Lizzy Borden has been bringing his own style of heavy metal music to fans since 1983. Along with his defining music, he is also known for his elaborate stage shows. Screamer Magazine sat down with Borden to talk about the beginnings of his career to his latest album release, My Midnight Things. Borden’s music and theatrical shows were influenced by some of the musical greats, such as David Bowie, KISS and Alice Cooper. Other musical influences include The Tubes and Blue Oyster Cult. “All of the great songs that have been around the last thirty or forty years are here for a reason. They were well written – they knew how to write songs back then,” he said. When asked how the band got its start, he said, “I put an ad out looking for a guitar player and bass player to form a ‘theatrical rock band’…I wasn’t interested in just being in a band. I wanted it to be a theatrical performance right from the beginning,” Borden explained.
Some may be surprised to know that Lizzy Borden’s name didn’t come directly from the famous ax wielding murderess. He explained, “I knew that all the people I was influenced by had changed their name and created a persona, so that’s what I was going to do. At that time in the early ‘80s horror movies were really big. Also, at that time, Lizzy Borden was a faint folk tale. This was before all the big movies and TV shows. I didn’t use the original story line…I just took the name and ran with it. I created my own persona.”
My Midnight Things is Borden’s first release since his 2007 release, Appointment with Death. His latest release has a little something for everyone, as it showcases a diverse range of sounds, tones and moods. When asked why he waited seven years to release a new album, he said, “Because the music industry collapsed and I had the old ‘80s record deal. It didn’t make any sense to continue that because it doesn’t work in today’s world like the old way of doing things. So, I decided to continue to tour and not make records anymore because I couldn’t make it work. As soon as Metal Blade Records figured out how to adapt to the situation – quite a lot of their records are in the Top 10 of Billboard Records – they really figured out how to do it rather than other labels. I was convinced to go back to recording and get a proper record deal and management.”
Borden wanted to stay with his influences for My Midnight Things. “I didn’t want it watered down with other musicians coming in with their influences and this and that. I really wanted to stay true to my influences, which is mostly ‘70s. So, with the album, I didn’t muddy the waters with a bunch of different things. I stayed true to the vision I originally had,” he said. As far as how this album differs from previous albums, he said this is the main thing.
Borden said that the theme of My Midnight Things is love. As far as the recording process, he did it a little differently than past times. The first thing he did it focus on the lyrics and then wrote the music around them. “I just let the lyrics drive the mood and the way I would sing each song, but overall I kept it varied and engaging enough so that listeners will want to devour the whole album in one sitting, without you hearing me repeat myself,” Borden said of his process. In addition, “I didn’t want this album to be a showcase for musicians. I wanted the song to be the star, so that was my first order of business. Every good song has a great riff; every great song has a great chorus and a verse that moves the story along. I concentrate of each parts of a new song because I want to make sure that all the parts are good,” Borden explained. That’s one of the reasons why it took so long to make this record. He wanted to take his time to ensure that every song was good and catchy, and he did that with all the songs.
Borden is no stranger to change and he has evolved greatly over the years. He said, “I’ve evolved by working with producers and I’ve never had the same lineup except for Joey Scott on drums. We’ve had different musicians coming through.” He went on to further explain that the real evolution is in the songwriting and the shows. “The shows evolve because of the audience. In the ‘80s, the audience was very young and then they started to grow a little older and that would change the dynamic of what songs we would play. Now we’re back to touring among young kids again in Europe and all around the world, so now that changes the dynamic of what songs we play,” he said. As far as evolving, Borden says that you have to evolve along with your audience.
Borden has some very devout fans that are ready for the live shows. He’s currently in the process of working on the live shows, including the theatrics and production in addition to finding the right musicians to perform at the upcoming shows. Borden said, “I’ve already started working on the My Midnight Things show, and I really can’t wait to play these songs live. There are so many talented players out there in the world, I know I will find the right guys or girls to be on stage with me in my touring band, and just based on what is being talked about, so far it will be the best show I’ve ever done. I really do feel a new excitement that I have not felt in years. The best is yet to come.”