Lizzy Borden Interview – ‘My Midnight Things’ – full in bloom – 2018
full in bloom: Congratulations on your new album, My Midnight Things. How’s everything going?
Lizzy Borden: Oh man, it’s the best reviewed album I have ever had. All my albums have mixed reviews. I’d say 90% positive from the press all around the world. It’s been pretty amazing.
full in bloom: Can you give us a little background on the making of the record?
Lizzy: I recorded it mostly in North Hollywood and a little bit in Northridge, California and then I finished it off in Las Vegas. I did most of my vocals in North Hollywood….my studio there, at the time, was in an industrial area, so it was really isolated. Just dead silent after 5 o’clock. I was in there by myself screaming into a mic. I really wanted that isolation feeling to come across in my voice. But as soon as I signed a record deal I started really working on the album. I had been writing and doing demos for a long time but when you actually sign a deal and you are going to do a record it’s a whole different way of doing it. The album came together like a puzzle for me…that’s kind of the way they always come together for me. Just slowly working on these pieces of the puzzle because I write and record at the same time.
full in bloom: How long did it take to put the album together?
Lizzy: The whole thing took about five months, from start to finish. We were trying to find the right guy to mix it, so we had gone through a few different people until I found Greg Fidelman (Metallica, Black Sabbath, Adele, U2). That took a little bit of time.
full in bloom: Did you record all the instruments yourself?
Lizzy: Me and Joey Scott produced the album, so both of us do everything.
full in bloom: Does your brother (Joey Scott) record his own drums or are you there with him?
Lizzy: He records his own drums but I’m in there with him. I’m laying down a scratch guitar while he’s laying down the drums. A couple of songs he played to the tracks that I had; he’d just put a drum track on all the tracks that I already put on there. For the most part, I was in there with my guitar and we’d through the arrangements, and then we’d get the drum sound.
full in bloom: You’re in Las Vegas now?
Lizzy: Yeah, I’m in Vegas now. I moved here last September.
full in bloom: That was your first time moving from Los Angeles?
Lizzy: Yeah. I never thought I would ever move but I love it here. There’s so much action here. It’s crazy. It reminds me of the way Hollywood used to be in the ’80s. The city just lights up. So far, it has been amazing.
full in bloom: I recently read an article about how there was a mass exodus from California to Las Vegas due to the high real estate prices in California.
Lizzy: The housing market is booming here. It went crazy. A lot of people are coming here from California, Dallas or Florida. I was one of those people (laughs).
full in bloom: Were you always involved in the recording process as much as you are now?
Lizzy: I write the songs so I always have a vision of what it’s going to be. I didn’t really take recording seriously until the Visual Lies album and then I hired our first real producer (Max Norman). He enlightened me on the whole process. I was greatly involved in that album. When it came time to do the Master of Disguise album, I was hugely involved in the production of that. Ever since then I’ve been engulfed in this. I’m still learning. It’s really odd, I’ve been doing this for thirty-five years, or even longer, but Lizzy Borden for thirty-five years. All the stuff I learned off My Midnight Things I’m going to apply to the next one. The technology has changed so drastically. We’re almost using none of the old ways of doing these things and in a lot of ways it’s so much better.
full in bloom: Do you use Pro Tools?
full in bloom: Which interface?
Lizzy: I have the Universal Audio, the Apollo.
full in bloom: I love the Neve plugins.
Lizzy: Yeah I dig it. I’m already getting new gear for the next album. I want different sounds for the next record. I will get a new guitar rig and new everything. I like to keep switching it up and have a different focus for each record.
full in bloom: Do you play the guitar solos on My Midnight Things?
Lizzy: Yes. Every record is different. This one I did because I was writing solos for the songs, I wasn’t just playing solos. My last album I brought in Dave Meniketti (Y&T), George Lynch (Dokken) and Corey Beaulieu (Trivium). They were just cold playing solos, and I’ve done that on other records as well; they’re not really form-fitted for the songs. This album I really wanted to form-fit the solos for the songs.
full in bloom: I had no idea you could rip like that.
Lizzy: Well (laughs)…this is not the first Lizzy Borden record I’ve played on. I just usually didn’t take credit for it, or I go under a different name.
full in bloom: Did you solo on the ’80s records?
Lizzy: Not as much.
full in bloom: Any touring plans?
Lizzy: I wanted the album to come out. I didn’t want go on tour and play these songs that no one is familiar with. It’s been so long since I released an album. I thought I’d let the album breathe a little bit and then I’ll start working on it. The album has been out since Friday (June 15th). I did a whole restart on the career. I am getting new management, a new agency and a new band, except for Joey on drums…and a new show. I’m putting together the show right now. I’m working on the production and all the stuff that I want to do. It’s slowly coming together now that the album is out there. We got this last week of promotions for that first week album sales stuff. Then all my attention will go to all the other processes that I just mentioned.
full in bloom: Are you going to tour the U.S., or just overseas?
Lizzy: Over the last 15 years we’ve become an international band. We’re playing so many different territories around the world. It’s going to be a world tour, but one of my pet peeves is I haven’t been able to play North America like I’ve wanted to, hardly at all really. In the ’80s that’s all we did, we circled the States. Now we go everywhere but the States. It’s very difficult to tour here in this day and age, but I really want to bring the Midnight Things tour here and do a proper North American tour. That’s one of the things I’m really working on and we’ll see how it all pans out. It should be a world tour. Every territory we’ve played, I’ve already heard from the promoters there and they all want the shows. I’m sure it’s going to be a full on world tour.
full in bloom: Are there certain markets that you do better in, or that you prefer?
Lizzy: Over the years, every summer, we play all the festivals over there, so you’re playing in front of sometimes 90,000 people, it’s crazy. So you slowly build that following because it’s all young kids all around the world; the older crowd is in North America but everywhere else it’s all young kids who just found Lizzy Borden, so it’s kind of a brand new thing. On our last tour we played South Korea and all the young kids went crazy. South America, the same thing. All across Europe, same thing. It’s kind of a restart for my career but it’s also a rebuilding as far as fan base goes. I really want to do my best to tackle North America, because it has, unfortunately, been neglected, but I’m going to bring the show around this time.
full in bloom: As the ’90s came along and grunge took over the airwaves, what did you do during that time? You only released a greatest hits album during that decade, right?
Lizzy: Yeah, the way it worked out was the end of every decade bleeds into the next decade by at least two years. So we toured until ’93 on the Master of Disguise album, which was released in 1989. Then I took a little break because my music wasn’t…you know, it was grunge…and then we started again at the end of ’97 and started touring again, so it was a little bit of a break. I formed another band called Diamond Dogs, which was a fun thing I did around Hollywood. It wasn’t serious; it was just fun to write these rock songs and do something completely different. Anytime that I realize that it’s a whole new trend out there and promoters are all looking for the next trend….I didn’t want to have to fight that system, so you just wait for that wave to go by and then you rejoin the procedure.
full in bloom: Are you married?
full in bloom: Kids?
full in bloom: Did you have a side hustle during that downtime?
Lizzy: I was getting into film and editing and stuff. I really got into that for quite awhile. I had a blast doing that. I’ve actually done a couple of our videos.
full in bloom: I was going to make a point of telling you that some of your videos look very professional compared to a lot of bands.
Lizzy: I had Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Batman v Superman) direct “Love is a Crime.” The guy that did all the Superman and Avengers movies, he did our video when he was nineteen. I usually find some amazing people to do these videos. Sometimes I edit them myself. We did the last one, “Long May They Haunt Us,” I went back east and filmed that with David Brodsky. He’s an amazing director. We’re actually working on the treatment for the next video, which is going to be “Obsessed With You.” That’s going to be a really fun, interesting video. As soon as we get the treatment done, we’re going to set up when we’re going to shoot it. I would imagine it’s going to be in the next three weeks. The video medium, for me, is just perfect. I think there are going to be at least four videos off this album, maybe more.
full in bloom: Tell me about the “Long May They Haunt Us” video?
Lizzy: It’s the deepest song on the album; it means so much. We kind of created this character who was stuck in his own thing because he was haunted and he couldn’t get out of it. A lot of people are like that, and they just can’t get out of it. We used old makeup to show him just rotting away and then we used other makeup to show his either positivity, or negativity; we used white or black makeup to show these different expressions that he was going through. Then we kind of do like a go back in time to where things were good in what he remembered. There were a lot of subtleties in that video that we worked out.
full in bloom: Were you paying a lot for videos in ’80s?
Lizzy: Not really. When everyone was paying $200,000 for a video, we were doing videos for a fraction of that. But you can tell. Some of those early videos were just kind of a one shot thing. We had no idea what we were doing. When we did the “Me Against the World” video, the director had been doing so many videos at the time that he didn’t give us any instruction at all, and we had never really done a video. He built the stage for us, got all the lights together and we were back doing our makeup, and we still didn’t know what we were going to do. We go out for the first take and I go ‘what are we supposed to do?’ and he said, ‘just do what you do.’ That was really bizarre to me. Some directors are very hands on and some just say, ‘do what you do.’ It is weird. Usually directors are pretty good artists but some of them are kind of eccentric.
full in bloom: Did you edit video professionally during the ’90s?
Lizzy: No, not really; I just dabbled in it. During that little break that we had, you know it was the Quentin Tarantino era, so I wanted to start doing short films. I was very close to making that happen and then I got wrapped back up into writing Lizzy Borden stuff and touring the world, so that got in the way (laughs).
full in bloom: Have you written a script?
Lizzy: Yes, I’ve written a few different scripts. It just got to the point that…..I talked to a lot of my friends who were going to film school and different things like that and it just got to a point where I was very close to making it all happen and then I just got roped back into touring. I’ll jump back into it, especially with the technology that’s out there now, it will be much easier than what I would have had to struggle through in the ’90s. I’m actually glad that I never did it, because it really would have been a struggle.
full in bloom: Do you think you’ll do something (in film) in the next ten years?
Lizzy: Possibly, I just signed a three album deal, so I’m actually starting to map out the next record. I’m also working on this tour and I don’t know how long this tour will last…if it’s a full world tour, it could last two years. We’ll see. We’re going to film a lot of videos and I may direct one myself.
full in bloom: Is Metal Blade the only record label Lizzy Borden has ever been with?
Lizzy: Yeah. We’ve been with Metal Blade/Capitol, and they were very involved in the early days. Then we went to Metal Blade/Warner Brothers, and they were very involved during the Master of Disguise era. Now it’s Metal Blade/Sony, and they are doing amazing things with this album. It’s always been a joint venture, we always got a lot of contributions from whoever Metal Blade was with at the time.
full in bloom: Other than Slayer, I thought you guys were one of the only Metal Blade artists, during the ’80s, that could write good hooks. Why do you think Lizzy Borden didn’t become more popular?
Lizzy: Well, I mean my competition was Bon Jovi and Motley Crue; there was millions of dollars thrown at them for marketing. We had hundreds of dollars thrown at us for marketing (laughs). Everybody was in the same melting pot, there’s no way we could compete with that. There’s just no way. I wasn’t like, ‘ok, I’m on an independent label so it’s a separate thing. It was not a separate; we were all on the same radio charts, same everything. They had lots of firepower behind them to promote these albums. I didn’t and you never will on an independent label. But there have been many bands who have competed on a large scale on an independent label, so it’s not an excuse, it’s just the way it is. As far as hooks, all the bands I grew up on, that’s what songs were. A lot of the new stuff is about showcasing talent, and I just veered away from that. I don’t really want to showcase anyone’s talent, I just want to write songs.
full in bloom: As a band’s popularity increases, they would usually transition to a major label. Did it ever get to a point where you were close to doing that?
Lizzy: You know, it was really weird. One time I was at Capitol…we were there all the time because they were so involved. I was in the elevator with the president of Capitol at the time. He goes, ‘man, Lizzy, that song “Me Against the World” should have been a #1 single.” I’m like, “you’re the label, man” (laughs). That’s the way those things work. Capitol is worried about their artists that are completely signed to their label, so they are only partially working my record. Metal Blade has always been the hands on label for me, and, in this day and age, they are amazing. Quite a lot of their bands are all top 10 on Billboard, doing amazing; especially since a lot of the music is extreme metal. It seems unlikely, but they have been able to weather the storm after the industry collapsed. They’re bigger and better than they ever were. Metal Blade has figured out a way to do it.
Thanks for reading Part I of our interview with Lizzy Borden. Check back next week for Part II, where we focus on Lizzy’s rich musical history.
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