måndag 4 juni 2012

Intervju med Athena Lee.

På Sweden Rock Festival 2007 hade jag det stora nöjet att möta och sedan hänga hela kvällen med den charmanta Athena Lee. Jag gjorde någon månad senare en lång telefonintervju med henne och tacka vare alla sociala medier som finns idag, har vi hållit kontakten de senaste åren.
När jag fick reda på att hon skulle vara med i en ny tv-serie, "Ex wives of rock" och samtidigt läste att hon hade en bok på gång, tyckte jag det kunde vara läge att återigen ringa upp Athena i LA och ta ett snack.
Athena är numera skild från sin man James Kottak (Scorpions) och verkar vara väldigt tillfreds med livet.
Det blev ett långt snack igen om bla boken, musikplaner, tv-serien, sminkning av Poison och om hon har hört något från den kommande plattan med brorsans band, Mötley Crüe.

Hey, it´s Nick from Stockholm!

Athena: Hey Nick from Stockholm!

How are you?

Athena: I´m good. Damn, I haven´t talked to you in years.

No, it must´ve been in 2007, I think.

Athena: Oh my god! I´m a grown up now. (laughs)

So am I!

Athena: Wow! You came out here with your dad, didn´t you?


Athena: And I didn´t even get to see you. I don´t even think I was here.

The thing was that we made the whole round trip and then I e-mailed you about hooking up the night we came back, but you were playing somewhere in Beverly Hills and we just couldn´t go because we were flying out real early the morning after. Next time!

Athena: Yeah! Did you ever see friends of mine, Blowsight? They´re from where you are.

I know. I think I saw them live once opening up for someone when they were starting out. For a year or two there were flyers and posters of Blowsight all over town and then it all kinda faded away. I know you toured with them.

Athena: Yeah, they´re a good band and the coolest nicest guys ever. I can´t believe they put up with our bullshit and we still remain friends. It´s awesome. I love those guys. They´re like my brothers, the von Crapp brothers.

Right. The whole “Ex wives of Rock” thing (Bobbie Brown, Sharise Neil, Athena Lee and Susan Blue Ashley), how did that get started and how did you get into that? Are you friends with Lorraine Lewis (singer in Femme Fatale and co-producer) since way back or…?

Athena: Yeah, listen to this, this is crazy! They had already had the show going on and I knew nothing about it. In fact I was still married at the time when they were doing the show and Lorraine and I were friends and honestly I didn´t know anything about it because they were keeping it a secret, even from me. I was her friend. I sat in on drums with LA Nookie, which is Lorraine Lewis´. It´s like a rock and roll cover band, but it´s great and I sat in with them and from that night we just became great friends because I didn´t really know her before that, we had just talked on the phone. We became great friends and all of a sudden… I told her that “Yup, I had to file for divorce and I just found out a grip of stuff that I didn´t never want to find out.”. Lorraine goes… and she waited a while to because she didn´t want to benefit off of my divorce. She waited a while till it all kinda sunk in and she asked me and I was like “Are you kidding me? Right now would be the best thing ever because I´d get paid to hang out with my friends, are you kidding me?”. That´s what I needed and the show is not about them. I´m sure they´d like it to be, but it´s not. It´s got nothing to do with them. It´s just about us and the only reason it even says “Ex wives of rock”, is because that´s how we all met each other years ago. We were all married to guys in rock bands and even they were all in the same band at one time, except for Vince. It´s just how we know each other. One of them I know for sure is waiting there to be like talked about or something, but it´s not gonna happen. It´s not about that. I´m not being mean, I´m just saying like it is. I hope people who are fans of those bands don´t tune in and expect to see them, because they´re not in it.

Is it coming out in Canada? At least that´s what I´m reading.

Athena: Yeah. You know what, it´s a Canadian production. It´s Tricon Pictures (Films) so they own it so it has to air in Canada first before anywhere. They don´t tell us anything, I hate it, but it starts August 29th on the Slice network. When it comes here or when it comes out to you, we don´t know. They won´t tell us. Probably because we are blabbermouths. (laughs) We just have to wait and we don´t find out until everybody else finds out. We even film stuff, we don´t even know what´s going on until we see it. We haven´t even seen it.

You haven´t?

Athena: Nope. We don´t live in Canada so we won´t be able to see it, but what we´re doing though is that we´re having a huge party here, like a viewing party, so we will get to see it before it starts. Probably that day, because they don´t want us to tell anybody what happens in it. Good times.

But the plan is to air it in the US after Canada and perhaps even world wide?

Athena: Of course. That´s are hopes anyway. Keep your fingers crossed. It´s a really good show. Like if I didn´t know me, I would watch it. It´s that funny.

Yeah, I saw the trailer but now I can´t find it.

Athena: Oh, you know why? That wasn´t a real trailer. That was somebody at Tricon who had just taken footage and they kinda made their own trailer and that was before it was even edited or anything, so that´s not the real show and when Tricon found out, they yanked it. That almost made it look like it was about the guys to be honest and it´s not. That wasn´t supposed to come out. It was just somebody playing around. There will be another one.

Is it in any way scripted?

Athena: Zero. (laughs) Not in the least. I think that´s why it´s so funny. You see a lot of these shows and they take people who are strangers and they don´t know each other and sometimes they just stick you in a house for a week with unlimited booze and then watch you like freaks to see what happens. This is not like that. We all know each other and there´s plenty to talk about and there´s plenty to do. They don´t need a script. Oh, you know what? Shannon Tweed narrates our show.

Yeah, I read that.

Athena: Can you believe it? How rad is that. She´s the ultimate rock wife. I can´t even imagine what she´s had to deal with. It´s gotta take a pretty strong woman to be her. She´s gorgeous and she´s from Canada.

Definitely. What´s it like having cameras following you around? Do you forget about them?

Athena: Yeah and that´s not a good thing. They´re not really in your face. They´re just kinda there, but they don´t get in your face so it´s really easy to forget that they´re there and I think that´s usually when some of the funniest stuff comes out, when you´re hanging out and you forget they´re there. I didn´t think that could happen because I´ve watched shows before and I go “That guy is being a bonehead. He has to know they´re there?”, but even though you know they´re there, just for a few minutes here and there, you forget. It´s not like there´s huge lighting rigs, it´s not like that.

I also found out that you´ve got book coming out.

Athena: I do.

Is it called “Coming in second”?

Athena: No, that´s actually a chapter in it. What happened is that as things kinda evolved, we changed the title because I´m not really sure which one we´re gonna use yet, but I´ll know soon. (Athena has since told me that the correct title for the book is Girls don´t play drums. Editor´s note)“Coming in second” almost sounded like…, if you don´t know me, it almost sounds like a victim, like “Oh, poor me coming in second.”. That´s not what it meant though. There´s nothing said and I don´t feel sorry for myself. None of that. I didn´t come in second so I don´t want anybody to take things the wrong way. There´s no pity party over here. It´s all good. It´ll be a chapter and you´ll get to see how that title involves just about everything. I can´t explain it, you just have to read it! It makes sense to me because I already know what it means. That made no sense to you, did it? (laughs) 

It did. When did you start writing it?

Athena: Actually, about a year ago. No, no, no what am I saying? Two years ago. It´s always been a thought. Kinda like “Oh my god, there´s so much stuff!” and here´s what I thought honestly, “Nobody cares! Who gives a shit what I think?”, but then there´s a lot of stuff that I´ve been through and dealt with and seen. I had some friends, because what I was doing was that I was just writing for myself and after I filed for divorce, within a month I wrote probably 40 or 50 songs. You know how people put out they´re break up album or whatever. I just had some friends and I started working with them and they´re going “God, this is great but really, please write a book!”. Some of this stuff is just so fucking crazy that if you´re not me and you´re watching it from the outside, you just go “This is insane!”, but when you´re living it you don´t see it that way. You know how you´ll watch somebody else and you watch what they´re doing and you´re going “Don´t you see what´s going on? It´s retarted. Get out of it! Why are you doing it?”, you know what I mean? But when it´s you, you seem to put up with more stuff and I don´t know. You just hope for the best. There´s a lot.

So it´ll be from when you were a kid up till present then?

Athena: Exactly. There´s a lot of detail in there. There can´t even really be a song. It just makes more sense. You could write as many songs as you want and you can tell a little bit of a story but this is all stuff… if you ever want real therapy? Write a fucking book! I´m serious. Once you write it and you see it from another standpoint instead of just sitting in your head, when you put it out of your head and on the paper, you just go “Wow, man! I can´t believe I didn´t see that.”. I´m a bonehead. I´m not some kinda saint. I´m an idiot and I have no problem admitting that. (laughs)

Well, we all are.

Athena: I know. (laughs)

I remember reading Steven Adler´s book and you´re in it.

Athena: Ah, yes. (laughs) What was that? One crazy night in New York, right?


Athena: Yeah, we got funky. It was fun. A friend of mine forwarded me the paragraph. Actually I´m reading the book right now. It´s on my table. Somebody gave it to me because there´s a lot more. I know Steven very well. He´s a sweetheart and he´s been a friend for 25 years, so I´m reading it now but I have barely gotten into it. I remember that so well. We were in a suite and it was Jackie Gleason´s old suite where he used to stay when they were filming “The Honeymooners”. It was the biggest fireplace I had ever seen in my life and we were in the fireplace partying. It fit us standing up. It was maybe 8 or 9 ft tall and of course me I´m all “C´mon, let´s party in the fireplace!”, so we were inside the fireplace. Nevermind, I think you can imagine the rest.

Oh yeah.

Athena: (laughs)

Last time I talked to you, you mentioned that way back in the early 80´s you did makeup and stuff for bands like Dokken. Is that gonna be in the book as well?

Athena: Yes. I actually did the… you know I see Rikki (Rokket) now because we´re doing the Rokket drums and he actually guests on our show and it´ll be really exciting for Poison fans. It´s great for them to see him like he really is. He´s hanging out and he´s hilarious. I did make up for them and I actually got them their first gig when they came to LA and I did make up for “Look what the cat dragged in”

Never seen such pretty girls.

Athena: You know what they said to me? I´m like “What do you want? What do you wanna do?” and they just go “Make me look like you!” and I go “Oh, that´s easy.”. (laughs) So I did their makeup exactly how I would do mine. There you have it. (laughs)

Have you had any help writing the book or is it just you?

Athena: I´m definitely working with someone. I´ve got a ghost writer. I´m pretty scattered when it comes to… you know when you start on one subject and all of a sudden you have all these memories that just pop up like “Oh my god I forgot about that.”. I just have somebody who keeps me focused. Keeps me on the subject and then will get to the other subjects later. It´s real easy for me to just go off in my head and come up with 15 different scenarios and not finish any of them. I have “shiny ball” syndrome and couldn´t do it without her.

Do you have any kind of release date? This year or next year?

Athena: Next year. It was this year, but so much happened that I actually had to go back and just rewrite an entire year basically. What I saw was that my last year wasn´t even close. I just found out more and more and it´s just a crazy ass year and if I wasn´t gonna be honest, I wasn´t gonna do it. For somebody who would read this and think it´s about somebody else, it´s not. It´s not about somebody else at all. It´s about me and how I found out stuff. There´s no blaming, there´s no anything. Anybody else is not even a focus. It´s all about me and what I was doing and what I was dealing with. It´s very fucking selfish Niclas.

It should be. It´s your book.

Athena: (laughs) I´m just kidding, but I wasn´t set out to focus on anybody else. That´s not my deal. I could care less.

I´m looking forward to it. I love stuff like that. You must´ve had a quite a rough year with the divorce and then your mother passed away, right?

Athena: Yeah, she died, on March 9th and Mother´s day is coming up in a few days. It´s gonna be weird. She was also really, really sick and we had some scares. She´d actually flat lined before and there was a time where we had to go out to Laughlin and basically sign papers removing her from life support and she breathed! It´s kind of like “Wow, she´s cool. She just wants to hang out.”. She´s one of the strongest women I´ve ever met and hopefully I can be that way once I get… I mean, I´m totally different than I was a year ago.

Yeah, stuff like that really…

Athena: It makes you grow up.


Athena: You don´t have any parents now. Everything turns around on you. When you´re young you don´t even imagine being the parent because you always have one, or two and then all of a sudden you´re faced with not having any and you´re the responsible one, it´s pretty heavy.

You´ve got three kids and I´ve been checking out Bad Suns and it´s good.

Athena: Yeah, Miles!

I was thinking, with you and your brother playing drums and the whole rock thing, I thought Bad Suns was gonna be something like that, but it´s more in the vein of The Strokes or something like that.

Athena: You know Miles is extremely musical. Nobody in the family taught him to play. It was his thing. I would like sneak up behind him with a video camera when he was five years old and he would be playing on… his sister had a little toy salon, which is funny because she´s a hairdresser now. I didn´t put that together until right now. Look what I started. It had a chair and a sink and one of those faucets like who they wash your hair at the salon? Anyway, he would sit in the chair and lean over and sing into the faucet like it was a microphone and I would bust him. He was like that from jump. He took every kind of drumming you could take in school. Concert band, jazz band, marching band and he just kinda knows what he´s doing.

Have they released a full length album yet?

Athena: I´m not really sure. Things are happening so fast with them. I know they just finished an EP. As far as him not playing the heavy stuff? He can and he likes it, but he´s smart in knowing that there´s also a limited audience for that. He wants to do this for a living and make money. He wants to make sure that he can do this for life. He plays guitar and he sings and he wrote the theme song for our TV-show. He wrote the music for it and Lorraine Lewis and myself wrote the lyrics and we recorded it at my brother´s studio The Atrium.

Not too bad.

Athena: He´s 18 years old and wrote his first TV-show theme song. That doesn´t suck.

Your kids, are they living with you or have they moved out?

Athena: Well, Miles is 19 and Toby´s 21 and Matt will be 15 in a few days. He´s still figuring his thing out. He´s a good kid, but he´s 15 and we´ve all been 15.

True. What´s it like being a single mother in Hollywood?

Athena: You know what? I´ve been a single mother for the last 22 years, so it´s the same thing. I´m just being honest. I am and I have been. It´s been that way since they were born. The only thing that´s different now is that I can have boyfriends.

Good for you. A single mom with benefits.

Athena: Yes! (laughs)

I saw a video with this guy Scott Carey. Who´s that? He´s a pretty boy.

Athena: He´s amazing! Keep your eye out for this one! He´s great and he´s getting his thing going in the country. Me and Bobbie Brown are in the video (Cougar). They actually called her because they knew her from back in the “Cherry pie” video and now it´s supposed to be a few years later and she´s still hot. Hello! They asked if I could come in and play drums with him and I was kinda nervous and I go “I have never played in a country band in my life!” so I was laughing about it. Then I heard the song and it´s just a rock song basically, with country lyrics. Then I went down there and filmed the video and Honestly, I don´t think I´ve ever laughed that hard. They´re some fun people and Scott´s so talented and as you can see, definitely not hard to look at. (laughs) God, that was a rough day. (laughs) We just had a blast doing it and he´s actually releasing the video the last weekend in June in Nashville, and Bobbie and I are flying out there for the premiere. It´s gonna be amazing. If he wants to do live shows, I´m right here.

I read somewhere that there´s a possibility of an album coming out? Are you working on stuff right now?

Athena: I actually have the songs already, but I still have to get together with some musicians because it´s really hard… the hardest part is getting everybody’s schedule together. That´s the hardest part. The music is easy and fun when you get together, but the hardest part is getting together because people are touring. That´s the only thing that´s left, when we can all really get together and sit down at the same time and that´s when it´s all gonna start coming together. Right now it´s just not the time, with the show and the book. Unfortunately, that´s last on the burner, but I think it´s worth the wait.

Any names you´ll be working with that people know of?

Athena: Eeehhh, no. (laughs) Yes, but we´ll get that together later.

Excellent. Is it gonna be hard rock or rock?

Athena: No, no. Definitely not. I was a dancer my whole life and it is definitely not pop. You know what they all say, it´s dance but it´s heavy. Heavy dance, let´s put it that way. It´s super hooky. I´ve never been one for going into the room and kill everybody. I fucking hate that. It´s just not in me. I did play it for years, but I´m not saying I liked it. I´m all about a groove and that keeps me interested.

Are you hanging out with Pam Anderson these days?

Athena: I haven´t seen her. Actually I haven´t seen her for a while. My brother´s girlfriend Sophie is awesome and she´s a great girl. She´s a dancer and she´s a singer and they work on music together. I´m not saying that´s why I haven´t seen Pam. Pamela´s just not around.

I totally understand. Finally, have you heard anything of the new Mötley Crüe stuff?

Athena: Eeehhmm, no.


Athena: (laughs) You don´t believe me, do you?

No, not at all. (laughs)

Athena: I´m a liar. No, I´m not a liar. I haven´t. They were recording it over at the house (Tommy´s) and my mom was there. She was there up until she died. She was staying there and had her hospice nurses and stuff and they were there recording downstairs. That´s it.

Cool. You gonna go see him on the KISS tour?

Athena: Of course! I couldn´t see them during the Vegas one. It flew by and I was all over the place, but I´ll get to see a lot of the same show that I missed and that´s gonna be great. That´s gonna be such a huge tour. Maybe I´ll be hanging with Shannon Tweed, you never know.

Have you got anything else going on besides the show, the book, the album?

Athena: No, I just keep in practice and I do play with people and I sit in with people, but unless an amazing tour comes to me and asks me to play and it´s already rolling, I´m in. If I like the music and I like the people, I´m there. I´m totally available to play in that sense, but as far as me starting right now and having the time to put something together from scratch, I just don´t have it in me. Number one, I don´t have the time and number two, right now I´m all about enjoying my life.

Sounds like you have a full plate and I´m real happy for you Athena.

Athena: It was good to talk to you, finally. I was talking with the girls the other day and we were talking about when you get older and settle down and I go “You know what? After all this stuff, I would love to have a place here for life, but I almost see myself living almost nomadically. Like not really locking into anything. I felt that I was locked down for so long and I don´t wanna be that way. What I would like to do is just rent a place that is mine and mine to keep or whomever I´m with and if I´d want to, just live in Greece for a summer or go anywhere and because of all the issues that Greece has been having, you can get dual citizenship by having Greek blood relative citizens! I Just wanna check things out. There´s a huge planet out there and as much as I love LA, I´ve been here and done that. I was born and raised here. I just kinda see myself floating around happily. Having a solid home is great, but I´m never again gonna lock myself into anything because life´s too short. You gotta see it.

So true. I´m actually gonna write for another blog about when we met at Sweden Rock Festival. It was a real fun experience and I had a blast. First me and my buddy interviewed Rudolf Schenker ans he was sitting there with his shirt off and there was this really young girl sitting next to him and we kept thinking “Is this his daughter or girlfriend or really young wife?” all through the interview.

Athena: (laughs) Right. That was a good night. It was fun. I loved it there but I didn´t get to see enough of it. But just driving into there, I was blown away by how beautiful it was. I´ll be back.

Cool. Thank you so much for taking the time and we´ll definitely talk again soon.

Athena: Cool Niclas!

Bad Suns HÄR


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