Sidney, are you ready to rock?
A legendary rock diva is playing the Mary Winspear Centre on Friday, May 19 and performing hits from her most recent album, along with all the crowd-pleasing classics.
Some of you might know her as the “Metal Queen,” the title track off her 1984 album that brought her iconic status in the rock world; some of you might know her for chart-toppers like “Only Human,” “Whatcha Do To My Body” and “Some Girls Do.”
The PNR caught up with ‘80s icon Lee Aaron and talked motherhood, her latest album Fire and Gasoline, her upcoming show in Sidney and how her vocals have stood the test of time.
PNR: Fire and Gasoline is your first studio album released since becoming a mother. How has motherhood shaped your new work?
Aaron: “I didn’t want my focus to be away from my kids, those are integral years you can’t get back. Now they’re a little bit older – they’re 11 and 12 – I thought, ‘Okay, it’s time to write a new record.’ Becoming a parent changes your entire world view, your priorities shift absolutely. It would be crazy to say that it hasn’t impacted my song writing in so many ways … ‘Tom Boy’ was written for my daughter. She’s at this age where she’s starting to become self conscious and care about what people think; but when she was 10 she thought she was just as good as a boy, you know. And later on in life you get back to that stage where you don’t care about what anyone thinks. We were both aligned like that at the same time, just celebrating the quintessential person you are.”
PNR:What was your artistic vision for your latest album?
Aaron: “This time, my goal for the album was not to censor myself or edit myself too much in the writing process. For this album I wanted to cherry pick the songs that felt like they had the most purity. The songs on the album are reflections of things I’ve been through in the past. Some of it is about relationships and break ups and bad boyfriends; even though those are things I’m not currently going through, I can tap into them now with a more mature wisdom than I could of in the past.”
PNR:You mentioned earlier you’re more selective with tours now, so why Sidney?
Aaron: “I still have a fairly young family, I don’t tour tour like I used to; I do a selective number of shows every year. I have to be honest, I don’t have a Rolodex of all the concert dates in my head, I’ve likely played Sidney in my hay day … I haven’t done a lot of shows on the Island and I’m really excited to get back to the Island and play for the folks there, it’s been far too long.”
PNR:What can people expect at your show?
Aaron: “Oh it’s a great show. Number one, my band is incredible. I’ve finally got into a place in my career where I only work with people I love and who are great musicians. We play a few tracks off the new album, but the new set includes all the Lee Aaron classics. My band sort of brings this fresh, invigorated energy to these songs, we don’t just sort of get on stage and plot away at them like they are on the record; we give them a fresh treatment and it’s really fun. For instance, we do an unplugged version of ‘Only Human,’ but it’s definitely still a high-energy rock show … I love to involve the audience if I can and get some fun banter going back and forth. For me, it’s really important to have a real down to earth performance with my shows. I make jokes about being a mom, things that are very relatable because that’s where all our lives have headed.”
PNR: With such a lengthy and accomplished career, how has your voice managed to hold up?
Aaron: “That’s kind of an interesting question to ask me because no matter what I say I will be bragging. To give you an idea, let me read you a text message my guitar player Sean Kelly sent me earlier: ‘Ah man, your vocal performance is out of this world. We have a killer record on our hands and your singing is incredible.’
“I think I’ve been very blessed in that, before I ever started singing in a rock band I sort of came from theatre so I’ve had some fairly good vocal training when I was young. You know, knock on wood, I’ve been pretty blessed that my voice is holding up just fine and I’m able to sing all those high notes without lowering the key, which is a trick some artists do.”
As a part of this tour, which kicks off in Sidney, Aaron will head to Europe for the summer. She’s also currently cutting a new, slightly blues-based rock album of half covers and half originals.
The weekend show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.90.
For more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-656-0275.