Ann Boleyn Interview – American recording artist notable for inventing the term speed metal. She is also the singer for Hellion. Interview September 6, 2013
Ann Boleyn Interview
1. What’s new in the world of Ann Boleyn and Hellion?
Hellion is currently at Total Access Recording Studio in Redondo Beach, California working on five new songs. It’s a great studio and it’s my first time there in years. It’s nice to be in a place where I’ve worked at before. I’m happy with the new songs and can’t wait for everybody to hear them.
2. How is it working in the studio for the latest album?
It’s good working with such a great team. Simon Wright (Queensryche, AC/DC, Dio, UFO) is playing drums. Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen, Quiet Riot, Uli Jon Roth) is on bass. Maxxwell Carlisle is on guitar. Both myself, and Scott Warren (Warrant, Dio), are contributing keyboards. On the technical side, Ken Scott, Wyn Davis, and our second engineer, Adam, have all been wonderful. Hellion’s new music is traditional metal. We are sticking to our roots.
3. What are some of the best places you have ever played at?
It’s hard to define “best” when it comes to venues. One of my favorite shows was the first Monsters of Rock Festival in Saint Petersburg in the former-USSR. The show we did at Moscow’s Olympic Arena was special, too, since it’s the biggest indoor arena in the world.
As far as clubs go, I will always have a warm place in my heart for The Troubadour in Hollywood and the old Marquee Club in London where Hellion used to play in the 1980s. Some of those shows remain among my favorites.
4. Are there any concerts planned?
We’ve had a lot of offers to perform at festivals in 2014. I’m currently talking to agents and promoters about getting shows set up. Touring is part of my plan.
5. Would you say touring now is more relaxed and easier to do?
No. Today everywhere you turn, people have cell phones recording every word. A couple weeks ago I was having what I thought was a private conversation with a person who had come to hear me sing at a benefit concert. Sure enough, another person was recording the whole thing. Knowing that everybody is carrying cell phones with video recorders on them has changed things a lot. It used to be that you could have a casual conversation with fans or friends after a show. But, now you have to watch everything you say carefully because it could end up going out over the Internet.
6. What equipment are you currently endorsing, etc.
I personally do not endorse products. However, I remain faithful to the companies that provided gear for Hellion in the past years. That includes Peavey, Aria Guitars, and DiMarzio to name a few.
Simon Wright has a number of endorsement deals, but, I’m not sure which ones. I know he is an advocate of DW Drums. Also, bass player Bjorn Englen has a deal with Carvin Guitars.
7. What would be some of the craziest stuff you’ve seen on tour?
I live in Southern California, near Los Angeles, so I don’t have to go on tour to see crazy stuff. I often see crazy stuff when I am walking or jogging. One day when I was jogging at Venice Beach I encountered another jogger who was jogging with a llama! On another day, I ran past a woman who had a parrot on her shoulder as she was jogging.
Any time you go to any foreign country, you are bound to see things that are unusual. Often it has to do with food. However, I see plenty of strange things here in Los Angeles.
8. What were your earliest influences in life?
My earliest influences naturally were my parents. But, I was also influenced by the times in which I grew up.
When I was in high school, opportunities were very limited for women. When my mom first got married, women could not even have a credit card in their own name. If you were female and tried to run a marathon, you’d surely be arrested. You were expected to get married and start having kids. Very few people ever questioned it.
I wanted to get out in the world and see and experience things. I wanted to leave home and not have to answer to my parents or be home at a certain time.
These days there are a lot of adult children that live at home with their parents. I can’t understand that. It never occurred, not once, to remain living at my parents, especially after I became 18. So the desire to get away from my parents and to experience life on my own definitely influenced me.
9. What would be some of your main influences today?
I like all kinds of good music. When I sang for Détente, I developed an appreciation for thrash that I did not have before. I became a major fan of bands like Exodus, for one example. I will always, however, be inspired by singers like Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Ian Gillan, Ronnie James Dio, and people like that.
As far as lyrics go, I am influenced by real-life experience that cause emotion, good or band. For example on one of the new songs I have lyrics about a person who I once considered to be a friend, but that turned out to be anything but a friend.
10. What could we find interesting in your music collection at home?
I am a fan of Richard Wagner, and have a collection of his operas. Also, since I’m getting ready to put out a Hellion anthology, entitled “To Hellion And Back,” I’ve been sifting through a bunch of old recordings of early Hellion concerts, including the first time I ever performed as a lead singer.
11. Could you describe what goes on in a day in your life as a musician on tour?
As a musician on tour, my schedule depends on what type of music I am singing. When I sang in Détente, which is a thrash band, I didn’t have to take care to protect my voice. For example, I would eat and drink whatever I wanted. However, in Hellion, it is different.
When I am touring with Hellion, I will usually wake up and get coffee and find something to put in my stomach. Sometimes morning is the only time you get to eat because there are interviews and things like that, especially on days when you are not traveling.
On days when I am singing, I try to eat early. It is not good for me to sing until four or five hours after I have eaten. Then after the show, it is late and all the food that was provided by the promoter is gone. That can be difficult.
Every tour is different. Sometimes you have the luxury of having a tour bus. But even with a tour bus, days can pass without getting the chance for a shower. Some people think that touring is glamorous. But it is far from that.
There is a lot of downtime, too. I like to play mahjong and word games on my phone. Sometimes I’ll try to read or nap.
12. Where do you see music going in 100 years from now?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Extra questions with Ann Boleyn from Hellion.
Life without music would SUCK.
Favorite movie THE SHINING.
Favorite sport BASKETBALL
Favorite food JAPANESE and INDIAN.
Favorite drink. MUMM’S CORDON ROUGE CHAMPAIGN (BRUT).
Favorite saying. THAT WHICH DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER.
Favorite car: MY 350 SKL.
Favorite book: ABBEY ROAD TO ZIGGY STARDUST by KEN SCOTT.
Favorite band: DEEP PURPLE
CD or Vinyl: VINYL.
Star Wars or Star Trek: STAR TREK.
PC or Mac: MAC