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April Lee interview 

April Lee
Submitted by Kaj Roth on 2004-09-13
With a voice very similar to Darby Mills,Lee Aaron and Sandy Saraya......this female hottie APRIL LEE follows the same fine tradition of female fronted melodic hard rock and she has also done a great version of Zebra?s old hit "Tell me what you want" on her 3 song promo EP,here?s her story!
Is this 3 song promo the first thing you have been involved in?
April: No. I have been in many bands, and have other Demos I did... but it took... 5 demos, 300 shows, bills, 5 states, 11 bands, 10 years, no bed, 15 crappy cars where I learned on my own to re-thread throttle cables, install a new clutch, change brakes..., 150 venues, to realize that what it took was good writing, good songs, and the rest comes afterward. ha ha ha

So what?s the story behind April Lee?
April: My mind was twisted at 8 when I heard tell me what you want, by Zebra, the first time.... My Dad, only 28 at the time, was laid off, 1983, and he would take me to side jobs.. one was this coffin factory he had to rewire the elevator shaft... I was climbing with him helping him, and the owner of the factory.. his mom came in and asked if she could take me home. She took me home in her cadillac, and taught me how to make those yarn Ding Ding balls that you put on top of stocking caps... I was sitting on the floor making a mess with my Yarn , the lady sent her son, Stevie (14) to the kitchen to make me lunch.. Stevie turned on a small one speaker radio... and I heard... "Ive been waiting my time..." I got up and went into the kitchen and picked up the radio.... I never dreamed I would get the chance to perform tell me with Zebra!!! that was cool! I heard Alone Again, by Dokken when I was 10... game over... i knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.. now if I could just grow up.... but.. to bring you to current... I was in an all girl band called Typhoid Mary.
Great gals,Great friends. Great players... I/we had already opened up for many Melodic rock acts such as Kings X, The Gathering, Iced earth, Overkill, etc. etc. We got a call... "You are opening up for Dokken" ETS tour in Clevelands Agora theatre.. My guitarist Cynthia (lead guitar) and I about died. I never had seen Dokken, my favorite band as a kid... until i was their opener. Same with the other girls cuz Dokken in their hay day put us all between 9-15 years old! What a magical night. I also met Dee, my producer that night... he was working with Dokken. We played our asses off, and Don approached us to go to LA, and learn the ropes. I went. For career, and college reasons, the others remained home. (proud to say that one is a teacher, the other a trauma nurse now, and the other in her own band) You read my bio. LA was rough. Very rough. I flew out there one way as I had cousins that were there for a few weeks while on a job assignment... I took clothes, my computer, my bass, and my self. I got a job, bought a piece of crap car, and in three months had a band and was playing the Sunset Strip... sellin tickets, everyone coming up and telling us how good we were... and to my dismay, no A&R rep coming up and begging to sign us... ha ha boy did I have alot to learn. After five more freakin bands... living alone most of the time, working 40 hours a week, tryin to pay bills... finally got a furnished apartment cuz I was sick of two years sleeping on an air mattress... (oh my poor butt and back)

I guess the bass is your main instrument,but what other instruments do you use when composing songs?
April: I do play some guitar, some keys, trumpet.. ha ha I am serious, but when I come up with my ideas, I play basic guitar or bass riffs and after arranging the ideas, come up with vocal ideas... then I make a CD and send it to Dee for his input. Then Dee and I collaberate... Dee also has ideas that he gives to me... I love working with him... I got with Dee as a producer when While in Los Angeles, I made a big sale at work, and spent the commission on a Roland multitracker... and taught myself how to use it. (Thank goodness i had Don Dokken and his sound engineer, Rob Easterday, to call when I had the machine all fucked up!) I started writing on my own and recording... i fell in love. I would write a set of songs, play all the parts accept drums, and then call my friends that played, book shows, and hammer away...

It?s a tough business to get somewhere in,did you caught any attention from the A&R people?
April: Yes this business is very hard... though, I have had some companies approach me, only formalities, so far, as I just released the Demo... and the story behind that is.. when I first went to see Dee about working together. Dee had been working and producing a project he masterminded, called Club Diva... which I heard and was blown away. Plus I worked with him in a studio helping him out with Dokken once, during "Long Way Home", and realized... this man is fucking great. I finally said to him.. "Lets make something happen". he said "ok bring your band over with some material.... I will talk to you all and see what we should do." I took the guys I was working with, at the time, over to his house and after brief conversation, he sent everyone home accept me. (realizing what had happened, that drummer and bassist supported me the whole way, and helped me pay for the recording time! even though they knew they were not invited to play with Dee. and Jim, the drummer, helped us with percussion in Who am I? (great dude and drummer!)

Did you and Dee record the EP by yourself?
April: Together, Dee and I wrote and recorded Bitter Hole, Who am I, and others yet to be unleashed. We did everthing on that Demo ALONE. no band accept for Jim Wilinskis help with Timpani on Who am I, and a four second guitar part from a guitarist I had been in a band with. Otherwise...All of this we did in He and his girlfriends bedroom, ourselves. Just me and Dee.What is even funnier...Dee took a drum cage that Mick Brown from Dokken ordered and never used... took the damn thing and framed his bed with it!!!!!!!!!!! mounted my mic and pop screen off the rack, and I sat or stood on the side of the bed (we had no room) and sang the very vocal lines you hear. We recorded from the time I got off work till 3 am and I would have to go to work by 7 am the next day sometimes. Thank God my boss was cool and did not ask why I had Rotissierie chicken chunks on my sweater, and wine stains on my slacks.. and why I was wearing the same clothes i had on the day before.. HA HA Dee and I are both comedians and spent our time recording,and during breaks wuold record fucked up lyrics over karoake tracks.. dees poor girlfriend. Sidra.. bless her heart for putting up with our antics.Dee and I do two things together... work our hearts out for 10-20 hours at a time or more.. then Laugh the remainder.

Why the choice of Zebra?s old hit "Tell me what you want"?
April: Dee and I had discussed doing a remake that #1 a girl would not choose, #2 no one else would have the balls to attempt.Sometimes Dee would have me listen to other artists material to get a different perspective on what I was creating. One night he chose, TMWYW... Oh My God, I had not heard the song since I was 8, back to the memory of the story I told you. And still I loved it! I left Dees house that night the song was going on and on in my head. I got home after 3 am and called Dee and said... I got it.. The Zebra tune!!!! Dee said "sure, great idea, but please contact Randy Jackson and make sure he would support your doing that" So, the next day, I tracked Randy down at a club in NY he was playing that evening. i called the club, left a message, Randy called me at home, and said he felt it was a great idea. so, Randy, Dee, and I confered on the phone during the recording of Tell Me, and shared ideas. so there you have it.

I think you sound like a mix between Darby Mills (Headpins) and Lee Aaron,What female rock singers have you been influenced by?
April: Now this is where it gets interesting... mainly my influences are male, in terms of Rock or Metal... however, I love Doro, Ann Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Kline, and Sandy Saraya.

I know you like to write all your material yourself but is there anyone out there you would love to write songs together with?
April: Though writing with Dee is the bomb, he brings certain elements out of me..., It would be cool to write with :Randy Jackson, for sure (a Duet!), The Nuge... boy would that be a rush, Geddy Lee, Simon LeBon, Slash to name a few. It is hard finding the right person to work with. I find many great players, and have a few ready to tour with me, however, I have found no one other than Dee to create that magic with.

What are your favorite albums right now?
April: Old: No Tellin Lies, Zebra, Any Nuge, Rush Presto, any Dream Theatre, ANy old Priest, Iron Maiden Powerslave, Any old Duran Duran, The Fixx, Dokken, of course, and Howard Jones... New: Zebra IV, Evanescence Fallen, Cherry Poppin Daddys, Maroon 5, Dokken Hell to Pay...

What?s your opinion about internet sharing and downloading music?
April: ooohhh ... I have a few opinions... this is the Digital age, and artists old and new must adjust to it... however, as a new artist, the internet has allowed me to showcase my music to Industry people, as well as listeners, I would otherwise, never get in touch with. I am a firm beleiver that the internet has allowed people to be more choosy. I have found that my nieces and nephews will download mp3s for their media collections, and if they like 2 or more tracks from a new release, they ask for the actual Store Bought CD with the insert, and goodies that come along with it. People cannot find some of the music they want to hear, anymore in record stores, and on radio... so the internet is the only place to turn for some of the rare stuff. I do have concern that file sharing and downloads often do not pay the artists that worked hard writing and recording... but.. like I said, artists have to adapt... when I was a little kid bugging older friends and aunts and uncles to make me tapes of the albums they had.. no one was bitching back then. The digital age allows this duplication process to be more widespread, and far quicker, so now people are going bananas over it. Many of the listeners to the three songs i released, even after download, buy the Cd. I do not know exactly what my course of action is when I will end up really having to face this issue, Dee is unconcerned though for the reasons, I mentioned. My stage performance, though, I make sure is World Class...

I watched an episode of the reality show "Surreal life" on our Swedish television where 7 famous people are living in the same house,among them we find the actor Corey Feldman,Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil,hip hop dude Mc Hammer,a girl from the reality tv series Survivor,a former playmate of the year and 2 more I don?t remember the names of. If you got an offer to do this,what people would you like to get to know more-living in the same house as?
April: hmmm... with a bunch of cute Rocker guys! LOL... seriously... Geddy Lee, Whoopi Goldberg (I Love Her), Howard Stern, Goldie Hawn, Sean Connery, and (swoon) Harrison Ford *fanning my face*, Steven King, Ted Nugent (I would love a hunting trip with him as I am very outdoorsy and love to get dirty and I love to eat wild meat!! ha ha watch it how you take that!), um... Tommy Shaw, John Koladner, and Loretta Lynn.

Male rockstars often get their share of groupies,have you stumbled across any male groupies?
April: ah, had a couple weirdos... but yes... I get love letters via email, alot... *blushing* I have had a few find my address and phone number, even call my Moms house and her Bridal Shoppe. I have had gifts sent to me. However, I did not get into this biz to add to my love list..LOL though I enjoy the attention... I have a little fan, a little girl, that comes from a single parent home. Her Mommy works very hard to raise the children, alone. The little girl works hard on her own at the age of 15, to make her own money, and involved in many community activites. She loves ACDC, Motley Crue, G&R... I like talking with her, and helping her as much as I can. I also have a little boy from Hong Kong that searched for me until he found out my IM handle. he works very hard at his studies, and very smart little man. When he Ims me at noon my time, I know that he is supposed to be in bed, and I tell him he must get to bed, or I will email his Daddy. LOL that is the kind of fans I enjoy. I like to think that I have inspired a child to go after their dreams no matter what. To keep believing.

What would you choose between a quiet evening at home with a good movie or partying with your friends out at nightclubs?
April: I love clubs. I love dancing. however I played clubs all over the US, and... honestly, I only like going, anymore if I am supporting a friends band, or playing my own shows... I dance at home.. ha ha, and I would probably choose a good old classic like Gone with the WInd, or Oklahoma, kick back in my drawers with the candles lit and a box of tissue!

Good luck with signing a deal!
April: Thanks Kaj! And thank you for chatting with me. And Rock on!
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