Avril Lavigne co-headlines Wham Bam Fest in Toronto

Avril Lavigne co-headlines Wham Bam Fest in Toronto
Singer talks about her Rock N’ Roll video, working with husband Chad Kroeger and the charity Raise Your Voice

Nick Krewen


Published on Thu Aug 29 2013

What’s up with the bearshark, Avril?

If you’ve had a chance to see Canadian pop rock superstar Avril Lavigne’s zany and hilarious video for her new single “Rock N’ Roll,” officially released earlier this week, you’ll witness our Belleville-born, Napanee-raised heroine fighting a mutant villain that is half-bruin, half-shark.

“Ultimately my mission is to save rock ’n’ roll, along with my co-star” — actress Danica McKellar, best known as Winnie from TV’s The Wonder Years — says Lavigne, who co-headlines with Robin Thicke at this Saturday’s Wham Bam Fest at the Molson Amphitheatre.
Billy Zane is in the video as well and he’s kind of like my mentor. It’s all in good fun to save rock n’ roll,” Lavigne explained during an exclusive phone interview with the Star.

That still doesn’t explain the bearshark.

“It was part of the treatment,” says Lavigne, adding that director Chris Marrs Piliero, who has also shot videos for The Black Keys, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson, imagined the video’s post-apocalyptic concept.

“It’s a bit of a comic book adventure. I just didn’t want to keep making the same music video over and over so, at this stage with my fifth record, doing this for 11 years now, I wanted to do something a little different, so it was on the set, out in the middle of the desert, where they shoot a lot of TV and film, and it felt like we shot a mini-movie. So for me, it was a good time.”

The tune itself, co-written in part with new Nickelback hubby Chad Kroeger, isn’t that much of a surprise to longtime Lavigne followers: the music, a bit heavier perhaps than usual, boasts a strong melody, a rah-rah chorus, a message to be true to yourself while sticking it to the man and imagery aimed at a crowd much younger than the multiple JUNO Award winner’s 28 years.

But Lavigne, an entrepreneur with her own fashion and fragrance lines who has been criticized by some for maintaining a teenage image, says her upcoming Avril Lavigne album, out Nov. 5, will offer more depth and diversity.
“The record is very diverse,” she sighs. “We’ve got rock songs, pop songs, ballads, and I’ve explored some new sounds and styles. I have a song called ‘Hello Kitty’ and it has a bit of an electronic feel, which is the first time for me going there. There’s a lot of my old style, so my sound is still there.
“For me it was easy to go to the boy-bashing, breakup songs as a teenager when I was singing. So this record is not just a record all about love; it’s all kinds of different subjects that I hadn’t really touched on before. There’s a lot of storytelling and depth within the lyrics.”

Lavigne, who exploded onto the global music scene in 2002 with her hit singles “Complicated,” “Sk8ter Boi” and her 17-million-selling album Let Go, said she’s learned a lot about songwriting from Kroeger, himself responsible for selling more than 60 million records worldwide through Nickelback and other ventures.

“I think I learned a lot from him in the sense that he’s a really good lyricist and he thinks about what the story is,” she explains. “With pop music, especially today, it can be very simple and repetitive, and we didn’t do just that. We all — Chad, myself, (producer) David Hodges — worked really hard on the lyrics and the stories, and put a lot of time and effort and a lot of rewrites into the music.

“It’s inspiring, working with someone new who has such a different style from you and bouncing ideas off of each other. I love it!”

Fans attending Saturday’s Wham Bam won’t just hear a 45-minute set of hits like “Girlfriend,” “My Happy Ending” and “Here’s to Never Growing Up,” they’ll also have the opportunity to contribute to a charitable cause: the Raise Your Voice campaign in support of Women’s College Hospital and the Avril Lavigne Foundation.

From 4:30 to 10 p.m., a sound booth will be at the amphitheatre that will allow Lavigne fans to add their own voices, free, to her 2006 hit Eragon ballad “Keep Holding On.”

Raise Your Voice sound booths will be at various spots throughout the GTA during the month of September (for times and locations visit www.facebook.com/wchfdn ) or you can submit your voice online at singwithavril.com.

Eventually, every entry will be mixed in for a special charity version of “Keep Holding On” that can be preordered next month on iTunes via Sony Music Canada, with proceeds from the single earmarked to benefit the Women’s College Hospital Foundation.

Philanthropy has always been important to Lavigne, whether it’s supporting initiatives like War Child Canada, Make-A-Wish, Amnesty International or starting her own foundation, as she did in 2010, in support of children and youth living with serious illnesses or disabilities.

“I’m always looking for ways to give back where I can through my music and my foundation, so I was really excited and honoured to do this,” says Lavigne of her involvement with Raise Your Voice.
“The song talks about inner strength. I thought it was a natural fit.”


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