Lee Aaron Moves the Metal Queen Marionette, Reflecting on Her Career and New Covers Album, Tattoo Me

40 Years Later, Lee Aaron Pulls the Strings on “Metal Queen”

For an artist who rose to prominence in the 1980s, Lee Aaron is remarkably aware of the milestones in her career. She can rattle off the details of the “Metal Queen” video shoot with startling clarity, right down to the “funny thing” about being nervous around a snake and the time she saw a drag queen in Vancouver dressed up like the Metal Queen. It’s clear she’s proud of the impact the song and its accompanying visual have had, and she’s eager to regale listeners with stories of the Manowar-esque outfit enshrined in The National Music Centre at Studio Bell in Calgary or the various fan tributes ranging from cosplays to marionettes.

Recently, Aaron has been breathing new life into some other classics with her new covers album, Tattoo Me, out now via Metalville Records. The record’s title track is an alternately more muscular and slinkier take on the 77s’ “Tattoo,” but the collection is an eclectic mix of classic rock staples and unexpected covers. Aaron and her band recorded the album during COVID lockdowns and were able to take their time, resulting in an attention to detail that’s clear in the sequencing.

Aaron credits her upbringing in musical theater for her eclectic tastes and willingness to take risks on covers that others might not expect. She also reflects on the struggles facing women in the music industry in the ’80s, from blatant sexism to being reduced to a commodity to be traded. Aaron’s performance in “Metal Queen” was a powerful statement and pushback against those attitudes, and she’s still taking control and pulling the strings, both figuratively and literally, with her interpretation of the song and her career.

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