on there, all great. Billy Sheehan wrote some songs with me and produced the album as a whole. I also wrote some songs with Corey Lowery and there are some really great rockers on there. You’ve got Bumblefoot, who has some killer solos in these songs. Ray Luzier plays drums and you also have Russ Parrish, who people know as Satchel from Steel Panther, also playing some great guitar parts. I’m really proud of this record.

Toddstar: This project seems to be coming out of nowhere, but you got some heavy hitters on this. How were you able to put together such a team behind you to pull this off?

Madame Mayhem: I’ve been doing this for a while now, actually. Billy has been an amazing mentor over the past few years. Throughout my process of getting into the industry, writing, and performing, Billy’s always been there’s so we decided to just write a record and then record it. It turned into something great. Billy called some people, asked them if they liked the tracks, if they’d be interested. I knew some people and we were just able to make it work. I’m really appreciative that he was able to help me pull this together the way that it ended up being.

Toddstar: Awesome. I love the package. It’s, like you said, fourteen killer songs, top to bottom.

Madame Mayhem: Thank you.

Toddstar: You have a very interesting video for the opening song, “Monster.” What can you tell us about that video?

Madame Mayhem: First of all, thank you for featuring it on 100% Rock a few days ago, I appreciate that. I love it so much because it was so much fun to shoot and it’s one of my favorite songs off the record. It’s a really cool, visual demonstration of, basically, someone who is completely, you know, trapped in a situation, in both a literal and figurative sense, and really just breaks out into becoming a monster. Whether it’s overcoming your own issues and being yourself and embracing whatever that monster is, which is you or whatever society thought you were and pinned you out to be. Just embracing whatever you decide to be instead of what people are telling you to be. It was also really fun to shoot with the straight jacket. I’m sure a lot of people would love to see me in one of those. It was just fun all around.

Toddstar: It was cool to watch, because I remember the old videos and live shows from Alice Cooper. It was cool, it was almost like a throwback to some of the storytelling he used to do, which I think you do through several of your tracks.

Madame Mayhem: Cool.


Toddstar: Are there any songs you remember that you couldn’t seem to get done? That just didn’t come out right when you first started or they just seemed to drag on and on before you could finish them?

Madame Mayhem: Well, for most of them it was actually a pretty cool experience that I had because sometimes that will happen with a song. These are stories in a way that every song draws off of a situation I’ve been in. A few of them float so easily and some of them, yeah, were a little bit hard. I don’t really remember one in particular, but I do remember the ones that came out so easily more than the ones that were a little more difficult that I’d have to get back to. We wrote so many songs for this record, that’s why there’s fourteen because we had so many more, as well. It’s always a process where you just keep writing until you hit something that really works for you. I think more than anything, it was impressive of the songs that we did just get right away and really meshed well, which “Monster” is one of those songs.

Toddstar: Well, you mentioned “Monster” and you mentioned there are some other songs that came out easily. What other songs just almost fell together?

Madame Mayhem: I would say “Something Better (Now You Know)” which is what the album is named after, really came together quickly and same with “Left for Dead.” I wrote those with Corey Lowery and it was just a great experience. We actually wrote all three songs, “Monster” and those two, all together in Atlanta. I was only there for two days, all three songs finished, done. Billy heard them, couldn’t get enough of it, and we decided to include them on the album and we redid the whole production. Those just came out so fast because being confined in the studio for two days straight really forces you to tell the truth, be able to just focus, and I think we were able to do that. I’m really happy about those.

Toddstar: Great insight, thanks. In watching the video that Billy put together discussing the album, he mentioned you guys were looking for the right deal, the right package to be able to put this out on. Now that this things actually going to hit the light of day, what about touring plans? Any plans to take this around and show it off?

Madame Mayhem: Yes, I would love to. I mean, the stage, for me, is my home and all I want to do is play. I’m itching to get back out on the road. We have an in-store acoustic performance, in New Jersey, when the album comes out. We have a performance at DingBatz, in Clifton, New Jersey, the night after the album comes out. We’re currently in the process of putting together a tour, so that I can get out there and perform these songs and get them out there live. I’m really excited for that. It’s in the works now. Once any new news comes up, we’ll be making the announcement.

Toddstar: Cool. Well, in addition to those New Jersey dates, you’ve also got a date in the middle of November, at Webster Hall in New York.

Madame Mayhem: Yes, sir. Thank you.

Toddstar: While checking out your site, I found four more tracks that aren’t on the disc. You’ve got “OMBD,” you’ve got an Aerosmith cover, and a couple of other tracks on here.  I love “Dead Will Rise.”

Madame Mayhem: Thank you.

Toddstar: What can you tell us about these tracks? Are these old, new, will these see the light of day?

Madame Mayhem: They’re actually older tracks that I did a couple of years back that I wanted to leave up there for a little bit just for people who, maybe, didn’t know me before. I didn’t want to just take it all off for the new album. That stuff is from a years back. I’m very proud of those songs, as well. I’m really excited that since those songs I’ve been able to come up with this record that really, I feel like has transformed me as an artist and as a writer.


Toddstar: The music, while strong, is definitely more mature on the new album. You have definitely grown as an artist.

Madame Mayhem: Yes, thank you. I appreciate that because I feel like between the two records, the old one and the new one, I think I’ve been through a lot. Even, more so, within that small amount of time that I was able to really write off of those experiences. A lot has happened in between these two albums. The new stuff definitely has a stronger and more mature vibe to it.

Toddstar: Looking back at where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’d like to head, speaking on the touring proposition, what bands out there would you love to tour with that you think you would add something to their show and they would add something to yours?

Madame Mayhem: Oh, that’s so hard. I could just list off a whole bunch of names. I got really excited when I heard that Disturbed was coming back. I definitely can’t take them off the list. David Draiman, I think, is an incredible vocalist and performer, and that would be really cool. Of course, one of my givens is Metallica, because I love them, and why not?

Toddstar: Exactly. Listening to your music, you’ve got a straight ahead rock sound. It’s not super heavy and it’s not poppy. Who are some of your influences?

Madame Mayhem: I think I’ve been influenced by so many different people and different genres growing up that it meshed all into this one sound that I now have. Because I’m a trained singer, I like to have the melodies and be able to sing the songs through, but I also really like the music heavy. I think that’s how you get that mix. Honestly, growing up, my mom used to play a lot of grunge in the car, and then as I got older, I just started listening to heavier and heavier stuff. You get a whole mix of it, and then this is what comes out of it.

Toddstar: Awesome. If you could pick a couple tracks from an album that influenced you, that you wish you could go back and maybe cover yourself, or something you’d like to do to put your stamp on just because that song meant so much to you at one point, what would that song or a couple songs be?

Madame Mayhem: Well, actually it’s funny you asked that because I went to see Corey Lowery, my co-writer and his new band, Saint Asonia, on Friday perform. They opened for Buckcherry. They did a few songs of things that the band had did in their previous bands. Then they started to do the Three Days Grace song, “I Hate Everything About You.” I started to actually tear a little bit, which was weird, I didn’t expect it. I realized that a song like that really helped me through a lot of times when I was younger that I didn’t even realize it was helping me. Most recently, it would be that song. I’ve had a list of songs that I’ve wanted to cover that have meant so much to me for a long time. I have the whole list, but just because that was the most recent encounter that, it moved me without me even knowing, that it had meant so much to me. I guess I’ll throw that one up there and give them a shout out because it was really incredible, the way that it affected me.

Toddstar: Very cool. You’re also quite the musician. You play guitar, left-handed at that.

Madame Mayhem: Yes, yes.

Toddstar: Who influences your style, standing behind the guitar, not so much the mic?

Madame Mayhem: That’s a hard one. I think I really just wanted to be a musician, not just the singer. That’s a hard one; you might have to get back to me on that.


Toddstar: Fair enough. When it comes to music, thirty years ago bands had to rely on touring and everything else to really get their name out there and really forge their path. In today’s day and age, with Facebook, Twitter, and ReverbNation, it’s become a little more accessible, a little easier. Do you find it to be more of a help or a hindrance for you with social media in trying to launch your career to the next level?

Madame Mayhem: I think it’s both, actually. I think it’s great that independent artists can really get their stuff out there now. Whereas, back in the day, that really wasn’t as possible. Then, at the same time, when trying to make it, people are also looking at your how many views, how many likes, more importantly than how good is this song or can this transfer? It’s a mix; I use all of the social media platforms I can, myself. Starting out and especially being that independent artist, you need that and it really helps you grow your brand and be able to really take control. At the same time, it’s one of those… it’s good and it’s bad. You just got to take the good with it.

Toddstar: That being said, when you’re out getting ready to, again, drop this album, Now You Know, it will be out within the next month and a half.

Madame Mayhem: Yes. It’s out in October.

Toddstar: How do you see being able to take this to the masses and just make this take off?

Madame Mayhem: Well, I hope that the music can do it for itself. I know that’s just, it’s always wishful thinking for that. I think, what was really important to me in this record, was to write songs that were good and sonically amazing, and something I would be very proud of. Also, to really write my truths and things that I’ve gone through. There’s no way I’m the only one who’s ever experienced a lot of these things. I’m hoping that the listeners can actually feel something and relate to it. Writing some of these songs really helped me overcome a lot of things and I’m hoping that when people listen to it, it’ll be one of those songs for them, where it will help them get through a bunch of stuff, too. That’s the plan.

Toddstar: Awesome. Let’s not belittle the fact that at one point you’re actually featured on Clear Channel, iHeartRadio, as a new artist. Satellite radio, hopefully, is another venue for you to be able to get this out there.

Madame Mayhem: Oh, yes. I would love to. Whether it’s online radio, satellite radio; I’m a huge radio junkie. Satellite radio is definitely something that I’m interested in breaking into. Especially with those genre based stations, I think it could be fun to throw some of these songs in the mix.

Toddstar: I know you’re busy, Madame Mayhem, so I’ve got one more for you before we cut you loose. Looking over the fourteen tracks, again, I’ve got several that have been on replay for days now. If you could pick one or two that describe your professional career until now, what would they be?

Madame Mayhem: Oh, that’s hard, dude. You ask good questions, I like you. My professional career. Sonically or lyrically?

Toddstar: Both. That’s a good comeback. How about one for each, because I know they’re all personal to you. You can tell it in the lyrics that they’re personal.

Madame Mayhem: Well, I definitely would throw in “Something Better (Now You Know)” because it’s my little love letter to my career and the industry that I’m in. Love Letter, you could take that however you want it. I got a lot of my frustrations about that out in that song. I would definitely say that. Then, let me think about it… I don’t know, I guess it would also be “Sacrifice,” because that song is really about the sacrifice and the love of what I do, and how I’ve been building up in my career and what I’ve been doing for it. I guess that really talks about it in a nutshell. I’d say “Sacrifice” and “Something Better (Now You Know)” – definitely those two songs.

Toddstar: Awesome. Again, Madame Mayhem, we really appreciate you taking the time out. We cannot wait until everybody can get their hands on Now You Know. I personally can’t wait to see you get on a tour or get out and tour yourself, or whatever you need to do to get to Detroit.

Madame Mayhem: Thank you. I would love to. Detroit rocks. I’d love to play there.

Toddstar: Very cool. Well, hopefully we’ll see you soon on a stage and we’ll talk about it then.

Madame Mayhem: Awesome. Sounds good, thanks for having me.

Toddstar: Thanks so much.







Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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