Do I really need to explain to you metalheads who Pamela Moore is? I hope not, but for those of you who don’t know, she is the voice of Sister Mary on the Queensrÿche masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime, and an accomplished solo artist in her own right. She has finally realized her dream of releasing an all-out metal album that has a classic sound, yet feels modern. I caught up with Pamela a few days before her debut show for the release of Resurrect Me, out now on Rat Pak records. Take a look:
Amps: You recently performed at the Queensrÿche album release show, doing “Suite Sister Mary”. Did that feel like coming full circle? Since the fan base is so rabid?
Pamela: Those guys are my friends and family, I’ve known them over 25 years now, so having them ask me to come sing with them was fun. I’d done it a couple of times before. Whenever they were in town they’d ask if I wanted to come down and I’d always say yes. This time was a little bit different; I was singing “Sister Mary” with Todd. He’s a wonderful singer, and he has a lot of admiration for the band, so for him to be in the situation that he is now, it’s like a dream come true for him, I’m sure. But he also is his own man. We had gone over the song a couple times in rehearsal, and finally when it came time for me to come onstage, I waited till the last minute and Todd was on fire! I was like, “Well done!” It was really a fun situation to be in, the band was on, everyone seemed very lucid and relaxed, and I just wish them all the best. The whole breakup situation has been tough for everybody in both camps, but sometimes when the smoke clears, the change is for the best, and you move on. And I really feel good about the guys, and what they’re doing, and more so they have to feel that way about themselves. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.
Pamela: The fact that it’s a heavy metal album, for starters. I’ve only officially had two solo albums out in my career, and the last one was more on the electronic rock side. Both albums have personal experiences that I write about, obviously, but this one was the album that I’ve always wanted to write. We went out and found GUITAR players, rock guitar players, which had been missing. At the time Michael Posch was working with me, and he just brought it! He brought these wonderful riffs, and musical concepts and ideas, and it just kept flowing, and it took a while, but we finally finished it, and now I get to talk to you (laughs).
Amps: The guitars are out of this world on some tracks. Jeff Loomis and Ralf Scheepers’ sound is incredible. The riffs, the solos…you set out to make something heavier this go round?
Pamela: I really wanted to, yes. I really wanted to get back to what people know me as. Because people associate me, obviously, with Sister Mary, I’ll probably have that on my tombstone (laughs), and I’ll have it proudly, because that’s something that has afforded me the opportunity to put out my own little side projects and solo stuff, and that’s important to me because it’s what I’ve known for so many years. And being able to do something like this really, really got me excited. Plus I knew that my fan base would really enjoy something like this, and I think we really did nail it, you know?
Amps: My favorite track off this record is “Awakening”. I find it hauntingly beautiful. If you had to pick one, what’s yours?
Pamela: I’m so glad you said that because “Awakening” is my favorite track. It takes you by surprise, it’s haunting, and even kind of relaxing at the beginning, and then it starts to crescendo and Jeff Loomis takes off into this huge, chaotic frenzy. I just think it’s not the typical song you would think of, because people say they like “Resurrect Me” and “Sky Is Falling” and they all have their own personality and continuity as far as the album is concerned. It’s just a kind of under the radar song, so I’m really glad you said that.
Amps: Your debut show is Saturday night? Are you nervous, excited, or both?
Pamela: Michael flew in last night from Chicago, and he’s doing these songs for the first times live. I’ve been rehearsing them for the past couple of months, and so, when he came in, we started running through the set a couple of times, and he got down off the stage and kind of smiled at me and said, “Wow! These songs are pretty powerful!” He’s having a great time. We’ve got Randy Piper (from W.A.S.P. and Animal) who’s been sitting in while Michael wasn’t here, filling in the sound for us, so now he doesn’t have to play the whole set. He’ll come in for the latter half, and he’s got some pretty fun things that he’s going to be doing, as far as stage antics and stuff. He’s a good friend, and a real sweet guy, who lives, breathes, and eats what he does. And there are so many amazing under the radar people. There’s another guitar player, Craig Church, and drummer Chris G, and Bobby Ferkovich who play in Presto Ballet, and they’re all just locking it down. It’s really pretty exciting; we’ve got a couple more days of rehearsal, then a day off, and then the show at Louie G’s. A couple of my students will be coming, too. I’m anxious, and I’m excited, and a little nervous, because this is my baby, but I think we’ll get a really good response. Sometimes in rehearsal I just get chills, and when that happens you know something’s going right.
Amps: Will we get a full U.S. run?
Pamela: I haven’t wanted to book any more shows till I got this one under my belt, so I could see where we’re at as far as how the show’s going and gauging the response that we’re gonna get. But there’s definitely a bunch of ideas in the works, so hopefully we’ll get to do some touring in the fall and early next year.
Amps: What do you do to keep your voice in such great shape? Any do’s/dont’s?
Pamela: You really need to make sure you’re warmed up. This is extremely challenging material to sing, and for me to do an hour’s worth of it, it’s really really important that I’m warmed up. I can’t drink, either. Afterwards is fine, but I can’t drink alcohol before a performance because it’ll dry my voice out too much, and I want to make sure I sound the best that I can, so I save that for afterwards. And of course, getting enough sleep is very important.
Amps: It’s great that you use social media to keep in touch with fans.
Pamela: Well, when I have the time, I think it’s important. I’m sure there are people out there who are MUCH more famous than me who don’t have any time, but for me I think in this day and age, you have to have social media to keep in touch with people, especially with how the music business has changed. So being able to make a connection with people is great. A few years ago, Rudy Sarzo, who I’d met when we had Ronnie James Dio come up onstage for Operation: Mindcrime II, he sent me a happy birthday message, and I just thought that was the nicest thing for him to do, to take a moment and do that. So I try to let people know that I am talking to them.
Amps: You’re an excellent role model, and a class act. What advice do you have for the young girls out there who want to be like you?
Pamela: Well, thank you. I have a lot of younger students who are 13 to 16 and I tell them to be true to themselves, to be in music because you love it, not because you think you’re going to be the next superstar. You might be, but do it because you love it. Because if you’re not having a good time why would you even try? And also to surround themselves with people they can truly trust. Listen to your gut, and follow your heart.
Amps: Do you like what’s going on today with bands like Halestorm, In This Moment, Huntress and Butcher Babies, bands who are kicking ass and rocking out?
Pamela: Oh, I freakin’ love it, are you kidding me? (laughing) I love women in rock and women in metal! I love the fact that they can put the sexy into it and give you a one-two punch, you know? I’m happy to be a woman, and I love that because we do have the honors of being able to be the softer side, but we can also show a lot of power, and I absolutely adore all the women that are in the scene right now, and I raise my glass to them, because it’s a tough road sometimes. And they’re all staying true to who they are as performers and as people.
Amps: Pamela, thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to give us a few minutes.
Pamela: Oh, it was my pleasure, and I hope to meet you in person when we come to Dallas.
POSTSCRIPT: At the time this interview goes up on the site, two things have happened:
- Pamela Moore and the band killed it at their show on Saturday July 13 (NO surprise there!)
- She posted on her Facebook wall my e-mail telling her how Mini-Amps rocked out so hard to her record that he shook the car like the Tasmanian Devil, which meant it passed his ROCKING test, complete with saying it melted her heart. I ask you, readers, in this day and age, who does that? Who takes the time out to do something that nice for someone they’ve only had a conversation with?
Pamela Moore, that’s who. Singer, artist, rocker, wonderful woman, and beautiful person.
It was my privilege and honor to conduct this interview, and I will never forget it.