Monday, February 2, 2009

Adriana and Ghost In The Graveyard: The Legend Of The Rocket Queen Revealed

The 80s. It was a decade of excess. Most people tend to dwell upon the bad elements that were left behind by the 80s. True, we had our fair share of bad fashion and bad music, but what decade hasn't? My memories of the 80s are very fond and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Such is the case for a woman whose voice has been somewhat of a mystery for over 20 years.

I am talking about Adriana Smith, a/k/a the Rocket Queen. Adriana is the front person for a new band called Adriana and Ghost In The Graveyard. They are a four member band that hails from California that is dead set on putting the swagger back in rock and roll. I guess I should go ahead and tell you readers the story behind the moniker Rocket Queen that she has. I spoke with Adriana and she explained the story to me.

Well, Adriana was very fortunate to be in LA for the early part of the eighties where the metal scene was unbelievable. There were many upstart bands trying to get their big break and she soon found herself smack dab in the middle of what was soon to become one of the most influential juggernauts of that scene. " I remember walking down Sunset Strip with my friend Adriana Barbour and I would help her look for Duff McKagan who was in Guns and Roses because she had a really big crush on him. I never didn't purposely find my way into all of that. It seemed like everyone we knew back then had a band. I just knew that we were part of something special. I ended up dating Steven Adler who was the drummer of Guns and Roses, " said Adriana.

After an intense night of mixing their historical debut "Appetite For Destruction" and some legendary partying, Axel Rose had the idea to record someone having sex and put it in to the song "Rocket Queen." Well, one thing led to another and Adriana and Axel did the deed. The next morning, when the fine line between reality and a hangover started to settle in, she realized what she had done. She felt awful about what had happened and did not want Steven to find out about it and asked that it be left out of the song, but it was too late. The guys did lower it in the recording but left it a mystery as to who it was for over twenty years.

So, how did the secret see the light of day finally? "Mark Canter got in touch with me and told me he was working on this new book called "Reckless Road: Guns 'N Roses and The Making Of Appetite For Destruction." he was looking for a friend named Pamela who used to dance. Actually, we both used to dance for the band. He suggested that I tell my story and finally gain some closure to it. I was ashamed for what I had done and to this day, I still felt really guilty about it. So, I decided to come clean."

So, Adriana has a new band that she fronts called Adriana and Ghost in The Graveyard, which was named by her daughter. So, what made her venture into music after being around it for all that time? "I actually moved to LA to be a songwriter. I was actually working as a telemarketer a few years ago when I just decided one day that I had had enough. I'm done with this and I want to pursue my dream. It's something that I had always wanted to do, but I got steered in the wrong direction along the way. Doug Tilley, who is our bass player, I met him in a treatment center and he was in this band that played country cover songs. Well, I became the singer of that band and we got paid to do covers but it really wasn't what we wanted to do. Enter a old friend by the name of Dave Wagner and he was our missing link. He played guitar and had his own studio and things just clicked between us. Dave's son Zack is actually our drummer."

So, the band ventured into the studios and recording their first cd entitled "Wars In The Graveyard" which definitely encompasses that edge that seems to be missing in rock today, or as Adriana calls it "It's swagger". One can hear so many influences both lyrically and musically on the cd. who does she site as her musical inspirations? "Well of course Axel has been a major songwriting influence. He is so misunderstood at times. The stuff that he puts to pen and paper is amazing. I listen to so much different stuff that it's hard to name all of my influences. My mom was a dancer and I have been dancing since I was 3, so I have been around so many types of music. There are metal influences such as Guns and Roses and Judas Priest and Zepplin. I listened to alot of goth and draw from Bauhaus and the Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Cramps and the Cocteau Twins. I also love oldies like Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins. I love Debbie Harry and , oh my god, there's Elton John. I could go on and on."

You cannot help but to be drawn to Adriana's personality. She is very outspoken and she just has this quality that exudes from her. She is a delight and just radiates such a good feeling. True, she has been through alot in her lifetime, but as she says she fell on her face and pulled herself up and decided to get it right. One of the main turning points would have to be the birth of her daughter. "Oh definitely, it just solidified my purpose her on earth. everything with me revolves around her. I feel she came into my life to show me a different path to take. I wouldn't be who I am at this point in my life if it wasn't for her. She believes in me and she supports me."

I ended this amazing talk with Adriana by asking her what cd would she want with her if she was trapped on a desert island. Now, with vast taste in music I thought this may be a tough one for her to pick out, but I was wrong. "Without a doubt, "Houses Of The holy" by Led Zepplin. It just covers all the bases, it's spiritual, it has great harmonies, it has blues, it just has it all."

Our interview had come to an end and I have to admit I was somewhat sad. Adriana has this spirit about her that just rubs off on you when you talk to her. It was so much fun talking to her and she is such an amazing woman. I encourage you to go their MySpace,, or to the band's website which is and check out their music. It a brash mix of old school punk and metal with a twist of personality.

1 comment:

adriana smith said...

Thanx Johnny! great interview! You left out the part about how I used to be ashamed of the Rocket Queen, but now know what a historical impact the song has had on rock. Axl is a magician and he is super sexy! nothing I did back then shoulda caused me shame, however, he was dating someone else at the time who was important to him as was I. that was the only shame