Straight Line Stitch

An interview with lead singer Alexis Brown of Straight Line Stitch
by Aaron Manogue
April 2011

There really seems to be a trend happening of having females as lead vocalists in the hard rock and the metal scene. This trend makes perfect sense considering the industry is completely saturated with males. Therefore, put a pretty face on stage for all the fans to enjoy, and if she can sing a little, that’s a bonus. Luckily, there are also a select few that just bring it. It doesn’t matter if they are a male or female because they are going to bring it night in and night out. After all is said and done, no one will be left questioning their talent. Straight Line Stitch is one of the lucky few that have a female vocalist, Alexis Brown, who breaks hearts with her smile and impresses with her voice. She definitely has the pretty face, but she also has a vocal range that hangs with the best of the best on the scene today. She has pushed the bar higher for vocalists, male or female.

Maximum Ink: Tell us a little about where you’re from and where you grew up. What type of family did you have growing up?
Alexis Brown: Basically, my family comes from a military background, so I was always here and there. My family was definitely from a musical background. My dad played saxophone, my mom sang in church, and I always knew I wanted to sing. I didn’t know it would lead to metal, but as I got older, I had an older brother and he just got into Pantera, Korn, and all those heavy bands. I just sort of was influenced by him, and when my mom later remarried, my step-father listened to Metallica, Bad Company, and Styx. I kind of just fell in love with the genre. So, I said, “Well you either do R&B music, or I can step out of the box and do something different.” So I decided to pursue a career in metal and get a band together.

MI: How did pursuing a career in metal happen? Did you join a band or did you start one?
AB: Actually, my first band— well I don’t even know if you can call it that, it was just me and my brother. Once he left to join the military, I started to go to my local music store and that’s where found a band. I put up an ad looking for a band, and I was relentless. I found a band, and one of my old guitar players answered an advertisement. We had a band, and then it fell apart. But I kept at it. I was going from band to band, recording by myself, and doing whatever I could to get my name out there. I finally found a real band before Straight Line Stitch for five years, and we played some shows with Straight Line Stitch. When my band started to kind of disband, I sort of jumped to Straight Line Stitch. So it’s just a big, long mess.

MI: Tell me about your inspirations growing up. You weren’t always a metal or rocker chick were you?
AB: Honestly, Korn was a huge influence to me. They came out and opened up a door for that kind of music, and I was thought, “Man, I really want to do that. I want to sort of pave the way for other bands.” They’re the ones that really made me want to pursue music and make a career out of it. As far as influences singing-wise, I will forever be a huge Stevie Nicks fan. I was always a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, and then she did her own thing. I love her voice, I love her power, and I love everything about her.

MI: What additional challenges do you think there are as a female in a male dominated industry?
AB: Right now, I think it’s hard all the way around. It’s hard to make it whether you’re a male or female. It’s just hard in general because the economy is not what it was. Money that used to be there is not, and artists basically have to live their life on the road out of a suitcase as part of a band. The biggest challenge is just trying to live life out on the road. Family, birthdays, and death are all missed. It’s a lot of sacrifice, and there’s no difference when comparing a man to a woman out on the road.

MI: I’ve had a lot of different musicians tell me that too. Rock ‘n’ roll is so glamorous but people don’t understand the sacrifice people make being away from their families and friends.
AB: Exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud to be a female in this genre, doing what we do, but I don’t think we should use it as a crutch. We need to stop using that as a crutch. We just need to start getting on stage, throw down, and bring our “A” game. We always get, “Oh, you’re a female and you’re doing this!” like it is unbelievable or something. I don’t go out there and check myself, “Oh, I’m still a female! Let’s go play the show.” I just get up there and make the show as epic as possible. We have to get to each and every show and give it our best. That’s it.

MI: How do you deal with the recent success of the album?
AB: I’m humbled by it. To me nothing has changed. We still go out of our way to hang out and talk to people. I would hope it always stay that way. I don’t really see a change, I mean, we’re seeing new faces we’ve never seen before so that’s really cool. Other than that, I don’t think it’s changed us as people. We’re still thinking it’s cool we’re getting more fans. To me that’s the most important part about a band. Obviously we’re making music for people, so we want to be able to connect with people, but not only do e have to do that with the music, but we have to do that on a human level. Fans buy our CDs and merchandise to let us be out here on the road. Just give people a little bit of your time to sign, to chat, and to take a picture. To us that means the world. We’ll always fight to hang out with our fans. That’s what it’s about.

MI: What would you say to other young girls out there that aspire to be like you and be a lead vocalist in a successful metal band?
AB: I would tell them no matter what they choose to do in their life, to always follow their heart, follow their dreams, and let nothing stand in their way. Most importantly, don’t let them stand in the way of themselves. I would definitely say, just follow their heart. That’s what I did. They should never stop believing in themselves. That’s the key.

MI: Anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
AB: I just want to say thank you to our fans and anyone who wants to reach out to us. I get this question a lot. Fans ask if someone else is controlling our Facebook pages. We run them, and we control them. Please contact us. We love to talk to people and network.

Don’t miss Alexis and Straight Line Stitch at The Annex, Thursday, May 5th, and also check out their new album The Fight of Our Lives.

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