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Steve Blaze (Lillian Axe)

Interview with Steve Blaze from Lillian Axe
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 July 2007, 10:47 AM

Now I see why Steve's answers were pressed enough…I had to run through the whole interview. LILLIAN AXE's latest album, Waters Rising, marks another classy release by thisartistic US Hard Rock band, and mainman Steve Blazy 'speaks' for much more than he writes; you just have to read between the lines.

Hi Steve! Congratulations on your newest album, Waters Rising! Is it too ’tough’ to tell you - honestly - I did not expect such a killer album?

Thank you very much. I am glad we exceeded your expectations!

The first ’impressive’ thing definitely is Derrick (vocals). Too many LILLIAN AXE fans felt rather suspicious against a new vocalist in the LA camp, but - as far as I’m concerned form listening to Waters Rising for a dozen of times, at least! - he surely is an excellent replacement for Ron (Taylor). You had already done a couple of shows in the recent past; you feel the majority of LILLIAN AXE fans will be happy with his performance in Waters Rising? How would you describe his singing approach to a LA fan?

I think most of the fans will love Derrick. He brings a fresh new approach to the AXE sound while still sounding like Ron Taylor on the older material with a twist of Derrick.

Are you still in contact with Ron? Are you gonna ask him his opinion on the new singer of LILLIAN AXE?

I havent spoken to him in a while but we are on good terms. There has never been any problem between us. He E-mailed Derrick and told him what a good job he had done. I think he was genuinely impressed.

That’s surely great! On to the music in Water Rising: are the songs newly-penned? I think some of them date back to some years ago?

These songs were written from 1996 to the present. I never stop writing.

Since the last ’normal’ LILLIAN AXE album - 1993’s Psychoschizophrenia - was released almost 15 years ago, I was rather curious to see what inspiration Steve Blaze would have in the 21st century! Trends in (hard) Rock music have come and gone, experiences (and age, huh!) grow up and…you know…what was the motive for writing stuff for Waters Rising? The album is 67-minutes ’long’!

My inspirations come from every smell, sight, sound, feeling or emotion I experience. A lot happens in 10 years. I have become more cynical probably, but more appreciative of life itself. I get inspired by movies, people, nature etc. I am very inspired by my girlfriend as well, who just underwent a year and a half of chemo for cancer. She made me realize how much stronger she was than anyone else I know. The same for my dad who died 5 years ago. Those incidents shape your life and who you become. Waters Rising on the whole tells about dealing with the inner turmoil that builds inside of us constantly.

I see… Well, even if the trademark ’hooks’ of LILLIAN AXE are again present, I heard a little bit of a ’prog’/up-to-date approach in songs’ parts. I’m not referring to songwriting alone, but mainly to bass/drums lines and some ’strokes’ in the album’s production. I’m right now thinking of tunes like Become A Monster or Until The End Of The World. Your opinion?

Honestly, I dont have any idea why songs I write go into any certain direction. They just flow out and there they are. I try to capture so many different emotions that you never know whats going to fly out of my brain.

You think LILLIAN AXE always had a progressive way of thinking? I’m saying this ’cause I - personally - many times had to fight against the classic ’LA glam band’ summary from rockers not familiar with LILLIAN AXE.

Yes, we are a different breed unto ourselves. We get lumped into certain categories that are not true representations of the band. We are a special animal and the only true way to figure us out is to listen carefully.

You feel bands of the 80s era should adjust their songs/sound to today’s requirements? Speaking both as a musician and fan, what would you comment?

I feel that bands should stay true to their hearts but a great band will continue to grow and experiment with sounds and emotion while keeping their signature element.

Is The 2nd Of May referring to some specific event? To expand: what are the lyrics themes in Waters Rising? I always adored the approach in classic tunes like Fool’s Paradise, Stop the Hate and Those Who Pray.

The 2nd of May is a fictional date. The overall theme in a nutshell for this album centers around dealing with the evergrowing inner tumult that we experience every day. It builds as we get older, yet we can deal with it by finding balance and inner peace. This is very difficult to do, especially in this totally screwed up world.

Weird enough: one of my favorite tunes off the new album is 5; we’d like to hear what you have to say in regards to this ’killing’ instrumental song!

I wrote this as I recorded it. My engineer, Rob Hovey, played drums. He’s the drummer in my other band, NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCE. There are about 80 guitar tracks. I tried to cover the entire spectrum of guitar soloing on this track. It was great fun, but hard to mix.

In terms of instrumentation; did you use any ’alien’ instruments at times, throughout the recording sessions? For example, in I Have To Die I hear some specific percussion I cannot recognize that easily…

There are bongos, sound effects, strings, special things that we made up also in the studio. Some sounds just popped up that we have no idea where they came from. Ghosts, I think.

The cover artwork is rather ’bizarre’ (not that LILLIAN AXE is famous for their ’normal’ CD covers - laughs!). You know, with an artwork like this someone would expect some folk Rock band? How important is an album’s cover in drawing the fans’ interest?

My girlfriend came up with the concept. She’s a big Alice in Wonderland fan. This cover shows the members of LILLIAN AXE Axe when the Waters rose too high!  It places us in a place of insanity and craziness.

Is LILLIAN AXE scheduling a tour dates for the remaining of 2007? Are you up to any summer festival date?13.

We start a US tour in September 4th; 36 cities.

You know Europe has always adored LILLIAN AXE. I can recall the band playing in 2003(?)’s Bang Your Head! Festival in Germany. What’s your thoughts for European Rock/Metal fans against the ones from U.S.A .?

I cant wait to tour there again. The fans in Europe have always been so devoted and faithful.  They seem to really love the music and are not spoiled and do not take it for granted.

Steve, thanks a lot for your time to do this interview! We hope LILLIAN AXE is rising again!

Thank you so much. We cant wait to see you in Europe on tour, hopefully in the beginning of the year!


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