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Artists and Bands

Plastic, Queen and Musical Suits: An interview with Visqueen’s Rachel Flottard

Rachel Flottard, lead singer of Seattle-based rock band Visqueen, recently sat down to talk to R&RR about the band’s latest album, Message to Garcia, fighting bioterrorism, Bugs Bunny as inspiration and much more…

Q: As you probably know, Visqueen is a plastic material that was thought to be useful against a bioterrorist threat, so was there a particular message that you wanted to send by using that as a name? How did you come up with it?

 

A: Well, it had “Queen” in it. We are all Freddie Mercury addicts. Technically, the fabulous Kim Warnick, our bassist at the time, actually picked the name. It was a word she’d always liked as a kid and it resonated with the rest of us. Only by default did we turn out to be fighters of bioterrorism. It actually made me feel bad for Anthrax. Especially Scott Ian’s beard.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Rhone-ing on Empty

Marty Rhone – Born To Rock
Self Released

During the genesis of rock and roll, it would be safe to say there were few classically trained singers among the early pantheon of great rockers. Sure, they could all carry a tune for the most part or they wouldn’t have become famous, but most either had an overwhelming personality or were overflowing with charisma which covered for their lack of vocal prowess and allowed the pure energy and anarchy which fueled the primitive power of the music to shine through without being saddled with the added nuisance of having to be a flawless singer. Of course, rock and roll was always considered to be musically rudimentary trash by those who loved “real” music such as classical or jazz. We know today these sentiments are untrue and a lot of classical and jazz musicians doubled in the studio as rock session musicians whenever the need (the musician’s need for money, mostly) struck but for years the opinion stood. And rock and roll artists and promoters didn’t mind. They were only too happy for rock and roll to be seen as the music of youth and rebellion (as long as the parents gave the kids money to buy the records) and to be known as a trained musician or vocalist was to betray rock and roll’s proletarian ethics. But, that all changed to a large degree when Elvis Presley hit the charts, as he became the standard for singers in the rock world for many years. While not classically trained, Presley’s voice was unique and he had a natural way with melody, possessing a pure tone which enthralled listeners. By the time the ’70’s rolled around and rock began to evolve into a more progressive music and led to bands such as Journey, Yes and the like, being a trained singer was seen as a benefit, since rock had now become part of the establishment and had embraced classical (Moody Blues) and jazz (Weather Report, Mahavishnu). While accepted at the time, the notion of claissically trained rock singers became a slippery slope. For every Freddie Mercury there was a David Hasselhoff. Not a good sign! While classically trained vocalists are still to be found in rock and roll, most wind up on Broadway or in Vegas where they rightfully belong.

Which brings us to Marty Rhone and his new release Born To Rock.