Beyond the Boys’ Club is a monthly column from journalist and radio host Anne Erickson, focusing on women in the heavy music genres, as they offer their perspectives on the music industry and discuss their personal experiences. Erickson is also a music artist herself and has a new EP out, “Last Love,” with Upon Wings. Her new single is a trap-pop vignette called “Deal Breaker.” The latest edition of Beyond the Boys’ Club features an interview with Lori S. of Acid King.
Acid King have returned this year with their first new album of ordinal material in eight years, Beyond Vision, available now via Blues Funeral Recordings. The new LP features the band’s trademark stoner rock sound, with bits and pieces of psychedelia and progressive music.
In support of the new album, Acid King will embark on a summer 2023 tour that includes dates in the United States, Europe, and South America. Tickets are available via venue links on the band’s website, with select shows for sale via Stubhub or Ticketmaster.
With the band having formed in 1993, singer-guitarist Lori S. has a deep perspective of how things have evolved for women in music over the past 30 years. For Heavy Consequence‘s latest edition of “Beyond the Boys’ Club,” Lori S. speaks with us about the new album, the evolution of the music industry, her experience of being a woman in metal music, and more.
You’ve mentioned that Beyond Vision is based on the journey of life. Can you please elaborate on that?
When I wrote this, or when I had the idea for this record, I really wanted it to have kind of a soundtrack feel to it, where there was no beginning or no end. Where you wouldn’t necessarily pick out a song to play. I mean, you could, of course. But, the whole experience of it from beginning to end is how it was meant to be heard. And, as I was conceptualizing the plan for the record, just everything that was going on in my life and the pandemic hitting and what was going on in [co-writer and Black Cobra guitarist Jason Landrian’s] life, it just ended up becoming that. It ended up becoming like a journey. We put the songs in order in a way that you felt like you were taking off somewhere- kind of like when you’re on a plane, and there’s that real calm in between. That excitement of taking off, and that calm in between where you hit 37,000 feet, and then, of course, there’s turbulence. Just, all of the stuff.
Tell me about your vision for this album and how that evolved over time.
Well, the record really is about life. Like, going on tour. We’re excited about going on tour, and then you get on tour, and then somebody’s not that excited about going on tour, and then you have internal situations that happen, and it’s just kind of like it ended up to be more of a philosophical. It wasn’t really planned, but it just ended up happening that way, as we were writing this together.
I discovered Acid King sometime in the mid-2000s, and I know the band has been around since the early 1990s, so you have quite a legacy. What were the early days of the group like?
It seems like seeing as though the band’s been together — well, me, I’m the band now! But it’s been together for 30 years. It’s like a cat. It’s had nine lives. There’s just been so many different members, different records and different periods, because of the length of time. So, there are just so many different aspects to it. It’s hard to sum that up. You’d have to ask me what period of time. Every little different pocket of band members I’ve had and every record I’ve recorded is just so different. It’d really be hard to sum that up.
Well, aside from the band, how would you say the music industry, in general, has changed since the early days?
Well, that’s pretty huge. If you think back … 30 years ago, there wasn’t any Internet, really. There wasn’t any social media. It was old school. If you wanted to get the word out about your new music, you’d actually have to send cassettes to the local radio station. You’d have to send cassettes or CDs to PR people and magazines, and hope that they would even look at it. It was a lot more work and your reach was very small.
The word only got out to whoever you might have sent it to, or if you were in magazines that were worldwide and somebody picked it up. You were not able to get the word out or get your music out to the masses like you are now, and that’s the biggest change.
What are the biggest changes for you when it comes to getting your music out there today?
The biggest change is social media. It has really changed for everybody. And the fact that there are so many more independent record labels and people don’t even need record labels. You don’t need to put out vinyl. You can write your own record and put it out digitally. That whole thing has just been a total game changer for the music industry. And, I see that just putting out this record, how much more press the band has, how much more reach the band has, and how fans are all a part of it. They’re posting things. They’re excited about the record they share with their friends. Fans are really your own personal PR team. If they like your record, that is. If they don’t like your record, then, yes, the opposite happens.
Did you face any obstacles early on in your career being a woman in heavy music?
I didn’t, honestly. I didn’t give a flying you know what. I didn’t care. I always just wanted to be a musician early on. Back before Acid King, I had all girl bands.
I was a huge Girlschool fan and there wasn’t that many women musicians or in my opinion, good all-female bands. And when I saw Girlschool, I was like, oh wow, they’re awesome. And I was really into that. I was like, I want to have a good all female band. And after a while, I kind of just changed my mind, and I’m like, whoever the best musicians are, the best players are, for the music. And then I really worked very hard just to be a person in a band and not have the male-female thing happen.
I really just wanted to be known as a person and not the “female-fronted,” the “female guitar player.” Why can’t I just be the guitar player, right? So, I worked really hard to kind of just not go there. Obviously, there are so many more women guitar players now and women in music in general now, which is awesome. But, I never really had any problems. I guess I just didn’t care.
Yeah, there have been some dumb things said to me over the years like, oh, I didn’t think you were going to be as good as that, or something like that, because I’m a woman. Comments like that, or a doorman was not letting me go backstage to my own dressing room, thinking I was the girlfriend of a band member. Some things like that have happened to me, but in general, no, it hasn’t stopped me from doing whatever I want to do.
Just recently, I did an interview for a guitar magazine, and that was the first time that I really felt like I was seen as a musician, and not just the stoner rock chick or stoner rock person. Not even just the chick part. Instead of always having stoner rock be the lead up, I got to talk about my gear and my guitars and my pedals and things like that. So, that was exciting to me. I think when people start asking me about that kind of stuff, that’s when I feel more legitimized. Not just, “I’m the girl in the band,” but, “Oh, they want to know how I got my tone. They want to know what pedals I’m using.”
That’s cool. I’m a bassist, so I’m always really interested in gear, even though I’m a pretty basic player.
Well, you know what? I was very basic, too, until recently. I’ve always had my simple tone, my distortion pedal, and my bass echo, which gives me the sounds I need to create. But this new record was a whole new ball game. It’s a lot more technical, and I used a lot more gear than I usually do.