Being an all-woman Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band in a world dominated by males has never been easy. But that hasn't stopped PHANTOM BLUE from playing out loud and rocking real hard! The band was formed back in '87 in Redondo Beach, California, USA. After only being together for three months, PHANTOM BLUE signed a recording deal with Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records. Their self-titled debut "Phantom Blue" was released in '89. Co-produced and arranged by Steve Fon-tano and Marty Friedman (MEGADETH), the album was a major success. The band toured for seven weeks through Europe and they also launched their first hitsingle "Why Call It Love". Early '90 the girls signed a deal with Geffen Records. After numerous starts and stops as well as a band line-up change, the second album "Built To Perform" finally was released '94. Produced by Max Norman (OZZY OSBOURNE, LYNCH MOB), it saw Marty Friedman guest once more on "A Little Evil" and included the THIN LIZZY cover "Bad Reputation". A second European tour followed up next and the band was overwhelmed by the great response from the audiences everywhere. Their second hitsingle "Time To Run" and its successor "My Misery" established the immense popularity of the band once more. In 1995 PHANTOM BLUE was dogged by a stroke of bad luck. After leaving Geffen records, the band was forced to cancel their immense US tour (that would allow them to perform in every state of the country), due to an unfortunate jet-skiing accident suffered by guitarist Karen Kreutzer. Then things got quiet around PHANTOM BLUE and the press reported the band had officially split up. But forget all the rumours, speculation, gossip and other bullshit! PHANTOM BLUE is back...with a vengeance!! They have just released their new 14 song CD "Prime Cuts And Glazed Donuts", including a special edition comic book featuring the bands history told by the girls. On top of all this, PHANTOM BLUE kicked off their third European tour on April 18th in Holland. We caught up with the band a few days later in Zaandam.....
How did you get involved into the music business?
Linda: "We just kinda fell into it. Our biggest dream has always been playing music and be in a band. It's something we'd like to do best and we love it"!!
What are your musical influences?
Linda: "I like IRON MAIDEN and PANTERA".
Samantha: "My main influences are OZZY OSBOURNE and I like MINISTRY, NINE INCH NAILS and WHITE ZOMBIE as well"
Josephine: "I like TESTAMENT". (laughs)
Gigi: "My influences were QUEEN, CHEAP TRICK, that's about it. Nowadays I like WHITE ZOMBIE, NINE INCH NAILS, GARBAGE, GOO GOO DOLLS, ELASTICA".
Gigi, you once said you'd never be in an all-girl group. How come you felt this way and what did you change your mind?
Gigi: "Well, I was in the mid-80s, when it was all MÖTLEY CRÜE and stuff like that and women weren't accepted other than as sex-objects. I really had no choice, actually. But when I met up with PHANTOM BLUE, I knew this was the band I was looking for.
What do you think about bands like the early RUNAWAYS and a band like f.e. VIXEN? They all 'used' their female sex and good looks to get people interested in their music.
Gigi: "I don't know. I think it's OK to use that kind of thing, if you have something to back it up with. Otherwise it's very embarrassing and pathetic, as far as I'm concerned".
I get the impression, that the American music press is more tolerant and interested in today's women in (hard)rock than the European people. Is that true?
Gigi: "Well, maybe now, but before it really wasn't the case at all. We had to come to Europe to be noticed and to get some recognition, because they weren't having any of us back in the US. If I see all the bands like GARBAGE and ELASTICA, it tells me they're still doing it in Europe".
How did you meet up with Samantha Jones and Josephine?
Linda: "We actually auditioned Samantha, when we were looking for a replacement for Kim (Nielsen). That's how we met Samantha. We hooked up with her about two years ago. Josephine we got throughout the last tour".
Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
Samantha: "Hi,I'm Samantha and I'm the new bass player. I grew up in Australia and moved to the States about six years ago. Originally, I played classical guitar, but I switched on to bass because I like it better".
Josephine: "I'm Josephine. I'm from Indonesia, Java to be exactly. The place of coffee and tea. I used to play piano for eleven years and somewhere in the middle I switched on to play guitar. I wanted to rock it up! I was just being a rebel, I guess".
There was some talk about the return of former guitarist Nicole Couch in the band. What has happened to her?
Gigi: "We thought about it, but it was just for the tour. Not on permanent basis at all. She got a pneumonia and cancelled".
What's with Karen (Kreutzer)? Did she already recover from her bad leg injury?
Linda: "The doctor advised her not to travel with us at the time. Originally, it was a jet-skiing accident about eight months ago. She broke her leg in four different places. It's a slow process of healing, but if all goes well she will be playing in Rotterdam and also the rest of the tour".
What caused all those rumours about the band having split up?
Gigi: "Kim started those. She'd no idea what was going on with the band. She thought by doing an interview, she could promote herself. That's why, we didn't wanted to talk to her anymore".
You released your third CD "Prime Cuts And Glazed Donuts". Any chance on getting a world-wide distribution deal soon?
Linda: "That would be nice, but at the moment it's only available through our Phantom Productions mail order company and at our live shows".
Tell us about the new CD and which are your fave tracks?
"Strange War" (Linda); "I like everything - every song is good" (Josephine); "Say A Little Prayer" (Gigi); "Hangin' On" (Samantha).
Linda: "All of those songs are (like our version of the attack of the killer bees) type of heroic songs, that were too good to waste them. There are also songs on it, that didn't make it on any of the albums and which were written over the years. F.e. "Mutha" and "Strange Blue Mercy".
Gigi, did you ever consider doing a duet song with any of your
Gigi: "I just want to sing with one person, that's Robin Zander of CHEAP TRICK. I really love him".
What are your future plans with PHANTOM BLUE? I heard you're working on a live CD at the moment?
Linda: "We're taping everything on this tour and it'll probably be part of the live CD. Hopefully it'll be out this summer. We are also writing new material, but it's still in an early stage".
Linda: "To keep going. Getting some recognition and the credit we deserve!"
Thanks to PHANTOM BLUE/Mark Dawson for this great interview! The band will also be playing in Holland & 14 dates in Germany next October ('96)
This interview was published in Metal Maidens #4/June 1996