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The Master Of Disguise Haunts Us Still: An Exclusive Interview With LIZZY BORDEN

By Wendy Jasper, Black Metal Aficionado
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 @ 10:23 AM

"I cut the previous band members loose and restarted the whole thing."

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Lizzy Borden Photo By Stephanie Cabral

There is an innate feeling of contentment for metal fans when they hear the name LIZZY BORDEN. Launched in 1983, the band shocked and titillated audiences with their outrageous stage show and bloody antics. Aptly named as a tongue in cheek ode to the notorious 19th Century axe murderess, the band released their first EP, Give ’Em The Axe, on Metal Blade Records in 1984.

The record received rave reviews and the band’s growing notoriety led to full houses at venues across the country by the time their first full-length album, 1985’s Love You To Pieces, hit the shelves. Next came Menace To Society and the Terror Rising EP. The hits continued to roll out in the form of 1987’s Visual Lies. “Me Against The World” embodied the angst of a generation of metal heads who identified with the feeling of disenfranchisement from the world in general. The band’s extensive fandom exploded with the success of the single and it paved the way for the release of the band’s most commercially successful album, 1989’s Master Of Disguise.

“We toured for four years for that album,” Borden said. “It was rigorous but the demand was there. We toured the entire world and played in many places several times over the course of the multiple tours.” Deal With The Devil and Appointment With Death marked the last of Borden’s studio albums. Since that time, he has been a staple in Metal Blade’s large catalogue and has always been a priority for the label, he just didn’t have new material. The band did a 30th Anniversary Tour in 2014 that sold out the majority of the venues that booked it.

Borden is an integral part of the Metal Blade family; so much so that his newest opus, My Midnight Things began with three demo tracks presented to the label that turned into another multi-year contract.

“The response since the album has been out has been amazing. It has been the most positively reviewed album of my career,” he said. “All of my albums have received mixed reviews because some think the music should be heavier, or there are songs that didn’t fit the mold. But, with this record the reviews from not just the US but all over the world have been so positive and it has kind of freaked me out because I thought this one would be the one that had the most mixed feelings from critics.”

The songs on the album are a bit of a departure from what one would normally expect from a LIZZY BORDEN album; not only because of the mixture of sounds, but because it was a visceral attempt at showing the raw emotion that Borden has reached at this point in his career.

“The reviews have been 90 percent overwhelmingly positive and yes, it is different,” Borden said. “I cut the previous band members loose and restarted the whole thing. I was going to bring in friends but once I started recording, the pieces just fell together and I decided not to go that route; I played all the instruments but drums myself. I did recruit keyboardist Marliese Mildenberger for the album because she has played on some of my other albums, and then of course Joey played drums. It was just us and I think it turned out the way I wanted.”

Touring for the album will be imminent, but for Borden, his first instinct is NOT to just immediately hit the road. It’s a well-crafted process for the artist and he has specific ideas about how he wants to present this new music to the fans.

“My whole thing is that I wanted the album to come out first, because when I tour I play at least seven songs off any new record, so I need to figure out mapping out the show itself, and then I will look for colleagues who fit in as far as guitar and bass and we will go from there,” he said. “Each show is an elaborate production and I want it to be just right. Technology has allowed us to do things we couldn’t do in the past. I want it to be a full, amazing show so I am talking to lighting and production people that can make this feasible. I have big ideas and with new technology, I can do so many new things. The imagery and the story’s character will be exactly the way I want it to be.”

“I think it will be a while before I even start to book shows. Now that the album is out, I will start the whole process. I did push a restart button on my career,” Borden said. “I am doing everything from the beginning, new management, new lineup, and it will all be brand new and fresh for me. Joey will, of course, be on drums, but I want to find the right people to go out on the road with us. Realistically touring would probably be in 2019, but if something came out that we just couldn’t turn down I would consider it. I am working with some agencies, I have laid out the ideas, and it has been going well. Since there will be three albums total for this new contract, any tour I do has to be successful and there must be the proper promotion and everything is done right.”

The album has an ethereal feel and the videos for the album have reflected that. The first video was a lyric video, but then Borden reached into his soul and brought out his inner reflections of longing, loss and celebration and appreciation of life.

"Long May They Haunt Us" is the song that has resonated with most people and it’s the song that means the most to me personally,” he said. “It’s about people that are no longer with us and I have friends and colleagues that have left us; it’s a celebration of life of those that are gone but that we still think about every day. If we go back to the history of people who shaped us, I would say that your colleague, Tawn Mastery from KNAC, was instrumental in helping us when we first started and we lost her and she will always be in our memory. You would have to think back on all the people that are haunting your memories, but it’s a good haunt and you don’t want that to go away.”

Label support has always been an integral part of the success of any artist and Borden has always had that with Metal Blade. CEO and Founder Brian Slagel has a longstanding business and personal relationship with Borden and has often had mixed feelings about what his friend has recorded. However, this time, his excitement over Borden’s submission was palpable.

“I have never seen Brian as excited about one of my albums as he has been about this one. He has always loved everything but never went crazy…this time he went totally crazy over it and he loves the album. He actually said he loved all the songs. I feel the full support of the label and it was so great to have that response. He and I have worked together a long time and sometimes he didn’t always “get” me and what I was trying to do but he told me he felt like this was the best thing I have ever done so the whole Metal Blade family is very excited about the work done here.”

The new contract Borden signed is a three album deal and his mind is awhirl with ideas. Borden has grown as an artist and with the years of experience he has under his belt he feels that he is constantly connecting with new ideas and people and wants to explore the unknown.

“The two remaining albums in this contract with Metal Blade will be stand alone albums, because with each writing process I learn something and I don’t want to repeat myself,” he said. “I don’t know that I could do a part two for this album because there are too many interesting things to write about and some of the things I have done on this album I’ve never done before. I just think there is so much more I can do and I already have a skeleton version of the next album that I am piecing together but I haven’t dug down deep enough yet, but it will organically come together.”

While fans eagerly anticipate an upcoming tour, they can make sure they keep up with the band online and if they come to your area, be sure to check them out live. A LIZZY BORDEN show is a show that is not to be missed! You never know what the Master of Disguise will come up with so check out the new record and see the video for “Long May They Haunt Us” on KNAC.COM HERE.

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