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| 25 June 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Lizzy Borden fans who simply cannot wait any longer to hear a sample of the new studio effort from one of theatrical metal’s top frontmen, Lizzy Borden, are in luck – “The Scar Across My Heart” (from the forthcoming full-length, My Midnight Things) can be heard now. Friday, June 15th will see the release of My Midnight Things, via Metal Blade Records, which can be pre-ordered. “With “The Scar Across My Heart,” I wanted to explore those kinds of relationships that tattoo your soul. You’re forever linked to this person, even though it can never be for one reason or another. ‘We bury all our yesterdays and try and drink these scars away’ – I’m talking about a no-hope situation, a never-meant-to-be situation, but I’m still singing ‘We’re gonna make it now.’ I’m always looking for that human reaction no matter how delusional or unrealistic.” Having signed a new contract with Metal Blade on the strength of three demo tracks, Borden opted to produce ‘My Midnight Things’ himself, with Joey Scott as co-producer, who also handled all the drumming duties. “I knew what I was going for and had doubts that I could find a producer who would understand that,” Borden explains. “My approach is very different than what is happening in today’s current sound.” We got Lizzy to give us a call to discuss the album, touring, and a lot more…

Photo: Stephanie Cabral

ToddStar: Lizzy, thank you so much for taking time out, I really appreciate it.

Lizzy: No problem. Good to talk to you again.

ToddStar: Lizzy, I am so excited – My Midnight Things is being unleashed on the world here shortly. What can you tell us about this disc your fans may not catch the first time or two through the release?

Lizzy: Well, my whole purpose for this album was to write great songs. I wasn’t trying to write great heavy metal songs, I was trying to write great songs. Songs that would live longer than me. Right now, my biggest song is probably “Me Against The World.” That was written in 1987. I wanted to go back to that way of thinking that I was thinking on Visual Lies and Master of Disguise. The people who have those couple of albums, they would recognize a lot of elements in my song writing on this album. But there’s so much more to it. Lyrically, it’s multi-dimensional, there’s so many different things. I’ve heard so many different people interpret some of the songs on this albums so many different ways, which was my intent. So lyrically, there’s so much in there. Musically, like I said, I was trying to write the music as a musical accompaniment to the song. That’s kind of where my focus was on this album.

ToddStar: On My Midnight Things, you have the title track, then you launched “Long May They Haunt Us,” and now “The Scar Across My Heart.” Is there a specific thought process behind the order in which you’re putting these songs out there for the public before the release? Or is it out of your control? What’s the method behind the madness, so to speak, on this one?

Lizzy: As far as that goes, there is the beauty of being with a record label, as opposed to just putting the album out myself. When you do a record it’s so isolating that you don’t know… While I’m writing it I don’t care. When I wrote Master of Disguise, I didn’t care if anyone liked the album. I liked it and I wanted to do it. I kind of feel that same way this time, but the other side of it, is I do want people to like it. But when I’m writing it, I’m not caring about that. I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about writing. Once I’m done with it, then I pick my head up and I go, “Okay, now what do we do?” Having Metal Blade and the whole entire staff weigh in on what they thought was the best songs was a brand new refreshing thing because not a lot of people have heard it. They were the first to hear the album, and they were the first to react to it. So we kind of went with what everyone was thinking, what were the best songs, and what they thought would be the best. I let that whole exercise happen because I wanted their input and I didn’t want to say, “This is what I want to be the single.” So far they’ve been right on the money. If I wanted to protest something, I could, and I could make it happen. But I really didn’t want to because they were on the same pages that I was. The three singles and in about a couple of weeks I’m going to film the next video for “Obsessed With You.” So, those will be the first four singles that come out.

ToddStar: A minute ago you mentioned that you’re getting feedback, that people are coming at this from different places and they’re picking up different things or conjuring different images. Are there songs now that you look back, or listen back to, and say to yourself, “Even I’m taking this from a different place than I originally wrote it or recorded it.”

Lizzy: Yeah, that’s what you hope for anything. Shakespeare was thinking that. It’s hoping that the interpretations would be vast. I didn’t want to be one dimensional. I know that a lot of stuff is, it’s more storyboard. But I write more poetry form. So I wanted to have an individual experience when you listen to each song lyrically. Everyone has, like “Obsessed With You,” that song, I wrote it purposefully. You don’t know if it’s coming from a man’s point of view or a woman’s point of view. So that obsession could go either way. And I also didn’t write it where it was an obvious thing, kind of a stalker thing. I didn’t want that either. You just don’t know if this is a delusion, or if it’s a relationship where one person bailed out. It could be a multitude of different things. That’s kind of the way that I wrote it. You have to make sure all those doors are open. If you say one line that says, “Oh, okay now I know what he’s talking about.” I didn’t want that. I want it to be open for interpretation.

ToddStar: Awesome. Well, again, My Midnight Things comes out June 15. What song was the hardest to complete, for whatever reason? The melody didn’t feel write, the lyric just didn’t hit home. Which was the hardest to complete from start to finish?

Lizzy: Well, the easiest one was “Long May They Haunt Us.” I wrote that without any music or anything. I wrote the whole thing on a walk. When I came back it was done and probably about 60% of the lyrics were done. That’s just with no instrument, nothing. There was a lot of songs that didn’t make the record because of that. Where I had a great chorus, but I couldn’t get the rest of the song together. Or I had a great riff, but I couldn’t get the rest of the song to fit within the scheme of this album. There was a couple of songs that gave me a little struggle, as far as trying to find the right things. The thing that comes to mind is probably “A Stranger to Love,” because that song was one of the first ones I was working on, and it took me a while to figure out the music for the verses and some of the other pieces. Once I figured it out it worked. But up until that point it was a struggle, and that was the first one. Soon as I got over that hump, then all the songs kind of came together.

ToddStar: You’ve always been a very visual artist. Whether it be album covers, your videos, in you live performance, it’s very much a part of Lizzy Borden. That said, with this album, did this album write itself and now you’re going to search for the right show? Or did you have the show in your head and you wanted to write the songs around that? Or did it kind of come out in tandem?

Lizzy: Well as far as the show is concerned, even like doing the video that I just filmed for L”ong May They Haunt Us,” when I wrote the lyrics, I had in mind what I wanted, or what I was thinking. And all the people I was thinking about when I wrote that. And then when we did the video, we had conversations about what the visual aspect of that video’s going to be. The main character, all the makeup that I’m wearing in that video, it represents different things. It wasn’t just for a costume change. I’m wearing the old makeup that shows he’s degrading, and he’s just rotting in this self-area. The white makeup represented a positive light at the end of the tunnel. Then there’s remembrance stuff. That’s kind of the way I do it even with the stage show. I try to dig down deep to find out what the character is trying to say. And then can I bring that in a visual way on stage in a big way. A lot of the stuff I do is subtle. When you’re doing stage show you want it to be a little bigger. Those are the things I think about. Then I work with special effects people and different things, trying to find how I can bring these songs to life on stage. When I was writing this album especially, I wasn’t thinking about the stage show, but after Friday, all my attention will go toward that and then I’ll try to start bringing these songs to life.

ToddStar: Lizzy, this one took you a long time to get out, about 11 years since Appointment With Death came out. But you toured like a mad man between the two albums. How much of that time delay helped formulate this album in your head? Meaning did it help you refocus and decide, like you said where you wanted to go back to being a songwriter not just putting something out there. Was it the delay, I don’t even want to call it a delay but the time frame, is that what caused it? Or is just where you said, “Okay it’s time to put out an album and I want it to be just solid tracks.”?

Lizzy: It was everything, really. At that time, we were touring and I discovered that the audience had gotten younger in the rest of the world. We were playing all over the world and in every country they were young kids. And I’m like, “Oh my God, this is a restart here.” And the songs that they were gravitating towards were songs that were not necessarily always in a Lizzy Borden set, but I threw them in just on a whim, and the went crazy over these songs. So that’s kind of how I was thinking. I’m thinking, “Okay, well I know what kind of songs that this audience will love.” And it’s not necessarily a lot of the other songs that we had been playing. The last tour was a best of, so I was shuffling songs here and there trying to find what worked, and some of the songs that didn’t work I would just toss them out and bring something else in because I had a whole back catalog to choose from. And the songs that did work I kept in. So, the audience and the fact that they got younger, changed my focus. Also, the last album it just felt like we had so many guitar players in there and it became guitar players over song, with the exception of “Under Your Skin.” I was like, “What am I doing here? Am I just showcasing musicians? Is that what I’m doing with my Lizzy Borden album, I’m just showcasing shredders?” I just had to take a backseat, because my two biggest records are Visual Lies and Master of Disguise, and I certainly had shredders on those albums but they weren’t allowed to do that. They stayed in the wheelhouse of the song. I said, “If you want to shred, shred somewhere else because here we’re going to write songs.” That was my whole thing for it. For this album, I needed to go back to that way of thinking. That’s why I kind of cut loose the touring line up that I had at the time, and I had to do it in this way because otherwise it would be just me showcasing musicians on my songs.

ToddStar: I love that you’re not afraid to branch out on those. “Runaway With Me” is one of my favorite tracks. And you’ve even got the “Midnight Things Reprise,” which is not your typical Lizzy Borden fair. How different did it feel writing songs that you knew were not what you’re known for or what you’re typically generating when you’re recording albums?

Lizzy: I go to where I feel that it’s getting good, where I like it. Sometimes, I don’t want to be stuck in a rut where I’m going to write something where everyone knows that this is what I’m known for so I’m just going to do this over and over and over again. It just really doesn’t have any interest for me. A song like “Run Away With Me,” which is oddly enough, quite a lot of the press’s favorite song. Every Lizzy Borden album I’ve done during the press junket it’s always been mixed reviews. This has been 99.9% positive, and I’ve never had that for a Lizzy Borden record. And quite a lot of the press loves “Run Away With Me,” which is again another surprise, because even though I like that song and there’s so many elements to that song that came alive while I was writing it. But I didn’t know that it would have that impact on the heavy metal press and a lot of other press out there. It’s surprising in every way and taking those chances and trying to break those molds, is such a big payoff on that. And it’s also a tight wire act, a lot of people expect you to play “Me Against the World” again, and when you don’t deliver that, some people get mad, but in this case they’re digging it so I’m excited by it.

ToddStar: I love the album top to bottom. If you had to pick a song or two that you think will hold up the best against the Lizzy Borden catalog over time, from this album, not necessarily your favorite, but what you think will just be part of your legacy, what couple songs would you say fit that bill, Lizzy?

Lizzy: You know, it’s kind of hard to say because you never know till you get out there and play it. There’s songs that I hope will have that impact, “Run Away With Me” is one of them. I love the fact that when you say Lizzy Borden you expect it to be bloody axes. There’s been many shows where I’ve had no blood in the show at all. It’s one of those things where I like the contradiction. A song like “Run Away With Me,” if that became the song that actually stayed around beyond like “Me Against the World” has stayed around for so long, then that would be cool. The things that we’ve put out so far, they have different elements to it. I think “Obsessed With You” could be one of the best single, radio singles, on the album. It has so many different elements in that song as well. We’ll see though, you never know. What I think and what happens is sometimes two different things. We’re going to do that video now. We’re working on the treatment for it right now. When that gets released, we’ll see what the response is. I’m going to be playing these songs live, I’ll bring them out. I did with Appointment with Death, we played 8 songs off that record live, and I waited for the response. When the response came, and if it wasn’t what I wanted then I had to replace it with the back catalog song, because I needed that response to stay up to a certain level. For this album, I’m going to do the same thing. I’m hoping these songs get the reaction enough to stay in the set and not be replaced by an older song.

ToddStar: I know you’re busy so I’ve got a couple more so you can go on to the rest of your press junket before this album drops Friday. If you had to look back at your career, Lizzy, and there was a circumstance or something that happened that you wish you could redo. Not necessarily to get a different response, but you just felt that you could have done something better, is there anything professionally that you could think of?

Lizzy: You never know. I know when I did Master of Disguise, it was 1989 and right at that moment, grunge was coming in and all these live garage band sounding bands were coming in, and that album I had a 40 piece orchestra and a horn section and female backup singers, so it was the right album at the wrong time, probably. Right after that, a few years after that, everyone started putting orchestras on their albums. I’m either ahead of my time, or I’m too early. Those are the things that you can’t nail down. I don’t really like to be a part of trends. I’d rather come before, like in ’83 when we started there was only three theatrical bands. W.A.S.P. started probably three months before we did. Bitch had been out there for a year or so doing theatrics on stage. But there wasn’t very many theatrical bands doing stage stuff. Everyone had their own thing. Whatever they were influenced. But for doing theatrics on stage, there wasn’t many. So I started at the birth of that, of the 80’s movement, and that was cool. I wouldn’t have wanted to come in midway through and then kind of jump on the bandwagon. You never know. I don’t know what I would change. There’s little elements that I would definitely change. Opportunities that could’ve come our way, or didn’t for whatever reason. Little things like that. But as far as major things, I really don’t know what I could do.

ToddStar: The final question before we cut you loose Lizzy, if you had to pick one of your own albums to go out and tour front to back, what album would you want to take to the audience live?

Lizzy: I definitely would want to do My Midnight Things from top to bottom, because that’s the way I wrote it. I wrote it to be able to play it on stage. Even Master of Disguise, which I would love to be able to do that, it would have to be a different. For my show, the audience is a huge part of it, and Master of Disguise is more of a… I don’t know. It’s one of those albums, where I would have to have lights and all these different things, and the audience would come in and come out. My Midnight Things is more, the audience could be part of the whole show. As far as the other one, probably would be Visual Lies or Deal With the Devil. Those are the two albums that I could see playing from front to back.

ToddStar: Awesome. Well listen Lizzy, again, huge fan and I appreciate you taking time out for us. We can’t wait until this album is put out there for everybody to enjoy and we wish you well with that and we can’t wait to get you back in Detroit.

Lizzy: Yeah, it’s one of my main focuses is to try and do a real good North American tour, because we’ve been playing everywhere else around the world. I really want to put focus on trying to do a proper North American tour and do it right and bring My Midnight Things everywhere.

ToddStar: Awesome. Again, My Midnight Things on Metal Blade Records and we’ll talk to you when you hit Detroit.

Lizzy: Okay, man, thanks and great talking to you again.





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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