Writing a 'Back To The Past' story about FEMME FATALE isn't as easy as it seems. They existed very shortly as a band and recorded only one LP. But the second vocalist of this band from Alburquerqe, New Mexico, has been doing so much more after she left this band, that it was nice to write down all these facts, where the average reader of MM will not be familiar with. And I already came up with the first fact that you might not know yet. Read on, if you want to know all about FEMME FATALE. I think you'll be amazed about the versatility of Lorraine Lewis.
That first fact, I was talking about was that Lorraine wasn't the original singer of FEMME FATALE. But more about that later on, because FEMME FATALE wasn't Lorraine first band either. Her musical career started when she was just eleven years old. She took her mothers guitar and taught herself to play this instrument. Those were the first steps on the road to success. Then her two year older brother Rick Rael decided to form a band and asked his sister Lorraine to do the vocals. And so STAINED GLASS was born. Later on, she also played in a band called BABE RUTH together with guitarplayer Mazzi Rawd. There was already a band called FEMME FATALE. They had little success as a local band, playing top 40 hits. Their singer was a girl called Charisse. But Charisse wasn't planning on staying a singer in a local top 40 cover band and she left FEMME FATALE. She didn't quit the music scene, though. Shortly afterwards, she played bass guitar in the all-female trash band HARI KARI.
And so Lorraine got the chance to take over Charisse's place. It was 1986 and she also introduced Rick to the band. While FEMME FATALE already had a little success, they decided not to change the name of the band. As a matter of fact, the name FEMME FATALE wasn't chosen because Lorraine was the front woman of this outfit. Hell no!! It just happened to be the name of this band. Actually, the bands name comes from an album by the VELVET UNDERGROUND. But it suits them really well. Starting out as a top 40 cover band, Lorraine had other plans with the band. Alburquerqe was not the place to start a fast moving career. In '86, the band moved to Los Angeles: a hot place to be when you're in a rock band. There they moved along in the music scene. Each member with his own band. After some time, all these bands disbanded some way or the other and FEMME FATALE, as we know them now, was formed. But being one of the many bands, you'll definately need something more than having a good guitarplayer. And FEMME FATALE had it all with Lorraine. She was sexy and eagerly to show it. And you must admit, when talking about FEMME FATALE, everybody means Lorraine Lewis and the rest of the band. Who was in the band? Well, we already know Lorraine's big brother Rick Rael on bass. Furthermore, the band was completed by Mazzi Rawd and Billy D'Angelo (both on guitar) and Bobby Murray on drums.
They prepared to do some showcases to score a record deal and were successful right from the start. They did seven shows and got signed by MCA. At that time, they had only written twelve songs together. The record label (MCA) only had eyes for Lorraine. Obviously, she was the one who had to bring FEMME FATALE's name in neon light at the concert halls. So they made pictures of Lorraine and printed the words 'Look Out Lita!' on it. Therefore, Lorraine became 'the new LITA FORD' to the people of MCA. Stuck with this image, the band released their one and only album "Femme Fatale". It contains ten rock songs, which are very easy to sing along to. It also shows Lorraine's main influences. She had always been a fan of AEROSMITH, BAD COMPANY, AC/DC and JANIS JOPLIN, as far as the music concerns. On stage, Lorraine wanted to be the female version of the former VAN HALEN frontman David Lee Roth. She was trying (and I quote from her bio here!) to become the #1 Metal Maiden from the late eighties. With this statement she already knew, that one day she'd be covered in one of our issues. "Waiting For The Big One" was chosen to be the bands first single release. In the U.K. it came out as a limited 12" with a fold out poster of Lorraine. The producer of the "Femme Fatale" album, Jim Faraci, already did a nice job on the selftitled L.A. GUNS album. It got some good critics, because the music was really hot at that time. The next single was called "Falling In And Out Of Love". It was backed with an AC/DC cover, which didn't appear on the album. ("It's A Long Way To The Top") As you can see, the U.K. obviously had the hots for Lorraine. Oops- I'm sorry, I mean FEMME FATALE of course. The best next move was to get the band over to play live.
The Marquee club was hired and there they were. The press was excited about it all. Not only Lorraine was good looking, no she brought along a band of some very nice looking young lads, who actually could play, too. FEMME FATALE was a real tight band on stage, sweating their asses of. Of course they'd already played a lot of gigs in America (u.w. opening for CHEAP TRICK), but England was something else. The kids went totally crazy for FEMME FATALE and the band gave them the full hundred procent (and maybe even more). They also released a third single in England, called "Rebel", which is to my opinion the best song from the album. After that, the expectations were high. The band was asked to play on the famous Castle Donington festival next to VIXEN and WHITESNAKE. Sadly, the whole event was being cancelled, because a year before two people were killed during this event. This happened during a gig of GUNS 'N ROSES. So the idea was put aside. The band decided to make a second album instead. But before that, they remixed the song "Touch And Go" from their debut album to release it as a fourth single. Unfortunately, they never released it though, until Kerrang! (England's leading metal mag these days) released it as a 'free' flexi disc with their magazine. But what about their second album? Although a lot of songs were written already (A few titles they were talking about are "The Sky Is Alive" and "Passion Play"), the album was never released.
Lorraine got sick and tired of all the waiting and she disbanded FEMME FATALE. Ready to pursue a solo career. It's 1990 then, four years later and the story, which began so pretty, was ended abruptly. But like I wrote already, Lorraine didn't sit still. As a solo artist, she appears on the soundtrack for the movie "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead" with a song called "Chains". She's on the album next to unknown names of which ALIAS and VALENTINE are the most well known. She teams up with Mike Clink, who was about to produce her first solo album. At the time, Mike was very busy doing the new GUNS 'N ROSES album. When they were finally ready to go into the studio in 1991, the plans were changed and the solo album never got released. It was only two years after the break up with FEMME FATALE, when we see Lorraine back in a band again. It was '92, when she formed an outfit called MERCY together with Erik Levy, the ex-bass player of BLACKEYED SUSAN. The band (???) only consisted of these two persons. But there had been happening more in the meantime. Lorraine became a born-again Christian. And so MERCY became a Christian Metal band. In '93 Erik and Lorraine got married. The day after their marriage, they went to California to record their debut album with this band. The album was released in May 1993 and it contains twelve Christian rock songs. At the end of '93, the band decides to change their name into SUBMISSION BLUE. The band however was nothing more than a continuation of MERCY, but with a few musicians added to the line up. Also, Lorraine seemed to be involved with VIXEN drummer Roxy Petrucci and POISON DOLLYS member Gina Stiles. Something that had to become an all-female outfit. But unfortunately, it never really came that far.
Lorraine divorced from Erik and we know that she runned a gym studio for a while. She always had a good figure and she was a person who trained her body a lot. The latest news is that she was running a flower shop in Seattle and she fronted a new band called LOVE LOELL. Things can go fast. One day you're on the cover of every rock magazine and the other day you're selling flowers and nobody knows your name anymore. Accept for those, who know Lorraine Lewis was more than just a pretty face. OK, we came to the end of a short, but flashing career. Checking out the Internet for Lorraine Lewis, brings us to the most recent band she was found in. See the picture in this article. Lorraine is still alive and well, fronting a new band called GLAMOUR BOMB. We don't know yet how it all sounds, but it's again another part of the career of this sexy frontwoman that we can follow from now on. FEMME FATALE didn't break any selling records, but they remain a band that you can't pass by that easy. With Lorraine Lewis as frontlady, they became an essential part of the rock history. It would be a shame, if this part should stay unwritten. I'm glad we can print the whole story in black and white, so that everybody will take notice of the once so successful FEMME FATALE.
written by: Toine van Poorten/copyright Metal Maidens 1999)
Discography FEMME FATALE:
FEMME FATALE ('88 MCA)
WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE ('88)
FALLING IN AND OUT OF LOVE b/w IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP & FORTUNE AND FAME
TOUCH AND GO (Kerrang flexi disc!)
Discography LORRAINE LEWIS:
DON'T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER'S DEAD soundtrack ("Chains")
MERCY ('92; indie)