"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - the Q&A section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with recently released CD is confronted with the 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
FIONA Flanagan, our favourite New Jersey rocker/actress is finally back in action with a new CD. It's been nineteen years since "Squeeze" (the album ended up at #8 in RockUnited's album of the year poll in 1992) and "Unbroken" still speak of luv for the eighties sound and everything we liked about Fiona in the first place. Produced by James Christian of the famed House Of Lords. 'Unbroken' contains mostly all new songs written by Fiona, Christian, Denander, Holly Knight, Marc Tanner and UK pop production team, The Elements. It also includes a dramatic remake of 'Shadows of the Night' with DL Byron's original dark lyrics, a tribute to the beloved 80's band, Prophet, and a bonus female duet with Robin Beck. Find out more about her spanking new album, here's: FIONA.
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
If the reviews are in English I'd say pretty good. Cracking me up. Giving me a big head. The reviews in Portuguese or Greek may say something different, but I can't read them.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
I sang one song a day, James had the tracks together for me before I'd arrive at his studio. We did the preproduction in cyberspace. It was great, I didn't have to listen to 400 million kick drum hits. It took him longer, obviously, but we really worked at an intense pace.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
The only sound I had in my head was the sound of my voice, as usual! I really could hear myself singing the Prophet song and when James agreed I knew we were sympatico. He sent me some Tommy Denander tracks to write and The Elements songs and we were off. I just wanted it to rock, to feel good.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Oh, about 100%. I trusted him. I loved Cartesian Dreams, I actually sang on the House of Lords album 'Demons Down'. I met James then but I thought he had an English accent. Boy, was I surprised! Anyway, he's a singer, player, writer, he was really easy to talk to about anything. He had great suggestions regarding keeping the album in a specific direction overall and about the mood of the vocals. I knew it would sound great sonically so I just let it roll.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Yes! I love listening to it while I type these answers! There are some things I would have added but you can drive yourself nuts with that stuff and we all had limited time (children!).
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
You'd have to ask him specifics but it was a recognizable vocal set up to me and I've recorded everywhere from Abbey Road to the Hit Factory. What I liked was we had no glass partition. I was very close to him and we could talk without having to mute or hit mic on buttons. I had him smack me on the head if I needed a cue to come in for a chorus.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
I think the smacking on the head was a help. I'm kidding. He did count for me once in a while. Anyone who has ever worked with me who happens to read this will laugh. I'm always looking at the bass player on stage. I never asked him for a headphone mix I just stood there and we hit record. It was fantastic. He'd do a vocal comp after a few passes or sections and then I'd do any fixes. Painless.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
I love "Everything You Are" because I love the bass riff at the end and I knew how I would sing the out for about 15 years. I was DYING to sing that song. I love Prophet. I used to date Scott Metaxas when we were really young, both in cover bands. Great stuff. Climbing in his window at 3AM. The whole thing. Lyrically, a highlight for me is "Loved Along the Way" because I was trying to write something rock but also relevant to my age. It's just true. I have loved along the way and I don't take back a thing. Don't let my daughter read this, by the way [Urban's note: I'll try and scare her away. Oi! Wee lass! POTATO!! POTATO!!! That should do the trick. She's sort of Irish, yeah? :) lol].
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
I like words that feel good in my mouth. When we wrote "Broken" I was trying to get across my actual despair. I had a bad month and I think I got it out. I was ready to jump. Yes, I was a jumper that month. Glad I didn't, though.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
My vision is definitely worse now. Thanks for asking. I can't see anything. Oh, musical vision, no. I guess I am a dinosaur. A lemming? What am I? My son likes Europe and Ozzy. Thank God. We've been bonding.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Yes. With all of it. I am the record company! I was very interfering with myself.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Wow. Crazy? I didn't change my clothes so Robin started to call me the Unabomber. Does that count? I think the crazy stories are from the past albums when I was single and liked to stay up all night. Now I have to be up all day. It's just not the same! [Urban's note: That's okay. Slaughter are now officially: 'Up All Day Sleep All Night'].
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
Are you crazy? I'd say it's absolutely fabulous and you must buy it immediately and you will die happy.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
OK. Hold on to your head. Foreigner, Journey, Yes, old Genesis, Linda Rondstadt, Heart, Pat Benatar, Elvis Costello, U2, ACDC, Scorpions, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Led Zep, The Who, Bruce...
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
This was really fun. If you ever feel really sad, hold on, it will pass and you never know what is coming around the corner. It's worth it just to find out what it is. And, or Robin will kill me: Please visit my website at www.fionarock.com
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,