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Regular exercise and a vegan lifestyle help with a positive, energetic outlook, especially when performing.

Montreal’s Metal Queen

Alissa White-Gluz proves health and rock’n’roll can coexist

By Jason Santerre

Life on the road is tough. Now consider the toughness level of a woman in a Heavy Metal band, touring the world, and singing extreme vocals in a predominantly male genre of music—from the road crew and fellow musicians to the fans. It’s a lifestyle with many casualties, both mental and physical.

“There are two types of people: those who are cut out for this life and those who aren’t,” says Alissa White-Gluz, lead vocalist for Arch Enemy. The blue-haired, wailing- banshee beauty was back in her hometown to play an evening slot at Heavy Montréal. “Some people have talent and practice every day but if they can’t tough it on the road, it’s probably not going to work out for them. It’s a rough life.”

Alissa spoke with Montréal enSanté moments after her adrenaline-fuelled set at last year’s festival and a day after her 30th birthday. “It’s just a number to me,” she admits, adding that with a decade of performing under her belt she feels quite a bit wiser and more mature than most of her peers.

As for all of the trappings of a Heavy Metal lifestyle, she puts the notion of partying 24/7 to rest. “We’re so dedicated to this band we don’t abuse our bodies. We have to perform the next day so we keep it professional. There are some bands who can party every night and pull it off but we’ve done something like 260 shows in the last 18 months and that’s not counting all the flying, running around, the photo shoots and media obligations, so we have to eat right, get enough sleep and exercise, simple as that.”

And it helps that her boyfriend often joins her on tour. “It alleviates the mental grind of touring, for sure. We get to work out together every day with the help of an adjustable bench, some block weights, skipping rope, and yoga mats. None of it takes up much room on the tour bus.”

Regular exercise and a vegan lifestyle help with a positive, energetic outlook, especially when performing. Returning to her hometown to sing and bang her head (not literally) on the main stage was a dream come true for the West Island girl who still rents an apartment in the city.

“I was looking forward to this show the most, and not just for me but for the whole band,” she says. “Montreal is always a receptive audience when it comes to Metal music. And it was so nice to have my mom and my sister and my roommate on the side of the stage. A part of me was thinking, ‘Oh no, there’s so much more pressure now.’ But the love from the audience, especially a Montreal audience, really made it cool.”

 

Summer 2016, Vol 8 N°3

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Summer 2017
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