WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE
A candid talk with Femme Fatale singer Lorraine Lewis, who is also the producer of the hit reality show “Ex-wives of Rock”
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD – The reality TV show “Ex-wives of Rock” is back in the news, as the second season has begun, and that’s a good thing for co-producer Lorraine Lewis, the former Femme Fatale vixen who helped come up with the idea in the first place and is now doing quite well, thank you.
The fact the show has been picked up for a second season means Lewis must be doing something right, as enough viewers are checking in to see what’s up with ex-wives Bobbie Brown (Jani Lane of Warrant), Athena (James Kottak of Scorpions), Susan Blue (Jerry Dixon of Warrant) and of course Sharise Neil (Vince Neil of Motley Crue).
Femme Fatale, signed to MCA in the late 1980s, had so much promise but never got that lucky break, but Lewis has proved you can’t keep a good woman down – very good in her case, as she is still ravishingly beautiful and now successful in her own right.
We check in with Ms. Lewis, and we pulled no punches with our questions. And we’ve got to hand it to Lorraine, she did not duck away from any of them. A great interview. Enjoy.
Lorraine Lewis & Femme Fatale live 2013
SLUDGE: “Ex-wives of Rock” is doing well, Lorraine. You’re in the midst of the second season.
LEWIS: Yeah, it already aired in Canada. They’re a few episodes ahead of us up there. I’m very excited. It’s over the top. I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s new footage, all brand new stuff since we filmed Season One.
SLUDGE: I knew James Kottak was going to be in it because he told me so, but that was quite a while ago.
LEWIS: Yeah, he is in more than one episode. You can see him on the trailer, so I guess I can talk freely about that.
SLUDGE: What about the other ex-hubbies? Are any of them involved?
LEWIS: That’s a great question. I guess you’ll just have to wait to find out.
SLUDGE: What about you? Are you in any of the episodes.
LEWIS: I was in some scenes in the first season. I was at the bar with my fiancee when L.A. Guns was playing. I’m actually in there all the time. Sort of like Alfred Hitchcock.
SLUDGE: I know it took some work, a long time to actually sell the show and make it happen. Is it nice to have a season under belt? The pressure is off.
LEWIS: Oh my god, the first season was great, but let me tell you, the second season, I know I’m the producer, but it’s amazing. It’s fuckin’ great. Season One was great, but this blows it away.
LEWIS: Yeah, there’s some crazy shit going on. It doesn’t stop. Just constant drama.
SLUDGE: Oh by the way, I see Bobbie Brown’s book, “Dirty Rocker Boys,” is coming out. Have you read it yet? Is it any good?
LEWIS; Oh my god, I can’t even believe the stories she tells. If it was me, I would more to another country and get my face changed.
SLUDGE: The face-changing part, most of you girls have done that already.
LEWIS: (laughs) You are so funny, Gerry. Well, Bobbie pretty much looks the same. She has maintained herself well. She still has that great smile with big, white teeth.
SLUDGE: She was really the only one of the four that was an actual celebrity back in the day. Is Bobbie enjoying being a celebrity again?
LEWIS: She loves it. Are you kidding? The all love it. The girls did a press junket in Canada, and people just went crazy for them. They had a great time and met a lot of fans and hung out with them. It was pretty amazing for them. They had a great time. Bobbie is in the spotlight for sure. Sharise, she was nervous a little bit about keeping her anonymity but she has really come out of her shell because at first she wasn’t that into being in front of a camera.
SLUDGE: No offense, but are the story lines going to be a bit more interesting this time around? Some of the episodes were boring as hell.
LEWIS: We’ve got some really big story lines, and there were big story lines last season, too. Skylar Neil, we touched on that, and Sharise trying to navigate her relationship with Brandon. Boring as hell? Thanks, I really appreciate that. It’s not boring as hell, believe me. What about when Bobbie and Blue went at it because Blue called her a fame whore? That was real shit. We didn’t believe it when it first went down. Our mouths just dropped but we all just stayed quiet and let her do it. They’re fucking crazy. But you’ll see, Gerry. Season Two will blow you away. You won’t believe the shit that happens.
SLUDGE: Let’s change gears a little bit. . The last time I saw you, you were back with Femme Fatale with an all-girl lineup. You played with Kix at the Key Club in Los Angeles.
LEWIS: We’re doing some more things with Femme Fatale, some really big shows. We have a sponsor, Clique Vodka, and we’re going to be teamming up for a promotion. We’ve got a really big show to announce but I’m sworn to secrecy. We’re really busy but we want to do a big show
SLUDGE: OK, I have to ask some tough questions now.
SLUDGE: You had told me that you had actually slept with Vince Neil when she was married to Sharise. When did Sharise find out about it?
LEWIS: No, I hung out with Vince on a few occasions. He actually got me a gig at the Santa Monica Civic. At the Party Ninjas concert, I hung out with Vince.
SLUDGE: I know. I remember you asking me to ask him if it was OK for you guys to take a picture together. So it was like you didn’t know each other – but the real truth is, you actually did know each other, right?
LEWIS: Yes, yes. I had hung out with Vince, but I was told they were getting a divorce apparently.
SLUDGE: So you do admit it?
LEWIS: It sounds so awful.
SLUDGE: The weird thing is, you were acting like you had met Vince Neil for the first time when we were all together that night in Santa Monica.
LEWIS: I was totally being coy.
Vince Neil & Lorraine Lewis
Pin Up Girl 80s Style
SLUDGE: I remember thinking, ‘Wow, she wants permission to be in a photo with Vince Neil.’ I mean, you were signed to MCA, you weren’t chopped liver, Lorraine.
LEWIS: I know, but it’s Motley Crue.
SLUDGE: Hell, all I was doing back then was working for Rock City News, but I went right up to him.
LEWIS: I wasn’t quite sure, so I was being respectful.
SLUDGE: Athena has dropped the name Lee. She’s just Athena now. Interesting.
LEWIS: She was never Athena Lee. That was Tommy’s name.
SLUDGE: Well, I am looking at Wikipedia right now, and she is listed as Athena Lee?
LEWIS: How do we change that? She used it for like five seconds on Facebook. She is Athena Kottak, but is just referred to as Athena.
SLUDGE: So is Athena distancing herself from Tommy Lee?
LEWIS: No, it’s that that’s Tommy Lee’s name, and it was never Athena’s name. She loves her brother. There is no distance being put between them. She just wants to be Athena, and I respect her for that. Athena goes by Athena. Nobody should care either way.
SLUDGE: OK. By the way, do the girls get recognized now?
LEWIS: They do. When they go grocery shopping, they get recognized. This was in Dana Point (south of Los Angeles), not Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, they stay inside the house.
Lorraine, Athena, Bobbie & Sharise of Ex. Wives Of Rock
Sharise & Lorraine
Lorraine Lewis & the new & improved all female Femme Fatale
SLUDGE: Going back to Femme Fatale. Looking back, do you feel like you should have been more successful?
LEWIS: Of course. Don’t we all? I was just a small-town girl snatched up in the big city.
SLUDGE: What happened? What was the turning point that hurt you?
LEWIS: In my opinion, we made a really bad decision on the second single. We should have thrown a ballad out there but instead we put out “Rebel” as the second single. We needed a ballad with one of those black and white MTV videos. But the record company didn’t do that.
SLUDGE: Tell me about the other original members of Femme Fatale. What are they doing now?
LEWIS: Well, Bill D’Angelo, the guitarist. He passed away six years ago. A drug overdose, I believe.
Bill D’Angelo, guitar, passed away six years ago, overdose I believe. Bobby Murray, the drummer, he lives in Albuquerque. I think he joined a few bands. I can’t tell. And the bass player, Rick Rael. He’s my brother.
SLUDGE: Was her protective over you? You know, like a typical big brother?
LEWIS: Not that I remember.
SLUDGE: Interesting. What else can you tell us?
LEWIS: Well, I was 29 years old but they took off five years and made me 24. The record company, they thought that looked a little better, me being 24. The keyboard player, Chris Lewis, I was married to him before the record deal. I was crazy.
Femme Fatale = Danger Danger with tits
SLUDGE: So you were basically a sex symbol doing your thing in front of your hubby.
LEWIS: What are you going to do? You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize I just wanted to be hugely famous.
SLUDGE: So when Femme Fatale didn’t make it, were you depressed?
LEWIS: I went through my moments, like wow what the fuck. For a period of a few years, I tried to deny it, moved to Seattle, didn’t tell anyone about my past. I just felt like a total loser, and that sucked. But little by little, I got my strength back and got my power back. I look back and remember the band now, and I might as well embrace those memories.
SLUDGE: I thought Femme Fatale was a great band.
LEWIS: We were. We were a really great band. We needed to stick it out but it got complicated. MCA offered me a solo deal, and I was uncomfortable with that. It was just weird because of my brother. I went through a lot of stuff. I had an eating disorder for a while, just crazy stuff that people don’t really know. I was trying to be this perfect person for MTV, and it damaged my soul.
SLUDGE: What’s the biggest check you ever received in Femme Fatale, and what did you spend the money on?
LEWIS: We got a $60,000 publishing check. I didn’t buy anything except some fabulous rock clothes and cowboy boots and a leather jacket that I still have.
SLUDGE: Who is your celebrity fantasy one-night stand?
LEWIS: Hmm. All my celebrity crushes have actually happened, so I don’t know.
SLUDGE: Interesting. Would you say you were promiscuous?
LEWIS: I was wild but not as wild as Bobbie Brown. I think all things considered, I was pretty tame. Bobbie was the wild one.
SLUDGE: You still look really good, Lorraine. You keep yourself in good shape. How do you do it when you’re always drinking and eating pizza at the Rainbow?
LEWIS: Well I only have one slice. Never more than that. A few bites here and there and just vodka. I stay away from beer and eat clean. It’s boring but I do it. And I get my skin worked on for rejuvenation. Nothing major, just a nice facial.
SLUDGE: I noticed the guys that the girls hang out with on the show, they’re a lot younger than the girls. Are they cougars?
LEWIS: Oh my god, they hate that word but they roll with it. The younger guys make us feel young and beautiful.
SLUDGE: The real truth is, you’ve actually made a great comeback with this show. You’re the comeback player of the year, Lorraine.
LEWIS: Yeah, like Donald Trump. The way I figure it, you’re only on this planet for a certain amount of time, so I don’t give up. Others stop but I keep on going. I don’t know if I’m the comeback story of the year, but I don’t stop.
SLUDGE: Now that you’ve opened the door with mentioning Donald Trump, how much money are you making with this show?
LEWIS: You’re hilarious. I knew you were going to say that. I’m making a living, and I’m stoked about it. I’m doing OK.
SLUDGE: You the producer with two others. Who makes more, you or the girls?
LEWIS: That’s a great question. I don’t know.
SLUDGE: Oh please, Lorraine.
LEWIS: I really don’t know. Isn’t that amazing? I would say it’s close but I can’t talk about money.
SLUDGE: Hmm. Now it sounds like you’re making more than they are.
LEWIS: I’m making less, are you kidding me? All I know is, I’m divorced and I have a new lease on life.
The ladies of the show say “F#CK FOOTBALL”
So if you wanna watch “Ex Wives of Rock” with the Ex Wives of Rock ladies in person every Sunday 4pm – 7pm
Then see ya @ THE JOINT 8771 W. Pico Los Angeles, CA 90035
Come down and meet Sharise, Athena, Bobbie and Blue!
See you there!
And don’t forget to tune in!
Fuse Network – USA Saturday nights at 8:00 pm PST and Slice Network in Canada Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm EST -
SLUDGE: Tell me the truth: Is some of “Ex-wives” staged? It looks staged.
LEWIS: No no. None of it.
SLUDGE: I call BS. It just seems like too much of a coincidence that every time one of them walks into the other’s house, they’re like, “Wow, I’ve never been here before.” You guys did again in the first episode of Season Two with Athena coming back from rehab and her new place is all set up. There’s no way Athena wouldn’t have known about that.
LEWIS: Well, there is lots of moving around. But she was really was surprised.
SLUDGE: OK, I guess I will take your word for it. By the way, what does Vince Neil think about the show?
LEWIS: I haven’t heard from him. As a matter of fact, I reached out to him but haven’t heard back. He’s shuffling a couple of wives himself. He is notorious for that.
SLUDGE: What about Tommy Lee? Does he like it?
LEWIS: We don’t know but we did record the theme song at his studio at his place. We don’t communicate.
SLUDGE: You should get rid of Shannon Tweed.
LEWIS: No no. She’s great. She’s really pretty in person, too.
SLUDGE: You should put Gene Simmons on the show. That would be awesome.
LEWIS: I know for a fact that Gene Simmons likes it because he tweets about the show sometimes.
SLUDGE: What about Jerry Dixon. Does he like it?
LEWIS: I haven’t asked. The show is about the four girls and their relationships. The fact they were married to these guys, that’s awesome, but there’s not a lot of contact. I would love to have Jerry on the show, though.
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at [email protected]