The Story of White Crone- All Hail Traditional Metal!
After two years of hard work and sweat, my metal recording project White Crone is being unleashed! I wrote all the songs except one (a cover of Venom’s “Seven Gates of Hell”) and played all the bass and almost all the guitars. This new project is a love letter to traditional metal music, the likes of Iron Maiden, Dio, Judas Priest, and Mercyful Fate. These bands were a daily part of my life as a youth, and playing along with their records was how I learned to play bass and sing.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE blues music and will never stop playing and singing the blues! Blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll, that’s something I will never forget. Coming to blues felt like coming home. But playing metal feels like running away from home! That don’t mean I’m walking away from blues – I’ll be releasing a blues/Americana album soon. Hope y’all don’t mind me having a little rowdy fun… I know a lot of you are secret headbangers anyway!
I did pre-production at home on Samplitude, on which my husband Allen was kind enough to tutor me. I bought a Roland V-drum kit and a seven string Schecter guitar and tracked all the parts in my spare time. The songs came to me in waves- while I was driving, or taking a walk or even in the shower. Sometimes a melody would strike me in the middle of the night, and I’d have to sing parts into a phone app so I wouldn’t forget. I taught myself how to play guitar well enough by watching YouTube tutorials on Maiden and Priest songs, and I knew how to play drums enough to get the scratch drum parts tracked (however badly performed).
Once songs were ready to record, master drummer and instructor Larry London set tracks down at Kevin Hahn’s Opal Studio. He played the parts I had written, yet expanding on and improving them in ways I could never have imagined. I also asked former Glacier guitar guru Mehdi Farjami to play guitar on a couple of tracks; he laid down some blistering solos and tasty rhythms on The Dream of Tiamat and The Seven Gates of Hell. I frankly thought my guitar playing wouldn’t be good enough, but through hard work and some split fingernails, I felt confident enough to do the rest of the guitars myself.
I invited a couple of special guests to perform on the album, including drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Rick Derringer). He appeared on my last blues album on a prison-blues stomp which also featured Ben Rice. The White Crone song (Under Hag Stones) is mostly at 58bpm, and NOBODY can deliver a slow heavy groove like Appice. Also featured is percussionist Caton Lyles. He worked on my blues music projects in the past, and brought a taste of the Middle East to the White Crone song “Broken.”
All this was mixed and mastered by Kevin at Opal, whose fine work on my past three blues CDs have garnered awards and recognition. Photos for the project were masterfully taken by Miri Stebivka–he and his partner Darka Dusty are more folks who I’ve worked with in the blues milieu, and album graphics were done by the ever talented Jen Taylor, who did my past three blues releases as well.
With the help of friends and family (and a Buddhist priest), we shot a killer video for the title track with director and videographer Cypress Jones. Filmed on three locations with actors, props and all. I am over the moon as to how kickass (and humorous) it turned out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY1zbZYkabk
I can’t underscore enough how this dream has only come to fruition through the joyful efforts of others. Now it’s YOUR turn to add some joyful effort, if you would be so kind… take a listen to the project, share the project, review it, download it, tell your friends about it! I can’t do this without you!
~ Lisa Mann