[exclusive interview with Kim La Chance]
When "The Works" got released on CD, one of my biggest dreams became reality. The mighty fine metal songs of the band Vixen (from Hawaii) finally got to do justice on one of these silver discs. All the more reason to get in touch with Kim La Chance, the lady who's responsible for the beautiful vocals on these songs. Of course this was also a great opportunity to talk about her own band Malisha and the all-female metal band Driven Steel, Kim was in a couple of years. Furthermore, I was very curious to hear what Kim is up to nowadays in the music world. Ladies and gents, here's the story of a beautiful blonde frontlady, who once was the singer for one of the most successful US metal bands, Vixen.
When did you start your musical career and do you play any instruments besides your great voice?
Kim La Chance: "I began singing in cover bands in early 1980. I tried playing guitar but couldn’t stand the callouses on my fingertips. Next I tried the piano but felt tied down to an instrument. I currently play live with the Korg Kaos Pad and I’m looking into the new Edirol video rig to bring some improvised visuals to the show."
Please tell us how you became a member of Vixen?
Kim: "I was looking through the classifieds for bands and came across an ad for heavy metal guitar lessons. I thought this guy might have a lead on a band that needed a singer. Marty (Friedman) answered and said he had a band minus a singer, so he invited me to rehearsal to check them out. I did and really liked what I heard. It was new and challenging joining a group writing original material."
What was the first song that you wrote together as a band, and how did a Vixen song come together. In other words, how did the writing proces go within the band?
Kim: "The first song we co-wrote was "New Age Rock-n-Roller". At that point in time I wrote quite a bit of prose (free-form poetry), but nothing in a lyrical format. So Marty came up with this cool riff which he developed into an arrangement and I wrote my first lyrical composition to it. Jeff and Paul came up with their parts and the song was usually taken into the studio soon after. But "New Age.." was left until last to record and remained unfinished until August 2003, when I finally cut the vocals."
Which bands were your major influence in these days, and who can we see as your biggest personal influences? Can you also point at any guitarplayers, that Marty liked in particular?
Kim: "I was drawn to bands with powerful singers such as Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Scorpions, Van Halen, Foreigner and later with Queensryche and Heart. The whole NWOBHM influenced me. All we had here in the states at that time was disco and new wave, which was as bad as dragging one¹s fingernails across a chalkboard to me. I know Marty was highly inspired by Uli John Roth."
Which Vixen song is your favorite? And why is it so special to you?
Kim: “Angels From The Dust” is one of my favorites. It was the very first song we recorded along with “Living in Sin.” The only compilation album it appeared on was “U.S. Metal Vol. II.” “New Age Rock-n-Roller” is my other favorite. When it comes to favorites, I always have more than one!"
Are there any gigs, that you have fond memories about?
Kim: "Any time I didn’t have to drag my P.A. system out was a good gig! There was an audition for 'Battle Of The Bands', that was memorable. We had just lost Paul and didn¹t have a replacement yet. We decided to audition without a bass player and see what would happen. So during the audition, Marty and I were headbanging and cracked our heads together! We were a little stunned for a second and came out of it with nice lumps on our heads! We passed the audition!!!"
What exactly caused the split between you and Vixen, who continued with another singer called Lisa Ruiz?
Kim: "I just think our time was up. We had done what we were supposed to do at that point, and here “The Works” is released in the new millennium! Go figure! In 1982, I was feeling the push to move to Los Angeles. So when I left Vixen, I formed Malisha with Delian Shishido and Randy Hano, who wanted to move to Los Angeles as well. In the last few months on the island, we recorded five tracks."
How did you actually get in touch with the members of your new band Malisha?
Kim: "Delian returned to Oahu from Los Angeles, when he heard Vixen was looking for a bass player. He called me for an audition. I told him Vixen was over. I gave him Marty¹s number to check out what he¹s doing, and mentioned I wanted to get some recording done before heading for Los Angeles. He met with Marty, then with me and we started Malisha."
We all know about your great album “Serve Your Savage Beast”. How did the press react on this debut album? I believe, it got some very good reviews worldwide!
Kim: "Paul Suter, writer for Kerrang! magazine loved the Malisha track "Love For The Day". He said "it would make your grannies eyes mist over". It was in this article that the comparison of one of Marty's riffs in "Escape The Night" appeared in truncated form in Iron Maiden's "To Tame A Land". One of our fans was an Iron Maiden groupie, so as it goes, she shared a Vixen demo with Steve Harris and whoila! I know for a fact, that Marty didn¹t cop the riff from Steve! Whether it was an overt act or a subconscious event, I don't know. It was great publicity!
Why did you never record a follow up album?
Kim: "I was done for a while. Putting the album out was all on my shoulders and I needed a break. I took time off to put my attention on other things."
It’s 1992 now, and you join the ranks of the all female metal band Driven Steel. How did you get in touch with these metal ladies?
Kim: "I found guitarist, Julia Roberts, in a musician's directory. We set up a rehearsal with bassist, Kelley Heckart and drummer, Wade Brown. We liked each other's music and continued playing together for a couple years."
After 1993, we lost track of Kim La Chance. Can you please give us an update of what you did between 1993 and let’s say 2003?
KIm: "When I dropped out of sight, I began an intensive study of the healing arts. I've had innate healing abilities and metaphysical experiences most of my life. For instance, I've seen auras, felt energy emanating from living beings (i.e. people, plants, & animals), witnessed a physics theory event with my own eyes, etc. I created over eighty Aromatherapy formulations that heal and promote health naturally, that are used by healing professionals such as accupuncturists, energy workers, chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, homeopaths, Shamans, etc. On the music end of things, I wrote a rock album with keyboardist, Joell Bortkewicz. We made a preproduction recording only. Then I met up with my keyboardist/programmer in Spacedrums, Jim DeCicco, and we recorded two fully improvised New Age chill out albums on location in the environment with a battery rig to power our equipment. The first album was recorded on a sandy beach of Big Sur on the California coast and the second album in the ancient Sequoia Forest in central California. We took our favorite tracks from the two albums and combined them on a CD, which will be commercially released sometime in the near future under the name KrystalWerk.
What are you doing today in 2004, music wise? We hear that you sing in a band called Spacedrums, and we hear that you’re also a member of a band/ project Krystalwerk (which sounds very German to me!!!). Are there more projects or bands, that you’re involved with nowadays?
Kim: "Spacedrums! I love this band. Jim DeCicco is intense! Percussionist, Chaim Gueta is amazing! Our new album of Progressive Psychedelic Trance music, will be released internationally late June 2004, on Pyram-Axis Records. For more info at: http://www.pyramaxis.com. This new Spacedrums release is by far my best work. Yeah, KrystalWerk does sound eine bitte Deutsch! I got an offer to work on some heavy rock material recently, but I felt it would need more development than I have the time to put toward it at the moment. If the right metal project came around I¹d consider it."
How are the reactions of “The Works” so far?
Kim: "Critics either love it or don't. There was a self professed pop-rock writer, who reviewed it with less than favorable remarks. Writers of the metal genre and eighties underground scene are usually enthusiastic."
Don’t the positive reactions that you get on “The Works”, make you long to the days, that you were part of the heavy metal scene?
Kim: "Sure it does. I still feel the fire. But I have to say, I feel so much creative freedom in Spacedrums."
Do you have any other interests or hobbies besides playing music in a band?
Kim: "I do healing and energy work, create aromatherapy formulations, cook, bake, garden, ski, pilates, throw parties, and go clubbing. I love to go to the Rainbow, a legendary Hollywood rock hang on Sunset Blvd. I see Lemmy of Motorhead, Billy Sheehan of Niacin/Mr. Big, and Dave Shultz of the Goo Goo Dolls there all the time."
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Kim: "Have fun. Be fun. Play. Enjoy life. Have a light heart. And, rock on!"
Interview by: Toine van Poorten, for Headache magazine NL/2004
If you want to read the full interview, that I did for Metal Maidens magazine,
please surf to: http://www.metalmaidens.com.