Diggin’ Deep with Killin’ Candace
By Shawna La’Jame
Hey everybody, how ya doing? Shawna La’Jame here, on behalf of Metal Babe Mayhem… Like many of you this morning, I’ll be shivering till the coffee kicks in, on yet another, blistery winter day… (Laughs) But lucky for me, today. I have the unique pleasure of chatting with the super edgy band, Killin’ Candace… So, it’s totally worth it.
Hey guys! Please introduce yourself and your bandmates, and tell us what prior band affiliations you’ve had…
Hey, what’s up? This is Aaron Lee – main songwriter and front man for the band. On lead guitar we have Louis C, Ray Ray is on bass, and Jack V is on drums. I have known Louis about two and a half years, and met him through a mutual friend. We are both from the UK, but we actually met here in Hollywood. Ray and I toured together in the summer of 2017 – on a national tour with Firing All Cylinders. He’s a great, reliable guy and showed interest in the sound and band, so we ended up collaborating again. I met Jack through a friend that I had modeled some clothes for, and we both had respective projects that needed drummers. So, I sent him the material and he was digging it. It all kind of just fell in to place from there.
SL: Awesome! Speaking of “digging it,” how would you describe your unique sound to:
LEE: Obnoxious and too loud for her ears! (Laughs)
SL:–The ex or prom date at your high school reunion:
LEE: Maybe half the lyrical content is geared towards them (just to make them paranoid.)
SL:–A group of teenage kids with bad attitudes:
LEE: This is definitely the music for them!
SL:-A potential date for the Grammys:
LEE: Melodic, with emphatic crescendos and catchy choruses.
SL:– And finally… your arch nemesis:
Lee: Like poetry – couldn’t give a crap what they thought, but they should still give us a listen anyways! (Laughs)
SL: I couldn’t agree more, Aaron! (Laughs)Now, out of all the band names you could have chosen, what made you choose such an unusual band name? Whose idea was it, and did you ever go by another band name prior to this one?
LEE: First of all, thanks for the compliment! It’s been a common response actually; that people dig the name, and think it’s cool and super catchy. But it actually stems from a true story (well, not quite actual murder… (Laughs)) It was my idea, and it’s based on a lot of raw emotion and just pure, instinctive feeling really. I didn’t play around with too many ideas…once I said the words “Killin’ Candace,” it just felt right, and I felt like it matched. Also, it was true to the sound, image and the lyrical content as well. But long story short – a significant person by the name “Candace” was “who” and “what” influenced the band name. There was a great connection and relationship, but the timing of it just wasn’t right, and our worlds just didn’t align. So over time, I wrote a lot of material and was inspired by even the negative / unfortunate aspects. I knew the only way I could really move forward, was to attempt to let go of anything still remaining there. So, I literally said to myself one day, “I wish I could kill all feelings for Candace… ” and in that moment, I re-spoke the words, “Killin’ Candace,” and from that moment on, I knew that’s what I was going to name the band.
SL: That’s definitely a ‘killer’ namesake story, you’ve got there, doll!
Were any of you guys in band/choir in school? Was singing/playing what you do now, your first choice? If not, what was?
LEE: I started playing drums at around 13/14, but just as a hobby and interest, not in school. But, I did play in a marching band briefly. Once I started bashing around on a drum kit though, it was all rock ‘n’ roll from there on.
SL: You certainly tapped into something there, too… Now, if you could go back in time and observe the early adolescent version of yourself, how would you describe what you see? Did you fit in with your peers? Why or why not?
LEE: Well unfortunately, in life, you sometimes have to make mistakes in order to learn what not to do; or, what to do differently. I don’t know how much I’d change though, because I’m grateful for certain experiences. I feel like I have definitely lived on the edge at the best of times, but I would most likely consider the “big picture” more. Maybe if I knew that back then, I’d have been going through certain beneficial transitions that would have better prepared me to have more of a plan of action. As far as what I saw/see – probably what we all see at that age—someone trying to find themselves in this crazy jungle that we call the world.
SL: It really is a jungle out there, Aaron- and it’s better to hone those animal instincts, than to be chewed up and spat out, any day…
SL: While We’re on the subject, were you a lone wolf, or did you sniff out your pack early on?
LEE:I always felt as if I fit in with the minority crowd, the ‘under dogs.’ But don’t ever underestimate those people or types, because they (we) are full of surprises.
SL: Well, since “every dog has his day,” even the underdogs will come out on top now and then.. It’s really no surprise to me to hear that… Speaking of surprises, describe the very first time you ever performed onstage doing what you do now. Also, tell us about your very first practice together from the “fly on the wall,” perspective.
LEE: I had a band back when I still lived in Birmingham, England – we did more local shows and it was fun when we were young. It was more in the style of Glam Punk / Hard Rock, but we were very Manson-esque and comparable to bands like AFI. I guess it was around the age of 18/19, that I really started to explore that frontman role, and began writing…
SL: As a writer myself, (albeit a corny one, (Laughs) to that, I have to say, “write on!”
As musicians, did your musical styles mesh right off, or did you have to butt heads at first? Also, why did you choose the musical genre you have? Is there any other style that you would like to experiment with in the future?
LEE: 100% with myself and Louis, because we are pretty much just punk rock kids from the city. I mean, don’t get me wrong – we are versatile as musicians, and enjoy a variety of styles and genres. But that punk-influenced, driven, dirty rock ‘n’ roll sound is definitely what we embrace, and what seems to come naturally to us as writers and players. We all are each diverse in our love and influence(s) of bands and music styles, but primarily inspired by rock, metal, and punk bands/genres.
I chose the style that the band plays because it’s what flowed and what naturally worked and came out. When I began writing the first couple songs for the project, “Dressed to Kill” and “Bloodstained,” they actually had an aggressive feel to them. Also, the lyrical content was pretty much written out of anger and resentment for a certain person. So, at that point, I knew the band was going to have that heavier, edgier, hard rock style and feel– with a lot of emotion and realism behind the songs.
SL: – and with an edge sharp enough to Kill Candace even… Sorry, couldn’t resist, go on…
LEE: As far as experimenting goes, we are all such versatile musicians, that nothing would be impossible to achieve. Yet I wouldn’t want to take our sound too far away from what we play, because I think as great as it is to be versatile and dynamic, it’s also important to stay true to your sound. But on the other hand, evolving as a band and a songwriter/composer, is key to sustaining a successful career. So it’s always good to leave that window open, and allow yourself to explore and mature.
SL: Perhaps the view from that window, can be in hindsight for the next question I have for you…
When you were young, did you always aspire to be a ROCKSTAR? If not, what did you want to be instead? If so, what artist did you imitate/emulate before you developed a style all your own?
LEE: I actually had no real idea of what I ever wanted to do for a career, or what field and industry I wanted to go into. But I was always very inspired by music and loved to play, so I guess I did aspire to be a rock star. I can’t lie because for me, there’s no bigger euphoria or adrenaline rush than knowing you could have that kind of status. However, as I have gotten older and matured, and learned the industry and what it takes to actually succeed—it’s definitely a “long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” But I’d also never regard myself as a “rock” star, because at this point, I consider myself a songwriter and a musician.
Some of my biggest influences were artists and bands that carried a quite prominent image, as well as project through explicit and fairly controversial music or songs, lyrical content, etc. (Such acts as Marilyn Manson, Murderdolls, Misfits, Motley Crue, AFI, Slipknot, etc…) So I found that I loved and was most inspired by those bands and artists that pretty much gave the music world the middle finger, did what they wanted, wrote how they wanted, going against the grain and rebelling, using controversy and non-conformity to solidify their product and what they stand for.
SL: Sometimes the only direction to go is to follow the middle finger… (Laughs) Now, how did your families/friends first react when you told them about your band? Were they supportive, or discouraging? How do they act about it now?
LEE: In my late-teens, my parents weren’t overly supportive of my choice to pursue music and the band life. They would act like they were supportive and on my side, but even when I had a massive opportunity come my way–my first ever chance to tour at 20 years old, they discouraged me, and had no enthusiasm, even though this was my dream and passion. It kinda sucked, but at the same time, I’m not going to live my life for anybody else, so I certainly wasn’t going to pass on a tour that would help establish my then band (Gypsy Pistoleros), and also allow me to build my profile as an internationally touring musician in the industry.
Most of our friends,(as well as us ourselves) are excited and curious to hear and see what this project is all about, because even some of the rough demos are a lot edgier than the typical rock and sleazy, punk-influenced music I have played previously. So I see it as a new-found sound for me, and it’s probably the most exciting project I’ve done, as there’s a lot of real-ness and energy that has gone into the writing process, production, etc… I just do what I do, write, play what I sense in the moment, and hope I hit and reach out to people that connect with the material.
SL: Well, as writers, our momentary musings have a way of reaching much further than we imagine… Now, describe your earliest memory of music, and why was that particular moment so memorable to you?
LEE: Probably infant school, or jangling the strings on my Father’s electric guitar as a toddler, not having a clue how to correctly play or create any kind of melody! (Laughs)
Growing up as a kid in the 90’s – a lot of music styles were still being explored and created, but mainstream commercial pop and alternative was always what we were kinda brainwashed with in the UK and Europe. So, it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 years old, that I really got a feel for any kind of live music and what a full live band was about. At that point, it was more punk or rock based music– and the more I got in to my teens and as new styles emerged, I started to grow more fond of rock and metal acts – particularly those that projected controversially and rebelliously. so I kinda found my calling right there.
I started out as a drummer at 13, and remember my most memorable moment being probably the first time I heard “Basket Case” by Green Day. That song came out of nowhere, and the driving energy it has— with the drums and key fills being very distinctive to that song – it just made me wanna bash away on a drum kit! So for me, that was pretty much the turning point, and when I started to feel most inspired by music and becoming a musician.
SL: Thank you Green Day for your contribution to the cause! (Laughs) Likewise, what was the first song you ever wrote and played as a band, and what was the story behind it?
LEE: As a band and a unit, we are yet to write due to the band being in the earlier stages of the lineup. I am very much open to writing with the guys, collectively. Louis is a fantastic singer and songwriter, so I am excited to work and collaborate with him; as I know between the both of us, we can compose and come up with some great riffs and material.
SL: Speaking of which, what/who is/was the inspiration behind your darkest lyrics?
LEE: I’d say mostly negative relationship experiences, and being down on life at times, or dealing with unhappiness and settling for less than what you feel you deserve in life etc. I found that I didn’t have to hold on to any kind of aggression and hatred I had for a certain moment, scenario, or person etc… But, I could write it down, talk some real talk, and at the same time compose songs – using every bit of built up, suppressed anger and resentment, and project it in a positive manner, as opposed to going to anger management/therapy sessions! (Laughs)
SL: Yeah, music is the best therapy anyways… Now, how important is it for an artist to “look the part” of a rock star? For instance, is there pressure to dress or not dress in a certain way, to uphold your public image?
LEE: The reason I think your image is somewhat important is because sometimes a picture or poster is the first thing people see, before even knowing what you are about, or hear your sound. So having an appealing, and prominent image can definitely work in your favor. I have been curious about bands and researched them, and become drawn to them based on their image, and how they present themselves. I think it is good to have an image that matches your sound, but at the same time, I think true talent should shine through in the compositions and songwriting. So no, it’s not imperative to have a strong or bold image, and many bands these days don’t necessarily go that route. But looking the part of a rock star, I think definitely allows people to see that you’re willing to take pride in your appearance and look professional/the part.
I don’t think there is pressure to dress or glam up, it seems as if certain bands feel the need to apply an image with, or to their sound, and they think that works in their favor, then cool. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way – because at the end of the day the music is in the sound, not the look.
SL: So, for you personally, are Rock fashion trends or fads even a consideration? Why or why not?
LEE: Everything today is developed and marketed as a “brand” – so whether it is imagery or sound it has to have a strong appeal. It also has to be advertised and sold in the correct way, in order to sustain and maintain popularity. So when I think of trends – it’s more like something that comes and goes, or styles that are popular for five minutes and then it’s on to the next big thing. With fashion and style, it all changes so regularly, there is pretty much always an audience for everything— so, does it really even matter? And even when things fade out, they usually come back around full circle anyway after some period of time, anyways…
SL: That’s true… what comes around, does seem to always go around again! Speaking of making rounds, how does one stay true to their own style of music, when there’s so much pressure from record labels and finicky fans alike, to commercialize your sound?
LEE: It’s tough these days, because you pretty much have to be able to self-support, fund and steer your own ship, especially if you start out and do it independently. I respect artists that are able to hold up, and I think it is very important to just do you, be you, and stay true to what you are about, and stand for. I wouldn’t say that our sound is at a point where we realized we need to change it or conform to label and management needs and requirements, or what the industry wants. I’d say it’s more the sound evolved with time, and the songwriting and compositions matured, and our end result has become this more appealing, commercially viable sound. However, I have still stayed true to who I am and the sound of the band, because I pour my heart, soul, and emotions in to the material and the lyrical content. But other bands and the people that are literally just in it for the fame and fortune…You know who those bands are because there is zero substance behind the music and sound, and you can tell that they are pretty much just a face or puppets for a record label that wanted to generate a quick return.
SL: When you’re told that “appealing to a broader range of listeners will result in higher ticket/album sales, increased visibility, and extensive air play;” it’s hard to argue against its merit. They’re always offering up some pretty enticing lures to conform struggling/newer bands to their liking.
LEE: The thing with that is, I don’t care if I’m playing to 10 people or 10,000 people. For me, it’s about the quality and passion of the consumer, the crowd, and the environment at a show. Like yeah, of course I am open to a broader audience, please, connect with my music! In fact, let’s all connect and enjoy it together, because that’s why we as a band do what we do. But my answer to this question is that, “yes, there are incentives for bands, but I’m not necessarily going to completely alter and adjust my sound and image, just so I can get ahead sooner and make a quick buck.”
Going back to what I said in the previous question about conformity – does it really have any advantages? You’re not being true to yourself in that sense, so it all comes down to who you are and what you are willing to sacrifice. Many people in this industry lose who they are because they think money and fame is ultimate success. But if you had to sell your soul in order to gain and achieve that, then what do you really have? A lot of labels put things on a silver platter: cash advances that must be paid back over time and through touring, merch sales etc… you rack up a huge debt before you even get started – So, straight off the bat, you have the stress of having to perform not for pure passion and love of music, but because essentially you owe. So it then becomes a job and some of the fun is taken out of what once/is your love and passion…
SL: Wow, that really painted a vivid, albeit, less sparkly picture for us, doll… Speaking of which, how many bandmates have tats, and what is your/their favorite, with the best story behind it? What’s the one you regret the most?
LEE: Every member of the band is inked, but Louis has the best story: his favorite is his Sailor Jerry tattoo/logo, which was his first tattoo. He got it in 2014, at the inaugural opening of Lucky Strike here in Hollywood – whilst out here playing with his other project and main band ‘Pirates of Panama.’ The guys drank for free all night, Sailor Jerry rum was getting passed around left, right and center as part of a promotion the brand had with the club. In a drunken moment, one of the guys came up with the idea of every band member getting the SJ logo tattooed on them. By chance, there was a tattoo booth set up in the corner of the bar and within an hour or so, every Pirates of Panama member was branded!
SL: ROFLMAO, now THAT’S a colorful story, alright! If you could choose any location for your next video, where would it be, and why?
LEE: Right now, I have some great concept ideas and themes for certain songs, but I’m not 100% set on a specific place or location. I have friends that have great studios which would be available but also like the idea of shooting outside and a more eerie or abandoned kind of scenery. Maybe an eclectic, artsy area, or even certain areas of Hollywood that can give it that more low-budget, punk rock vibe and feel. Although the music is very emotive and the lyrical content almost would have to be backed up with a theme and concept I also enjoy keeping things stripped down and simple. I think a lot of that is so you can see and get a feel for the energy and passion in the players involved. Watch this space…you never know which way we’ll go!
SL: From the looks of it, you’re on you’re way up! What venue have you always dreamed of playing at, and what venue was the biggest nightmare for you, and why?
LEE: I think I speak on behalf of every musician that plays in a live band when I say I always wanted to play such places like the Whisky-a-Go-Go in Hollywood, because I think it’s just one of those staples and notorious venues that you HAVE TO play at least once in your career as a musician. I now get the opportunity to play it regularly, which is nice. It doesn’t lose its sentimentality at all which is great, because that stage has seen such awesome artists and talent. I was ridiculously proud and ecstatic the first time I played the Whisky, because I was opening for one of my favorite bands Hardcore Superstar (SWE), right around NAMM 2015. So, that was definitely one of the most special and rewarding times in my music career. That, and playing the first ever annual Rocklahoma festival back in 2007, with my then band from the UK, Gypsy Pistoleros. We played the same stage as Twisted Sister, Poison, Skid Row and all the greats of the 80’s. It was pretty much like a reunion fest, and we were the ONLY British band on the bill. so I take great pride in having that one on my resume.
SL: Wow, that is most definitely something to boast about!
LEE: Nightmare venues: any that require loading in on crazy, narrow and tight side streets; where parking enforcement patrol regularly, and you usually wind up either in a brief confrontation, or with a parking citation! The Underworld in London is famous for it!
SL: So, tight spots aren’t always good then? Smirks… (Laughs) Okay, got it… Tell me, what is the craziest thing a fan has ever done/said to get your attention? Also, what was the best tactic one used/and what to date, was one of the worst?
LEE: Well, we live in the era of technology and social media – so it’s very unpredictable! Of course, we always get the occasional, unrequested picture or not particularly flattering and unwelcomed message in order for people to get our attention. It isn’t always that appreciated. But I’m not gonna sit here and sound like it’s a complaint, because waking up to a pic of a pair of tits in my Facebook inbox is definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever woken up to! (Laughs)
SL: Don’t ya mean “Ta-tas?” (Laughs) Sorry, again, couldn’t resist that, please continue…
LEE: Lol, I can’t really recall a super awkward moment, but I had a fan girl from Italy over a decade ago that I wanted to mail me something and I thought that was sweet, but then when I received this package it turned out she was professing her love to me, and got a bit obsessive, so that was interesting! Cheers for the cute cards though! (Laughs) It seems like it’s hard to not attract the crazy ones, but that’s all part of the deal of playing rock ‘n’ roll. I think we’re all a little crazy deep inside.
I’ve seen it all through the years of playing, touring, and being in certain scenes, and my career is probably only just about to get started. One chick, one time literally tried to buy me, and thought impressing me and supplying with me with money or materialistic shit was the way to get me to commit to attempting to be with her. I was pretty happily single then, and doing my thing— but it’s amazing the lengths people will go to, when they are attracted to someone or choose their victim(s)! she would find out what I was doing, and show up at the shows I had planned to go to with other people, and show up at my own shows, and get crazy insane because I was with another chick. I can’t deal with clingers and hang-out. My advice. Just don’t date in Hollywood! ha-ha
SL: That’s good advice, and some I strictly adhere to myself… (Laughs) So, your opinion, How should a fan best approach you in a public place in respects to respecting your private life? What should they avoid doing at all costs?
LEE: If you know me on a personal level, then I consider you a friend or even family, so you can approach me anytime. I am seriously one of the most easy-going people you will ever meet. In a public place, I think it’s good to respect people’s privacy, but also I know how it is. Because if I had an opportunity to engage with someone – I would for sure make my presence known, or make an attempt to converse with the person. I think being respectful and maybe not interrupting is a good start, though! I think just waltzing right into the middle of whatever you are doing is definitely what not to do. You don’t have to flash me your tits ’cause I’ll pay just as much attention to you if you simply say “hey” or call my name… (Laughs)
SL: Psst… he’s telling the truth ladies, cause I got all this with just a polite little intro, so keep it classy! (Laughs) Speaking of class, let’s talk about life lessons… Is there any one lyric/song that you’ve written that could be your anthem in life?
LEE: This is an interesting question, because yes, for the longest time, it was a song I wrote for my old band “Durty Rockstar” called, “Moth to the Flame.” I think it just completely expressed what I was about and stood for (at least at that time). It sums up what I do, and it’s basically a no BS rock ‘n’ roll anthem. Check it out at: http://www.reverbnation/com/durtyrockstar
SL: Hear that KC fans? BTW, how was your NAMM experience 2018? (I missed it, cause I caught NAMMthrax, pre-NAMM)
LEE: NAMM is always a total blast. I love it. I love seeing friends that I don’t get to see but a few times a year, I love the atmosphere, enthusiasm, brands, and discovering new companies and products. As a musician or even a music lover it is just always so worthwhile to go, and be in the thick of things.
This year, I was there representing Korg USA and Blackstar Amps. I cannot express how much of an absolute pleasure it is to be affiliated with both companies. For me, that was my biggest and most memorable moment…Just being there as an artist and representative of my fave guitar amp company steals it! The minute I plugged in to a Blackstar Amp back about six years ago and heard the incredible tones and balls’ power behind them, I knew that was the company for me!
SL: What epic band would you most like to open for, and why? Likewise, what emerging band would you most like to open for you, and why?
LEE: Well firstly, that would be the compliment of all compliments, and opportunity of all opportunities. I always wanted to open for my favorite band which is Motley Crue, I dreamed of the chance and it didn’t come (Laughs). But I got to open for one of my other music loves – Hardcore Superstar – at no other than the Whisky-a-Go-Go, here in Hollywood, California, at their first US show in ten years—along with joining them on stage with James Durbin to contribute vocals on “Last Call For Alcohol”… So, that for me, is on par for sure, if not just as awesome as opening for Crue! Also opening the festival at Rocklahoma for so many major bands was an absolute privilege, and then one of my other fave moments was opening for Jerry Only’s Misfits in Oklahoma City, on a last minute fill-in gig, where I was called up to play for a friend’s band and got flown out last minute.
SL: I can see the comparison there…
LEE: Emerging band – gotta give some love to my boys in Revolution Underground. However, I would open for those guys any day of the week, and I’d be stoked if they were to open for me. I discovered them on a Battle for Van’s Warped Tour show that my friend booked, and I knew as soon as they hit the stage, that they were going to win that contest. They were phenomenal and had that energetic Warped tour sound. It reminded me of AFI, which is one of the reasons I became so drawn to them, as AFI is one of my all time fave bands.
SL: AFI rocks and their front man does know how to keep an audience’s attention to be sure.. But, on a lighter note, what oddball songs do you have on your playlist that fans would be surprised you liked?
LEE: Not really sure if I’d say “oddball,” but I definitely am diverse and love a wide variety of music and styles – mainly because I appreciate talent at the end of the day… But currently, I have been listening to really good rock and metal covers of pop songs. For instance, “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, and then there is a killer rock version of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” that I dig the hell out of. So hopefully, that answers your question!
SL: It does, it sure does…What are some of the most unexpected perks of being a Rockstar, and how do you avoid exploiting them?
LEE: I can’t answer this question, because I don’t consider myself a “Rock star.” I’ve been in situations that most people might say are comparable to that of rock star lifestyle, but I will always regard myself as a musician and songwriter over having any kind of title/status.
But the closest answer I can maybe give is that things like drug use and partying is looked at as part of the scenario, and that the way bands and artists in the 80’s were “partying like rock stars” – I think that some musicians can’t draw the line and if you don’t find a healthy balance, it can be more detrimental than good to you and your career – Especially in a town like Hollywood, where everything is so enticing and accessible-both good and bad, positive and negative. I’ve dealt with lows and highs in this town, and went down quite an unhealthy path dealing with drug addiction, alcoholism, getting sucked into the party scene and lifestyle. This obviously can happen anywhere, but I’m convinced that this wouldn’t have happened to me anywhere else in the world but here in Hollywood, because I chose to jump right in and go full-throttle once I landed here. So before I knew it, I was going hard. I’ve been in the gutter here personally, and somehow, this town hasn’t killed me or destroyed me yet.
So, I decided to look at things from a positive angle and in return attempt to destroy Hollywood.
SL: Damn, I hope you never let it destroy you doll, it’s chewed far too many talents up recently, as it is… but, seriously, do you think that fame has changed you, and what would you like to change about fame?
LEE: Fame has not changed me, because I have never been within distance of it. What I would like to change about whatever fame is defined as these days, is that just because you are “popular,” does not make you famous and/or talented. I see a lot of pointless and unappealing artists and products that I don’t think deserve the amount of attention that they receive. I respect raw talent, real composition, and musicianship.
SL: I totally agree, and can unfortunately think of an ill mannered, reality star to throw into that heap as well… But social media seems to be creating these hot-mess monsters… With that in mind though, how important is the use of social media to the success of a band?
LEE: Well, annoyingly to most it is very important, and you have to do it – because it’s the best way to engage with your audience, and allow the consumer and your fans to interact or keep up with you. A lot of people are constantly using and becoming addicted to technology, and it definitely has its advantages, but at the same time, sometimes you lose touch with reality and “real” connections, communication etc… But it’s where everybody is at, and also the people that have you and your career in their hands are relying on numbers and stats.
It’s all a number and money game, so the more followers and numbers you have, means the potential for increased response, income, etc… So you really have to continually build your following via social media these days, because it is just as powerful as paid advertising.
SL: It must be, or no one would even give a flying Tweet about any of those people! (Laughs)
Now, on a somber note, in recent years, the music world has been in mourning. Tragically, we have lost more influential artists to drug/alcohol addiction, than we can even keep count of…
– Day after day, a unyielding succession of RIP’s ripped through our social media consciousness, with fans looking for answers, ‘by reading into that last, sour note.’ Yet somehow, they failed to see the writing on the wall…
So, looking back:
What artist’s absence (untimely demise) has hit you the hardest, and why?
LEE: Not to seem insensitive, but I haven’t been overly affected, but not to dampen the impact certain losses have had on the music world, because there has been some shocking and unexpected early departures. I feel more like the talent that was taken and lost is a massive loss, and the artists as people to their family and fans, as well as the people they inspire. Most of my idols and the artists that inspire and influence me are still alive and making music, but there have been certain losses that have hit hard, because of the level of talent of those particular people – i.e. Layne Staley, Kurt Cobain, Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan – just to name a few.
SL: The past few years have taken some amazing talents… Opiate related overdoses are as epidemic as this year’s flu strain. Tragically, those society once shunned as “junkies,” could be anybody, anymore. The “nice boy or girl next door,” is now just as likely to die of a heroin overdose, as you are to know someone who already has… So, in your opinion:
What factors do you attribute to the widespread prevalence of opiate/heroin addiction in the music industry today?
LEE: Pressure, curiosity, people being psychologically damaged/chemically imbalanced, or just accept drug use and addiction as if it literally “comes with the territory.” A lot of the time, people will use drugs and/or alcohol as a way to mask some kind of pain or insecurity, and the longer you allow yourself to rely on those substances, the harder it is to pull away. This is why most people die of overdoses, suicide or a severe illness, because they eventually get broken down to nothing, and get past the point of recovery.
SL: God, you are spot on about that, may they all seek help before it’s too late… Before we close the curtain on your awesome band today, I have one final, question to ask of you:
Knowing how much influence your own “Rock Idols” had over you, what message would you like to give to young, aspiring Rock stars who now look up to you in the same, idyllic way, about your take on the perils of “partying like a ROCKSTAR?”
LEE: I can 100% say from experience: do not follow in my footsteps or take a trip down the rabbit hole – although there has been some thrills here and there, and I have no regrets, because all these experiences have lead me to be who and how I am today–and molded me into the Aaron Lee that has offered his opinion throughout this great interview.
Overdoses aren’t fun, and I of all people know how thin the line between life and death really is. So play music for the pure passion and love of music, for the feeling and complete euphoric sensation you get from the vibes of great musical energy…
SL: Without drugs, folks… or at least the unkind kind, that leave more statistics than super trips. So, let’s pursue those passions, without the distractions… shall we?
Many thanks to Killin’ Candace for giving us so much of their precious time to get to know them better… Your fans will love you all the more…
AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
Thank you, Mr. Aaron Lee, for what has to be one of the most provocative and honest interviews ever… You sir, Killed it!