Erik Norlander and Lana Lane

Married to the Music

By Dark Starr

 Erik Norlander and Lana Lane are two incredibly talented musicians who happened to be married to each other. This seems to be a match made in heaven for them, as they seem to be a happy couple, and they certainly add magic to each other’s work. Lane’s voice is one of the strongest in the business, and Norlander is one of the most innovative and prolific songwriters around. While they work predominantly in the world of progressive/art rock, they seem to be a lot more comfortable bringing in hard rock and metal elements to their musical landscape. Norlander has featured such "non prog" artists as Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult) on his works. They have both included covers as diverse as Rainbow’s "Long Live Rock and Roll" and "Stargazer" and even songs by Enuff Z’Nuff and Aerosmith when choosing covers.

That’s another thing that is intriguing about these two. They are not afraid to show their influences in the form of covering songs by the artists they enjoy. All in all, these two are professionals and show it off in virtually everything they do.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: What would you see as the challenges and the rewards of working with your spouse?

ERIK NORLANDER: Let me answer it in reverse. The rewards of working so closely with my wife are that we have a deep understanding of each other, and there is a strong connection between us. That allows us to tap into the great underlying power of music from a very deep place, and I think the result is quite unique because of it. We met playing music, and music has been the center of our lives for our entire relationship. As far as the challenges, I think the biggest challenge is that we never really leave the office, so to speak. Our work is with us constantly, even on vacations. But we do love our work, and we are grateful to be able to make a living doing what we love, so there's really much to complain about.

LANA LANE: I think the biggest challenge (as Erik stated) is never getting away from the "work" aspect. It is a 24/7 commitment, which we have GLADLY accepted. The rewards are many! Over the years we have established a strong creative team that is based on trust of the other's vision, respect of the other's talent and love of our mutual dream.

WC: Who would you see as your influences?

EN: As a keyboardist, my main influences are Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, two mighty musicians. As a producer, my main influences are Alan Parsons and Jeff Lynne, tremendously talented guys. Bands that influenced me are Yes, ELP, Rush, King Crimson, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, UK, ELO,Supertramp, The Alan Parsons Project, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.

LL: My "band" influences range from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Styx to Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini. How wild is that?!? You will find my "singer" influences are similar: Ian Gillan, Ann Wilson, Tony Martin, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and vocal groups like The Hi-Los and The Singers Unlimited. What can I say - deep down I guess I'm a bit of a geek ;-)

WC: Erik - what has been up on the Rocket Scientist's front? Will there ever be another album from that grouping?

EN: We had some great momentum in 2002 when we added Shaun Guerin as our new drummer. We played some great concerts then and
began work on a new album. Actually, Mark McCrite and I already wrote and demoed the entire new album. It's ready to be recorded. But Shaun's death in 2003 put Rocket Scientists on hold for a while. We were not too excited about just hiring another drummer and plowing ahead. So instead, I recorded my 'Music Machine' rock opera in 2003 and then went on tour with Lana in Europe after that.

Then we edited, mixed and assembled Lana's DVD and live CD and my live CD,'Stars Rain Down'. Mark and I have continued to get together and work on the Rocket Scientists project, though, and we will finally complete this mysterious new album in 2005 along with one or two reissue projects.

WC: For those who have not had the chance to catch your live act, how would you describe it?

EN: It's like watching someone juggle an egg, a bowling ball and a chainsaw. Okay, but seriously folks ... ;-) I use a lot of vintage and classic keyboard gear, most notably my giant modular Moog system from 1967 that has been dubbed "The Wall of Doom". It has a sound like no other synthesizer, and it is also quite a show with all of the lights flashing away while we play. Lana is a top-notch vocalist who sounds just as great live as she does in the studio. We always try to play a good representation f our catalogs, and when we are able to play long enough, we play one song from every album we've released.

WC: You are both involved in a lot of projects with other musicians. Any of those coming down the pipe?

EN: I could be wrong, but I think that everything we have contributed to as guest artists has been released. Don Schiff (Stick) and Kelly Keeling (vocals) are working on solo albums, and we'll be helping out with those, but aside from that, I think we're all caught up.

WC: Are there any musicians with whom you would like to work, but haven't gotten to yet?

EN:I'd like to work with any of the musicians from Yes or Rush. I'd also love to work with David Gilmour from Pink Floyd or Ian Gillan from Deep Purple.

LL: I would love to work with Ann Wilson (Heart), Chris Cornell(Soundgarden) and Jack Black (Tenacious D, School of Rock)

WC: Lana - As a woman in a musical format that is dominated by men, has that been a difficult situation?

LL: I think the music business is difficult no matter what your gender.However, I probably have had it a bit easier because of Erik's huge contribution to the music of Lana Lane. Not to mention knowing that I always have someone I completely trust watching out for me - this certainly makes any difficult situation bearable.

WC: What was the last CD you bought, and/or, what have you been listening to lately?

EN: I've been listening to old things. Lately it's been Supertramps's "Crime of the Century" and "Breakfast in America". Two unbelievably great albums.

LL: The last CD I bought was "Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands" (live recording from 1965!) and Evanescense. The CDs I've been listening to are Lacuna Coil (Comalies), Filter (Title Of Record), Lana Lane (Secrets of Astrology) and Evanescense.

WC: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?

EN: Blue Oyster Cult in Agoura Hills, California. They truly rock.

LL: Ann Wilson (Heart) at the House Of Blues, Los Angeles - Wow! She still has THE best female rock voice ever!

WC: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

EN: Going to see our friend Gregg Bissonette play drums for Spinal Tap and hoping he wouldn't spontaneously combust!

LL: My biggest and best Spinal Tap moment was when I was performing with Weird Al Yankovic. He was singing "Addicted To Spuds" at the "Doctor Demento 20th TV Anniversary Show" and I was one of two guitar playing potatoes. The huge stuffed outfits were very similar to Mr. Potato Head. Thank goodness you couldn't recognize us!

Erik Norlander's Website

Lana Lane's Official Website