Pat Benatar feeling good and mature
AIDS benefit special
LE MUSEUM DE BENATAR Articles:
Chicago Tribune 6/7/93
Illinois Entertainer, June 93
Back in 1985 when Pat Benatar returned to the world of rock 'n' roll after the birth of her daughter and the release of her then seventh album, she was asked if that experience and her time off from recording would 'mellow' her music--her reply, 'Think Again!"
Now, two years since the release of their last album, True Love, a blues recording and musical diversion for Benatar and the band, people might once again be inclined to question whether rock 'n' roll is still flowing through Benatar's veins ... but after a .41 second musical prelude which kicks off her 1 lth and latest album, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW, there is no doubt that Benatar has returned to her rock roots and distinct classic vocal stylings with a vengeance.
Gravity's Rainbow is a rock 'n' roll album with an aggressive sound and introspective approach--and it lands Pat Benatar firmly into the 90s. It is a musical work without boundaries, and showcases all of the aspects of the musical spectrum that have gained Benatar her unique status within the rock world. Once again co-produced by her husband/guitarist Neil Giraldo along with Don Gehman, the album moves from hardhitting rockers to haunting melodic anthems--providing for a fresh, energetic and raw recording.
"We got a double bang out of doing the blues record last time out," explains Benatar. "Not only did we have a great time doing it, but also made everything seem fresh and fun again, and that's exactly what we were waiting for before we would record this album. When we went into the studio, it was truly exciting to jam with everyone again."
Songs on the album include: "Everybody Lay Down," a bass-driven, hard-rockin' chant which takes a reflective look at the trials & tribulations of everyday life; "Somebody's Baby," an ethereal-sounding musical tale reminiscent of Benatar's biggest hits that is sure to cross all music formats; "Every Time I Fall Back," a heartfelt emotional ballad and "Crazy," a rave-up which delivers a strong beat, tight vocal harmonies and a bluesy punch. What ties all the 12 songs on the album together is the impressive musicianship displayed by Benatar's longtime bandmates, including Neil Giraldo's distinctive, intricate and wellwoven guitar work, Myron Grombacher's solid drum beat and Frank Linx' deep bass sounds.
"Our writing style is very organic," notes Benatar. "It doesn't come fast, but it has a natural progression. I'm very influenced by what's happening around me, and the songs on this album reflect that fact. Writing has become a very cathartic experience for me."
Another experience that Benatar thrives on is live performances, and following the album's release, she and the band will return to the road. "I love the spontaneity and excitement of performing live," explains Benatar. "There's a unique sense of electricity that occurs with the audience. It's the one element that never gets old, no matter how long you've been doing it."
With Gravity's Rainbow, Pat Benatar delivers one of her strongest albums to date, and once again summons the musical energy, passion and vibrancy that has become a trademark of her long career.
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT - 1979/PLATINUM
CRIMES OF PASSION - 1980/MULTI-PLATINUM
PRECIOUS TIME - 1981/PLATINUM
GET NERVOUS - 1982/PLATINUM
LIVE FROM EARTH - 1983/PLATINUM
TROPICO - 1984/PLATINUM
SEVEN THE HARD WAY - 1984/GOLD
WIDE AWAKE IN DREAMLAND - 1988/GOLD
BEST SHOTS - 1989/GOLD
TRUELOVE - 1991/GOLD
In a time when female rockers are excelling as never before in such fine bands as 4 Non Blondes and L7, it's of no small moment that a genuine pioneer like Benatar should return with an album that equals or betters the best hard stuff being hammered out by headbangers of any gender. If Benatar"s preceding blues outing did nothing but telegraph the amazing texture of her pipes, then "Gravity"s Rainbow" makes it clear that she surrendered no rock credentials in the process. From "Everybody Lay Down," which already has exploded at rock radio, to the crackling thunder of "Disconnected," "Ties That Bind," the sexy "Sanctuary," and the postpunk slam dunk of "Tradin" Down," this record is a blast. Mellencamp/R.E.M. producer Gehman gets a ravishing sound out of virtuoso guitarist/collaborator Giraldo and the rest of Benatar"s great band. But with her luminous singing on power ballads like "Somebody"s Baby" and "Every Time I Fall Back," what's most obvious is that the lady is a champ.
Now 40, the singer is back on the rock scene with "Gravity's Rainbow."
by KIRA L. BILLIK
1993 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PHILADELPHIA - Pat Benatar has hit middle age and likes the way it feels. She's been married to her guitarist, NEIL GIRALDO!!! , for 12 years and has an 8-year-old daughter, Haley.
Even her image has changed - she's grown her once short, punkish hair to sleek, shoulder length. She's eschewed her Spandex togs for softly nenswear looks.
After putting out a blues record, "True Love," in 1991, her nose-thumbing to all who told her not to do it, the 40-year-old Benatar is back on the rock scene with her latest effort, "Gravity's Rainbow."
"I am damn mature," the dark-haired petite singer affirmed with her hearty laugh in a telephone intertview. "I still feel like a total juvenile delinquent... but to me, it's perspective. I don't look at things the same way I did."
Benatar credits much of her self-assuredness to doing the blues album and the freedom that experience gave her.
"You had an idea of what it was to be in a rock and roll band and you kind of boxed yourself in and people on the outside were boxing you in," she said. "The thing about the blues record was that once that happened, I knew there were no more boxes. I knew that that's what rock 'n' roll was really about.
"I had billions of people telling me you can't, you shouldn't, you mustn't, and I said, it's this or I quit. I try to remember now what that felt like, the power, to know you can do that and still live.
So, when I went in there to do this record, I just went in with the same head that I went in to do the blues record - no preconceptions, just go in there like it was the first time you ever made one," she said.
Benatar has done plenty of writing on "Gravity's Rainbow" and she's proud of that contribution.
"In the beginning, I really never thought of myself as a songwriter . . .even though I've always written songs on the records," she said. "For me, this record, the best thing about it is that I think I finally satisfied myself that I am (a songwriter)."
This record could bring her back to the status she held in the early and mid-'80s as one of the premiere women in rock, when she had a series of platinum albums that included "In the Heat of the Night," "Crimes of Passion" and "Get Nervous."
It's full of crunchy rock songs like "Everybody Lay Down" and "Ties That Bind"; poignant, wistful ones like "Somebody's Baby" and "Kingdom Key," and a ballad about self-reliance called "Every Time I Fall Back" that has hit single written all over it.
"I think I wrote (that) in the parking lot of a lumberyard, because it was so boring," she laughs. "NEIL!!! and I had spoken about a title for a song called 'Every Time I Fall Back,' and in that 10 minutes, I had a chorus."
Benatar's toned down her strident, classically trained vocals on the new album. She can still leap octaves like a deer ("Crazy" is a good example), but her powerhouse voice has mellowed and tempered with age. She fully exploits her rich middle and lower range, giving the entire album an insinuating feel.
"I used to (think) everything had to be with a big stick," she said. "I keep the stick, it's back here, but I don't need to take it out so much anymore. But if I need it, (if) anybody gets too wise, it's right where I can reach it."
She says her relationship with Giraldo has "evolved into something I couldn't have even hoped for" over the years.
"We're not only living our musical experience together, but we live our life experience together, so it doesn't get much tighter than that," she said. "My family life - I'm going to knock on wood right now - is so worked out now."
She fondly recalled her first meeting with him, which occurred in 1979 when she was looking for a guitar player. It was love at first sight for her, even though she was married to someone else.
"I wanted to have a handsome guitar player," she said with a giggle. "They had touted him really big, because he came from Rick Derringer's band, and they said, this is the guy you want, he writes ... and I'm thinking, 'Oh, yeah, right, well let's see.'
"I saw him and I said to myself, I don't care if he can play a note - he is in the band! It just worked out that he could."
She teases that even though Giraldo says he had a similar reaction to her, "He lies - I know he didn't. It took him a while to learn to love me," she said with a big laugh.
Benatar is promoting "Gravity's Rainbow" with her first rock tour since 1988.
Expect her to trot out the old hits, albeit reworked a bit, like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Heartbreaker." There are certain oldies she's left behind, however, calling them "way too dated," She's got her dignity, after all.
You won't hear "Fire and Ice" or "Treat Me Right," she says.
"I'm sorry, I am not singing, 'Oo, you're giving me the fever tonight' (the opening line of "Fire and Ice") - I don't care how much money they pay me - I am not singing that," she says, letting out another big laugh.