We simply adore all-female metal bands. Not that long ago we found out about a band, that calls themselves ABSINTHE. They hail from Los Angeles, the city where a lot is happening in the heavy rock scene. So it is the perfect place to start your career, especially when you are good looking and well-talented. Both things are more than fine with this band. Their looks is smashing and their music sounds awesome as well. What more can you ask for? Well, what would you say about a little bit more attention? That’s where we get in the picture. We’re proud to introduce you to ABSINTHE. Not only the liquor will drive you crazy, these girls are able to drive you mad as well. They made my head spin round for days with their four catchy rocking demo tracks. If that isn’t a promising start, I’ll eat my hat, while writing the following lines....
When did ABSINTHE get together as a band and how did you girls meet up?
Briana Alexis: “I formed the band in September of 2007. It started by organizing an open jam session to find players at a local rehearsal studio in Los Angeles.”
Who came up with the band name and why?
Briana Alexis: “After tossing a bunch of ridiculous hard rock names, I came down to hanging with a writer friend of mine, telling me a story about his experience with Absinthe. I was like, that’s it!”
Who are the most important influences of the band and maybe you can tell us a bit more about the main influences of each one of you individually as well?
Briana Alexis: “Our sound went through many changes over the years. The vocals really lead them. Now, we’re truly where we want to be with Cherokee’s hard rock, melodic bluesy voice. We’ve been told by critics, that they hear a cross between ZZ TOP and AC/DC with a punk edge. For me, LED ZEPPELIN, AEROSMITH, along with the other references, would have been a major influence. I also dig a lot of the eighties hair bands, like LYNCH MOB, WHITESNAKE, MOTLEY CRUE and DIO. And the list goes on and on.”
How would you describe the music of ABSINTHE yourself?
Briana Alexis: “I absolutely love my singer’s voice. She’s been the staple for our sound. Heavy guitars, bass and drums drive the backbone of the band as well. We have a range in our songs. Some are poppy, hard rock, while others are kind of funky. There’s a little suppin’ for every rocker.”
Cherokee Fortune: “Aww... I paid her to say that!"
Can you tell us a bit more about your writing process? What comes first: the lyrics or the music or do you get your new ideas while jamming? In general, please tell us how a new song comes about?
Briana Alexis: “We usually write the music first. I come up with a guitar lick and the songs stem from there. It always amazes me, what Cherokee’s going to come up with. That girl writes some mean poetry and is a natural at lyrics and melody lines. In fact, two of our favorite tunes, that I would have tossed, Cherokee brought new life. Or something I bring may sound extremely heavy and my drummer and bass player will put their groove on it, bringing something out of left field. I dig the collaboration among us.”
Who writes the lyrics for ABSINTHE and what are they about?
Briana Alexis: “Cherokee.”
Cherokee Fortune: “Wizards and goblins... Just kidding. I write about a lot of things. Sex, life, rock 'n' roll, frustration.. If someone pisses me off enough, I'll definitely get a song out of it.”
Who were in the first line up of ABSINTHE and please update us on any line-up changes that may have occurred since?
Briana Alexis: “When I formed the group, I had this whole classical melodic metal idea. Like a female version of APOCALYPTICA, who I admire. We had strings (violin), keyboards and I even begun playing cello. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and it was just bad. So over the years, we’ve fine tuned, back to rock n’roll roots with a quartet of vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Our current line up is: Cherokee Fortune on vocals, Briana Alexis on guitars, Dacey Spinuzzi on drums and Kelsea Knight on bass.”
Are you still in contact with the previous ABSINTHE members and are they still active in the music scene, as far as you know?
Briana Alexis: “I’m in contact with most. Some are in tribute bands, solo projects, while others started a family.”
How did the press react towards “La Fée Verte” and did you also receive any negative reactions? (which I find hard to believe……)
Briana Alexis: “Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. We wanted to capture a live, raw sound on the EP. It was very well received. In fact during the month of August and September, ABSINTHE ranked highest on Airplay Direct Publication. For their August 2010 issue, ABSINTHE was their Featured Artist, alongside others like ROBERT PLANT for his album “Band Of Joy”. Not bad company, you think! Also, Femme Metal online publication quoted our sound has the likes of GUNS N’ ROSES and powerful riffs of AC/DC… Describing our sound as ‘raw energy loaded with attitude as in our track “Filthy” proves right off the bat. An excellent sounding debut EP’.“
How do you actually deal with negative reviews? Do you try to forget about it as quickly as possible or do you take learning out of this (if it’s useful)?
Briana Alexis: “I actually haven’t heard anything negative in the industry (lol). At least that I know of. But I’m sure there’s always that one negative downers in the bunch.”
Cherokee Fortune: “We t.p. their houses!”
Did you learn anything from any of these bands and if yes, what?
Briana Alexis: “Absolutely! They still got it after all these years. I admire any musician/band out there staying true to their craft. Never too old to rock!”
What’s the biggest gig that you’ve played so far?
Briana Alexis: “Probably the Long Beach Grand Prix held at Long Beach Sports Arena. CHEAP TRICK was the headliner this year. Lots of celebs were there too racing the tracks.”
Do you play any cover songs or do you stick to your own penned material alone?
Briana Alexis: “ABSINTHE is an original rock band, but we’ll throw a cover in there at times. Fans seem to really dig it. We always make it our own though.”
Do you use any show effects or stage props in your show?
Briana Alexis: “Cleavage!”
What can people expect, when they come to see an ABSINTHE live show?
Briana Alexis: “A great live show. Old school rock with no gimmicks. As Music Connection (an L.A. music publication) put it: ‘ABSINTHE is fast and furious, and definitely hard rockin’ to the end’.”
What’s the most difficult song in your set to play live, and why?
Briana Alexis: “For me, it’s when we add a cover to our set. Only because, there’s these expectations with hard core cover fans, that expect every note to be replicated. As an original band, we like to make it our own.”
Are there any memorable shows, that you want to tell us about?
Briana Alexis: “Cherokee has some good stories, ask her.”
Cherokee Fortune: “I plead the fifth.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: “Definitely playing in New York at the Fillmore Theatre with Jason Bittner (SHADOWS FALL), Steve Smith (JOURNEY) and Dave Weckle (CHIC KOREA)!!!”
Are there any interesting gigs in the agenda of the band right now?
Briana Alexis: “We’re writing a lot right now, while gearing up for the winter shows. We have some big stuff coming up, but can’t talk about it yet. You’ll have to stay in touch (smile).”
Are there any funny stories, that you want to share with our readers about life on the road or things that happened, when you were on stage?
Briana Alexis: “When we don’t have a crew, we have to do a lot of our own lifting and setting up. I’ve been shocked and flown across the stage due to shady electrical. Always fun with fishnets, heels!”
Cherokee Fortune: “I fell off the stage once.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: “That’s why the drummer gets to wear chucks!!!!!”
With which band of your choice would you like to go on tour [Note: the sky is the limit here....]
Briana Alexis: “I’d say AEROSMITH or ALICE COOPER.”
Cherokee Fortune: “MOTORHEAD or IRON MAIDEN.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: “Definitely MOTLEY CRUE!!!”
What’s the club scene like in California these days (Does the famous Sunset Strip still exist, by the way?)? And do you have much competition from the so-called ‘tribute’ bands, who are still a very hot issue in Los Angeles?
Briana Alexis: “The Strip is cool and that’s pretty much where ABSINTHE plays the most. It’s nothing however like the old Gazzari’s days. There’s still the landmarks like Roxy, but just not the same vibe. Funny thing is, that it’s same crowd, just a little less hair. Original and tribute bands seem to keep it separate, unless you’re into STEEL PANTHER, which is a huge hit here in Los Angeles.”
Where do you rehearse and how did you find this space?
Briana Alexis: “We have a few places. There are lots of studios in Los Angeles. The band has a lock out now.”
We are a webzine, that is completely dedicated to the female musicians in the (hard) rock and (heavy) metal scene. Do you feel that women still need this attention or do you think that you already get the recognition, that you deserve so much?
Briana Alexis: “I started playing, when there was only a handful of female lead guitar players, that came to mind. You mostly thought of JENNIFER BATTEN and LITA FORD. Now, I’m thrilled to see so much talent out there holding their own. It’s come a long way in the female guitar world. I’m sure the same applies to other instruments as well. The guys like having us out there and I’ve seen a huge support.”
Cherokee Fortune: “I think women in metal always need support, it being traditionally a boys club. There are definitely still those, that need to be reminded that women can rock just as hard as men, if not harder.”
Our ‘zine is based in The Netherlands (or Holland, if you like). What else do you know about our country besides the fact that we have colorful tulips and beautiful windmills?
Briana Alexis: “Ha, The Netherlands is awesome! Between the incredible museums, architecture, food and culture, the music scene seems to have some hardcore loyal fans! I get tons of fan requests and emails from The Netherlands. We would love to play there sometime!”
Cherokee Fortune: “You produce some sick metal!”
What are the future plans of ABSINTHE, short term and long term please?
Briana Alexis: “Keep writing good original music, performing and touring. We would love to hit Europe and Japan sometime.”
Cherokee Fortune: ”World domination.”
How important are all the endorsements, that you secured for the band so far?
Briana Alexis: ”It’s very important as I/we use all the products. I attend gear trade shows regularly and I’m always interested in new sounds. I’m never satisfied. I’m/we’re proud to be endorsed by the following sponsors: Carvin, Seymour Duncan, Gibson, FloydRose, AMT Elec., Dean Markley (strings), FloydUpgrades, N-Tune, TrailerTrash Pedalboards, Rockwood Apparel, PlanetWaves by D’Addario, Mogami Cables and Evans Drumheads.”
Where can people find you on the internet and how important is this for a band like ABSINTHE?
Briana Alexis: ”The social network is an amazing source for bands. I’ve meet and been introduced to so many bands, I would have otherwise never know about. It’s been such a key part of promoting and eco friendly. Below is a few of our links....
Do you update these internet pages yourself or do you have a webmaster for that?
Briana Alexis: ”I’ve learned over the years to be hands on as much as possible. I even answer all emails by fans directly.”
Do you have any hobbies or special interests, besides playing in a heavy metal band?
Briana Alexis: ”I used to flip properties till the market crashed. I’m also a mixed media artist, art curator, and have background in interior design.”
Cherokee Fortune: ”Gater wrestling and becoming a super genius.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: ”I’m taking an audio engineering course and I love hot rods and motorcycles!!”
Did you ever drink absinthe and if yes, how did you like it? Did it really give you the hallucinating feeling it’s supposed to give you?
Briana Alexis: ”Depending on where it’s from, I’d say yes. I have bottles and bottles of it from fans. Guess the perk of naming the band after a substance?”
Cherokee Fortune: ”The last time I drank absinthe, they found me wandering in the desert in a unitard.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: ”Never drank it!!! It’s kind of scared!!! (lol)”
Did you ever witness that fans want more than just a smile, an autograph or a guitar pick after the show? After all, you are all very good looking women! ; 0 )
Briana Alexis: ”Lol…. That’s another interview!”
Cherokee Fortune: ”Why do you think I became a singer?”
Dacey Spinuzzi: ”I’ve been asked some strange things!!!!”
The music scene is dominated with sex, drugs and rock and roll. In which way does this ‘unwritten law’ apply to ABSINTHE?
Briana Alexis: ”I never got caught up in drugs and thank god. I see so many friends, who went that route, and they never ended well. I’ve always been pretty focused. It’s all about the music for me.”
Cherokee Fortune: “Just say no.”
Dacey Spinuzzi: ”Drugs are not for me!!! I know amazing musicians, that fell into that hole and could never get out!”
You presented one of the most comprehensive press kits, we’ve ever received in fifteen years. Is the first impression (which is very professional indeed) the most important one and do you think it's essential to leave a good and professional profile behind as a band? (By the way: my compliments for the way you are handling things!)
Briana Alexis: ”Wow, thanks! Fifteen years.... A professional package is essential. I’ve actually represented talent in the past. A good press kit surely is the key.”
Do you want to add anything to this interview? Maybe we have forgotten something, that is essential for the story of ABSINTHE?
Briana Alexis: ”This is the longest interview ever! And I think, you’ve covered it all. Thanks for taking the time and hope your readers will enjoy!”
Do you have any special messages for our readers?
Briana Alexis: ”Just thanks for tuning in, check out our website for shows, listings, music, videos and more.”
The last words in this interview are for ABSINTHE....
Briana Alexis: ”Help to support your favorite artists and buy music!! Until next time! Rawk \m/ (lip) Smack!”
Visit ABSINTHE at: airplaydirect.com/absinthe
or My Space: www.myspace.com/absinthewomen
Or go to Briana Alexis at: www.brianalexis.com/