When LORI LINSTRUTH sent us her new demo, we immediately grabbed the chance to have a talk with this highly-skilled and very talented lady. Not only does this CD capture some of the greatest guitar licks, but Lori has got a lot to tell about her days with the all-female melodic metal band WARBRIDE (who recently reformed, so talk about ‘good timing’ here!), her ‘almost’ collaboration with Pia & Sabrina of the other Swedish all-female outfit ICE AGE [see interview on page 5-8] and ofcourse her recent solo endeavours. So grab a seat and don’t miss our interesting interview with Lori Linstruth (guitar) and Susie Shubert (vocals) of the early WARBRIDE line-up. I bet, you won’t read this anywhere else!!!
When excactly did you start your musical career?
Susie: “It’s the old story…. I got a taste of applause singing in the ninth grade and it was all downhill from there. After studying jazz vocal for one year at the University of Miami in Florida, I decided what I really wanted to be was a rock star. (how original!) I played in various top 40 bands there and in Minneapolis, I also have been doing some recording projects. From there I moved to Los Angeles, where I met Lori and the gang. I answered an ad, that WARBRIDE had placed in a local rag. They were my first band in L.A.”
Lori: “I started playing electric guitar as a teenager, after hearing MICHAEL SCHENKER’s brilliant “Into The Arena”. But things didn’t really take off, until I moved to LA in the late 80s to start WARBRIDE.”
In which bands did you play before WARBRIDE? You also played in JADED LADY, right? Was that before or after WARBRIDE?
Lori: “I was only very briefly in JADED LADY. In fact, I think we only rehearsed a couple of times. It was obvious to me, that I would not fit in with the original JADED LADY members’ musical vision, so I thought it was best to part company right away instead of wasting everyone’s time with something that wasn’t going to work out in the long run.”
How did WARBRIDE actually get together, and who was in the first line-up of the band?
Lori: “I placed an ad in the Recycler and it was answered by Velia Garay, who became the first (and only) WARBRIDE keyboard player. She and I worked together in the usual way to find other members for the band -- more Recycler and Music Connection ads, asking everyone we knew, putting up flyers at rehearsal studios, etc. The first line up was myself, Velia, Janna James (bass), Raeanna de Huff (vocals) and Sandy Sledge (drums).”
Who came up with the band name and why that particular name?
Lori: “I got the idea from my grandma, of all people! She was telling me a story about one of her old friends, and mentioned that she had been a ‘warbride’. It hit me right away: What a great name for a band! I thought the name was very evocative and suggested a lot of cool imagery.”
Was the band meant to become an all-female band, or did this just happen along the way?
Lori: “It was always my intention to put together an all-female band. Unfortunately, it proved very difficult to realize that intention, but I am nothing if not stubborn.”
Who set out the musical direction of the band?
Lori: “I think that, for better or worse, I have to take credit for the band’s musical direction. I will add that Velia and I ‘always’ were on the same page about what was cool or not cool with respect to musical direction and image for the band.”
Where there many captains on the ship, or was it obvious who did what in the band?
Lori: “Overall, it was pretty much Velia and I who were ‘in charge’ of the day-to-day running of band business. When Sandy Sledge was in the band, she was also very helpful and had lots of good suggestions. The others contributed as well, in different ways, but because Velia and I were the only stable members of the band, it was only natural that most of the ‘captaining’ was left to us.”
Who can we see as the musical influences of the band?
Lori: “Velia and I both were influenced by European bands such as UFO, SCORPIONS (ULI JON ROTH era), RAINBOW (with DIO), and RISING FORCE. Those are the bands, that had the most impact on our own music.”
You also sent a demo tape with your own material to Mike Varney, the guitar guru. What did he think of it?
Lori: “He thought enough about it to feature me in his ‘Spotlight’ column, but I never really spoke to him about it. That reminds me that I should send him a copy of my new demo, for old time’s sake!”
You moved from Santa Barbara to L.A. in the early days. Couldn’t you find any suitable band members there?
Lori: “No, there was nothing going on in Santa Barbara. I had some really nice friends there, but that’s about it. L.A. was definitely the place to be for establishing musical contacts.”
In L.A., the band began to record demos. Can you recall the first song, that you wrote together as a band?
Lori: “Oh yes, that would’ve been the ballad “Without You”. That one came together first. I still remember the first time Velia and I played through it together. It gave me total goosebumps!”
Did any of the band members have any musical experiences? I believe, that drummer Sandy Sledge played in RUDE GIRL, with former CHASTAIN singer Leather Leone. But what about the others?
Susie: “WARBRIDE was actually my first ‘original’ band. I don’t think I quite realized at the time just how lucky I was to land that as my first gig in L.A.!”
Lori: “Some of our members had been in other bands before, but as far as I know it was only Sandy Sledge whose band had had any real measure of success (with RUDE GIRL). But every member brought at least some experience to the band.”
What about the many line-up changes in the early years? Can you tell us about it?
Susie: “My line-up was Lori, Velia Garay on keys, Janna James to be replaced by Joyce Coradetti on bass, and Michelle Lee on drums.”
Lori: “Line-up changes were always the bane of WARBRIDE’s existence. You would not believe how difficult it is to keep an all-female band together without things getting tense. Sandy Sledge should be mentioned. She contributed a lot to the band in its early days. Janna James (bass) was with us for a long time. She went on to play with Ron Keel in FAIR GAME, featuring him and female musicians. Raeanna de Huff was our first vocalist, and was in the band for the first year or so. She contributed quite a lot in the beginning as well.”
You recorded some demos and played a lot of live shows. With whom did you share the stage?
Lori: “I remember that we played many shows with WWIII and a band called D-DAY. I think at one point we opened for MANOWAR. I do remember one ‘all-girl night’ at a club called Exposeur 54 in Hollywood, where we shared the bill with other all-female bands such as PHANTOM BLUE and HARDLY DANGEROUS.”
Did you also play any covers during your live shows, or stick to your own-penned material?
Lori: “The only cover we ever played was UFO’s “Lights Out”. One of my great weaknesses is, that I never learn other people’s songs, which means that I totally suck at jam nights (probably why I never do jam nights!). Oh, and I couldn’t play blues to save my life; yet another reason to avoid jam nights.”
Are there any special gigs that you have fond memories about?
Susie: “We had a show at Exposeur 54 with a whole line up of other female bands. It was really a fun night and I just remember the energy in that place was amazing. It’s funny how that particular one is the show, that stands out for me. I had lost my voice and in that sense it was really horrible! It’s the only show that I have a video of, and boy, do I sound like shit! Hopefully I am the only one with a video of that show.”
Lori: “I think my fondest memories are the Spinal Tap variety! One show at the Roxy is particularly memorable, because there was so much smoke during the intro that we literally couldn’t find our places on stage. Velia couldn’t find her keyboards, we couldn’t see the drummer, it was really funny. When we finally had found our places, the first song was really messed up, because it had all these ‘breaks’ and we still couldn’t really see the drummer. But when the smoke cleared, things went really well.”
You must’ve experienced a lot of funny situations on the road while touring. I hope, that you want to share some of these moments with us?
Susie: ”Ah yes, the tour to Fresno, CA. I have some great polaroids of Lori and I doing our best KING DIAMOND imitations at the music store for our ‘autograph signing’. A true Spinal Tap moment. We always had a lot of fun together.”
Lori: “Unfortunately, it was so long ago that the memories have dimmed quite a bit. I remember driving really fast to get to the venue the first night, because we’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up really off track. I mean, over a hundred miles off track! But Suz is right, we did have a lot of fun, lots of laughs. I would add that everyone treated us really well, too.”
Did you record any WARBRIDE shows? I can’t remember seeing them pop up in any tape traders list?
Lori: “No, we never made any formal live recordings. And we really weren’t good about promoting our demo in the ‘zines, which probably explains why there aren’t more copies of that floating around. Heck, even I don’t have a good copy of it.”
Weren’t you afraid a lot of people simply came to see the band, because it consisted of some good looking ladies, and they weren’t really interested at all in what kind of music you were playing?
Susie: “Well of course they did, we were hot! No, actually I never thought about that myself. I guess I always knew that if anyone heard our music they wouldn’t be thinking that way anymore. I mean, you should have seen those guy’s faces, when they watched Lori play guitar. Their jaws were certainly on the floor. You just have to have respect for that kind of talent, tits or no tits!”
Lori: “Hey, if someone is/was interested in us for any reason, it’s all good! The only time I ever felt uncomfortable was, when I met a famous metal guitarist after one of our shows. The guy carried on our whole conversation with my chest. I don’t think we actually made eye contact once. That was kind of a disappointment.”
At one point your singer left the band and you released one final ‘one-song’ demo. For which song was that?
Lori: “That was a girl named Randy Robbins. The name of the song was “Rulers Of The Night”. Unfortunately, I have no idea what became of her or what she has done since then, but I wish her all the best.”
What caused the breaking up of WARBRIDE? Was there no chance of working things out?
Lori: “WARBRIDE did try to go on for a while after I left the band and moved to Sweden, but I don’t really know the details of that constellation of the band. I can say that at the point I left, I think that things had deteriorated so much there really was no hope of working things out with respect to myself and the other members. You can only do so much. Perhaps if we’d had good management and had been able to nip things in the bud before they got too bad, things would have been different. But we were all very young, inexperienced and immature, so it’s actually a wonder that we kept it together for as long as we did.”
For over a decade, WARBRIDE was history. Did you ever play some kind of a ‘goodbye-gig’?
Lori: “No, we never did anything like that. I left the band under very unpleasant circumstances, so there was no question of any goodbye gigs.”
Didn’t you miss all the good times with the band and playing live gigs after a while?
Lori: “Yes, of course I missed the good times we had, once some time had passed and I was able to put things into perspective.”
Velia T. Garay however, started another band with the same name. What was your reaction to this?
Lori: “I didn’t know at first, because I was living in Sweden at the time and completely out of touch with everything going on back in LA. When I did eventually find out, I remember feeling upset and a bit angry that she would go on to use the name without my permission, but I sure didn’t care enough about it to do anything about it. By that time, I had completely given up music and really didn’t have the energy to care anymore. And a part of me was actually thinking: “Go Velia!” after all of the time and energy she had devoted to the band. But honestly, the thing that was most upsetting was realizing that there was this huge chasm between me and someone who had been one of my best friends ever, that we couldn’t even talk to each other. I’m glad that we got that sorted out!”
Did you ever see or hear any material from this WARBRIDE, part II?
Lori: “I have a demo of (I think) four songs, and a rehearsal tape. I quite like it, even though Velia has told me that the demo I have is not their strongest recording.”
We were told, that some band members tried to persuade you to rejoin the band. Did they really get in touch with you, as we got this version from Suzanne Hearts Morovic, who was the singer of this WARBRIDE PART II line up?
Lori: “No, when I left the band they were all happy to see me go, I am quite sure of that. And as far as I know, the Suzanne version of the band didn’t come together, until I’d already been in Sweden for several months. I was never contacted about any type of reunion, that is for certain.”
What are your best memories about the early WARBRIDE days, and maybe you can also reveal your worst memories?
Lori: “The best memories are related to the good shows we had in the beginning. Seeing everything come together and getting a great response from the audience. That was very rewarding. I also really enjoyed the process of songwriting, and hearing the songs come together in the rehearsal studio. Recording our first demo was also a real high point for me. I’ve always really enjoyed recording. All of this may sound a bit mundane, but I was in this for the sake of making music, not to party or socialize or live the ‘rockstar’ lifestyle, whatever that may be. The worst memories for me would probably be breaking strings on stage and not having a spare guitar. On a personal level, the lowest point was definitely the conflicts within the band and seeing the bad feeling develop, and feeling like it was all slipping between my fingers. There was nothing I could do about it. If you don’t have that good feeling of fellowship in a band, then it’s just not a lot of fun.”
What did you do in this decade without WARBRIDE?
Susie: “After I left WARBRIDE, I formed a band, called THE CHARM SCHOOL DROPOUTS with three other guys. We played around L.A. for a couple of years, and then I got fed-up with the whole scene and moved here to Minneapolis. I basically quit doing anything with music, up until the time when I got in touch with Lori again.”
Lori: “The first couple of years I spent just getting used to Sweden, learning Swedish, etc. Then I spent a couple of years abroad, travelling with the guy I was involved with at the time. Since then I’ve worked part time, while putting myself through University.”
Never thought about joining another (all-female) band?
Lori: “Only ICE AGE, but that was after I left WARBRIDE.”
Can you tell us more about that?
Lori: “Here’s the deal. Right before I left WARBRIDE, someone had given me an ICE AGE demo. I thought it was awesome! The coolest female band I’d ever heard. And I would say the same thing, if I heard them for the first time today. ICE AGE rules, and Pia and Sabrina are extremely talented. I contacted Pia before I left the States, and told her that I’d be very interested in jamming if they ever needed a guitar player. It turned out, they had disbanded already, but Pia and Sabrina were already thinking about reforming under a different name, and they thought it would be cool to have me on board. To cut a long story short, I moved to Gothenburg about six months after coming to Sweden, and lived in Sabrina’s kitchen (!), until I could find my own apartment. The working name of the band was IDIOTS RULE. We rehearsed a couple of times in the beginning, and then our rehearsal studio was broken into. All of our equipment was stolen, which totally put a damper on everyone’s enthusiasm. Eventually, we got new equipment, and rehearsed enough times to be able to record a few songs for a demo. For whatever reason, however, things just didn’t take off for us as a band. I’m not really sure why, but I think it has to do with everyone’s frame of mind at the time. I was still quite disillusioned by the WARBRIDE fiasco, and Pia and Sabrina were carrying a lot of baggage with them from the ICE AGE days. So after about a year, the project just quietly disbanded, and I returned to southern Sweden. It was then that I gave up music altogether, and went on to focus on other things. I am happy to say that I’m still on good terms with Pia and Sabrina and Anders. They are wonderful people. Anders is active in various projects, and I have heard that Pia and Sabrina are currently working on re-mastering the ICE AGE recordings. I encourage you to write to them and bug them about it, and let them know how much we all want to hear those recordings again!”
How are the reactions of the press towards your first (solo) demo CD?
Lori: ”They’ve been overwhelmingly positive so far. The only points of criticism that I’ve heard have been related to the technical aspects of the recording. That is my main reason for calling it a demo, as opposed to releasing it as an EP. I do not have the funds available to get it professionally mastered and pressed, and it was my first foray into recording and production with myself at the helm. There is sure a lot to learn!”
How do you deal with negative criticism in general?
Lori: “To be honest, I am my own worst critic: nobody could possibly be as harsh or mean as I am. It’s a wonder I ever get anything ‘out the door’. When it comes to how I respond to criticism in general, the weight I give a critique is directly proportional to the respect I have for the critic. Some people criticize just to make themselves feel better, or to make themselves feel important. This is typical of the type of criticism written by anonymous losers in internet forums (I’m quite sure that they are losers, otherwise they’d be busy making music instead of posting twenty posts a day on some stupid forum). Others criticize in a helpful way, pointing out things you might not hear yourself so that you may learn from them and grow as a musician/producer. That is what I attempt to do when I am asked to comment on the work of others. And that is the type of criticism I tend to take to heart myself.”
Why did you pick “The Dream Sequencer” (AYREON cover) to be on your five track demo?
Lori: “I am a huge fan of AYREON and all of Arjen’s many projects. I’m even a proud member of the Yahoo fan mailing list for the group. Someone on the Yahoo list suggested doing a ‘tribute’ album for Arjen, and I picked “The Dream Sequencer” as my contribution. I guess I chose it, because I love the chords and thought that I could play something nice over them. Plus the basic structure of the song is quite simple, so it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to create a backing track for it. When I was finished with the song, I thought it was the best representation of my playing that I had ever recorded - the most ‘me’ of anything I’d ever done. This is despite the fact, it’s not actually my own song! So I asked Arjen for permission to include it on my demo, and he and his management kindly gave me permission. Thanks Arjen and Yvette!”
What was Arjen’s reaction like afterwards?
Lori: “He sent me a really nice mail about it. He really liked it! It was such a relief to me, because I was really worried about what he would think. I totally look up to Arjen, and was worried that he might think I’d butchered his song!”
Aren’t you guesting on “The Final Experiment” - the reissue CD of AYREON - as well?
Lori: “Yes, he did ask me to do a couple of guest solos on the bonus disc for “The Final Experiment”, which was released this winter. It was lots of fun to do, and a great honor to be asked. It’s my great pleasure to tell you, that Arjen’s latest band project, called STREAM OF PASSION, features the lovely and talented Marcela Bovio (from ELFONÍA) on vocals, Alejandro Millán (ELFONÍA) on piano, Davy Mickers on drums, Johan van Stratum (FORCEFEED) on bass, the mighty Arjen on guitar, and myself on lead guitar. We have been recording all winter, and recently met up at the Ayreon headquarters in The Netherlands to film a video and do the official photo shoot. It was an incredible experience! We came together through the magic of the internet, and it was the first time that we all actually met each other in real life, since the band’s inception. Talk about a surreal experience! I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be part of STREAM OF PASSION, and how impressed I am at the performances of all of the musicians involved. They all totally rock, and are all just the nicest people to work with. The music is a collaboration between Arjen and Marcela: it’s symphonic, melodic and dynamic with lots of contrasts. Working with Arjen is the best: he’s the nicest guy ever, and the people he chooses to work with (the S.O.P members, the management, video crew, make-up artist, etc.) are all really nice as well. Check this out: for the video shoot, Arjen made sure that my Marshall stacks were the bigger than his! How’s that for generosity? And he gets all of my Spinal Tap references, which I’m sorry to say, I can’t resist throwing in whenever I get the chance.”
What do you like so much about Arjen’s music?
Lori: “Oh, what’s not to like? I think my favourite so far is the STAR ONE project, followed up by the latest AYREON release, “The Human Equation.” I think the main appeal of his music is the drama, dynamics and strong melodies. And Arjen’s guitar solos are always melodic and fit the songs, which is something I totally appreciate. He writes the kind of music that I wish I could write myself; I can’t think of a better compliment than that. One last thing that I will mention here is, that when I found out about the way Arjen works on his projects, it totally inspired me to get started recording on my own. He made me realize how much you could accomplish with the help of today’s digital technology. You can work together with musicians from all over the world, but do all the producing and mixing from your own local home studio. Of course, I work in a much more humble studio myself, and on a much smaller scale overall, but I have to thank Arjen for the inspiration.”
But there’s more… You also decided to reform WARBRIDE!
Lori: “Yes indeed! And so far, I’m really happy with the way things are working out.”
How did you get in touch with everybody, because I believe we’re talking about a reunion of the early band line-up?
Susie: “It really is an amazing story from my end. I was reminiscing one day and decided to Google WARBRIDE on the internet, to see if there was anything written about us from the old days. Lo and behold, there was www.warbride.net! I was totally surprised to see it, and then to find out it was Lori’s page! I had noticed, that she mentioned putting a new WARBRIDE together, but honestly that was not even on my mind when I contacted her. I just wanted to say ‘hi’, see what she was up to and hope after the past band disaster, that she didn’t hate me. I didn’t think I had any desire to strike up anything musical again. But before I knew it, we were fast friends again and she had talked me into singing! How could I pass up the chance to make music with the master again?”
Lori: “I’ve not got much to add here. It’s just like Susie tells it above. All that I will add is, that it is really a treat for me to be working together again, and that I’m quite confident that she’s really going to impress both old and new WARBRIDE fans alike. I’m really glad that she mailed me and really pleased with her contributions to the project so far. I will confess, that in the back of my mind, I was hoping that Susie, Velia and Sandy would find their way to the WARBRIDE website and get in touch!”
Who’s exactly in the new line up?
Susie: “Originally we had a couple of ‘old’ WARBRIDE members along with us, keyboardplayer Velia Garay and drummer Sandy Sledge, but because of other commitments on their part or technical aspects of the recording process, we are choosing to do, it’s not working out with them at this time. Right now, Lori and I are what we shamelessly call “The Dynamic Duo”, but that doesn’t mean that down the line we won’t hook up with original members again or maybe even some new ones?”
Lori: “Susie has pretty well covered it up there! Velia and Sandy are, unfortunately, busy with other things (like earning a living), and not able to commit the time that WARBRIDE requires. Susie and I are quite fortunate in that our schedules are flexible enough to allow us to manage our ‘real life’ obligations, as well as have time and energy left over for WARBRIDE.”
What can we expect from the music of the band, will it change a lot comparing to the old WARBRIDE demo material? And if yes, in which way will it be different?
Susie: “I didn’t record that demo, so of course that will be a big change. But I think the main thing is that now it is more of a collaboration, so I’m sure that will change it a bit. Before when I was in the band, I basically just learned the songs that were already written, and that’s as far as I got. So it’s really fun to be working on the songs together. Lori is also very determined not to use rhymes like “fire” an “desire” this time around, as well. Ha!”
Lori: “Things are still coming together at this point, so it’s a bit hard to say. All I can say is that drama, dynamics and strong melodies are the most important things to me, so I will be striving to make the songs as dramatic and melodically strong as possible. And Susie is spot on to point out that it is a far more collaborative effort this time around than it was in the past, which I see as a really positive thing.”
Any plans for a CD release, and do you already have a record company that is interesting in releasing the new stuff?
Susie: “At this point we would still like to keep our self-imposed deadline of the end of the summer to have a CD’s worth of music recorded. As to how we are going to distribute it, that’s still up in the air at this point.”
Lori: “It would be nice to find the funds to get the CD professionally mastered and pressed, and to find someone to help us with the distribution. But at this point, we are still focusing on the songs. We’ll worry about the business details later. With no songs and no product, any discussion of business details really becomes moot.”
What about touring with WARBRIDE?
Susie: “Well, unless one of us moves to either the U.S. or Europe, that’s probably not going to happen. But one thing I’ve learned in my life is to never say never. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.”
Lori: “At this point it is not at all realistic to say that WARBRIDE would ever be able to tour, but as Susie says “stranger things have happened!” WARBRIDE for me is about the fun of making music and collaborating to create something really cool with my best friend! A record deal and tour would just be gravy.”
Wherefrom will you be operating?
Susie: “It’s all done strictly over the internet, without us being together at all! Kind of sad really, as it would be much more fun to be doing this together. We’re still trying to work something out, so we can at least get together and do a photo shoot!”
Lori: “As Susie says, so far we are doing everything via the internet. Gotta love that modern technology! I do have plans to fly over to visit Susie for photos and to just hang out! But I think we’ll be able to swing all of the recording sessions from our own respective home studios.”
Can you tell a bit more about how you’re writing songs together?
Susie: “It’s great fun! Thanks to yahoo chat, a desktop telephone program, called Skype where we can talk for free, and a little audio recording program I have on my desktop, not only can we work on our own, but we can shoot ideas back and forth via the internet. Most of the time, Lori will have a backing idea - either part of a song, or the complete thing - often with a melody idea. She’ll send it on to me and I’ll work on the melody and lyrics. We really work well together, going back and forth with ideas. Sometimes I’ll have a backing idea and I’ll send it on to her. Sometimes I’ll get stuck on a lyric idea, call her up, and we’ll brainstorm until it sounds right. It’s especially fun now, because this is something we never got to the first time around. When I joined WARBRIDE, they were already established. Therefore had songs, that I needed to learn and that people wanted to hear, so that’s what I did. Things fell apart before we got any further.”
Lori: “Yes, it’s been really rewarding! I will just add that my normal way of writing is to do the backing first, then do the melody, then worry about the lyrics. If the chords are good, then the melody usually writes itself. Collaborating with Susie has encouraged me to try different ways of working, because sometimes I will need to start from her lyrics first, or perhaps a “nah nah nah” melody, that she will have come up with. The only drawback about the way we work is that we really can’t brainstorm and jam together in real-time. I think, it’s great, that we feel comfortable enough with each other to play our half-baked ideas for each other, and not worry about getting laughed at. You would die, if you heard the silly midi backings that I send Susie to preview. They are totally silly, but enough for her to get a feel for the potential of the song. And let’s not forget my “tooty oboe” melody lines. Those are hilarious, but it’s much better than me singing the guide vocals. Believe me. If it comes to that, I have to go do it all alone out in the forest with my dictaphone, so nobody but the deer will be able to hear me. Susie has sworn a blood oath to never let anyone hear my atrocious guide vocals.”
What will we hear on the first album of WARBRIDE? Is it all new penned material or will you re-record some old tunes as well?
Susie: “I think there will be a couple of old WARBRIDE songs on there, but they won’t be sounding exactly like they used to. We’ve updated them a bit, added things, changed some lyrics. But I do think the changes are for the better.”
Lori: “I would only add that the old songs are being included because of requests we have had from people who have been following WARBRIDE since the beginning. Can’t let them down after sticking with us all this time!”
Who will write the lyrics for WARBRIDE and what are they about?
Susie: “I write most of the lyrics for the new songs, but as I said above, there is a lot of collaboration with that. With a few songs, Lori had a title or an idea of what the song was about to her. Then I just sort of took it and ran with it. When something is just a ‘raw’ idea, I like to listen to the backing a few times to get the mood of the song, and that gives me an idea of what it will be about. We are not about the major key, so the songs tend to be more on the dark side! Lamenting about the horrid ways of our world today, trying to talk sense into thick people, lost or toxic love. You know, the cheery stuff. But it’s also fun to write about kicking some ass.”
Lori: “I am very happy to leave the lyrics up to Susie, but I sure have a lot to say about what she comes up with. My main concern when it comes to lyrics is that they fit the rhythm and meter of the melody. Content-wise, I don’t care about any deep meaning or message, as long as the lyrics “sound cool” and “feel good to sing.” And yes, it’s all totally subjective. I think Susie is much more concerned with the meaning and message of the lyrics than I am, which is a good thing! For me, it is crucial that the stress/rhythm patterns in the lyrics fit with the stress/rhythm patterns of the melody. So I persist in giving Susie a terrible time about the lyrics until we get that aspect sorted out. She is a total angel for putting up with my incessant nit-picking. Personally, I am willing to go through hellish torture with every song, endless revisions and nit-picking, until I am absolutely sure that we can’t make it any better. In fact, I probably enjoy the process itself as much as the final product.”
What do you expect from the reactions on the new material?
Susie: “Well, you know what they say. To assume is to make an ass out of you and me. I don’t really have any expectations of what other people will think. I really like what we’re doing, so that’s all that matters. Of course I hope others do, too.”
Lori: “That’s difficult to say. Of course, I will be very pleased, if the reactions are positive, but my main reason for doing this is to have fun with my dear friend and enjoy the creative process. I hooked up with Susie after my decision to make a new WARBRIDE recording, but the opportunity to do this together with Susie and re-kindle our friendship is an added bonus, that I never would have expected! I’d be a liar, if I didn’t say that at this point, that is the most important thing for me when it comes to WARBRIDE. Far more important than what other people have to say about what we accomplish.”
Lori, what’s more important to you now? Your solo career seems to be up in the lift, especially after the interest of Arjen Lucassen in your musical abilities, and the career of WARBRIDE sounds really interesting as well?
Lori: “I have to prioritize STREAM OF PASSION at this point, and have agreed to do so. I’m not at liberty to discuss the business-related plans for that band, but it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that if things really take off for STREAM OF PASSION, it will mean a full-time investment of my time and energy. However, I am hopeful that there will be plenty of time to get the WARBRIDE CD released before having to worry about potential conflicts between these two projects. The ideal situation is of course to be able to have the financial independence to be able to devote all my time to music. Then I could reasonably be active with both projects at the same time, without having to feel like either of them were being put on hold.”
Any other musical projects lined up for the near future?
Lori: “Nope. I’ve been asked to do guest solos on two more projects, but those are one-off things. The only thing I’d like to figure out is, how I can get some more practice time in. As it is now, I hardly ever have time to really practice.”
Do you have any interests or hobbies besides playing music?
Susie: “Tae Kwon Do, reading, a good movie, and anything of Tolkien.”
Lori: “Like Susie, I love to read, but I mainly read non-fiction: psychology, social psychology, and books related to English grammar, style, usage and linguistics. I also love Tolkien. I read the trilogy at least once each year, and have done since I was a little girl. Another thing I love is long-distance, self-contained bicycle touring. Just me and my bike, camping gear and the open road - total freedom! If I weren’t involved in musical projects, I’d definitely be planning my next major bicycle tour.”
Which instruments do you play, next to the guitar, and what’s your fave instrument?
Lori: “I can play simple keyboards, and (really crappy) bass guitar. That’s about it! I do enjoy experimenting with keyboard sounds, but guitar is the only thing that I truly enjoy playing. Susie neglected to mention, that she is one heck of a chord strummer!”
What’s your favorite WARBRIDE song (old and new) and why?
Susie: “That’s such a hard question. I guess, if I was forced to pick one, as of now I’d say “Weight Of The World”. It has a very haunting melody, that sticks with you. It’s very dramatic. Definitely goosebump material, and that’s how we rate our songs. I am really happy with the lyrics of this song, too, and it feels good to get out just how frustrated I am with the state of our world these days.”
Lori: “Tough question. As for early WARBRIDE songs, our ballad “Without You” is probably my favourite. But not any recorded version. The version, I hear in my head has never been recorded. For the new ones, definitely “Weight Of The World”. Susie did a killer job on the melody for that one, and I think it will be a great showcase for her abilities as a vocalist.”
And what are your five best metal albums ever?
Susie: “I am really picky about music and what I like, and I have a very diverse selection of music. I often will love a song or two, but maybe not the whole album. I love METALLICA. Lori has turned me onto NIGHTWISH. They are fun. And let’s not forget “The Book Of Heavy Metal” by DREAM EVIL. Lori and I used to be huge KING DIAMOND fans. We saw him perform “Them” in concert back in the day. That was great fun! Then again I love THE RAMONES, and have been known to listen to a NELLY song or two.”
Lori: “Oh, tough question again! I can’t comment on ‘best’, but I can perhaps say something about the ones that have been most influential for me. I probably listen to more hard rock than metal, so with that in mind: “Rainbow Rising” (RAINBOW); “Star One” (STAR ONE - Arjen Lucassen); “Tokyo Tapes” (SCORPIONS); “Strangers In The Night” (UFO); “Marching Out” (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN).”
With whom would you like to go on tour, if you had the chance? Name any band you like old or new?
Susie: “I guess, I’d have to say MARILYN MANSON, out of pure fascination of the guy. What a fun tour that would be!”
Lori: “Oh man, I think it would be great to tour with just about anyone with a good draw, as long as the band and crew were nice people. It would be important that their crowd would be likely to be open to our music, as well. I agree with Susie: given the right support and circumstances, a tour would be lots of fun!”
What do you think of the metal scene of today, and do you think there’s still room for the reunion of WARBRIDE?
Susie: “I have to say I have been somewhat of a musical hermit, so I’m not very up on the current metal scene. But I think our music is timeless. It’s sophisticated and melodic. Of course no music or band appeals to everyone, but I think WARBRIDE is quality stuff.”
Lori: “I don’t really follow the metal scene these days, unfortunately. I don’t own a TV, and I never listen to the radio, so for new music I’m really dependent on what my friends tell me about, or what I discover serendipitously while surfing the net. I am happy to see that bands such as WITHIN TEMPTATION and NIGHTWISH, who feature ‘classy’ female vocalists and emphasize melodies, are doing well at the moment. As far as 'room for WARBRIDE', I think that there is at least a small niche for just about every band, including us.”
What are your future plans?
Susie: “I’d like to just keep on doing what we’re doing: writing music and recording. You can never have too many songs! It would be good to inundate the world with WARBRIDE songs.”
Lori: “I’m with Susie here. I’d like to continue doing what we’re doing with WARBRIDE. I hope this will be the first of many CDs. In the future, I’d also like to get more into songwriting. I mean, writing songs for others. That’s something that we could do into even as little old ladies in our eighties or nineties! Women in rock have a short expiration date, but there is always a need for good songs.”
How essential is the internet for you and WARBRIDE and where can we find your website and the WARBRIDE pages?
Susie: “Being transcontinental, I’d say the internet is pretty darn essential!”
Lori: “So far, the internet is vital for us. We do not have the funds to take out advertisements in the print mags, so we are dependent on people finding their way to our web site. And, as Susie pointed out, without the internet, we would not be able to collaborate. In fact, I doubt Susie and I would ever have found each other again, if it weren’t for the internet. And having to depend on snail-mail for our collaboration would be quite tedious. Without Skype and Yahoo chat, my phone bill would undoubtedly be horrendous. The WARBRIDE website can be found at www.Warbride.net and my own personal site is at www.lorilinstruth.com.”
Can people buy your guitar demo CD there as well, and how much does it cost?
Lori: “Yes, my guitar demo is available through my website: www.lorilinstruth.com/demo.php. It costs approximately five USD plus actual shipping costs.”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe we forgot something that is essential for the story of WARBRIDE and yourself to mention here?
Lori: “Nope, I think your questions were quite thorough!”
Do you have any messages for the readers of our magazine?
Susie: “I’d just like to say thanks so much for your interest, and to our old fans out there, thanks for hanging in there! We will work hard not to disappoint!”
Lori: “Thanks for reading, and if there are any WARBRIDE fans amongst the readers out there, thanks so much for your support! And if there are any former WARBRIDE members reading this interview, hello to you, thanks for your past contributions, and don’t be shy about getting in touch!”
The last words are for you, Lori....
Lori: “I will take the opportunity to thank you, Toine and Rita, for giving Susie and me the chance to tell our story! Kudos to you for all of the work you do to support female musicians. You rock! And a big hug and thank you to Susie for embarking on this musical journey with me, and for making it so much fun. You’re the best! And of course, a huge thanks to Arjen for the opportunity, the encouragement, and the cheesy jokes!"