Metal Chick of the Month – Fallon Bowman

Then we lay there… Embracing our last stare… On a moonlit afternoon…

As The Headbanging Moose is based in Toronto, Canada, probably the most multi-cultural city in the world, there’s nothing better than having as our last metal chick of the year of 2017 a woman of Dutch and Indonesian descent that was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but that currently resides here in Toronto, playing an also diverse range of musical styles such as Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Rock, Industrial and even Electronica. This woman, who’s a skillful vocalist and guitarist, goes by the name of Fallon Bowman, known for her involvement with the bands Kittie, Pigface and Amphibious Assault, as well as a solo career which she’s been pursuing since around 2011. Having said that, are you ready to bang your head to the electrifying music by the exotic Fallon?

Born on November 16, 1983 in Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain, Fallon has been active in the world of alternative and heavy music since 1996, when at the age of fourteen years old she helped to form Canadian Alternative Metal act Kittie with classmate Mercedes Lander and Mercedes’ sister, Morgan Lander, playing guitar and performing backing vocals for the band from their inception in 1996 until August 2001, when she left the band. As a matter of fact, her passion for music actually started a few years before Kittie, when she was around 10 years old, when she was fascinated with a guitar her grandfather had at his home in South Africa. However, she mentioned the guitar was not her first choice, as at first she wanted to be a drummer when she was around 12, but her parents were against it and she ended up getting a guitar from them after they saw her performance playing the song Violet, by Hole, at a school assembly with a friend using a friend’s guitar. Getting back to Kittie, Fallon has already explained several times in different interviews why she left the band, saying she was unhappy with some things in the band so she felt that maybe it was time for her to depart. Our dauntless guitarist recorded two albums with Kittie, those being the full-length Spit, in 1999, and the EP Paperdoll, in 2000, comprised of a remix of Spit’s song Paperdoll and five songs from Spit recorded live on June 15, 2000 at the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden.

Regarding the writing and meaning of the song Choke in Spit, Fallon said that it is “about someone telling you that they love you so much, and they put you up on a pedestal and make you feel great, then they turn around and say “screw you”, and you can sense that feeling while listening to the song (which you can do HERE). Furthermore, just to give you an idea of the impact of the release of Spit, right after that Kittie went on tours with bands such as Chevelle, Slipknot, Suicidal Tendencies, and Shuvel, also performing at Ozzfest and at the 2001 SnoCore festival. Hence, if you want to listen to Fallon playing her flammable guitar with Kittie, I recommend the songs Brackish and Charlotte, both taken from Spit.

Right after her departure from Kittie, Fallon experienced a period of stress due to splitting up with her friends from the band, but she managed to overcome that difficult situation after a while and got involved with her two next endeavors, the distinct bands Pigface and Amphibious Assault. Pigface is an industrial music supergroup formed in 1990 by Martin Atkins (Ministry, Killing Joke) and William Rieflin (Ministry, KMFDM, R.E.M., King Crimson), featuring tons of guest musicians such as our metal babe Fallon. She ended up recording several tracks with Pigface for their 2003 album Easy Listening…, which led her to begin writing music again due to the enjoyment she had during the recording process. She then purchased a sequencer and began exploring the industrial music genre that she admired but had never actively pursued, also filling her basement in the following months with drum machines and synthesizers, which in the end led to the writing of the songs for District Six, the debut album by her upcoming industrial project Amphibious Assault, mixing lots of heavy elements and aspects with her passion for industrial music. The name of the project was chosen during a flight from Toronto to New Jersey, when Bowman, at the age of seventeen, was skimming through a Tom Clancy novel when she came upon the term “amphibious assault”, with the whole project being, according to our talented musician herself, her personal “homage” to her KMFDM days, when she was obsessed with them. Amphibious Assault went on for a few years, from 2003 until 2007, with two full-length albums released, the aforementioned District Six in 2003 and On Better Days and Sin-Eating in 2006. If you want to take a listen at this more electronic side of Fallon, I recommend you check the songs Tears In Rain, District 6, The Importance Of Finding Narcissism, Mistakes, Breaks, Way Too Lates, and Benedictine, among many others.

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After the end of Amphibious Assault, Fallon mentioned that a new project was about to become a reality, tentatively named “Oh No, Torpedo!”, but that in the end became her solo project Fallon Bowman & The Grace Dynasty (with The Grace Dynasty being a five-piece band that included Rhim of The Birthday Massacre on drums), playing a series of live shows before announcing their forthcoming debut album, titled Human, Conditional, from 2011. However, right after the recording of the album was done, it was decided that the project would drop “The Grace Dynasty” from its name, being then just known as Fallon Bowman. You can take a detailed listen at Human, Conditional at Bowman’s own BandCamp page, with songs like the title-track Human, Conditional and Rio de Janeiro being a good sample of how her latest project sounds like.

Regarding her vocal range and her skills as a musician, Fallon mentioned in one of her interviews she’s highly influenced by R&B (thanks to her sister and parents), which allows her to do more than “just” scream and yell while singing, and that she hadn’t taken any singing lesson until she left Kittie. She said that her vocal teacher taught her all sorts of essential lessons about maintaining pitch while moving, and that she incorporated those into her performances to give it a more theatrical vibe. In addition, she also mentioned the emotion she transpires during her live performances is something that just happens, it’s very organic and it arises from the same place her lyrics and pain come from. And even in the middle of that sea of emotions, Fallon has time to sharpen her playing skills, being able to play guitar, keyboards, bass and sing (and getting there in regards to the piano), all helping her become a better composer. And did you know she has a degree in archeology? Well, that’s something almost no one actually knew until she was the subject of a prank for an episode of the short-lived Animal Planet series Freak Encounters a few years ago.

Fallon’s influences in music are just as diverse as her own background, with our talented multi-instrumentalist being highly influenced by R&B when it comes to her vocal style, but of course she also draws a lot of inspiration from electronic and rock music, saying that she loves the contrast between angelic singing and harder music. In terms of names, she said her taste for music varies from Whitney Houston to Deftones, from Calvin Harris to VNV Nation to Nirvana, and so on, mentioning that there’s beauty in all types of music. When asked about a band that she would have loved to tour with from the past, she promptly mentioned Nirvana, saying that meeting Kurt Cobain would have been a mind-blowing experience and that Nirvana, alongside with Hole, were the bands that made her want to be a musician. Furthermore, Fallon still had time to create her own dream band, that being David Gahan from Depeche Mode on vocals, Danny Carey from Tool on drums, Ryan from Mudvayne on bass, and Jimi Hendrix on guitar. How awesome do you think that supergroup would sound?

When asked about all changes that have impacted the music industry since she started her career back in 1996, she said when Kittie started they had almost no focus on the internet, as there wasn’t Facebook or anything like that at that time, saying it was all about street teams made up of fans that would spread the word about each band, something that doesn’t happen anymore nowadays. Fallon has been trying to learn about new apps and platforms to promote her music, and you can find her in several places, as for example you can buy her music on BandCamp, something that didn’t exist at all in the 90’s. Well, she’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, so let’s say she has adapted to this new reality in the music business as much as her taste in music has changed and evolved, right? Well, now let’s wait and see what the future holds for this young and restless musician, hoping that she keeps “invading” all current and new types of social media sites and music apps with her uniqueness and electricity.

Fallon Bowman’s Official Facebook page
Fallon Bowman’s Official Twitter
Fallon Bowman’s Official Instagram
Fallon Bowman’s Official YouTube channel
Fallon Bowman’s Official BandCamp

“I didn’t consciously think of what I was doing as a step for me as a woman of colour – it was more simple than that – being a teenager wanting to be a rockstar. In retrospect however, no one besides maybe Skin was doing that style of music and was also a woman of colour. It’s a bit mind blowing really. There was really no one else doing that at that level.” – Fallon Bowman

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Metal Chick of the Month – Alexis Brown

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What be this beast here that lies deep… asleep right in the heart of me?

With the year of 2015 almost coming to an end, we metalheads must keep on rockin’ as loud as we can, and in order to spice things up a little let’s talk about a stunning ebony girl full of attitude, energy and passion for heavy music. Hailing from Clarksville, Tennesee, United States, the fifth largest city in the state behind Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, respectively, breaking down all gender and racial barriers comes the beautiful Alexis Brown, the electrifying frontwoman of American Metalcore band Straight Line Stitch and one of the most prominent black women in heavy music today.

Alexis started in music in her childhood playing violin and the cello, and of course she has always been a singer, with her background being from all kinds, genres and subgenres of music. Despite having such a hardcore attitude on stage with SLS, Alexis hasn’t been into metal music since the beginning: because she is a black girl, she thought she should be doing R&B music instead of anything else, but thanks to her stepfather and her brother she started developing her love and passion for Heavy Metal. Besides, Alexis herself thought that if she had continued with R&B, she would have become just one more black girl doing that. Not that she doesn’t enjoy the unique voice of R&B singers such as Billie Holiday and Stevie Nicks, but she truly wanted to do and be something different in her life and career, and metal ended up being the perfect fit for her vocal range and style.

Before joining SLS, Alexis was part of a Hard Rock band called FSN for five years, and she still remains friends with all original members. After FSN traded out some concerts with SLS, she fell in love with their music, and after some talks with the drummer for SLS she was invited to join the band. A couple of weeks later she ended up accepting the challenge and moving to Knoxville. Formed in 2000, SLS had just released  a demo and an EP before she joined the band in 2003, which basically means there’s no SLS without Alexis Brown and vice-versa today. After her debut album with the band in 2006, entitled To Be Godlike, she has already recorded the EP The Word Made Flesh (2007) and the self-titled EP Straight Line Stitch (2014), two full-length albums named When Skies Wash Ashore (2008) and The Fight of Our Lives (2011), and more recently a new EP entitled Transparency (2015). Although she’s always on tour with SLS, mainly around the United States and some very specific dates in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands, our tattooed goddess mentioned she would love to take her music to completely different and distant places like Hawaii, Australia, Japan, South America and Russia.

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Because Metalcore and Hardcore always have a huge focus on vocals, SLS were very lucky to find Alexis in their path and to be able to have her join the band. Not only her guttural vocals are amazing, as you can see in the powerful tracks Conversion and Remission, but also her clean singing is way above average as in the smooth One Reason. You can also take a listen at her awesome vocal range and performance in other excellent songs like Black Veil, Taste of Ashes and Never See the Day.

When asked about the increasing exposure and acceptance women in metal have been getting in the past few years, our high-minded diva mentioned that although this is indeed very positive, we shouldn’t forget women have always had a huge impact in heavy music, with names such as Wendy O. Williams, Joan Jett and Lita Ford being some of the pioneers, rocking our world for decades already.

Alexis has a very eclectic taste for music: her iPod contains music by Drake, Bee Gees, Barbara Streisand (by the way, she loves her voice), an English Rock band from the 60’s called The Zombies (famous for their debut single She’s Not There, from 1964), as well as many new and indie bands. In regards to her hobbies outside music, she mentioned she loves watching old horror movies and reading lots of Harlequin romance books.

And finally, when asked about the craziest thing that has ever happened to her on the road, Alexis said that she met and kissed somebody famous once, but she didn’t mention who that person was out of respect for his privacy. I guess the question here is not just who the guy was, because that’s too bland and do not represent how blessed he ended up being. We should scream the question, it has to represent what it is to be kissed by such an amazing girl, something like “WHO WAS THAT MOTHERFUCKIN’ LUCKY BASTARD?”

Alexis Brown’s Official Facebook page
Alexis Brown’s Official Twitter

“To me every show is memorable be it good or bad. It’s memorable when the whole crowd is singing all the words to our music, and it’s also memorable when some stupid heckler tells me to show my boobs.” – Alexis Brown