Interview with Madam X Lead Vocalist Bret Kaiser

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Bret! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it is greatly appreciated.
Bret Kaiser: Thank You, the pleasure is all mine! ThanX for having me.

CV: I know many fans share the same concern when I ask how you are feeling these days since your recent back surgery this past December. Are you ready to get back on stage?
BK: I am getting better every day, thanX for asking and yes, I AM READY!!!

CV: Madam X has begun a new era; a second coming to be exact.  Since the band's reforming in 2014, after a 25 year absence, what's it been like for you and the band? Is it like stepping back in time on some levels?
BK: After coming back from our cryogenic break LOL, and rockin at The Sweden Rock Festival, it honestly felt like we never missed a beat. It was as if time was frozen for those 25 years. This time we were right where we belonged. On a big stage in front of 12,000 plus Madam X fans! We made a lot of friends and it felt so right we all looked at each other and said this is too good not to keep going!

CV: The band launched its rebirth on stage at the 2014 Swedish Rock Festival to 12,000 plus fans. Last year marked your second performance playing the festival. What were your thoughts in the moments before walking out in front of that crowd in 2014 as compared to doing it again in 2018?
BK: We were so thankful to be asked again to kick some ass. And this time, we had just released a new album “Monstrocity” on Halloween 2017 so we had more great songs in our arsenal to play for all! We look forward to playing SRF again, hopefully sooner than another 4 years.

CV: At the height of Metal's reign in the 1980's, Madam X called it quits.  However, the band's album, "We Reserve the Right," kept the fires burning all these years; preserving the name and leading up to the group's reunion in 2014 and the new album, "Monstrocity," in 2017 on EMP.  What is it about that first album that has, and still does, captivate fans all these years?
BK: "We Reserve the Right" was a fun album, very 80’s and feel good songs you could sing and identify with. It was a time machine album. We are very thankful we were not forgotten.

CV: With the band’s first album carrying so much weight and mystique with fans, was there any difficulty approaching the writing for "Monstrocity"? Were there any feelings of doubt that lightening would strike again?
BK: Well, it took a long time to do “Monstrocity” we didn’t just want to put out a record just to put out a record! Madam X does things that we want to be proud of, something we all can go “yeah, now that’s an Album we were psyched to release. Before, we were told to write “cute” songs by Don Arden. Also, back in 1984, Chris “GODZILLA” and I wrote mostly the whole record. This time, Maxine and Roxy Kicked Big Ass and had written a lot of great stuff. We all grew up and matured in our lives. The dynamics changed as did the style. We as a band wanted to be heavier; we were always heavy live, only now we wanted that on our own record….a record that we did all by ourselves. We got Michael Wagener to mix, Mark Slaughter, Kevin Sharpe, and Kolton Lee to also mix. We got Maor Applebaum to master our record. We got Lexi Leon to do the artwork on our record. This is no doubt a Madam X record!!!

CV: The new album was released under the EMP Label Group. How does it feel to have the confidence and support of one of today’s most key and sought after independent record companies?
BK: We were jazzed at the time that someone was interested! And grateful for getting our record out there. ThanX to EMP Label Group

CV: "Monstrocity" is a finely-sharpened and well-polished album; filled with edge, intensity and balls. The opening two songs, "Resurrection" and the title track “Monstrocity,” just set the tone.  Was this the plan for the entire album...a no guts no glory approach?
BK: Thank you, I agree totally. “Monstrocity” is a finely-sharpened and well-polished album; filled with edge, intensity and balls. That is eXactly what we wanted to put out! …which has received many stellar reviews. We are very proud of it.

CV: The new album contains the ballad track, "Wish You Away." Great song…but for many Metal bands and fans alike, ballads are a thing of the past. Was there any level of concern about including a ballad on the album?
BK: No, it’s a great song. A lot of passion in the song. If we worried about what others think we wouldn’t be Madam X!!!

CV: How do you see the industry has changed since the first album's release compared to the current album’s release? Has its change affected the way you write music at all?
BK: Industry? Unfortunately, the record industry has kinda gone away. Before, you had Major labels signing bands, supporting bands, pushing bands. Well not anymore, unless you are an established arena act or Pop star… our genre of metal has been pushed to the back of the bus! Now, the bands have to do all the work. The internet, technology, home studios and music sharing have basically choked the labels and mainstream radio out, replaced with satellite radio with no rules and no restrictions. You have online music you can stream for free. Anyone who has lots of followers, can record music, make a video and be a YouTube star. Paying your dues has a different meaning now.

CV: To borrow a line from Whitney Houston's ode to the Olympics, "One Moment in Time,"… is that what the 80's we're like for both Metal artists and fans? Do you ever see a time like that happening again for the genre?
BK: Yes, Yes I do. 80’s Metal will never die, it’s ageless. Just go to the Festivals and rock clubs and support all your favorite bands. I believe it will make a re-emergence soon. These are my opinions only. I know in my heart when I am performing and can look out on 12,000+ fans and they are singing the words to our first record we did in 1984 and it’s 2014...That my friend, is priceless as well as ageless!

CV: For many, music in general has taken a turn for the worst. Nevertheless, artists are still creating. As an artist, as a songwriter, do you feel this is the case with music's current state…is the music today that bad?
BK: I would rather keep my opinion on today’s music to myself. Listen, kudos to any artist that can find their niche, write the golden song, be able to perform the songs live without backing tracks or lip synching (which is taboo). 

CV: With Madam X being a band from the original era of Heavy Metal, does that sort of history provide you a unique perspective on songwriting; being able to deliver what Metal fans really want to hear musically?
BK: In Madam X we write from our hearts. We are our fans, we love our fans what we write is what we feel. We are “raw and flawed” as Roxy and Maxine say. 

CV: Like many bands from the 80's, the term "Hair Metal" is thrown around generously when used to describe them, and in my opinion, sometimes inaccurately and unwarranted. Band’s that predate the “Hair Metal” period have been lumped into the lot.  It's become a catch all umbrella term, unfortunately. Do you consider Madam X a "Hair Metal" band?
BK: Well honestly, most of the “Hair Metal” bands from the 80’s don’t have all of their hair anymore. Fortunately, we do…LOL. All joking aside you can be “Hair today and gone tomorrow” … Is Madam X a “Hair Metal” band? We are a Metal band with great hair that rocks and has great music.

CV: Are you a digital downloader or do you still prefer to get albums in a physical format of some kind?
BK: I prefer product, albums, CD’s… something I can look at and hold!!!

CV: What do you think separates the Madam X of the 80's from the Madam X of 2019?
BK: Like a good cheese and a fine wine, time and aging…LOL. What I mean is, we are still the original 4. Besides, a lifetime of maturing and honing our skills and experiences…we are basically still the same 4 who did what we did…only now, we do it better. 

CV: Can fans expect a tour or run of shows this year…maybe Roxy pulling double duty with a Madam X and Vixen co-headliner?
BK: There are somethings being lined up. You, the fans, can write or call your local promoters and tell them you want Madam X! Believe me that helps… You never know...a tour would be awesome!

CV: What's next for MadamX?
BK: I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, only time will tell. I promise you this. It won’t be long…I won’t stop till we have WORLD DOMINATION!!! …LOL (maniacal laugh)!!!

CV: Thank you again Bret for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success with Madam X and all your future projects.
BK: Thank you Mick, and thanX to your readers and all the Madam X fans worldwide! We appreciate every single one of you all! Please check out our website and social media
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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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