Currently weaving their way across the U.S. on the Revolver sponsored “Hottest Chicks In Rock” tour, Italian Gothic Metal act Lacuna Coil and co singer Cristina Scabbia in particular, has forever received plenty of attention for their passionate and dramatic music and high energy live shows. On the phone from Reno, Nevada Cristina is remarkably chirpy considering the gruelling tour schedule the band have lined up in support of soon to be released new album Broken Crown Halo (Century Media).
“It’s a long tour, people don’t see that it is a lot of hard work to do this, being away from our families and friends for most of the year is difficult but this is what we do. I’m not complaining about it because I love playing live and connecting with our fans but it’s not all glamour.”
It is this fearless work ethic that has propelled the Milan act to the forefront of gothic and mainstream metal scenes. One look at Lacuna Coil will tell you how important family and togetherness is for them. From the uniform stage gear the band dons each night to the way the band interacts with each other it is clear that friendships between the band members run deep. A fact that made the recent announcement by drummer Cristiano “CriZ” Mozzati and guitarist Cristiano “Pizza” Migilore that they were “retiring” from the band after sixteen years, all the more shocking.
“We have known this was happening since December (2013) really. We sat down to discuss the tour schedule this year and they let us know it was time for them to do something different. It was readily apparent that they were not into the touring lifestyle and that’s fine. There was no fight or anything like that. We are continuing on our path and they are on theirs. It did not affect the album and there was still a very friendly atmosphere when we were recording the album together. Cristina recalled. “Marco our bass player is our main songwriter anyway so nothing much will change writing wise.”
As anyone who follows LC across various social media platforms can attest, Miss Scabbia is an avid user of social media helping promote her band but also to give fans a real glimpse behind the veneer of magazine covers and photo-shoots into the real world of a touring rock band. She may be characterized as the glamorous and sexy diva of Gothic Metal but a pampered princess she is not.
“People think you are becoming a millionaire touring all the time but bands have to tour now more than ever just to pay their bills! I posted a status on Facebook the other day looking for an outlet to buy something and some girl wrote “Why don’t you get someone to bring you that? You are a millionaire you can afford it. People seem to think you get on a couple of magazine covers and all of a sudden you are super rich but it is really not the case. The fact that people seem to think things like that makes me want to post more on Facebook and Twitter and show people what our lives are really like. It is a luxury to have this job but we also spend a lot of time working our asses off! That’s a reason why I wrote a column for Revolver Magazine so I could show people what life was really like for bands.”
Sadly just a couple of days before this interview took place we learned of the tragic passing of GWAR front man Dave Brockie a.k.a. Oderus Urungus a moment Cristina acknowledged on her Twitter account. “That was really sad. He was a very cool guy with a sarcastic sense of humour. I loved their cinematic style and he was a very cool guy when I met him.”
Considering she grew up in the glare of media attention, one could hardly blame Cristina if she was bored of the Metal “Sex symbol” tag she inherited. While the she may be wearing similar attire to her male counterparts onstage these days there is no doubting the 41 year-olds charisma and ability to turn heads where ever she goes. “I think it’s cool to use social networks to show people your real personality. I can be a tomboy on the tour bus! I don’t ware high heeling and make up all the time and I want people to see that. A teeny tiny girl from Italy, a size three! I’m not perfect and I’m not a model. I think if I can give any message to the younger generation it is that you can be confident without having to fit into that mould. I’m not surely what people mean when they say hot. For me someone needs to be more than just good looking. For every photo of me all dressed up there is an image of me in jeans and a hoodie. I like to show the real me online but I like to keep the lives of my family, my friends and my partner private. If you show too much then you don’t have any privacy. I take the sex symbol tag with a pinch of salt because it doesn’t affect my life. I know who I am and I would never do anything I was not comfortable with. I don’t feel doing tours like this (The Hottest Chicks In Rock) as anything other than empowering for women. I am showing that you can be successful on your own terms. I’m 41 and have an album in the charts and make music with people I love. I can’t think of anything better than that.”
Being sexy and provocative is something rock bands have been doing for years, yet strangely it’s only remarked upon when the protagonist is a female. “The funny thing is bands like Mötley Crüe have been taking their shirts off and selling an image of sexuality for years but no one pays attention to men doing that!”
Lacuna Coil have yet to choose a replacement guitar player, but the drum stool has seen the rapid appointment of former The Agony Scene sticksman Ryan Folden. As Cristina explains this was an easy choice. “He started as our drum tech and filled in for Criz when he and his partner had their baby girl. He’s a great musician and a perfect guy to have on a tour bus. It was really important for us to have someone we felt comfortable with and who understands the touring lifestyle. As for the guitarist we are carrying on with just Maus for now but the response from musicians expressing interest in becoming part of our band has been phenomenal. As soon as we put a status online we were inundated with emails and video auditions. We really appreciate it but we aren’t auditioning anyone right now. It’s going to take some time for us to decide on what the right thing to do is. I think it’s really cool with one guitar too. It gives the band a more rock vibe which I think is really interesting.”
Lacuna Coil may cautiously be soldiering on with one guitar player for now but this is not the only change in the LC camp. After working with producer Don Gilmore for a few years, the Italians felt it was time for a change drafting in Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach) to helm the mixing desk for Broken Crown Halo. “Jay owned the studio we recorded the last couple of records at so again it seemed a natural choice. We met Jay through Don but they are completely different. Don is a really hands on guy who wants to get every aspect of the recording right where as Jay stands back and looks at the whole picture. Our engineer Kyle also was really helpful. He has a lot of great ideas and plays many instruments. I am very happy with the results.”
Indeed Broken Crown Halo feels like a very natural progression from Dark Adrenaline. There has even been talk of Lacuna Coil taking inspiration from legendary horror director Dario Argento and soundtrack masters Goblin on this new record. “Yes very much. We grew up with these movies. They left a mark on us as kids. We wanted to combine those atmospherics with our music as a lot of themes fit well with the record. We haven’t written about Zombies and Vampires, but only used them as a metaphor for the destruction and horror we see in the world today. I think the record has such a spirit of defiance. We have been through a lot of things as a band in the last couple of years, couples splitting up and other conflicts, but whenever you touch the bottom you always rise to the top. It’s about facing all the adversity over the last fifteen years and still coming out on top. The song we released the video for “Nothing Stands In Our Way” is a great example of that. It tells of how we overcame the adversity life has thrown at us and we are still going strong today.”