2016 Madame Mayhem interview
Madame Mayhem has been brewing up hard rock for several years, but she enjoys her mysterious side, so little is known about her. She likes to keep the focus on the music. This fall she released her sophomore album, Now You Know. The record features many of her friends including Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (KoRn, KXM), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Russ Parrish (“Satchel” from Steel Panther), and Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Stuck Mojo). We caught up with Ms. Mayhem as she prepares to hit the road with Doro for a string of East Coast tour dates to talk about the new record, the tour, and working with some of rock’s greatest talents.
Madame Mayhem began her musical career in Manhattan. She has built a large and loyal fan base in the process. Being a performer and creating heavy rock music has been in her blood since childhood, which is where she caught her stage name.
“My parents gave me that name,” Ms. Mayhem shares. “So they named me twice. It just made sense to keep it going because that’s what I was being called even before. I’ve always wanted to do this my entire life. I started off in musical theater, with classical training—I just wanted to be the best vocalist and musician I could be, and be on stage and performing. I guess all the mayhem just kind of came with it. And then it only made sense to be in the genre I’m so obsessed with, so it kind of just all happened and the name fit.”
Over the years, Mayhem has collaborated with notable rock talents including Grammy winner Mark Hudson, Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio), Elliot Easton (The Cars, Blondie), John Moyer (Disturbed, Adrenaline Mob), and more. On Now You Know, Madame Mayhem not only got Billy Sheehan to play many of the bass tracks on the new record, but he also produced the album, and co-wrote many of the tracks. It is a friendship she has cultivated over many years.
“Billy is a mentor of mine,” offers Mayhem. “He’s been for a few years. We met through a bunch of other artists, and workshops, and there’s just like this network of people in the industry. He actually was very supportive during my first album, and when I was kind of at a turning point, we started writing together and he he’s like ‘Listen, I love your voice, let’s make an album.’ And I was thrilled because it was Billy Sheehan. How could you not be? And we really got along great in terms of the writing process. So that was very helpful and I was able to spill my guts in a way, and make the music as great as we could.”
“Corey and I also have a great writing relationship, and it was really very therapeutic for me to write both [those songs] actually. Those I really spilled my guts into and they were really important for me to make sure they got on the album. So it made sense for those to be the ones that we released as singles that had videos for it, that first, it would be a lot of fun to listen to and be songs people will relate to and enjoy, and also just kind of getting the points across.”
Ms. Mayhem also opened up with her thoughts on the notable talents besides Billy and Corey that helped her make Now You Know:
“I’m thrilled that all those guys were willing to be part of this record. Getting these artists to play—I’m still in awe, and I’m still excited. Sometimes I’ll listen back to the album and as a lead singer you’d think I’m thinking about my own voice, but no I’m like, did you hear that guitar solo Bumblefoot just did, fretless? It’s just so cool.”
You can check out our full interview below with Madame Mayhem as she talks about her influences, and talks in great depth about the record, and much more. You can also check out both of her new videos as well hear Billy Sheehan talk about making the record.