|UNRULY CHILD and their self-titled debut from 1992 - one of the last great records from the classic "hair metal" era (see also the 'Just For The Record' episode of the debut, right here!). The AOR/Melodic Hardrock genre as we know/knew it pretty much 'died' an awful death merely a couple of months later. Thus why it's extra fun and special to hear about the news that the original line-up has returned to record a brand new 'comeback' album. Guitarist Bruce Gowdy (World Trade, Stone Fury) and keyboardist Guy Allison (World Trade, Doobie Brothers) are still hard at work in the studio for another month or so. However, what follows is quite a chat with their legendary vocalist, MARCIE FREE, since she's already done with her part and vocals in the studio. And yes, Marcie is formerly known as 'Mark Free' of King Kobra and Signal fame. It's old news by now anyhow and we're all interested to hear about the new music...
First of all, what's it like to record a new Unruly Child album in the year of 2010?
Marcie: It's truly been a remarkable experience. I am learning how to run my studio after having it for years now and never really doing anything with it. It's been challenging yet fun. But having been retired for so many years, I did have some fear of whether or not I could handle the job at first. I wasn't in the practice of singing every day or even every week or month sometimes, and I was fearful of whether or not I still "had it" so to speak. After I did the vocals for the second song though I was getting back in the swing and felt like things would be alright. I am sure glad it was a studio gig though instead of a live performance, as I might not have not been up for it. You know, I think I appreciate it much more now than I did when I was younger. Back then I was an angry and confused individual who used my voice to express my pent up emotions. Being older and equated with mind and body now gives me much greater appreciation for the hard work it truly is. Although sin
Did you ever expect or plan on returning to studio-work and new music?
Marcie: At first, after I left music, or felt more pushed out of music as a result of "coming out" with my gender issues, I seriously thought I would never sing again. I was deeply hurt and it took a considerable amount of time to deal with everything that had just happened. My first reaction was... well you'll never have Marcie Free to push around anymore. But over the years, I mellowed out and missed singing. Bruce and I started to talk and the timing was perfect for how everything played out. I am very excited about this album.
Would you say it's a continuation of Unruly Child's debut or a brand new chapter?
Marcie: In the beginning our label indicated to us that they would like it to be a continuation of our first record and in some respects we have tried to make it so. However I feel the songs have taken on their own metamorphis if you will, and are even better this time around. I see where we have evolved especially when it comes to our song writing and production quality. I feel it is a brand new chapter at the end of the day. Which is a good thing. :)
Did you (Unruly Child) come up with your material as the result of team-work?
Marcie: Yes. Absolutely. Our writing always comes from either a combination of Bruce and Guy, Bruce and I, or Bruce, Guy and I. Guy has an amazing nack for coming up with lyrics and melodies and pretty much everything. Bruce has an amazing nack for writing music and production. I come up with whole songs occasionally. But when Bruce and I write it usually is him doing the music and I do the melody and lyrics. It's kind of interesting but that seems to be the formula for what works the best. And we let sleeping dogs lie.
Any favourite songs and titles on the new album that you can share with us?
Marcie: I have a lot of favorites. I would say all of the songs but that would be cheating I suppose. A few highlights to mention would be: 1). Love Is Blind 2). Tell Another Lie 3). Talk To Me 4). You Don't Understand 5). It Feels Like The Very First Time. But there are many more. I am sure you all will agree once you hear it.
What's there to expect from a lyrical point of view?
Marcie: Mostly the same... love relationships gone bad. However they are a bit more poignant and clever I feel. Guy has written a great deal of the lyrics. I wrote a couple. "You Don't Understand", and "Show Me The Money". Show me the money is kind of a tounge in cheek thing about Wall Street and things that go on there. You Don't Understand is about my longing to belong and fit into society. My incongruent mind and body and how we all play mind games with each other.
Did the record label interfere with your sound and songs this time?
Marcie: No. They have given us complete creative control. Other than nudging us to come up with more up tempo songs Ie. On The Rise and such, they have basically left it up to us. Being the agreeable chaps we are we have tried to give them what they asked of us though. Songs are one thing, but we would never compromise our sound for anyone. We are too devoted to our craft for arts sake.
How would you describe the sound of Unruly Child to any potential new fan of the band?
Marcie: This is where it gets kind of tricky. I would say a mixture of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Bryan Adams, Foreigner, The Beatles, and Unruly Child. We have a unique sound all our own in many ways though. But melodically I feel we instinctively follow these types of bands paths and admire them all greatly. We all have been influenced by melodic rock. We should just play thrash metal as it would be a whole lot easier to describe. Ha.
You know, most folks would like to know about your voice or rather vocals, since they haven't heard you sing for many years. You've already done your part in the studio. Are you pleased with your contribution to the record?
Marcie: I am extemely pleased with what I did. The new equipment I bought for my studio Ie. my pre-amp and microhpone really made a huge difference in terms of the way everything sits in the track. I understand your/their concerns though. After all it isn't every day a man changes his sex and continues in the public eye. Yikes. I suppose that's a good thing. Especially one that was known as a male rock singer. But rest assured I always insisted that any physical change I went through would never change what God had given me in respect to my instrument. That being said it has not changed. But age does have it's affect on us all, and over the years of not performing or using my voice I feel I have lost a bit of the gruffness I used to be able to effortlessly effect my voice with. Especially in the upper range. But I think I am more picky than your average listener.
Would you say, considering everything, that your singing voice/vocals has changed since your last CD? (high/low range)
Marcie: No not really. What was my last CD anyway? Tormented? Well, again I say that my voice has changed as do all vocalists when getting older. We tend to lose the upper range the most. Like I said previously I feel I have lost a bit of the ability to hit higher notes I.e. High C above middle C and D above that with the exact same gruff edge I used to have. But it's interesting, the mid range of my voice has kind of spread, gotten thicker sounding if you will, and as a result has given me a more smoothness and mellowness that I am really digging a lot. It seems like my voice sits better in the track now too. A nice high edged smoothness. Sounds like I am critiquing a Cuban cigar or fine wine eh? It all fun and nauseating all at the same time.
Are you (still) going through any daily rituals? (vocal) Work on techniques, etc.
Marcie: I still do my scales occasionally while driving in my car to and from work. However I find most times now I can warm up simply by humming or doing some screaming. At the other drivers! :-D A good one I learned a long time ago, is to breath out by saying "Sssssssss" like a hissing snake while pushing the breath out with your diaphram. Or doing basically the same thing only when you breath out you vibrate your lips together and hum the scales.
Have you been good to your chords thoughout the years? :-) (smokin', etc.)
Marcie: Yes. It's kind of instinctive for me. A funny thing about smoking though. I always say I was born a smoker as both my parents smoked well into their sixties. When we were kids my parents would always have their friends over for bridge club ever other Saturday night. A bunch of drunkards puffing their heads off in our little 850 square foot home whilst my brothers and sisters and I were gasping for breath all night long. Of course monkey see, monkey do, so I took it up when I was 14 and smoked until my wonderful ex-wife Heidi nagged me to quit when I was 25. That was on September 18th 1979. I will never regret the day I took her advise. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
Are you finding it easier by now to express yourself in the studio? (vocal-wise)
Marcie: Hmmm this in an interesting question. I would say yes and no. I suppose on one hand I would say I find it a bit harder as I really don't have the emotional baggage I once had. Years of maturing and therapy have mellowed me and my emotions a bit. But then again... one never loses touch with ones inner self. I can teater on the dark side occasionally.
Who are your influences and heroes? (vocal, music-wise)
Marcie: Influenced by all the great songs of the sixties growing up gave me a very wide range of vocalists to chose from. I used to sing along to The Four Seasons, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Grand Funk Railroad, Three Dog Night, Smokey Robinson, Led Zepplin, you name it I sang it. But Aretha Franklin was one of my all time heros and I have given her many thanks over the years. Take a look at the credits on my previous albums and you'll find her name there. My father would always play all the great big band guys and force me to sit and listen with him. As much as I cringed and resisted I now appreciate all they had to bring to the table
What 3 words describe you best?
Marcie: Hyper. Sincere. Honest.
What's your favourite 80's albums?
Marcie: Now if you were to say 60's or 70's I would have a list a mile long. There were so many great 80's artists as well. I even found myself getting into the new wave stuff a bit. The Police would have to be on the list. Def Leppard's "Pyromania" and "Hysteria", Howard Jones, The Pretenders, Of course all the Journey and Foreigner records. Even Huey Lewis and the News. Just too many to mention I suppose. I have such a wide variety of artists I like. If you've ever sat and read all the names I listed on my My Space page who've influenced me over the years it will give you more of a detailed indication of what I am talking about.
You are in a balloon with Axl Rose, Gene Simmons, Tipper Gore and Simon Cowell - who would you throw out as ballast and why?
Marcie: You're a tricky guy aren't you? Well... let's see. I would probably throw out poor old Axl as he might try and influence me to do some lines to keep the balloon going higher and higher. On The Rise! Up up and away in my beautiful my beautiful ballooooooon. :-)
What is your guilty secret?
Marcie: Ben & Jerry's "Phish Food" ice cream. Chocolate of any sort.
What song do you identify with the most? (sorry, you can't pick one of your own songs)
Marcie: Good lord... only one!? Here's a good old one... How about, "One" by Three Dog Night.
What is the best TV theme tune ever?
Marcie: Again... there are so many great ones. But the number 1 of all time though without a doubt has to be, The Peter Gunn theme. The best thing Duane Eddy ever did. Next. Mission Impossible. Twilight Zone. Bonanza, Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeanie. The Beverly Hillbilly's. The Dick VanDyke Show, Gilligans Island, Batman, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... I don't watch a lot of T.V. do you think?
If there's anything you'd like to say, add, promote, please do:
Marcie: Awww... it's over already? Well, Wally you certainly have made this fun. I wish to thank you and your magazine for the opportunity to speak with the readers. I would just love to say that my fans and the fans of the work I've done over the years with the other members of my bands are the best fans in the whole world. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the respect, love and support you have shown me. I could not ask for anything more. May God bless each and every one of you and I hope that we all can meet on the road someday! Thank you again Wally and everyone at www.RockUnited.com
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,