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MASS gets sea of praise for ‘Sea of Black’

This story originally appeared as an online exclusive in the spring of 2010.

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

With their new album, “Sea of Black,” receiving rave reviews from both fans and critics alike, the members of MASS said they are very pleased with the positive feedback. Lead vocalist, Louis St. August, was actually a bit surprised at first.

“I thought it was going to do well, but I didn’t think it was going to be received this well,” he said. “I figured it would maybe get seven out of 10 stars, but not get nine and 10 out of 10 stars.”

For guitarist Gene D’Itria, it was less shocking.

“I knew once [St. August] and I got together and started writing for this record it was going to be our best yet,” D’Itria said. “After the first four songs were written, I had a great feeling. I had no doubt in my mind that the fans, and others, including critics, would love this record.”

The Revere-based band of four said they feel they are only as good as their latest release, so after nearly 30 years of pumping out solid music, they are elated to hear their listeners tell them it’s their greatest effort thus far.

“I love that people are considering this to be our best album because that is always what you shoot for, topping the last one,” said drummer Joey “Vee” Vadala.

Bassist Mike Palumbo agrees.

“You’re always pushing yourself to improve on the next one and be more creative,” he said. “But, in the end it’s all MASS music.”

When it comes down to writing the music, D’Itria said they’ve improved as the years go by.

“I think as we get older, our songwriting keeps getting better and better,” he said.

Their process for creating new material is often a collaborative one, usually beginning with D’Itria sharing a guitar riff with St. August so St. August can match a melody to it and form lyrics.

“The other guys always contribute after me and [D’Itria] lay the foundation,” St. August said. “I always try to write positive songs. We’re a rock band from Boston that writes positive music.”

St. August said he thinks the songs they chose for this record seemed to all fit together perfectly.

“We kind of went back to our roots a little bit,” he said. “Our last album, ‘Crack of Dawn’ in 2007 was very versatile, while with this new one, we focused on our original style, which was melodic pop-rock.”

After they recorded “Sea of Black” at Mixed Emotions Studio in Boston, they flew the tapes to Sweden, where Martin Kronlund produced them.

“He mixed and mastered the album there,” St. August said. “We were communicating by either via e-mail or by phone to tell him what we were looking for. We tweaked it that way. We just went back and forth.”

St. August said he is forever grateful to Kronland, who also worked with MASS on “Crack of Dawn,” for continuously being professional and precise.

“Working with him was great,” St. August said. “He has a lot of patience because we can be pretty picky at times when we’re looking for a particular sound.”

Vadala said he is also very appreciative of Kronland’s skills as a producer.

“We were very pleased with the sound and production,” Vadala said. “Overseas can be a challenge with the critics but, as we can all see, they are very pleased, too.”

St. August said he is eagerly anticipating singing the new tracks at their CD release party at the Regent Theatre in Arlington on June 4th.

“I’ve been talking to people who are really dying to hear some of the new songs performed live, so I am looking forward to the CD release party,” he said. “The album has brought us a lot of new fans, but I’m also happy to see a lot of old fans that have come out of the woodwork and back onto the bandwagon again.”

While St. August said there have been a lot of ups and downs over the course of their nearly 30-year career, the good points stand out more.

“One of the best things was the first time I ever heard a MASS song on the radio, or the first time I saw our video on MTV,” he said.

He also said a big highlight was playing for a sold out crowd at an amphitheater in Los Angeles.

“That was a real thrill for me because I grew up a fan of The Who and they performed there the night before,” he said. “I was very excited to be standing on the same stage and opening up for Stryper.”

St. August has kept his voice in stellar shape over the years by taking good care of his throat.

“I don’t drink and I don’t smoke,” he said. “I live a clean life. I also studied vocals when I was 17 and I kept those breathing techniques that I was shown.”

MASS doesn’t have a set tour planned just yet, but they have the CD release party on June 4th at the Regent Arlington Theatre coming up, as well as acoustic shows in the near future. They are also flying to Maryland in June to be a part of the 2010 M3 Rock Festival, performing with act such as the Scorpions and Cinderella.

“We were asked to play in California on August 27th for Heaven’s Metal Magazine’s 25th Anniversary Festival,” St. August said. “I think we may do that, too. We’d really like to get over to London and do a few shows, so we’ll see what happens.”

They also hope to release another album within the next few years.

“If I had to put a date on it, I would say maybe by 2012,” said St. August.

In the meantime, Palumbo said they are going to continue to do what they do best.

“It’s all about the camaraderie and the love of writing and playing music,” he said. “We have a good time.”

Ani DiFranco hopes to make a connection through her music

This story originally appeared as an online exlcusive in the fall of 2009.

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

After playing at Bonnaroo, Rothbury, and Mile High Music festivals this summer, Ani DiFranco began a fall U.S. tour in September and will take the stage at New Bedford’s Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Nov. 14th. If you’re familiar with her music, it should be no surprise her new album, “Red Letter Year,” is filled with political rants and love songs, but it is also one of her most joyous records yet.

 “There’s a certain kind of contentment underlying the whole album,” said DiFranco. “The place that I have to sing from now is on more stable grounds than before.”

 The album starts out with the events of Hurricane Katrina and how she feels there have been many positive changes in America since the disastrous storm.

  “There’s been this huge transformation going on in society,” DiFranco said. “Now we have Barrack Obama in the White House as opposed to George Bush. It sort of represents the return of democracy to the American people.”

DiFranco said her personal life has undergone several transformations as well, as she moved to a new city, got married, and had a daughter.

“I live in New Orleans now and have a family now,” she said. “I think whenever I feel a resonance between my personal life and the life of my society, a lot of songs come out of that.”

Interestingly enough, her husband, Mike Napolitano, co-produced her new album.

 “Working with him is terrific,” said DiFranco. “A big part of the sound of ‘Red Letter Year’ has to do with him and his production prowess.”

DiFranco said it’s a rare luxury for her to have someone in the studio with her producing her music.

 “Usually I’m on my own making records, so it was really terrific for me to have somebody better than me at recording and production,” she said. “He’s someone I really trust and rely on in the studio and I can just focus on being the artist and not have to sit back and be objective at the same time.”

DiFranco wasn’t kidding when she said she is used to making records on her own. In fact, she started her very own record label, Righteous Babe Records, when she first began her music career.

 “That decision came along very early on for me because I was always a very idealist person,” DiFranco said. “When I was very young, I started to get interest from labels because I was kind of getting a thing going on my own and I was building an audience and creating a buzz.”

DiFranco said small labels approached her at first and then major labels began contacting her.

 “I met some of these people and I talked to them and I realized very early that I have a deep seeded loathing for capitalism and what it does to society and art,” DiFranco said.

She said not signing with a label was about not participating in a hyper capitalistic society.

 “I find it dehumanizing and numbing.” DiFranco said. “Beyond that, I didn’t have a grand plan of how I was going to do it. I was just taking it a day at a time.”

DiFranco said she still takes life one day at a time and one show at a time.

 “I stay present and in the moment,” she said. “I don’t regurgitate my banter, I just walk out on stage and I react to the moment. That for me is what performance is about.”

She said it’s hard to tell her fans what they can expect from her at a show because it changes from night to night.

 “I change my set list up as often as I can,” she said. “I’ve got a bunch of new songs that are unrecorded songs I’ve been work-shopping onstage.”

Sharing her music with her fans is very important to her and she said she feels very fulfilled by aveling town to town, giving her songs to people.

“Music is a social act and I find it very inspiring,” she said. “To get together with a bunch of strangers in a room and make that connection through music is very profound. It uplifts us all and makes me feel less alienated and less alone. ”

DiFranco said she has received many letters over the years saying how her music has helped fans through hard times.

 “It’s always striking for me because it does that for me too,” she said.

After over 20 years of making music, DiFranco said she continues to love what she does.

“I have the coolest job going and I’m lucky to have it,” she said. “I still have the will to write poetry and figure out my world and my place in it. I just try to stay grateful. As long as I am, people will meet me there.”

Marianne Faithfull: Keeping the faith

This story originally appeared as an online exclusive in the fall of 2009.

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

With a new album released this past November, the legendary Marianne Faithfull is on a US tour that will hit the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford on September 26

 “I’ve already played in America and it went very well,” said Faithfull. “Now I’m back to do a proper tour.”

The album, “Easy Come, Easy Go,” consists of 12 cover songs the music icon handpicked herself, including The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 3,” Espers’ “Children Of Stone,” Morrissey’s “Dear God Please Help Me.”

“I love the record and I’m very proud of it,” she said. “I want to help it as much as I can which is why I’m touring so much.”

Faithfull said she is very excited about touring and has the rhythm section from the album on tour with her.

“I’ve got a wonderful band,” she said. “We have a beautiful set list. We did it all summer through my tour of Europe. I’m really happy to get the chance to do this in America too.”

She said she chose to do a covers album because she has had a bit of trouble writing new material but was ready to get in the studio to record and take it on the road.

“I wasn’t able to write recently,” said Faithfull. “I’m a bit dried up for the moment, but hopefully I’ll get it back.”

In the meantime, producer Hal Willner worked with her on the compilation album.

“Hal and I did a record like that before called, ‘Strange Weather,’ but it was very different than this one,” Faithfull said. “So, we thought we’d do another.”

In addition to working with Willner, Faithfull also had Sean Lennon play on ‘Easy Come, Easy Go.’

“He plays guitar and sings on, ‘Give You Pleasure,’” she said. “He’s a very good guitarist. John would be very proud.”

Another musician Faithfull said she got the chance to record with on her new album was her “guitar playing friend” Keith Richards.

“It was wonderful working with Keith on this record,” Faithfull said. “He worked with me on a Burl Ives song, ‘Sing Me Back Home.’ Keith’s a great guy.”

Faithfull originally hooked up with Richards and The Rolling Stones back in the 1960s when they wrote her the song. “As Tears Go By.During that time, she said it was difficult being a woman in the music industry.

“It was very hard to be a female in rock n roll in the 60’s because there was a lot of misogyny,” Faithfull said. “I don’t think it’s quite as bad now, but it must be still there.”

She said she does not feel the same kind of pressure she used to feel mainly because she does not let it bother her anymore.

“When I was young it affected me a lot,” she said. “But I wasn’t alone and I got through it. There were more than a few highly intelligent, very honest, interesting female singers out there with me.”

Faithfull grouped herself in with artists like Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and Carole King.

“I somehow go along in there,” she said. “You could actually be yourself and not make yourself a construct for the pleasure and delight of men. That’s a freedom. We’ve carved out a new sort of niche.”

She said her all time favorite female singer is Billie Holiday and she paid a tribute to Holiday on “Easy Come, Easy Go” by covering the classic song “Solitude.”

“I just love everything about her,” Faithfull said. “I love her voice and I love the mood she can create.”

Faithfull can create moods all her own whether she is singing or acting.

“I love acting,” she said.

She has played characters such as Ophelia from “Hamlet,” God, and even the Devil.

“I played the Devil in ‘Black Rider,’ a musical play written by William S. Burroughs with music and songs by Tom Waits and directed by Robert Wilson,” she said. “That was wonderful.”

One thing she said wasn’t wonderful was the process of writing her autobiography, ‘Faithfull.’

“I wrote one real autobiography and it was very difficult,” she said. “The other one I wrote was more of a memoir and it’s much less depressing.”

She said although her personal life has overshadowed her career in the past, it doesn’t overshadow it now because she has made it that way.

“I don’t see myself as a victim,” she said. “It’s tempting fall into the role of the victim because it’s easy, but that’s not a good idea. Never stay a victim-ever.”

Not only has she fought to move beyond her mistakes of the past, including drug addiction, Faithfull is a cancer survivor.

“I’m very pleased to be a survivor because I’ve turned it all around,” she said.  “I think I’ve won actually. I’m a winner as well as a survivor.”

She said she continues to have a positive outlook on life and is happy to be where she is in her career.

“I’ve always thought that the point of being a survivor is to turn it into something really good,” Faithfull said. “If I can do it anyone can.”

Although rumors have been flying about her retiring, she said she is not ready to give up singing.

“Sometimes I say I’d like to retire and I do think about it but I don’t really mean it,” laughed Faithfull. “I’ll get there at some point, but not yet.”

When she is not on tour, Faithfull resides in both Paris and Ireland.

The Bangles begin recording a new album

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Limelight Magazine

By GEORGE AUSTIN

Back in the 1980s, when they were exploding onto the music scene with songs like “Walk Like An Egyptian” and “Manic Monday,” members of the Bangles were being asked if they were starting a new trend with all-female rock bands.

Despite their considerable success, the women rock group thing never really took off. Vicki Peterson, guitarist/vocalist for The Bangles, says it’s still a mystery to her why more women did not form their own bands after that. She said she does not know if she should blame the music industry or she wonders if The Bangles and The Go Gos were just not big enough precedent setters.

But The Bangles, who also include Vicki’s sister Debbi, the drummer, vocalist/guitarist Susanna Hoffs and vocalist/bassist Annette Zilinskas, since having had families, are still around, playing concerts and are working on a new album.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Peterson said in a telephone interview. “There’s a very nice dynamic when women play together. It’s different than when women and men play together. It’s different than when all men play together. It’s a different attitude.”

The Bangles recently started recording a new album and they are going about the process differently than in the past. Instead of taking a collection of 40 songs and going into the studio, they are kind of making it up as they go along. Peterson said The Bangles are growing the album as they record it and doing some experimentation with the music.

“In the end, it will sound like a Bangles record,” Peterson said. “There will be lots of jaggly guitars and lots of harmonies.”

Peterson said today’s state-of-the-art technology makes it possible for the band to make an album that way and it also weighs less on their family lives. She is not sure when the new album will come out, maybe by the end of the year, but she said the band is working steady on it. But the days when they would spend 24/7 on The Bangles as they did in the 1980s are over.

“Probably the biggest change is the double-edged sword in that we’ve structured the band, so it’s viable for us to do as mothers with children,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the demise of the band in 1989 had come because they could not sustain their work schedules and needed separate lives. And they are content with the way their lives are now.

“We’re not expecting to be big stars anymore,” Peterson said. “We’re not as concerned with radio hits. We just want to continue to put on good shows.”

Peterson said it is also not as expensive to record an album nowadays. They do not have a record company involved with their new album and Peterson said The Bangles may go back to their own label, called Down Kiddie, that they used in the beginning back in 1981.

Peterson said “it is about bloody time” for a new album.

Peterson said she has very eclectic tastes when it comes to the music she likes to listen to, from Bonnie Raitt to World Cafe to music of the 1920s.

The members of The Bangles also do a lot of charity work. They have done several events to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. Peterson has designed a bra to go along with that work. They have an ongoing fund raiser on their web site for Doctors Without Borders and they also do a lot to help schools.

Peterson said the band has been active, just not actively recording lately. The Bangles have been out playing regularly in recent years. They’ve toured Europe, Australia and Japan. They are playing a few shows, but are not doing a full concert tour at this time. They played the House of Blues in Boston on May 27.

Peterson said she thinks the band will be playing some of their new songs at the shows, but promises the audiences they will hear the familiar material from the ‘80s, as well.

“If you come to a Bangles show, you’re going to hear at least one of your favorite Bangles songs,” Peterson said.

Sarah Borges: The transition from alt country to pop rock

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Limelight Magazine

By GEORGE AUSTIN

If you knew the music of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles before, you would think of alt country and Americana. But that is not what her latest album sounds like. Borges and her band have gone toward a more pop rock genre.

“This new record has a lot less country,” Borges said. “There’s a lot less pedals and steel guitar. It sounds like our band and it definitely sounds like us, but there’s no pedal or steel. Even taking that away lends a different sound to it.”

Borges said the band decided to go a different direction on the album, called “The Stars Are Out,” because when she and the Broken Singles toured, they saw what worked well. Their performances are very energetic and they wanted to reflect that on the CD. And so far, it seems that trying to translate the live show to the recording has worked. Borges said the album has done really well and the band is playing a lot of shows behind it.

The song “Do It For Free” has gotten radio play. Borges wrote about creepy men in bars.

“There’s so many men songs written about women, so I decided to turn it around a little bit,” Borges said.

The album has five original songs and five covers. There’s a Smokey Robinson song on the CD called “Being With You.”

“That’s a song a lot of people know, but we did our version of it,” Borges said. “We’re so excited to be showcasing that one, too.”

Borges had grown up in the small city of Taunton in southeastern Massachusetts, not exactly the music capital of the world, but it was a close knit place where the high school had a great drama program. She was in theater and the choir at Taunton High School where she graduated in 1995. Borges started playing guitar as a teenager. At 16 years old, she started playing in bands.

“My parents listen to a lot of classic rock and Bob Dylan,” Borges said. “When I got older, Boston had a vibrant music scene, so I went to see a lot of college rock bands, like Buffalo Tom and Morphine, on the weekends.”

Borges said her musical influences include Bonnie Raitt, The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones.

“And I like a lot of new music, too,” Borges said. “It depends on the day.”

Borges studied radio at Emerson College in Boston where she graduated in 1990.

“I knew I wanted to do something with music and be close to what I love to do,” Borges said.

After graduating from Emerson, Borges played in various bands in Boston before meeting the members of the Broken Singles who she hit it off with. The members of the Broken singles include guitarist Lyle Brewer, bassist Binky and drummer Rob Dulaney.

“I think our personalities really were complementary,” Borges said. “We had a good time hanging out, which is really important since we spend a lot of time hanging out together.”

Borges has played at the famous South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas five times.

“It’s really just sort of a mecca for people in bands,” Borges said.

Bela Fleck: Back to the origins of the banjo

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Limelight Magazine.

By GEORGE AUSTIN

Bela Fleck is known for his innovations with playing the banjo. But the Grammy Award winning musician wanted to go back to the origins of the instrument. So, in 2005, he traveled to Africa where he played with other musicians and bands, made a film, came back with ideas for an album and made some friends who he is bringing to America for a concert tour.

“I think it was the completing of the circle of the banjo,” Fleck said. “I was able to bring over the modern American banjo and introduce it to the African music of today.”

Fleck said his experiences in Africa were very exciting.

The African musicians who will be playing with Fleck on his current concert tour, include Vusi Mahlasula, Toumani Diabate, D’Gary, and Anania Ngoglia. They will come to the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, Mass., on April 11. Fleck said there will be a lot of improvisation in the concert. He said all of the African musicians will play individually, he will join them in their individual performances and then they will all play together at the end.

“The main job is going to be for me to learn their music,” Fleck said. “I’ve already played a few songs with them. Everybody plays in different keys and everyone plays in different disciplines, so it’s going to be exciting to see what we can come up with.”

Some of the members of the band come from Madagascar, South Africa and Tanzania. Fleck knew about some of the musicians in the band before he went to Africa and some of the other ones he met in villages in Africa.

When he went to the dark continent, Fleck went to different towns where he found musicians to play with.

“It was different from anything I’ve ever done because we grew up in different worlds,” Fleck said. “But it was exciting because there were some things we had in common with the rhythm and melodies from folk and bluegrass, so there was a natural bridge.”

When African musicians come to the United States, Fleck said they often play popular music from their continent with electric bass guitars and drums, but he said on his concert tour, audiences will be hearing traditional African music. He said he will be showcasing some of the beautiful instruments from Africa, such as the kora which is a West African harp, and a thumb piano.

“This is a much more intimate type of music, like folk or bluegrass,” Fleck said. “It will be almost like you’re in a living room and I’ll be playing with these people.”

In Fleck’s album, called “Throw Down Your Heart: Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Volume 3: Africa Sessions,” listeners will hear a variety of music, some of which are from musicians who are not coming over to the states for the current tour.

While he was in Africa, Fleck played with groups as large as 200 people and with vocal groups of 30 people. He said there were instruments he never heard of and a marimba that was played by 10 people. Fleck said his experiences in Africa have had a large impact on his music. When he came back, he was editing the film and working on an album, so he was listening to the music he played with other musicians there every day.

Fleck’s first album was with the Massachusetts based Rounder Records in the 1970s. He said it is difficult for a banjo player to get a record deal with a major label. He was able to land contracts with Warner Brothers and EMI. But he has since gone back to Rounder. While he says a lot of the people he dealt with at the major labels changed during the years, he said the same people he worked with at Rounder were still there when he decided to go back to that label, so he said it was “a homecoming,” of sorts for him. One of the things he likes about Rounder is the label keeps its records in print for many years. He said he wants people to be able to buy his records for years to come.

Fleck, who has won eight Grammy Awards and has been nominated for that honor more than anyone in history, is best known for his band the Flecktones. He has opened for Dave Matthews Band and the Grateful Dead.

The film of Fleck’s experiences in Africa has played at festivals and will be put in art theaters.

“The Beverly Hillbillies” is what first got Fleck interested in playing the banjo. He took up the instrument at 15 years old and has played pretty much every day since that time for the last 35 years. Fleck said he has tried to make the banjo a more flexible instrument to play in different musical genres.

“For me, I play the banjo more like it’s a contemporary musical instrument,” Fleck said. “Most banjo players don’t learn the skills to play jazz.”

This Lennon is creating her own legacy

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Limelight Magazine

By GEORGE AUSTIN

Lennon Murphy thinks that it was “cool” that her mother named her after the late, great Beatles singer. As John Lennon and the Beatles did, she does draw a lot of attention because of both her music and non-related music aspects of her life. But that’s about as far as the comparison goes. She’s not a Beatles fan at all and has not done research on John Lennon. Her music sounds nothing like the Fab Four. But Murphy says her mother loved John Lennon.

“To her, he was a good man, a gentle man,” Murphy said. “I was born in New York. He was a New Yorker. New York loved John Lennon.”

In her young life, Murphy’s has been the subject of stories in the national media. From becoming an 18 year old rock star to her mother dying and her custody battle for her sister, to a controversy with Yoko Ono over the trademark of her name, much of her life has been in the public eye. But even though she does not get a lot of radio support for her music, she says the press has helped her to develop that loyal fan base. Perhaps they may find out about her because of the controversies, but when they listen to her music, they like what they hear.

Murphy said the disagreement with Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, over the trademark of her name helped her to get a lot more fans for her music.

Because of the issue, radio show host Howard Stern and television show host Bill O’Reilly did interviews with her.

“I was trying to do Stern for seven years and it took her suing me to get on,” Murphy, who performs under the name Lennon, said. “It’s a little weird.”

Murphy said she never talked to Ono. She said there was a mediation about the issue with lawyers. She said Ono could have handled the matter better. Murphy said Ono sent her a paper asking for termination of the Lennon trademark because she felt Murphy falsely acquired it.

“She could have had the damn trademark if it was that important to her,” Murphy said.

When asked about her musical influences, Murphy said her mother brought her up with musicians like Barry Manilow and Harry Chapin, but as she got older, she got into much different music with bands like Nine Inch Nails. Murphy says what draws her to a band, no matter what type of music it is, is the songs more than anything else. She is currently writing some songs for some young pop acts who are clients of her manager.

“It’s something I’ve never done before,” Murphy said of writing songs for other artists. “It’s something new and maybe it’s something that will help me buy a house. It’s fun.”

When Murphy was a young girl, her mother, who was a chef for people who were chronically ill, wrote songs in her spare time. Murphy wrote songs as a young girl as well, and said her mother quit writing songs after admitting her daughter was better at it than she was.

“It’s all her fault I got on that stage,” Murphy said of her mother. “I like writing songs. I didn’t want to be in the spotlight. She said I had no friends, I was always staying at home. I’m putting a band together for you. I said I’m not getting on that stage. Needless to say, I got on that stage and fell in love with it.”

Murphy said she writes songs about things that happen in her life.

“I always find it’s better to write something about what you know instead of faking it,” Murphy said. “So I write about my experiences. I write a general story so people can interpret them into their own lives.”

With her new band, Devil’s Gift, Murphy has gone a much heavier route with her music. She said she always wanted to perform more in the metal music vein, but never had the opportunity, especially living down in Tennessee which is not a hotbed for metal. She said she and Jason Suecof had some time off and decided to go into the studio to produce some music. They started working on the record for Devil’s Gift in September of 2007 and finished up in December of that year. Suecof could not tour with the band, so Murphy had to get five musicians for a tour of Europe that lasted three months at the end of last year.

“The music was a great hit,” Murphy said when asked about the audience reaction to the band in Europe. “People loved the record. It’s got a lot of great press.”

Murphy said she wants to continue with Devil’s Gift, but also with her solo career and acoustic performances.

Murphy was named “one of the hottest chicks in metal” by Revolver Magazine. Asked if there is a stigma to being a beautiful woman in the music industry or if it detracts from her music, she said good looks helps a woman or a man, not just in music, but in many other industries. She said musicians have to personify the music themselves, not just with the words and the guitars, drums and keyboards, but also with how they act and dress on stage to get people’s attention, especially for opening acts.

Murphy’s advice to young, female musicians who want to make it in the music industry is to go to school, get a college degree and become a doctor or lawyer.

“That will make you happy,” Murphy said. “I grew up in the country world and I saw what happened. It’s a hard business.”

Murphy has toured with a lot of well-known acts, such as Alice Cooper, Tesla and Heart. She says Cooper has become like family and his daughter is one of her best friends.

“To get to do Europe with Journey was an amazing experience,” Murphy said of another one of the acts she has opened up for. “You never realize how many hits they have until you see their show every night.”

Murphy, who is now based in Florida, said the only time she gets nervous is when she is playing on stage by herself. She said she is fine when she is playing with a band. To get over those nerves, she said she tries to have a good time on stage, making an acoustic show like a rock show, as much as possible.

Murphy had a battle against family members to get custody of her sister. But Murphy apparently has been a good influence on her sister, considering her sister is now about to graduate from high school early at 17 years old.

Murphy allows her fans to download her records through her website and to pick the price.

“Music is free,” Lennon said. “If they want the song, they are going to find it one way or another. It’s the state of the music industry. You want to get the music out there. If it’s free, I’d rather have them enjoying the music than make the $10.”