Playing With Chaos (PWC): Your new album “The Decade of Queen V” is a representation of the last 10 year’s worth of music from Queen V. For fans that are new to your music, when and how did your journey as a guitarist/singer/songwriter begin?
Queen V (QV):I started playing piano when I was 5 and started writing songs a couple of years later. Eventually I picked up my brother’s guitar, because I wanted to be able to jump around while I played, and you just can’t do that with a piano! I also wanted to be able to play all those rock songs I knew and loved, those iconic riffs and chord progressions. I started my first band soon after that, and over the next several years I started to figure out who I was and what moved me to sing and write and play. I always sang, ever since I can remember, but it wasn’t until the “Queen V” era that I really found my voice. And the more I worked at it, the more my confidence grew, and things fell into place.
PWC: A lot has changed in the music industry in the past ten years. Many bands confuse social media with building a fan base. Many of those bands don’t survive much longer than their latest Facebook post. How have you survived the industry for over a decade and what role does social media play in your relationship with fans today?
QV: For me, it was always getting the basics right, and never straying too far from them, and the basics, of course, are the songs (songwriting), recordings, performances (shows). There’s also what I call overall “interaction” with fans, which was a little harder to cultivate in the early days. The only way to reach fans as an independent artist was to go and play in their town and tour your butt-off, and hope to get an address to send them a postcard, etc etc… Now you can email people directly and keep them in the loop. You can reach out to them on the Socials and share all kinds of things with them, and I think that’s been really important for fleshing out who you are as an artist, what you’re up to, what you’re working on, etc… But of course the big hope in connecting with fans on line is to meet them in person, at a show. That is the #1 way to interact with them, in my opinion, because they can really see what the boys (in the band) and I are all about.
PWC: You recently won the battle of the bands slot for the Uproar Festival at Jones Beach. What was that entire experience like?
QV: I was lucky enough to experience what a rock festival was like in Europe as a teenager, and from that time on, I have been IN LOVE with festivals! The live music, atmosphere, the people, all the vendors and booths, and being outside all day/night – that magic combination along with my passion for rock n roll just lit me up inside from the get-go. So to win that slot – thanks to our fans!!! – and to be able to perform on that stage in that setting was a BIG thrill. The audience was very receptive to our show, even though many of them had never heard our music before. And I got the chance to talk to some of them after the show, and to me that’s why the live show is so special – because it’s all about the human element of rock… being there IN PERSON to perform the music, and meeting the people … It goes back to that “interaction” thing…. There’s an exchange of energy between the performer and the audience that to me is sacred. It is an honor to be onstage and an even bigger honor that people want to come to the show to see what’s happening on a stage. So you have to leave it all out there – If we don’t sweat, they don’t sweat!
PWC:You had the chance to work with both Lemmy (Kilmister) and Tom Morello. How did that come about and what were those experiences like?
QV: Back in 2004, we were playing at the Viper Room in as part of the NYC RNR Compilation Tour, opening for Steel Panther (which was called Metal Shop, in those days). My band and I were all fired to perform as it was our 1st show ever in LA. Lemmy and Tom both happened to be in the audience that night and saw our show. We became fast friends and stayed in touch. Soon enough, I was working on some new songs and simply asked them to be part of it and contribute and fortunately they kindly obliged. They have both been very supportive of my efforts and I have so much respect for them as musicians and as people.
PWC: Your album packs a distinctive hard hitting New York rock punch. What was the songwriting process like and where do you draw your inspiration from for your songs?
QV: Living in New York can be very intense, there’s a whole lot hitting your senses at the same time, and there’s a certain energy there that I feed off of. So some of the music was inspired by just that: what it was like coming up in the city, all the trials and tribulations of being a musician, especially songs like “Million To One,” “Revolution Baby,” “America” and “Wasted.” Other songs are a bit more personal, … songs like “Good Enough” and “Cry For A Minute.” But at the end of the day, it all comes down to a general feeling and a passion for life that I try to get across in the music, so the process is quite varied but always rewarding.
PWC: You’re a guitarist. What equipment do you use as a part of your live/studio rigs?
QV: I’ve always said I’m a Gibson girl, except for my Tele! I’ve got a Silverburst Les Paul (Ed.'s note: which this blogger is in absolute love with, for the record) and an acoustic J-185 which I love to play anytime, anywhere. My Flying V is a rock MACHINE and has ended up on many of the recordings as well. String-wise, on electrics I used to play 10-52s but now I just play 11s and call it a day. Acoustic, I play 12s. I pretty much play uniquely through Vox amps (love the hot box!!), and have a couple of pedal boards. One is scaled down, with just a tuner, BB pre-amp pedal, MXR Micro-Chorus and an A/B switch for acoustic/electric. My bigger pedal board is a bit of a monster! Lots more to play with….I am experimenting with it on some new material, so we’ll see what happens there!