Q & A with "Love, Lust and Rock 'n' Roll" Guest Artist Storm Large

This weekend, October 2-4, irrepressible Pink Martini vocalist Storm Large joins the Grand Rapids Symphony orchestra for "Love, Lust and Rock 'n' Roll." A musician, actor, playwright and author known for her powerful voice, vampy persona and irreverent humor, Storm will perform fresh renditions of classic love songs. Read on to find out more about Storm and her career, and see the performance this weekend at DeVos Performance Hall! 

Your music career has covered a lot of territory—punk rock and cabaret, to Broadway and orchestral performances. What is the common thread throughout all these eclectic genres for you?

Everything I do, musically, has to move me in some way. I’m a big, powerful rock 'n' roll thug in stage persona, but a totally soft-hearted dork in nature. And whether the music is crazy intense, or a syrupy, century-old ballad…for me, they are usually saying the same things about love, hope, passion and rage, just with different frequencies.    

What’s most exciting about performing in Grand Rapids with the Symphony?   

Besides the fact that Grand Rapids is reputably an incredible orchestra, I always love a virgin audience. It’s like a first date, where you’ve kind of heard about each other, you’re trying to minimize your expectations, but you’re ready to rock the other person’s world.   

When you were growing up as a rebellious punk rocker, did you ever envision yourself singing with an orchestra at a very traditional concert venue, like you did at Carnegie Hall this past April?  

No way! I barely believed I would ever even be cleaned up enough to be allowed in the place.   

As a ukulele player, what’s your favorite aspect of the instrument? Any chance you’ll bring out your uke for the Grand Rapids audiences?    

I love my uke! Yes indeed I will bust it out at Grand Rapids. I must admit, I’m not terribly good at it yet, but it is such a forgiving instrument for beginners. I think if kids want learn guitar, it’s a marvelous way to learn basic chords quickly. In a day you could play a song or two.   

You have been touring quite a bit with your band, Le Bonheur, and with Pink Martini as a lead singer, among other Symphony appearances. Do you ever grow tired of your busy schedule or do you thrive off it?   

Both. I’m in a perpetual state of rotating exhaustion and exhilaration. Every six months or so I get a blood test to check my adrenals and general health (so far so good!). But I’ve been a musician for 23 years…a little more than half of my life. And only in the last four or five years, I’ve seen my calendar fill up with epic and amazing gigs… intense tours and wonderful collaborations. I’m on the road about 200-250 days a year. Oh yes, it’s exhausting, but this is what I’ve worked for for my whole life. Not to be famous, per se (God forbid) but to be working steadily, to be good enough to fill up a theater, to work with artists better than I am. All of these things I get to do now. Not saying I’ve MADE IT. I don’t believe in MAKING IT…I just believe in always making something, learning, growing, listening and doing. All that being said….I’ve also gotten really good at napping.

Tickets for "Love, Lust and Rock 'n' Roll" can be purchased online at GRSymphony.org or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4 (Day) and 616.885.1241 (Eve). 

ADULT CONTENT WARNING Please be advised that this performance may contain adult content and explicit language (with humor).Please make note here if you wish the content to be dialed back somewhat. We would recommend that children below the age of 12 not be admitted.

Posted by Sam Napolitan at 6:00 AM
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