FEMME FATALE

Country USA

Style Hard Rock

mi0001394472Femme Fatale is a band that is remembered for the hot looks, rockin’ voice and over the top stage presence of its front woman Lorraine Lewis. In an era that was dominated by testosterone driven rock, Femme Fatale became a popular frontrunner in the 80’s Rock and Roll scene. The band came together in their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1987 and consisted of Lewis (vocals), Mazzi Rawd (guitar), Bill D’Angelo (lead guitar), Rick Rael (bass and Lewis’ brother) and Bobby Murray (drums). They quickly picked up and moved to Los Angeles amid the late eighties glam explosion, and after only ten live shows managed to score a major label contract.

The debut album was a moderate success, thanks mostly to M.T.V., where the videos for “Waiting For The Big One” and “Falling In & Out Of Love” were in high demand by teenage males who couldn’t stop drooling over Lewis. M.T.V. gave heavy rotation to the videos “Waiting For The Big One” and “Falling In & Out Of Love” (both directed by Marty Callner), the band’s two signature songs. The heavy airplay helped the album to sell nearly 250,000 copies, not bad for a baby band. The self-titled album, released in 1988 landed on the Billboard charts and shortly thereafter, Femme Fatale began touring the world in support of one of their favorite bands Cheap Trick.

Femme Fatale was snatched up so quickly in the L.A. scene that at that time had only written twelve songs together. The record label, MCA had a love affair with Lorraine. She was obviously the one getting the attention and filling the seats. So they made pictures of Lorraine and printed the words ‘Look Out Lita!’ on them and she became ‘the new Lita Ford to the people at MCA’ – But Lorraine was and remains a big fan of Lita Ford – (“Lita is the real deal, an amazing woman & I am happy to call her a friend”) – The image stuck with the band and they released their one and only self-titled album “Femme Fatale”. It contained ten killer rock songs, all which were very catchy and well written. It showed Lorraine’s main influences, as she had always been a fan of Aerosmith, Bad Company, AC/DC and Janis Joplin. On stage, Lorraine wanted to be the female version of the former Van Halen front man, David Lee Roth. She was determined to become “the #1 Metal Maiden of the late eighties.”, “Waiting For The Big One” was chosen to be the bands first single release. In the U.K. it came out as a limited 12″ with a fold out poster of Lorraine. The producer of the “Femme Fatale” album, Jim Faraci was becoming a respected new producer with the success of Poison’s first record and Femme Fatale was receiving good reviews, because the music was hot. The next single was called “Falling In & Out Of Love” re-recorded by Tom Werman (Motley Crue). It was backed with an AC/DC cover, which didn’t appear on the album. (“It’s A Long Way To The Top”). By this time the U.K. obviously had the hots for Lorraine – Oops – I’m sorry, I mean Femme Fatale of course! The best next move was to get the band over to the U.K. to play live.
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Femme Fatale played the Marquee club in London, England. The press were very excited about it all. Lorraine brought her mega-watt performance along with a road worthy rockin’ band. Femme Fatale was a tight band on stage, sweating their arses off. Of course they’d already played a lot of gigs in America, but England was something else. The kids went totally crazy for Femme Fatale and the band gave them the full hundred percent. Femme Fatale had finally been given the respect they were seeking in America. They released a third single in England, called “Rebel.” After such respect in the U.K., the expectations were high. The band was asked to play on the famous Castle Donington festival next to Vixen and Whitesnake. Sadly, the whole event was cancelled, because a year before two people were killed during the event.

The band remixed the song “Touch And Go” from their debut album to release it as a fourth single, which was released by Kerrang! (England’s leading metal magazine) as a ‘free’ flexi disc with their magazine. Femme Fatale was asked by MCA to record a second album and even though a lot of songs were already written, the album was never released. The album was written and recorded in 1988 in Hollywood California and engineered by Toby Wright and Femme Fatale. The album was re-mixed by Scott Gutierrez in Hollywood, California. Stand out tracks include, “Lady in Waiting”, “I Know” (Co-written with Wes Arkeen – considered the sixth member of Guns ‘N’ Roses), “One More For The Road” and the heartfelt ballad, “Buried Alive”. Lewis’ voice is at the top of its game and the band sounds like an aggressive well-seasoned force to reckon with.

In recent years, satellite radio and VH-1 Classic have given the band’s two signature songs a new life, with display on VH1C’s Metal Mania and the two main satellite networks’ 1980s-themed stations. The newfound attention has sparked interest in re-releasing Femme Fatale and possibly the unreleased demos for the band’s second studio album. In 2013 Lorraine Lewis reformed the band with new all female line-up, of Courtney Cox and Nita Strauss on guitars, Janis Tanaka on bass, Katt Scarlett on keyboards, Rachael Rine and Athena on drums. Femme Fatale‘s One More for the Road is an album that should have been released in 1990, under the title of “Lady in Waiting”. It was recorded with the original members but never saw the light of day, but here it is 26 years later thanks to the folks at FnA Records. “One More For The Road” contains 14 blistering tracks with obvious Femme Fatale hits like “Lady In Waiting”, “Don’t Mean Nothin”, “Til It’s Shot” and the power ballad “Buried Alive”.  Additionally, we hear Lorraine Lewis’ voice on her mesmerizing version of Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart”. 

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– Femme Fatale [1988]
– One More For The Road [2016]

 

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FEMME FATALE, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating