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Veronica Freeman – Vocals for Bendictum

Date: 05/19/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino

  1. Being a female singing heavy metal, what were some of the challenges you faced when you started? Was there are particular vocal you were striving for?

VERONICA: Hmmm when I first started (back when dinasours ruled the earth) it was a bit more challenging than it is now. People really didn’t take me too seriously or the usual “yeah I want to be in a band… uh.. chick singer.. no thanks!” but at the end of the day I found very cool people to work with (Pete for instance) and learned a lot along the way. It would be remiss for me not to mention the reality of the many men and women for that matter, that have been supportive of me along the way. So for the most part I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people that believe in what we do. As far as the vocal, I would say that when I first heard Heavy Metal I felt like I found the right niche for my voice, I think it was more of the music I was striving for than the other way around if you know what I mean. My voice and energy just didn’t mesh well with other types of music and although I constantly got the “Metal???? Why that music???” that didn’t deter me because it always felt right for the way that I sing and I just love Metal!!

2. Your tone and delivery has similarities to Doro Pesch. Are you influenced by her work and if so what are some of your favorite Doro/Warlock songs?

VERONICA: She is a definite influence and after having toured with her (that was a dream come true) and after being absolutely amazed by her, I learned sooooooooo much. Although I don’t think we have very many similarities of tone at all J I would say my favorite song of hers are “Fur Immer”, “East Meets West” and of course “All We Are”. It was totally cool, she was in Phoenix for a show about a month ago and I got to see her again, I felt like a little kid when she called me up on stage, it was truly an honor. I think she is one of my idols really. She is such a consistent and fabulous performer!

3. Tell us about the influences which inspired Benedictum’s old school heavy metal sound.

VERONICA: I must say we do have a wide variety of influences for me Rush, Queen , Dio… and also Tina Turner, Billie Holiday and many more. Everything from Randy Rhoads,Testament, Panterra, Dokken, Megadeth, Keith Emerson, Symphony X to Lamb of God and Soilwork too many to name really. We have a wide range of musical tastes and influences but it is really obvious that all of us have that “old school” blood in our veins “from time to time!

3. Why the name Benedictum?

VERONICA: When we did our first 3 song demo Benedictum was the name of one of the songs on it. At that time we called ourselves “Bound” but once we got a record deal the label didn’t like it and suggested “Benedictum” and thought that is sounded more “Metal”. At first we were really upset about it but since we couldn’t come up with anything they liked better or anything that we liked better for that matter the name just stuck and now it has grown on us!

4. Your bio states that Craig Goldy from Dio discovered the band. Tell us about that.

VERONICA: Yeah I just talked to him last night, what a cool person. Anyway, Craig and I go ‘way back” if you will, we have been close friends for many years. He has always been so focused on what he has wanted and I am so proud of him. He was the one that introduced me to Metal and we had an agreement that if he ever “made it” he would help me if I stuck with it. When he came over to visit I played him some rehearsal recording and he was really blown away. I think he felt that this was finally the project that he could really get behind and he in turn introduced us to Jeff Pilson who has been a Godsend to us.

5. How did the band get to have George lynch (Dokken) and Manni Schmidt from Grave Digger contribute solos to the new album “Seasons of Tragedy”?

VERONICA: We met Manni Schmidt during the tour with Doro. We had joked around about the idea that “hey maybe you could be on the second album”. Once we got the album well under way I thought I would give him a call just to see if by chance he would be interested. He didn’t hesitate one bit and we are so happy that he was a part of this production.

As far as George Lynch, truly we were too scared to ask Jeff Pilson about it for the first album but since we have such a great relationship with Jeff now we got the “balls” if you will, to just out of the blue ask Jeff… “so Jeff, what about ringing up George Lynch and seeing if he wants to be on the album?” of course we were half joking … Jeff turned around, picked up his cell phone and called him. “He said cool… he will be here next week!”… well you can imagine we were pretty damn excited about that!

6. What are the Seasons of Tragedy?

VERONICA: Ahhhh, you should listen to the song and become enlightened tee hee! The Seasons of Tragedy are a metaphor for the different stages of passage during the journey of life. The song is about a soul as it travels through the path of existence and each season is represented by a different type of bird, each of which has a message of wisdom for the soul along its journey.

“Life is always abounding..though the eye may not see… beyond all our senses there’s more.. just believe”

Hmmm I probably shouldn’t eat all those carbs before I go to bed… gives me strange dreams !

7. What are some of the things you try to achieve with your vocals?

VERONICA: I guess what I try to achieve is the conveyance of my passion for things. I try to sing with as much power and feeling as I can but that is something I am always working on. Singing is like a therapy for me… and you must know I need all the therapy I can get!

8. Why did you choose to cover Accepts “Balls to the Walls” and what did the band try to do differently with it if anything?

VERONICA: I chose it because I thought it would be a blast for a woman to sing it. Everyone was on board with the idea and we had fun doing it…. It was hell for me recording it but everyone else had fun with it J . When you listen to it you can see that we put our own spin to it, changed the drums etc and but still stuck to the basic format.

9. How was the tour with Doro?

VERONICA: I touched on that a few times during this interview but it was incredible. The right tour at the right time with the right people is the way I see it. We were treated like gold and it was like going to school. I think we all learned from every member of her band something very valuable. We stay in touch still and I believe we have quite a few shows where we will be on the same bill again coming up this year in Europe.

10. Up to this point, where has the road taken Benedictum to?

VERONICA: Literally, the road has taken us to many places in the world we thought we would never see. Figuratively, the road has taken us through many changes and sacrifices but mostly the opportunity to make some of our personal dreams come true. Benedictum has been the vehicle by which many of us have had to come to terms with the love we have for music and the reality of the sacrifice it takes at times to make it happen. It is sad but true that there really hasn’t been a dime of money we have seen but we love this project and the opportunities it affords us to meet people and go places and have experiences we may not otherwise have. We hope that some day we can do it without it stressing out the pocket book, but for now we are really grateful for what it has brought us. Being in a band is just as much about being on a team or in a family as it is about the music. We have learned a lot about ourselves and each other along the way.

11. Who are some of the current female metal vocalists you enjoy?

VERONICA: Some of the more current female metal vocalists I really enjoy Angela Gasow- Arch Enemy, Floor Jansen of After Forever, Sharon Den-Adel of Within Temptation, Simone Simons of Epica. But for me I still love the old school stuff, DORO, I love Tina Turner, Annie Lennox etc.. I know not all of them are Metal but damn these women can wail!

Official website: www.benedictum.net
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