Stimulator - , the LA rock/pop band fronted by the lovely 'Susan Hyatt' are now returning to the scene with a spanking new CD. "Lovelier In Black" is the title and it's a rather dark and strange love/hate story about betrayals and disappointments. Obviously with a lot of catchy song and dance numbers to match the stimulators' love for/to eighties music. Susan is a versatile and a Recording Artist in the US & UK Music Industry for over 15 years. You may recall her from bands such as The Pandoras (Elektra Records) and Pillbox, where the latter charted a top 20 single in the U.K. She's also been a VJ on London's Mp3TV as well as a fitness guru for a bunch of "famous/weird" people in LA, Japan, all over the world really. Hell, her fitness DVD "Susan Hyatt's Rockstar Workout" charted Top 20 on Amazon! Stimulator is otherwise a project by Susan and ex-Snake River Conspiracy, T-RIDE, guitarist Geoff Tyson (check out the T-RIDE 'Just For The Record' interview with Geoff here). They've been on tour as the opening act for Duran Duran's 2005 'Astronaut Tour and The Go-Go's reunion tour in 2006. Anyhow, it's about time we start asking this female power vocalist about their latest CD. We spoke about how the reaction to their new album has been so far and the sound of Stimulators new CD in comparison to the previous ones, and much, much more. Here's: Susan Hyatt...
"The reaction to the 'Lovelier in Black' record have been very very positive. A lot of fans emailed me and are very happy that we returned and moved forward with the classic Stimulator sound. It seems as though my "dark side" is more appealing than my happy side :). I am very proud of this record, this is my favorite one! The debut 'Stimulator' CD was our signature classic record. It was a lot more 80's New Wave Pop with some funky grooves thrown in. I still love that record, after all, that is the CD that got us our amazing tours with Duran Duran and the Go-Go's. The second CD, 'Stimulator 2,' I made all by myself without my partner Geoff Tyson. I had just finished my solo tour in Japan, and I had fans donate money so I could actually produce and print new CDS. I explored my 70's Disco nostalgia and Gay Euro-Pop scene. (I am a Diva). I was heavily influenced By Goldfrapp, the Bee Gees and Scissor Sisters. I got a lot of criticism for my love of "Yacht Rock". But it was new territory and I wanted to make a totally different sounding record. I am a versatile artist and a chameleon so that is why the records sound so different. But I am passionate about everything I do. With this new record, I returned to the darkness and angst that have always been a part of me. That is why the record is called 'Lovelier in Black'. I even dyed my hair black".
"I have dated a lot of metrosexual borderline bisexual men. That song expresses the frustration a girl can experience when her man is too feminine"...
Urban - Any favourite songs and lyrical highlights on "Lovelier In Black" and why?
"Just Be A Man" is one of my personal faves. I have dated a lot of metrosexual borderline bisexual men. That song expresses the frustration a girl can experience when her man is too feminine. 'Is it so hard just to be a Man?' On "Sorry Now" one my proud moments is when I sing "Say you'll never let me go, even on your Wedding Day". That was a true story. My ex-boyfriend got married behind my back when I went on a short tour in the UK. When I returned he said that nothing had to change between us and that the marriage was temporary. He needed his Sugar Mama to buy him a Car, that's why he married her. That's when I wrote "You think you're Sorry Now". "Lovelier in Black" probably has the most poetic lyrics. 'My lipstick made no mark on you.' Meaning you have made no impression whatsoever on the person".
..."This whole record was written in a very dark time when I went through a lot of betrayals and disappointments with my relationships and my band. My band fell apart. We lost our record deal cuz our label went defunct. The day I told my boyfriend that we no longer had a record label is the day he dumped me. Literally he was a total deadbeat opportunist Loser Musician. I didn't care for him much, but still the shock of seeing such a worthless person dump ME drove me over the edge. I started writing poems and reading more and more. I read an old poem at the library called "Lovelier in Black." It struck a chord in me and I wrote most of the lyrics right then and there. The concept of the record and the song was about me. I was a broken girl, I lost tons of weight and I was heartbroken and devastated. And people kept saying to me "You never looked better." I thought are you serious?? To me it was like being at a funeral and telling someone 'You Never Looked Lovelier In Black.' That's the gist. Then I met Michael, who is now the bass player for Stimulator and the love of my life, and he encouraged me to put the whole record together and to contact Geoff".
"I was a broken girl, I lost tons of weight and I was heartbroken and devastated. And people kept saying to me "you never looked better, you never looked lovelier in black."...
Urban - What's the L.A. music scene like for bands like Stimulator anyhow? (Geoff moved to Prague since he was fed up with the scene?)
"The LA Music Scene is mostly for non-melodic amateur sounding Garage bands in the Silverlake Scene, that I don't relate to at all or tribute bands. It's a tough place for anyone to find fans. There hasn't been an inspiring scene in LA for years. I think it's because people come to LA only to be rewarded on a financial and egotistical level. I am a native so I didn't come here to be a star. If you really want to be a star stay away from here. I found London and Europe to be a million times more inspiring and rewarding. Stimulator found the most fans in the South. New Orleans has a huge place in my heart. Geoff was totally fed up with LA. For someone as remarkably talented and musical as him to get no love. It's just sick. He is doing well in Prague now and he has his own band The Geoff Tyson Band". The only music I knew that he was involved with when we first met was Snake River Conspiracy. They were kinda my competition in the UK when I had my band Pillbox. I thought the musicianship and production was great so I knew I was dealing with a total Pro. There are a lot of T-Ride die hard fans I discovered along the way. Geoff is a Superstar Guitar Player and Producer".
Urban - The artcover screams 'goth', no? (nice pic by the way).
"Yes I guess so. Thanks. I am wearing my beautiful wedding dress in a nasty old Animal Cage in the Old Zoo in Los Feliz. I can't tell you how scary and dirty those cages are. I am the trapped Bride lost and bewildered".
Urban - How did the band get its name and do people (journos) refer to Stimulator as a 'female fronted band' ?
"We wanted to be musically and sonically stimulating. Itıs the only name Geoff and I agreed on. And it's sexy..... Yes... and that is fine with me. It's like a warning to male chauvinists. Like the caution label on a pack of cigarettes 'this may cause you cancer.' Like this band could 'fuck with your female stereotypes and your male ego.".
Urban - What's a Rockstar Workout anyhow? Does your program include 'headbanging', 'stage-diving', and the ultimate 'mosh-pit'? :)
"That goes on the next Fitness DVD 'Rockstar Workout - Ready to Tour.' My fitness DVD "Susan Hyatt's Rockstar Workout" shows you how to breathe like a singer using your Diaphragm so you don't get winded and can keep up a high heart rate so you can workout longer and burn maximum calories. It also features all original Stimulator and Pillbox music. It has informative Pop-Ups inspired by VH1. And it shows how you can work out on the go all of my secrets of how I stayed in shape on tour. It charted Top 20 on AMAZON!".
Urban - Since you've been working on both sides (journalist and musician) - where's the most b.s. and who's the biggest jerk in biz?
"most people in entertainment/media don't know how to deal with honesty they are all wearing masks and trying to be cool."...
"B.S. is highly contagious in the music biz, you just can't help yourself. Most people in Entertainment/Media don't know how to deal with honesty they are all wearing masks and trying to be cool. I have dated so many singers and when they would call me on the phone it sounded like they were calling into a radio station. I would say 'Relax we are not on air right now.' The biggest jerk? Wow so many to choose from all the record execs who got fired HA- HA! (Sorry I am very immature)."
Urban - Are people (still) ashamed of their love for/to eighties music in the states?
"I don't think so. 80's music is played everywhere. It's the new Dick Clark American Bandstand. Everyone loves the 80's its undeniably the most creative out there goofy music with no shame. Total individuality, Boy George and Siouxsie live forever. My favourite 80's albums are: Devo "Freedom of Choice", Blondie "Parallel Lines", The Pretenders "Pretenders", XTC "English Settlement", Adam & the Ants "Kings of the Wild Frontier".
Urban - What 3 words describe you best?
"Passionate, Honest and Loyal".
"stimulator and susan hyatt - lovelier in black - 2010"...
Urban - You are in a balloon with Axl Rose, Belinda Carlisle, Simon LeBon and Simon Cowell - who would you throw out as ballast and why?
"Nice question! I could live with a psycho, a player, and a critic. But another Diva? I would throw out Belinda Carlisle cuz I want to be the only girl. Is that telling of my personality?
Urban- What is your guilty secret?
"I have no secrets!! hmm I want to play guitar and write songs for Courtney Love. She needs me."
Urban - What are your future plans for Stimulator?
"Tour and make more Stimulator records."
Urban - If there's anything you'd like to say, add, promote, please do:
"Please spread the word about Stimulator, I have been playing and making records for over 10 years now. It's time to show Susan some love!!!! xoxoxox
It’s been a good chat, and for more info check out: www.stimulatortheband.com