Interviewed September 25, 2013
By: Joseph Suto
Avril Lavigne literally burst onto the scene out of nowhere in 2002 with her debut release Let Go. Let Go skyrocketed up the charts all the way to number 2 in the U.S. on the strength of her three top ten singles “Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You.” Her second release Under My Skin reached number one and went triple platinum. Her third album The Best Damn Thing also reached number one and her single “Girlfriend” also peaked at the top of the chart, making it her lone single to date to do so in the U.S. By the time her fourth album was released in 2011, the music industry changed drastically making it extremely hard to produce the previous results. Goodbye Lullaby reached number four but has yet to be certified even gold at this point. For the first time she did not even tour in the States. Instead she marched right back in the studio to record album number five. Her latest effort self-titled release Avril Lavigne will hit the streets on November 5. We recently had an opportunity to talk to Avril about her upcoming album.
Rock Show Critique: Your self titled fifth album is coming out on November 5. Can you give us a quick overview of the new album and how would you describe it in relation to your other records?
Avril Lavigne: It’s really diverse. There’s summer songs, there’s ballads, there’s rock songs and then there’s pop-rock songs. Most new records are all like break up songs and about love and shit like that but this one isn’t. There’s different stuff going on there’s a lot of storytelling. Some of the songs have a character in them. There’s a song called “Hello Kitty,” there’s a song called “Seventeen” that’s nostalgic a lot happened to me when I was seventeen, a lot of looking back. Chad and I have a duet together, our first duet, called “Let Me Go”. It’s a ballad about the journey of love in your life. Oh and Marilyn Manson is on a song too.
RSC: I can see the growth of your songwriting from album to album how would you view it from your perspective?
AL: It depends at where I’m at in my life and how I feel musically and how I’m feeling that day.
RSC: During your writing sessions do you tend to write from guitar or on a piano or a mixture?
AL: A mixture of guitar and piano. There’s a lot of piano on this record actually. Which I’m excited about because I love playing the piano live.
RSC: Other than a few one-off dates The Black Star Tour which was in support of your previous release Goodbye Lullaby, there not a full US tour like your previous albums. Do you plan on having a full US tour this time around?
AL: I hope so. I’m spending December doing a bunch of radio shows in the U.S. Then February 1st I’m heading out to Asia. We don’t have anything else going for right yet. I miss the U.S. too. We’ve been doing some shows randomly. I hope to be doing the tour here. Right now its just focusing on music videos and promo and press and photo shoots and all the TV shows.
RSC: Looking at your recorded history is there a song or two which you felt were overlooked as singles? Songs that come to mind are “How Does It Feel” from Under My Skin and “I Love You” from Goodbye Lullaby.
AL: Thank you. I actually agree with you on “I Love You” from the last record. I thought that too. That song totally should have been a single. So I agree with you on that. Sometimes that happens. Hopefully it doesn’t happen with this one. Actually I was listening to “I Love You” and played it for somebody just recently and was thinking the same.
RSC: Do you get much input on what singles to release or is that pretty much left up to the record company?
AL: They’ve been pretty good about it. Not the last record but in the past, yeah they usually do.
RSC: Your first concert Dvd My World was filmed right here in Buffalo. How did that all come about and how was Buffalo chosen as the place to film it?
AL: I don’t know (laughs). I was so young I don’t remember. It’s a great place and I remember, god that was so long ago. When I watch that dvd I go oh god (laughs again)!! My first tour was challenging for me because it was the beginning and I only had one record to play. So now I have all my records. I get to pick all my singles from over the years and the majority of the songs in the set list have been singles which makes it very strong. I’ve learned a lot about being a performer.
RSC: That’s leading up to my next question. Do you try to keep the set list standard nightly or do you like mixing it up a bit?
AL: Nightly, I pretty much stick to the same thing because when I figure out exactly how I want my show to be we kind of keep it that way. Because we put so much work into the lighting, the intros, and if I have dancers out. So once we start a tour we keep it.
RSC: How do you arrive at deciding which songs to play live? Do you tend to stick to the singles only or do you try to throw in a great song like “Tomorrow” every once in while?
AL: It’s important to play all the singles cause people know them. They’re always really strong live and fun. But then I pick my favorites and what kind of goes like I have different sections of the show when you play that long. I got my rock parts, my really fast parts and my more stripped down moments.
RSC: You always seem busy whether you are writing, recording, touring, designing clothing as well as recently getting married. What is next for Avril? Are there other goals or conquests on the horizon?
AL: I’d like to do some acting. I’d love to be in a film and have fun with TV. I’d continue to do music and I’d like to make a Christmas record.