Pamela Moore didn’t have to reach too far for a concept to the music video for “WiFi Zombie,” the new single from her album Behind the Veil (Planet Sweet Records, May 1). The rock singer — famed for embodying the voice of Sister Mary on Queensryche’s 1988 conceptual rock masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime — practically wrote the treatment for the clip when she penned the song’s lyrics, which examine society’s unhealthy dependence upon smartphones and social media.
“It’s a dark humor, but with a message behind it saying, ‘You know, we really need to stop for a minute. Put the phone down,’” says Moore of the song. “How many times have you gone in to dinner with somebody and you see a family sitting next to each other and they’re all on their phones and they’re not talking to each other? That’s ridiculous… I’m not saying I don’t do it, either, because I do. I’m partially to blame. But I’m also looking at this, going, ‘This is really dumb. We really have to wake up.’ ”
Besides having images in the video of zombies staggering about clutching phones and cars careening out of control, the dark humor is underscored by real-life footage of people committing potentially fatal blunders while distracted by their phones, like falling into cellar doors on city streets and wandering into traffic. To signify the damage that smartphone-related diversions create, she added a sound effect of sirens at the end of the song, “because there are people that are texting while they are driving, and that makes me crazy,” she says, laughing.
Billboard has the exclusive premiere of the video for “WiFi Zombie” today. Watch it below:
Moore co-wrote her last album, 2013’s Resurrect Me, with her guitarist Michael Posch. He partnered with her again for this one, and her other guitarist, Craig Church, contributed as well. Her guest roster of musicians includes guitarist Randy Piper (W.A.S.P., Animal) on “Slow Burn” and “Beneath the Voodoo Marsh,” Primal Fear singer Ralf Scheepers dueting with her on “Sickness,” Casey Grillo (Kamelot, Queensryche) handling drums for the entire album and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) doing the majority of the bass.
In the five years since Moore released Resurrect Me, she has continued her work as a vocal coach, performed gigs on heavy-metal cruises like Monsters of Rock and Axes & Anchors, and performed live with Queensryche and Primal Fear on tour. She didn’t intend to take so long between recording projects, but she was unfortunately sidelined in 2016 when, just as she was about to enter the studio, her mother unexpectedly became ill and died. Naturally, the record was put on hold, and when Moore resumed work on it, the experience fueled her songwriting.
“I’ve always written about personal things that have happened to me or someone else,” she observes. “I love writing about the human condition. It’s a self-help kind of thing, but this really did help, and out of it came a couple really beautiful songs. The album is dedicated to my mom. It was a blessing, but it was really tough.”
That experience contributes to the deep emotive undercurrents heard on Behind the Veil compared with its predecessor, which relied more heavily on flat-out metal riffs and sweeping choruses. “There’s a lot of conviction and intensity in the storylines because I was going through such an intense time,” she says, adding, “There’s epic moments in some of [Resurrect Me’s songs], but there are even more epic moments on this album, especially songs like ‘Beneath the Voodoo Marsh’ and ‘Run.’ ”
In fact, some moments on the latter track are reminiscent of “Suite Sister Mary,” the song where she made her star turn on Operation: Mindcrime, due to its layered instrumentation, lengthy running time and somber melody. It’s an interesting coincidence, given that that record’s 30th anniversary passed in May. She recalls the experience of being asked to contribute vocals to O:M and joining Queensryche on its Building Empires Tour as “quite a blessing for me.”
“I loved working with [then-Queensryche singer] Geoff Tate. Very charismatic,” says Moore. “And the band as a whole at that time, too, it was just magical. They could do no wrong in my eyes. It was quite interesting to be able to carry on that character throughout the years [she reprised her role on Operation: Mindcrime II in 2006], and I will never be regretful about it at all because it’s a very huge honor for me. I learned an awful lot.”
Moore is currently finalizing tour dates to promote Behind the Veil. For updates and album information, visit PamelaMoore.net.