Alexis Brown - Straight Line Stitch
Interview with Straight Line Stitch’s Alexis Brown
By Barbara Fara
President and CEO
MI: What is your birth date, my dear? You don’t have the year.
AB: Oh, no, I don’t mind. September 4, 1982.
MI: Oh my god, you’re a baby.
AB: I don’t feel like a baby, I feel old.
MI: You feel like an old soul.
AB: Yes, I do. Well, I guess just touring all the time, I feel old.
MI: Tell me, who are the members of your band, Straight Line Stitch?
AB: Okay, we have Seth Thacker on rhythm guitar, we have Pat Patterson on lead guitar, Jason White on bass, and we have Patrick Haynes on drums.
MI: How does a girl from Tennessee become a death growling metal singer?
AB: All I can say is that I put myself out there – I KNEW this was what I wanted to do – and I just went for it. Every since I was a kid I wanted to be a singer, but my brother, he was the one that had a rock band. I looked up to my brother and I wanted to do everything he was doing and that’s how I got into rock. I started singing for his band, and when that fell apart I just kept doing it. I just kept trying to put myself out there and I finally got in a band, and we played some shows, and that’s how I met these guys.
MI: What’s your brother’s band doing now?
AB: Oh lord, my brother doesn’t even have a band now. He’s in the military – he is a military man.
MI: Is he overseas?
AB: Well, he just came back. This was his second time going.
MI: They’re not reenlisting him, are they?
AB: I don’t think so. Everybody’s trying to come back!
MI: How did you get Monica Seide as your PR?
AB: Our label is responsible for that. She is a super lady. We are very lucky to have her on our team.
MI: How did you end up on KOCH, my dear?
AB: Our management, Raging Nation Management/Raging Nation Films, Dale Resteghini – he got us a showcase and got John Frank and Scott Givens to come out and they saw us and said, okay, okay…and then Dale made us a video and that us closed the deal. That’s how we got signed to KOCH.
MI: And that’s the video that’s out now?
AB: We have two videos out now. We have the “Remission” video which is us spinning around and everything and then we have the one that just came out and it’s called “Black Veil” and it is stunning, like the visuals and everything are just great. Everyone is loving that video.
MI: Who were your vocal influences growing up?
AB: Oooh, Stevie Nicks – she’s my favorite singer in the whole wide world - and Sade. Yes, I am a big Stevie Nicks fan, and I’ve never gotten to see her live! It’s a travesty.
MI: Who do you compare yourself to vocally?
MI: That is a good answer. Who were your musical influences growing up?
AB: Oh gosh, I’ve had so many musical influences growing up. Of course you have Pantera, White Zombie…but I was raised on old music, like Stevie Wonder, old Motown, that was the stuff I listened to. Like that was my thing, I love old music. Even now, I listen to 50’s and 60’s stuff, like CCR, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, stuff that goes way back. I just love old music. Pretty weird.
MI: Oh, no that’s not weird at all. Believe it or not, I grew up on all country music with my mother, and then we taught HER about the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, the whole nine yards… (laughs) Outside of singing, do you play any other sort of instruments?
AB: I was trying to play the acoustic guitar, but nah, it’s not really working out. I’ve taught myself to strum a few cords and that’s about it.
MI: Tell me about the beautiful artwork on the cover of your new CD, When Skies Wash Ashore. Who designed that?
AB: A gentleman named Alex McVey. He’s done stuff for Stephen King and a couple other people that I can’t think of off the top of my head. But he’s a pretty well known artist, and he’s a super guy. He’s a big fan of the band, so designed not only this album cover, but he also did our EP, The Word Made Flesh.
MI: Now, how did you get involved with Dale from Raging Nation?
AB: We were actually on tour with our best friends, a band called No Life, and we were touring together and their drummer is actually good friends with Dale’s wife Kim, and she’s part of our management as well. And they had a meeting to go see them and went along with them to the meeting and Dale just caught a hold of us and he followed us for a year and was like, “I want to sign this band, they have something.” So he was a crucial part of getting us signed.
MI: I heard the video for “Remission” was filmed here in Atlanta. Where was it filmed?
AB: It was filmed in a very pretty part of Atlanta….ohhh…a very rich area….what is it called?! Right when we’re done with the interview, it will come to me.
MI: Why did you retool “Remission” into “Promise Me”? What changes did you make and why?
AB: Well, to start off, “Remission” was a great song, but we felt like it had more potential. So we wanted to mature the song out, add more dynamics to it.
MI: What is your favorite track off the album?
AB: My favorite track off the album would have to be...I love the “Taste of Ashes” song that I did with Jamey Jasta, I love how that song came out, so much better than I expected, because I had a little trouble when I was writing that song by myself. It came out way better than I ever expected.
MI: What was it like to work with Jamey Jasta?
AB: He was cool! Let me tell you, he is going in 50 million places at once, he is a busy man – and I have nothing but respect for that. He was a sweetheart; really, really nice.
MI: If you had the chance to sign with his private label, Stillborn Records, would you have done it?
AB: I would say, nothing against him, but I love where we’re at. KOCH takes care of us, and there’s not a bunch of bands…I mean, they have bands, but they cater to each and every band. I don’t know too much about his label, but I am really happy with our label. I couldn’t have asked for a better label to be honest with you.
MI: KOCH is really growing. They really take care of their people.
AB: Scott Givens, I love Scott Givens. He is just really a cool guy.
MI: How do you compare yourself with Otep and Angela Gosgow from Arch Enemy?
AB: I think those women, they stand on their own. And I stand on my own. They both have their own signature sound and I look up to those women and I think it’s cool. We all stand our own ground. I hope that’s not disrespectful at all, because I think they are great.
MI: So what you’re saying is that Otep has her own way of doing things, Angela has her own way of doing things, and you have your own way of doing things. You respect each one as they are…
AB: We’re totally different entities. We each have our own little niches.
MI: If you could have lunch with three people, living or dead, who would it be?
AB: That’s a good question – make me think! This is hard. I would definitely have lunch with Frank Sinatra, Billy Holiday, Cab Callaway. Let me try to pick somebody that’s actually alive…Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles…As I Lie Dying, Devil Driver…(laughing) you pick and choose…
MI: Okay, that’s 9 bands. I’m putting them all down. And underneath I’m gonna put that this girl has more bands that she wants to lunch with than ALL you guys.
AB: They’ll probably look at me like I’m crazy, like what’s wrong with her (laughing). Oh, and you have to put Glassjaw and 36 Crazy Fist on there, too.
MI: No problem. Do you see SLS joining Projekt Revolution or the Mayhem tour?
AB: Oh yes! I DREAM of that happening. I’m on this kick of positive thinking, so I keep thinking “It’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.”
MI: Has KOCH lined you up for the Atlantis Music Festival yet?
AB: Not to my knowledge.
MI: What would you warn any young woman getting into the music business, either major label or indie.
AB: I would say that you want a label that’s gonna treat you well, so that you don’t get swallowed up in the who-ha, you know? I would say make sure you research them first. You have some really good major labels out there, but you really have to be something extraordinary for them to actually keep catering to you. Whereas when you get on indie label, there are not as many bands and everybody is getting what they need.
MI: Is it hard for you guys to do shows in Tennessee since it is such a conservative state?
AB: It’s not too bad. I guess with all the venues that open and close, that’s hard, but when they do open one up the bands line up.
MI: What is the best and the worst thing you have seen on tour so far?
AB: The best thing I’ve seen on tour – my memory is like a gnat…Well, the worst thing I’ve seen is when we were on tour with Devil Driver and we had played Detroit, MI, and we had some skinheads in the audience. That was the worst thing I saw. I don’t like anything like that. There have been so many good things, like our fans and what our fans do and stuff.
MI: Now, do you consider your fans more like family or just as fans?
AB: No! Definitely like family. I will get on Myspace and reply back to every single message that we get – everyone in the band does. It’s something that we take very seriously. We will take the time to write every single person that writes to us. My guitarist Seth is the one that controls our main Myspace page but we all have our separate page as well.
MI: How does your family feel about your career?
AB: Um, my mom and my brother have always, ALWAYS, supported me. My dad, he supported me – we had some bumps in the road – but he does support me. At first when the band wasn’t signed, and we were touring ourselves and he saw that I was tired a lot, he thought that maybe I should just get a 9 to 5 job and get myself together and I said, No, this is my dream…so…we had our rolls, we had our fights…
MI: So is Mom the leader of your street team, my dear?
AB: No, my mom is always in school, or church or something, even though she supports what I’m doing. We have a guy named Chris that runs our street team, and he’s just amazing.
MI: Do you believe in psychics?
AB: You know, I do. I do. I was really, really interested when I was younger, because I wanted to know everything: I wanted to know if we were going to get signed, if I was going to make it, if I was going to be a big star, everything. I guess as I have grown up, I still believe, but I’m afraid to know now.
MI: Well, let me tell you something. You are speaking to a psychic photojournalist, and from what I saw, you are up there. You are going places.
AB: How cool is that!! Thank you. I just got off of doing an interview just a few minutes ago with Metal Edge and I think he probably thought I was a big dummy because I told him I was nervous and he didn’t seem very receptive or whatever. But YOU, you are like the best interview I’ve ever had!
MI: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
AB: I saw my ‘play-dad’, he was a friend of mine, I saw him before he died. I saw him in an orb, I know it’s weird, but I saw him and then the phone rang and she said that my dad’s dead. And I SAW him. That’s the only paranormal experience that I’ve had – that I recall.
MI: How do you feel about Bush and this stupid war going on overseas?
AB: I think that it’s ridiculous and that our boys should come home. I am not pro on the war – fighting, killing over oil – and I’m sure there’s more to it, but I’m totally just bring the boys home and there are too many people dying for, I can’t really say nothing, because those boys and girls are all out there fighting – but I think they shouldn’t be losing their LIVES over this. I think it’s ridiculous.
MI: How did the death of Dimebag Darryl Abbott affect you – because he WAS shot by an officer that had been discharged by the military for medical reasons.
AB: Well, like I said, my brother was a huge Pantera fan and he had one of the Dimebag series guitars, and he was devastated, and I was devastated because he was someone we looked up to – he was why we got into music. You could say Pantera opened the doors for us to get into music. He was just devastated and for the guy to have been military…that was just…
MI: If you read the news reports, his brother Vinnie thought it was a cop, the way the kid was standing. And he just came up and grabbed Dime and shot him. Mommy bought this kid a gun because Mommy thought he was a good little soldier – my question is, why was this kid released, not because he lost a limb…
AB: But because he was sick in the head! You don’t buy someone a gun who is mentally fragile…He needed help.
MI: But instead he ended up dead along with the road manager, the drum tech got shot, and a 21 year old kid who had just started his job as security. So what do you think we should do to bring the troops back?
AB: I think we should just keep trying to raise our voice, you know, until we are actually heard. Anything they may try to do, you just have to put your voice out there as much as possible.
MI: How do you think Bush is handling this whole situation?
AB: Oh lord, don’t even get me started on Bush. I am not a big Bush fan – no disrespect to anyone that is – but I’m just not. The things that he stands for, I just don’t believe in. I don’t think that he is well spoken, I don’t even think that HE knows what he’s talking about.
MI: If you had a choice between McCain and Obama, who would you vote for?
AB: I actually haven’t picked anybody yet. Because you can never really KNOW a person; you know they all say what they’re gonna do, everybody says I’m gonna make sure you have health insurance, I’m gonna cut the taxes, I’m gonna do this for education, and then they get into office and they up doing things they have no business doing.
MI: Do you think if Clinton were still running that you would have voted for Hillary?
AB: Probably. I wish we still had Bill Clinton. (laughs) Everything was peaceful.
MI: If you were God for a week, what would you change?
AB: Oh! This is such a good question! I would change the poverty in this world, this nation. There would be no damn taxes. But poverty – that’s my biggest thing. I would change domestic abuse in this country. There are so many women and children in homes and stuff because of either bad relationships or because they have no place to go – I would definitely change that.
MI: Do you believe that the music programs in schools should be more supported?
AB: Oh definitely! Without a doubt. To me, music is an outlet. Not everybody’s going to want to be a cheerleader or a football player. Kids need an outlet and music should definitely be supported. Music is my outlet. It’s therapy for me. I’m not out there screaming and singing about ‘Oh, my life sucks’, I’m out there singing about different stuff – I sing about life, I sing about our battles as well as our triumphs, overcoming obstacles and such. So it’s a lot for people to be able to relate to.
MI: If you were not a musician, what do you think you would be doing right now?
AB: I wanted to model! But I’ve got so many damn scars and now I have so many tattoos that I don’t think they would look at me twice. But I always wanted, if I wasn’t singing, I wanted to model – walk the runway, get all dolled up…I wanted to be the next Tyra Banks.
MI: How did 9/11 affect you, and where were you when it happened?
AB: I know exactly where I was when it happened. I was at my job, counting merchandise in Kroger. And I heard that the twin towers were hit, and I was just like…wow. And my birthday is in September so I was just like whoa, this is a big deal. My heart went out to the families, you know. It was devastating.
MI: If you could design a different memorial for the 9/11 victims other than the one they are building, what would you suggest for a design?
AB: I would definitely put up a memorial – something that is not so blatantly ‘fuck you’, I would want something for the families, you know, they lost someone. Instead of an eye for an eye, I would want something more in tune with the families.
MI: Where do you see the band five years from now?
AB: I hope that we’re all millionaires. (laughs) No. I hope that we will be standing on our own two feet – that we will be headlining tours. I hope that in 5 years that we will be successful. Really, really successful.
MI: I listened to your cd, and love your music, but I have to be honest with you, I was pissed off that there was no lyrics sheet.
AB: No, please, please, please. I actually sent the label our lyrics so they could put it in the cd booklet. But they took it out – they said that the cover, the artwork and stuff, that they put the lyrics on made it where you couldn’t really read any of it.
MI: Could you see yourself on tour in an all female metal lineup?
AB: Oh definitely!
MI: What are your feelings on the legalization of marijuana?
AB: You know what? I don’t personally smoke marijuana, but I feel like what’s the harm in it? I mean, you do worse when you drink; getting behind a wheel and kill somebody and take away their life. But with marijuana, most potheads just sit around and say “I’ve got the munchies”. I don’t think it’s a big deal; I think that they make it into a big deal because they can’t tax it.
MI: Do you believe musicians should have medical benefits?
AB: Right off the bat, YES. Not speaking just for my band, but for every other band out here on the road. Entertaining people is a job, that is our job, and I think we should have all the same benefits as a regular person has at their job. There is no reason that musicians shouldn’t have medical. Nobody ever wants to put out money, but it’s like, we’re working. These bands are not just out there lolli-gagging on vacation – they are busting their ass every day. There is no valid answer as to why it’s not done. And I get sick at the drop of a hat, and it’s a scary thought.
MI: If SLS could open for any band in the world, who would it be?
AB: Metallica! They are just, you know, up there and it would be a really big deal.
MI: Not Megadeth!? (laughs)
AB: Oh lord, don’t put that, they will crucify me.
MI: When are you planning to go on tour again?
AB: Well we have two shows, today and tomorrow, and then we start our full tour on July 25th.
MI: Are you coming to Atlanta?
AB: Let me look, I’ve got it right here….oh no!! There’s no Georgia on here! Why?
MI: When you are not on the road, what do you do with your time off?
AB: Well, I try to go visit family, got to go see my mamma. I like to just come home to my little room and watch horror movies and try to get as much sleep as possible. I love scary movies, old ones are the best.
MI: What’s your favorite book?
AB: I like romance books. I like the Harlequins, those are my favorites.
MI: What is your favorite movie, scary or not scary?
AB: I love all the scary movies, I love them all. I have a favorite actor…
MI: Who’s your favorite actor, honey?
AB: Vincent Price.
MI: If there was a movie made of your life, who would play you and what would the theme song be?
AB: I don’t know! You tell me, who should play me. It would have to be…I don’t know!! I really don’t! I would have the theme song be Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. I think Persia White, that girl from Girlfriends.
MI: What do you think about the way MTV used to be and MTV today?
AB: There’s no music videos on the new MTV. None, whatsoever. No disrespect to MTV, but put some music on! It’s too much reality TV. I used to get excited about watching music videos late at night.
MI: Are you on Facebook?
AB: I am not, I am not on Facebook. Myspace is enough! I will check it out.
MI: Do you have any dirty little secrets about the band that you want to share with us?
AB: They’re dirty. (laughs) I clean up after them. I love them to death, but they’re dirty.
MI: When I interview the boys, I am going to ask them the same question about you…
AB: I’m gonna tell you what they are going say, she farts in her sleep. Dirty! But I love them.
MI: What is your favorite quote of all time?
AB: It is from a book called “Light for my Path”, it’s just different segments from the Bible, and my favorite quote would be from Psalms - “The Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
MI: Do you have a message you would like to share for your family and your fans?
AB: Well, the message for my family is that whatever happens, they are always there to keep me grounded and I so appreciate the support and love they show me. They keep my head connected to my neck and shoulders. As far as my fans go, I cannot thank them enough for their love and support. For people who don’t know about us, or are just learning about us, if you see us or you talk to us, we’re just people. You can always approach us, we are approachable people. Some of these so called rock stars out here, what they don’t get or fail to remember is that the fans make you who you are. Some of them get so ahead of themselves and are just “I’m all this or that” but they dissed the fans. I’ve experienced that, and that’s why we go out of our way to make sure we are accessible to our fans, so they can talk to us, email us, or whatever.
MI: What if a kid goes to your page and tells you doesn’t know what to do about his living situation, going back to abuse again, what would you tell that kid to do?
AB: I would try to tell him to get help, anyway that he could. And that he could always talk to me. I would do anything to try to provide comfort.
MI: If you had a million dollars and you could donate it to any charity, what would it be?
AB: It would definitely go towards domestic violence. My mother has struggled with that in the past. It would definitely go to the abuse in this country and like I said earlier, poverty, those would be the biggest charities I would donate to. I would like to eradicate it.
MI: Do you have any pets?
AB: I have a cat named Waffles. There’s a story behind it. I love Walt Disney’s Goofy, and I collect Goofy stuff. In the Goofy cartoons, his cat is named Waffles. That why I named him that.
MI: When is your next video coming out?
AB: Maybe sometime in late September. Don’t quote me on that, because I’m not too sure. It all depends on Dale and Rage. He is the king of the video world. Right now he is burning up the urban department, and he’s just really good at what he does. He’s a visionary.
MI: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers from deep inside your inner spirit?
AB: I’m going to always try to stay humble and compassionate and understanding and I hope that people won’t ever be intimidated and just come talk to us. We’re just people hanging out and having a good time.
MI: If there was a message you could out to every woman and child that is in an abusive household, what would you advise them about how to get out of the situation?
AB: I would definitely say to find help, go to your nearest church or anything and I would tell them to not lose hope. A lot of women or anyone who goes through domestic violence, they lose hope; not just in themselves but in the whole world. But there are people out there that are willing to help and take care of them. So I would just say to never give up hope and believe that there is good in the world.
MI: When is your next album coming out?
AB: (laughs) That information is unknown to me.
MI: Will you release it on disk or vinyl or both?
MI: Thank you so much for talking to us, Alexis, it’s been a pleasure.