Courtney Love’s “anarchy violinist” returns to the stage and is keeping the spotlight all to herself. With appearances on Leno and Letterman, glossy magazine covers, and guest spots on the albums of such artists as Love, Otep, Billy Corgan, and TV’s “Metalocalypse,” under her corset strings, Emilie Autumn‘s devilishly dark lyrics, metal-shredding violin solos, and industrial-strength voice reinvent “gothic” for the masses, and goths have never had so much fun.
Chosen by Interview Magazine as one of their “14 Artists to Watch,” the Los Angeles-born starlet’s theatrical stage show is a sexy circus of glam-rock burlesque, backed by a scantily-clad girl band known to EA’s devoted fans as the Bloody Crumpets. But as the sole composer, performer, and producer of her latest full-length album, the double disc “Opheliac,” EA gets personal. Written in the style she calls “Victoriandustrial,” this magnificent musical adventure draws upon EA’s background as a child-prodigy classical violinist growing up on the stages of concert halls around the world, and combines it with her passion for harsh industrialism, aggressive metal, and all things Vaudeville.
The subject matter of this elaborate concept album is much darker however, bravely and often humorously addressing highly controversial issues ranging from manic depression (the harpsichord-driven title track as well as the contagiously danceable “Swallow” and the epic “Misery Loves Company”), self-mutilation (“Liar,” a terrifying decent into hell), and sexual abuse (“Gothic Lolita”) to suicide (the beautifully ironic “The Art of Suicide”), and touching on EA’s real-life experience as a psych ward inmate (the tragically funny “Thank God I’m Pretty,” from the “Opheliac — Deluxe Edition” Bonus Disc).
As EA explains: “I learned to walk in the back stages of theaters and opera houses, amongst the beautiful chaos of costume changes, circus performers, sweaty ballerinas, dripping make-up, and far too much glitter. Then, I went mad and was locked up. This is simply what it sounds like inside my head. ‘Opheliac’ is my ‘mad scene’.”
Accentuated by EA’s signature electric violin pyrotechnics, heartbreakingly lush orchestrations, hard-core beats, and menacing lyrics growled with enough intensity to make your hair stand on end, the resulting noise is a harpsichord-heavy romp through Victorian asylums where screaming is allowed and girls always get revenge.
2007 and 2008 were filled with nearly non-stop European touring for EA and her traveling circus, and the Asylum stage show has grown with each incarnation, quickly changing viewers’ expectations from rock show to Broadway musical, complete with singing, dancing, fire-eating, stilt-walking, aerial flying, stripping, burlesque feather fan dancing, highly inappropriate comedy bits, and much, much more. November 2008 marked the first Asylum performance in the USA, a sold-out New York extravaganza. In May, 2009, EA and her Crumpets (Aprella, Naughty Veronica, The Blessed Contessa, and Captain Maggot) completed their most recent European tour entitled “The Asylum: The Gate Part II.”
Since her European breakthrough in late 2006, EA has recorded and released two album-length EPs (Liar/Dead Is The New Alive and Four o’Clock), a double disc all-violin album (Laced/Unlaced, which showcases both her classical and industrial-metal violin skills), a double feature single boasting a stunning rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and a sexed-up version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” as well as re-releasing an album of rarities and recordings from her teenage years, including a volume of poetry (“Enchant,” “A Bit o’This & That,” and “Your Sugar Sits Untouched”).
Despite this wealth of new material, Emilie Autumn’s focus remains firmly fixed on the “Opheliac” album, a work so unique and rich in both theatrical content and musical ability to reach a vast variety of listeners (the age of EA’s evenly split male/female fan base ranges from six to sixty, and includes devotees of the industrial, metal, goth, classical, and mainstream pop/rock genres) that even her two-and-a-half hour long stage show has not yet been able to accommodate all of the album’s tracks.
Previously available only as an import outside of Europe, Emilie Autumn’s seminal album “Opheliac” is finally being launched in America and beyond. On October 27, 2009, The End Records is releasing the ultimate American version of EA’s entirely self-written/performed/produced double-disc masterpiece asOpheliac:The Deluxe Edition, featuring five new and exclusive tracks, live concert footage, video interviews, and hilarious album out-takes.
Emilie, who claims to live in an insane asylum for wayward girls, will support Opheliac:The Deluxe Editionon her very first American/South American tour in October, 2009. Entitled “The Asylum Tour: The Key,” this major-city tour promises to unlock the gate and bring the Asylum experience to those who have been waiting to see it for the very first time.
Of course, for those who can’t want to wait to get past the Asylum gates, EA’s debut autobiographical novel, “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls,” is soon to be released in 2009. Written and lavishly illustrated by EA, “The Asylum…” book is more than a gorgeous volume that will take up most of the space on your coffee table — it is also one of the most complete accounts of bipolar disorder ever penned, and will take readers behind the doors of both modern day psych ward and Victorian insane asylum in this true life horror tale of madness, murder, and medical experimentation.
But beware: It is much easier to get into the Asylum than it is to get out…