By Keith Sharp
The word tenacity comes to mind when describing the evolving career of Toronto-born singer/songwriter/musician Betty Moon.
Having relocated to Los Angeles in 2010, Moon has formed her own record label, Evolver, and released a stream of record releases while establishing her band as a major attraction on the Los Angeles nightclub scene where her band are regulars at venues like The Roxy, Whiskey A Go Go and the Viper Room and other Southern California hotspots.
No, she has not received the acclaim and wealth of other established rock stars, but that has not been a deterrent for Moon who is content to build on her cottage on-line distribution system while biding her time to establish herself on the North American concert circuit.
“I am not trying to repeat myself,” notes Moon in discussing her latest recording, `Pantomania’. “I am trying a new palate of sounds, I like to think I put art first but in reality I put people before art”.
Known initially as a hard rock guitarist who exploded onto the Canadian music scene in 1991 with her self-titled debut release on A&M Records, the record created a major stir on national radio and sold over 10,000 records. But unfortunately, her timing coincided with the Grunge movement out of Seattle and soon Moon was reduced to record independent releases.
Her fortunes to an upswing when she relocated to Los Angeles where metal still ruled the Strip and her 2010 release `Rolling Revolution’ earned significant airplay on K-ROQ Radio. Over the past five years, Moon has evolved her production techniques, developing a more melodic sound while utilizing keyboards as well as guitar.
“I feel I have been misunderstood by many who can’t figure me out and of course I am not on a mission to help them, “Moon confesses.. “Quite simply, I am on a mission to write good music and create albums that will connect with the general public.”
Moon has enjoyed success having her music inserted into television and movie soundtracks with key songs included on shows like Dexter, Californication, Bounty Hunters and Walking The Dead as well as the movie Last Gasp starring Robert Patrick.
One comparison which makes Moon bristle is any reference to Joan Jett. When it is mentioned that a key track on the record, “Hunger Pants” is reflective of Jett’s rock/guitar swagger, Moon’s reaction is strongly negative.
“That’s a cookie cutter reference which I can’t relate too,” she notes. “I think of Joan Jett as being an androgynous figure and that’s not me at all. Yes I play guitar in a rock band but I am extremely feminine. I like feeling sexy and love going for manicures and pedicures, I feel strongly that female rockers can have a feminine appeal.”
Pantomania continues Moon’s studio development as a creative musician, mixing mid-tempo classic rock sounds on tracks like “No Good”, “Fire Hose” and “Thunder” with more up-tempo numbers like the aforementioned “Hunger Pants” and “Feel The Pressure”, Moon even takes a brave stab at the Rolling Stones’ classic “Gimme Shelter”.
“I sang it first at a wedding in New York and it’s always been my favourite Stones’ song so when we came to making the record, I felt confident in trying to record it with a new twist,” Moon reported. “We’ve always added one new cover every time the band performs live so when we played “Gimme Shelter” the crowd reaction was extremely strong. Recording the track, I didn’t want to do a karaoke version so we tried to do something different with the arrangement while maintaining the song’s raw energy.”
As for a reaction from the Stones’ camp, “Mick Jagger’s son recently friend-ed me on Face book so maybe Mick has heard my version!”, she noted.
Moving forward, Moon admits she has felt like quitting the business in the past but sees a new interest in classic rock being reflected in her latest recording. “I’m not a quitter, there were so many times when it made sense to quit. Sometimes you feel like you are giving and giving, but getting nothing back in return. But creating music is a cathartic experience. Anytime I write something I feel I am giving something back to the world.”
With the dissolution of the major record industry and the advent of downloading and streaming, Moon is confident that her business model of controlling her own releases and relying on social media to sell her product is now established as the way of the future.
“The role of the songwriter is constantly evolving but it’s that achievement of writing something which could be heard years from now that is the ultimate achievement,” she concludes. “Whether your song becomes a classic hit track that is downloaded or appears in a movie soundtrack, or even appears in a toothpaste commercial, it’s all good business.”