MANDY LION INTERVIEW - SEPTEMBER 2000



Well what is there to say? You either love the guy or have nightmares about him, just ask George Lynch ? the "Mandy: Thanx for scaring the shit out of everybody" quote. A reputation justly disserved? Maybe, I doubt he owns a pair of Bermuda shorts or a Nike tank top ? if he did he wouldn?t be Mandy would he?

So who is Mandy Lion? Founder and front man of Hollywood Records recording super band World War III which also featured Vinnie Appice (ex Black Sabbath, Dio) and Jimmy Bain (ex Rainbow, Dio). Mandy is a former Electra Records, Hollywood Records international recording artist and has also fronted (and is currently recording) with musical legends and guitar gods Jake E. Lee and George Lynch (ex Dokken, Lynchmob).

What is his music like? If you want to know where bands such as White Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Type O Negative got their ideas from, you must experience the man that started it all. Often copied, his vocal style and stage presence remain unmatched. His music is best described as dramatic, dangerous, dark, heavy sensual and extremely powerful.

JakeELee.com: Mandy, firstly I?d really like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Its really appreciated.

JakeELee.com: Tell us how it all begin for Mandy Lion?

Mandy Lion: I always knew what I would be later in life. I remember in first grade, the teacher asked all the kids in class what they wanted their future job to be. Well most of the kids had the standard answers like astronaut, veterinarian, doctor, etc. I told him I was going to be a rock singer! Well, I guess the fact that in Germany it is even harder to sell that idea to anyone - its even harder than here (the USA), it did not stop me in the end!

I had my first real band when I was 11-years old. We just did small to large clubs and made only small amounts of money but the girls made up for it! Imagine an 11-year old with access to all the pussy he can eat!! I was in heaven!

I went through several line-ups before I had my first real bad experience. There was this line-up in my old hometown that actually kicked me out of their fifth rate band because they said that there was no way that a voice like mine would ever sell. Well, 15 years and 50 Mandy sound-a-likes later -- I guess they finally found out that they were wrong. Anyway, in mid ?86, I came to LA and realized that I am just not feminine enough to compete with bands like Poison, Cinderella, etc. -- so I just did what I felt was me and just kicked some major, dark ass! During those days I remember guys like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie in their glam band outfits. I remember Marilyn Manson showing up to some of my shows with pink hair and a Barbie lunchbox!! I guess he saw something that made him change his sound. I hear a lot of myself in these guys now.

JakeELee.com: Does that frustrate you very much?

Mandy Lion: Yes, and no. Yes, I get frustrated when I get fans coming up to me saying that I sound like (Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie) them!?!? I just think that if you steal someone's act at least give them credit for it. I do not understand how someone can look in the mirror and feel good about what they see if they are trying to live another man's life. But on the other hand, when I first created my sound the world just was not ready yet. I remember third rate musicians critizising me and being stunned when I always ended up working with the very best musicians out there. They could not believe that a guy who sounded like me could attract such talent. Well, it seems that great musicians always are a little ahead of the wannabes, and they saw then what is now.

JakeELee.com: I guess all you can do about it is come out and put them all to shame!!

Mandy Lion: YOU BET!!!

JakeELee.com: So where do you call home these days?

Mandy Lion: I feel that Hollywood is my home now, even though I am not crazy about it but, it is the only place in the world where a guy like me can walk around like any other person without people hiding their children when they see me coming!!

JakeELee.com: Is this why many of us have never even seen a picture of you?

Mandy Lion: Demons do not photograph well!!!

JakeELee.com: Who where your influences as you where growing up?

Mandy Lion: Well, you have to understand that where I grew up, at the time, metal was not big at all, so it was impossible for me to find out enough information on anyone to model myself. I think it worked out for the better for me though -- at least, I can say I am not anyone's copy!

JakeELee.com: So what means the most to you these days?

Mandy Lion: Well, there are four things I love in this life. Huge, tough dogs, music, martial arts, and perverted women!

JakeELee.com: Who was the first concert you remember going to see when you where growing up?

Mandy Lion: Actually, I think it was Ozzy with Jake!! I remember we all wanted to hate him! We were going to hate this guy that was trying to replace Randy (Rhoads). Well, Jake came out and kicked our asses so severely that within two minutes we were die-hard Jake E. Late (Lee) fans.

JakeELee.com: Moving forward a few years, tell us how the World War Three project came about? Mandy Lion: World War III was my baby for a long time. I had a lot of different line-ups before it was ever signed. It seemed that everybody I kicked out of the band got signed!?! The first line-up was the Kingdom Come line-up with J. B. and Danny Stag. After they were out of World War III they got signed and sold two million records!

Then I had another line-up -- that after letting them go they became Johnny Crash and went on tour with Motley Crue! I started thinking about kicking my own ass out of the band!!!

So then, there was another line up that finally became very popular around LA. In fact, we broke quite a few records as far as attendance goes -- we broke the Van Halen record at Gazzaris.

That is where my future manager, Don Arden (Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, ELO, Airsupply, Lita Ford, Magnum, etc.) had trouble getting in to see me. When he finally did, he saw, liked, and took me under his wing. He got me a deal with Hollywood Records and helped me find another line-up.

The original guitar player I wanted was a guy named Joe Floyd that some of you should know from his work in a band name Warrior. He is like a new age Tony Iommi, but he did not have the kind of time I needed from him so I ended up using my second choice a guy named Tracy G., who had nothing going on at the time. That was perfect since I needed someone that could work on this full-time. Actually kind of funny, this guy (Tracy G.) has totally forgotten who gave him his first break! He now goes around telling people that I am this evil beast that he could not wait to get away from!?! Hey! This evil beast gave you a career when you were down and out at age 35!!!

Anyway, the band still needed a great rhythm section and I found them in no other than Jimmy Bain on bass (ex Rainbow, Dio) and Vinnie Appice on drums (ex Black Sabbath, Dio). The rest is history, I guess? We made a great record at the time, toured our asses off, made two videos, and opened up for Iron Maiden!

JakeELee.com: Which songs did you create videos for?

Mandy Lion: Love You To Death and Time For Terror.

JakeELee.com: Do you still have any contact with any of those guys from World War III?

Mandy Lion: Yes, I am still talking quite frequently to Jimmy Bain. We really are good friends. I have not spoken to Vinnie Appice lately, but I am still on very friendly terms with him -- great drummer! Tracy G.!? Yea right!!!

JakeELee.com: So then, when?s the next World War III album coming out?

Mandy Lion: I have just spoken to Joe Floyd about finally doing a record with him. Finally, World War Three will sound the way it could and should have! I think we will be able to put something out by early 2001.

JakeELee.com: Do you have any ideas or material written for World War III 2001?

Mandy Lion: No not yet, but I am in the process of getting that started.

JakeELee.com: Which album have you enjoyed working on the most and for what reasons?

Mandy Lion: So far, the most fun I had recording with anyone was with George Lynch (ex Dokken, Lynchmob). He was a great guy to work with, and I have a great deal of respect for him.

JakeELee.com: Can you see Mandy Lion and George Lynch doing another project anytime soon?

Mandy Lion: Actually, well, I cannot say right now. However, there is a strong possibility.

JakeELee.com: How did you meet up with Jake?

Mandy Lion: We met through a mutual friend named J. P. Warino who is a writer, and a musician himself. He was always a great fan of mine and Jake's projects. When he saw that the both of us were looking to put together a new line-up he made the connection. I really want to thank this crazy guy -- Jake is a mother-fucking genius, and I am having a blast working with him!!

JakeELee.com: You knew Ray Gillen from your days with World War III (recording at the same time as Badlands ? in the next studio). What people need to know is that you are just as big a fan of him as the rest of us. Can you share with us any memories of those days?

Mandy Lion: The most fun I had with Ray was when we were judging a bikini contest at Gazzaries. Not only did we judge the girls on stage, but also backstage!!! Ray was just a blast to hang out with!

JakeELee.com: Anyone buying the new Wicked Alliance album had better not expect to hear a Ray Gillen sounding singer. You are totally different and unique (although the clones have surfaced in the last few years). You don?t pretend or entertain the thought of replacing Ray Gillen; no one can or will, so how do you handle the pressure of playing with Jake given the calibre of your predecessors?

Mandy Lion: I really do not think that there is any pressure at all because we are so different. I think Ray was one of the most gifted singers of our time. I miss his talent and I miss him as much as the rest of you Badlands fans out there! He was not just a great singer but also a great person. I miss him and I wished we could have hung out a lot more. There are of course some ignorant people that think I am in some way responsible for the death of Badlands. Just look at it this way, who could have replaced Ray in that band?? I think Jake did the only thing that really made sense. He started from scratch with something new instead of trying to recreate the magic he had with Ray. No one would not have been able to fill Ray's shoes.

JakeELee.com: What is your favorite Badlands track?

Mandy Lion: Without a doubt, Rumblin' Train.

JakeELee.com: How did you and Jake put together Wicked Alliance? Who?s idea was it to work together?

Mandy Lion: It was mutual. I think we both wanted to create something new, and we got along really well. Musically, we have the exact same taste. Its kind of scary!!

JakeELee.com: On the 1994 Wicked Alliance tour you guys played the song The Ultimate Sin and afterwards, Jake told you that your version was exactly how he had wanted Ozzy to originally do it. Have you guys toyed with the idea of bringing out a few others? If so which ones?

Mandy Lion: I do not think we will be doing any Ozzy tunes on the next tour, but if we do, it would have to be a song that really is better than the original. The Ultimate Sin was perfect for me because it was a "balls out" song! I am not sure though, I will let you know as soon as I know!!

JakeELee.com: It?s always been a mystery to us why Ozzy pretends Jake never happened (all those Behind the Music interviews etc.) He totally ignored Jake, not mentioning him once -- It would seem that he couldn?t handle Jake?s presence and was running scared that Jake would get all the attention. What is your theory on that topic?

Mandy Lion: I am not sure if I have the right to go off on that subject, but I feel that Jake was the ONLY guy on the planet that could have, and did, replace Randy Rhoads. It is fucked up not to give credit where it is due! Jake saved Ozzy at that time!

JakeELee.com: What have you been doing in the years between the first Wicked Alliance tour in 1994, and finishing the long over due and anticipated album?

Mandy Lion: I went away for awhile to create a new sound for my solo project, which is close to being finished by the way! I did everything on that record -- from playing all the instruments, to mixing, and engineering. It is Mandy Lion 100 Percent!!! I have also been writing a book that is currently being turned into a movie. It is sort of my life story but with some surprises! I have also been breeding 200-pound Roman War dogs, and getting myself ready to take back what is rightfully mine!!!

JakeELee.com: Can you tell us a little more about your book and movie?

Mandy Lion: Well, I will not go to deep into it here, but the book is the story of my journey. Some people will think that it is fiction. That is o.k. Others will understand the truth that lies within it. It is too complex to get into here, but let me say that it has everything that makes a story great! I might send you some outtakes from the book when I am ready to let some of it go.

JakeELee.com: Do you think the music you and Jake wrote back in 1994 is still fresh and current even though it is six years later?

Mandy Lion: Yes, I think some of that stuff was way ahead of its time.

JakeELee.com: Have you and Jake dropped any off the original tracks you wrote back in 1994, or are you just reworking them?

Mandy Lion: We will not be using all the old material but I think there are about four oldies that just have to be heard.

JakeELee.com: How many tracks have been written for the album? How many would you expect to make the album?

Mandy Lion: There will be 10 to 12 songs on the record, and we have written about that many. We will be in the studio to record what is there very soon.

JakeELee.com: Do you write all the lyrics, or does Jake have an input on them?

Mandy Lion: Well, I do of course, but that does not mean that Jake is not involved if he wants to be. In most cases, I just write the words and if the rest of the band does not like it, too bad! With Jake it is different because I respect him as a musician, intellectual and also person. If I ever write something he does not like -- there will be a compromise!

JakeELee.com: Can you give us track titles -- maybe, a run down of what each track is about and what inspired you to come up with the lyrics?

Mandy Lion: Well, there are a few I cannot tell you about yet. But the ones that I can -- here they are:

Get The Fuck Out : It's a song that was written about my ex-wife! It is the kind of song every man and woman can relate to. It is about how some piece of shit comes into your life and pretends to be everything you are looking for -- wasting your time and finally being too stupid to keep up the charade. Once you see them for the pathetic piece of human garbage that they really are, there is only one thing left to say... GET THE FUCK OUT!!!

Hell Train : This is a song about the path we are all on. If you are intelligent enough to see what is really going on in the world today, you can see why we are all on the HELL TRAIN.

World Gone Wild : This one is about the very nature of mankind, Ie. we are not really born good. Everything bad you are born with, and everything good has to be learned, just watch a toddler play with his little brother, and watch him hit him over the head soon as he does not get his way. You have to teach your kids to be good -- bad they already know!

A Toast To The Wicked : This is a song about hypocrisy. Just remember that at one point Jesus was thought of as an evil man by Romans. If you are making a stand on anything these days it is very politically incorrect and seen in many cases as evil. So let's have a toast on the wicked that have the balls to fight for what is right!!

JakeELee.com: We've all heard the stories about how hard Jake is suppose to be to work with. How hard is Jake to work with?

Mandy Lion: I do not think he is hard to work with at all. A lot of people will say that about him, but I think it is because he is so fucking honest. A lot of people cannot deal with a guy that will always tell them the truth. I like that about him. He is a man of integrity. If there is anything about him that is hard to deal with at all, I think it would be his tendency to be late!!!

JakeELee.com: Okay lets ask the big question, when does Mandy Lion think the Wicked Alliance album will be complete and ready for delivery to the record company?

Mandy Lion: I think we will be able to put it out in late 2000 or early 2001, at the very latest.

JakeELee.com: Okay, we had better start to wrap this up for now. Do you or Jake have any messages for the fans?

Mandy Lion: Well, I think I can speak for both of us here. Thank you all for supporting Jake and me in this long battle to put out this record. I know that the waiting is getting on everyone's nerves -- ours too!! I will try my best to get all of your future questions answered, whether they are for me or Jake. Hang in there with us! We are getting close!

JakeELee.com: One final question, given that we will not show Jake this interview (we don?t want anything going to his head) where would you rate Jake as a musician given that you?ve played or hung out with a lot of big name players in your time -- Edward Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Lynch, and the list goes on!!

Mandy Lion: Well, a lot of people will think I am saying this because I am currently working with him but I assure you that is not the reason for what I am about to say. Personally I think Jake is one of the three greatest guitar players alive or dead. People do not even know how good this guy really is because everything he does on an album or live is just a titbit of what he can do! He is fucking amazing!!! I really hope he does not read this! I do not think he needs an ego boost!

JakeELee.com: Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions. I really appreciate your time and I personally can?t wait to hear the finished album!

Mandy Lion: O.k., that seems to be all for now, but keep the questions coming. I will answer all of them. Thank you guys for your patience, and thank you Chris for everything you are doing.