Talking to Madame Mayhem About Her Cutting Room Show, Rock & Roll, And Making It

I may be the last person in the planet to not have visited the new Cutting Room. It’s all the rage, continuing its legacy of pushing the envelope in musical programming. Now, I have heard through the grapevine (how DID that expression get started?) that the folks in charge over there think Madame Mayhem is the realio dealio (again, how?) Anyway, I guess I’ll kill two birds with one stone (caveman expression?) and go check out her act and the venue next Friday or the Friday two weeks after. She has a bi-weekly residency and all the answers to all my questions below:

I’ve heard great things from the people over at The Cutting Room. Tell me about your residency there and the show next Friday.
The residency has been a blast! The band and I are having so much fun. Our next show is on Friday, March 22nd, and then we have another show at The Cutting Room on April 19th. It’s a high-energy show and you WON’T be disappointed if you come down to see me.

Tell me about the new Cutting Room.
It is a gorgeous venue with a classy and, most importantly, ROCK vibe. You have to really see it to understand how cool the place is. There’s a chandelier with guitars that I wish I could have and fit in my apartment. I feel so fortunate to be playing there!  It’s an upscale rock supper club that’s located at 44 E. 32nd Street.
Getting to play my music at a place that’s most recently hosted Billy Joel, Adam Levine, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, and is soon to have Guns N’ Roses’ Bumblefoot on the same night as me on April 19th kind of brings the whole WHITE NOISE album experience full circle.

The record features you guys plus plus plus…tell me about the collaborations.
My record “White Noise” was produced by Grammy winner Mark Hudson. He has worked with legends like Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, and Ringo Starr.  Working with Mark is always a good and crazy time and I learn a lot just being around him. Everyone that worked on this record is incredible, but what’s really cool for me is that we were able to get some rockin’ guest artists that I have admired for years to play on the record. They did it because they believed in the music, which was inspiring. They include:

Earl Slick – David Bowie, John Lennon, New York Dolls
Elliot Easton- The Cars, Blondie
Jonh Moyer – Disturbed, Adrenaline Mob
Rudy Sarzo- Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio

Working on this record with these legends was such an amazing learning experience and a humbling one at that!  You can download “White Noise” on iTunes.

What kind of music is on the album?
The genre is definitely rock. It’s orchestrated in terms of the way old-school rock ‘n’ roll was done 30 years ago, but is still so current in the way it relates to people today. It’s a musical listening experience that hard rock and even pop fans can enjoy.

What are your influences, your goals. Where are you in three or five years? Do I have a press pass to see you at the Garden.
INFLUENCES: I have a very eclectic taste in music so I try to incorporate different things into my music. I always joke that the reason I turned out the way I did, whether it be style, musical taste, anything really is my mom’s fault. Apparently, when I was baby, she would get sick of all the Rafi and Sesame Street tapes in the car and she would play what she loved: ’90s grunge. So yeah, Nirvana was my baby music, not to mention Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.
GOALS: My ultimate goal is to be able to do this for the rest of my life. Performing, being part of the industry. In terms of success, to me it’s being successful enough that I have the means necessary to be able to do this. I don’t think I’ll ever retire! More immediate goals are to be able to get on a tour with my band and just play EVERYWHERE! You know, spread the MAYHEM! WHEN I make it to the Garden you most certainly will get a press pass!

When did you start singing?
As early as I could talk, well, scream really. Making music and performing has been my dream since forever. There really hasn’t ever been anything else. I started off in musical theatre. I was a working actress at nine. I am classically trained in singing, dancing, and acting but I always knew that rocking out was what I wanted to do most. Not to mention I have been told by the people close to me that I’ll have a much longer life expectancy when I am doing what I love, since when I’m not performing or working, I’m not so pleasant to be around.

Rock and roll sells out stadiums but gets less respect in clubs in NYC. Is that true in L.A.?
People like you, Steve, and BlackBook are respected, and when you get the word out to people who usually go out to lounges or dance clubs – you give them the idea to try something new. On March 8th, The Cutting Room had over 200 people who had never been there before and never knew it existed. They are exactly the crowd that would never have gone to a rock show had they never received an invitation to see something new. They had an invite to see Madame Mayhem and weren’t sure what to expect. We ended up with a packed room, standing-room only, with an eclectic crowd that are now turned onto a new sound. I think the respect comes from people who are open to trying new things and who spread the rediscovery of rock around to people who otherwise wouldn’t know where to find it.

I have been having an amazing time playing here in NYC, since its home to me. Being able to play venues like The Cutting Room, Mercury Lounge, and a last-minute guest performance with Adrenaline Mob last night at Webster Hall has been amazing.  But I do know that rock ‘n’ roll over the past few years hasn’t been the easiest genre to succeed in, but my goal is to bring rock back to where it belongs, to the masses!

In LA, you can’t go very far without bumping into rock ‘n’ rollers, which for me was really cool especially since I was out there making the record. The Sunset Strip may not be exactly what it used to be back in its glory days, but it’s still the place to go to see live music and especially ROCK! I got to perform on the strip at The Viper Room a few times and The Roxy while I was out there and I have to say the rock and music community there really feels like a dysfunctional crazy family that you would never trade!

How does a band make money these days when everything is downloaded?
I am learning quickly that the industry is not like it used to be. As technology evolves, the music industry and artists have to evolve with it. It’s a lot of trial and error.

You’re doing well. What advice do you have to a bunch of 18-year-old kids talking about forming a band?
All I can say is DO IT! Pursue your dream NO MATTER WHAT obstacles get in your way. It takes a lot of hard work, thick skin, but most importantly passion. If music is your life (like it is mine), than it’s what you have to do and ENJOY the ride!!

Follow Madame Mayhem on Twitter here

Your Tuesday Night Out With ‘108 Rock Star Guitars’

It is my honor to be the DJ at a party tonight—Tuesday, October 8—celebrating the release of  108 ROCK STAR GUITARS from author photographer Lisa Johnson. This is the ultimate rock and roll coffee table book. The event will take place at the Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street), doors are at 5pm, so there are no excuses from the old school rockers. I’ll spin during the book signing from 6pm till 8pm, at which point Vanilla Fudge lead gutarist Vinny Martell will perform with the Les Paul Trio with Paul Nowinski on Bass with special guest Pearl Thompson(formerly Porl Thompson of The Cure). I’m told there will also be special guests. The shindig will benefit the Les Paul Foundation.

  The Les Paul Foundation

  • Awards grants to music, music engineering and sound programs that serve youth.
  • Establishes music-related scholarships at schools and programs for students.
  • Provides grants for medical research and programs related to hearing impairment.
  • Supports public exhibits displaying Les Paul’s life achievements.

I asked Adam Sands of The Cutting Room about the event:   How did you get involved? I used to work with Les Paul at the Iridium. Working at The Cutting Room now, doing promotions and booking some acts. I booked Vinny Martell (Vanilla Fudge Guitarist) with the Les Paul Trio, to benefit the Les Paul Foundation.    The Cutting Room is hot—tell me about it. Cutting Room is co-owned by Chris Noth (Mr. Big – Sex and the City). Recently opened, it’s a hot new music venue! The book signing is from 6pm to 8pm, with performance 8pm to 10pm. Here is the list of rock star’s guitars in the book:    

ACE FREHLEY
ADRIAN BELEW
ALEX LIFESON
ANN WILSON
BEN HARPER
BILLY GIBBONS
BONNIE RAITT
BRIAN ROBERTSON
BRIAN MAY
BRIAN SETZER
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
CARLOS SANTANA
CHRIS DREJA
CHRISSIE HYNDE
COLONEL B HAMPTON
DAVE MASON
DAVE MUSTAINE
DAVE NAVARRO
DAVID GOODIER
DEAN DeLEO
DEREK TRUCKS 

and many, many more. Check out more about the book HERE.