Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with Lillian Axe/Steve Blaze

I spoke with Steve Blaze from Lillian Axe. The band has been around for a long time and even got into the Louisiana Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. We discussed the new DVD, touring plans, ghost hunting, and the longevity of a truly iconic American rock band.

What’s new with Lillian axe?

Well we just started getting back out there. We had this car wreck so it’s taken a while. It took us out for awhile. It’s like riding a bike, once you get out there it’s easy. The wreck really shook us up. A mental and physical shake up for us. We lost a lot of equipment in the accident and really shook our bass player up. He’s’s hard to get in a car right now. Gave us some time to get the “One night in the temple DVD” some more attention. We try to turn a bad situation into as much of a positive as possible. I’m just thrilled to be back playing again. It’s in my blood.

Years on the road. Do you ever get on each others nerves?

    Actually it’s kind of funny. We talk about the fact that we really don’t ever have any issues. We get along fine. No one drinks or does drugs. Our biggest concern is where we are going to eat tonight and everything else is fine. We get along really well. No issues. Which is a rarity in a band but we just have no issues.

How involved is Lillian Axe with social media?

Absolutely. We have twitter accounts. Lillian axe has two facebook accounts. We all have individual facebook accounts. We have a reverbnation page. We have a free app on Lillian that people can download for free. Gives you songs, pictures and info. We are pretty active on social media.

How did the “Convergence” box set come about?

    Well we wanted to do it and make it unique and special. Just something that we felt it was too difficult for people to find our records. Or their cassette broke. Yeah we used to be on cassette. So we felt like there was no place for people to really get the full collection. A few of our albums are very difficult to find. So I wanted a box that had everything we did inside it. 25 years of blood, sweat, and tears in one box set. It was very successful.

How long will the tour last?

Really starting in September at the end of the year. We all have other projects we are doing. I have a show. I am a TV host for a ghost hunting show. We are shooting 13 episodes in June and July so I am working on that. In the meantime I have to start working on the next studio record. So we will do a few shows here and there.

Is acting something you always wanted to do?

   Yeah you know every musician wants to be an actor and every actor wants to be a musician. So I dabbled a little. I did a no budget vampire movie down here in New Orleans once so I got the bug. Always something I wanted to do. I got involved in ghost hunting down here and I put a team together. We were approached to do a show.

How do you feel when someone uses the term “Hair” band?

   Here’s the deal. I embrace everything we ever did. Whatever people label it. The only problem with labels is it ..People just react ignorantly to labels. Some great bands came out of the 80’s and everyone had poofed up hair. That was just the style. Nowadays the kids just have no idea what the music meant back then. It’s all relative. It was a fantastic time for music. The 70’s and 80’s. The best two decades for music. Call it what you want. Lillian Axe is still around 20 or so years later. I still have long hair, some of the others do. It’s not about the hair it’s about longevity and the music.  Our society has to have a label for every little thing and we can’t just use our free minds and just let things be. Let the music do the talking. To be honest our most successful records came out in the mid 90’s during the height of the grunge period.

How are the audiences outside America?

A little less spoiled I find. They are very dedicated and more open minded. They like music. In Japan they are more tolerant of different forms.

How does the writing process work for Lillian axe?

   I demo them. I give the complete songs and then ask for changes. Then we practice them and rehearse. Some songs are created in the studio. But I always write and demo and then bring it to them.

Tube amps or solid state?

Tubes. I am endorsed by Peavey and I use all their gear. I have three custom guitar lines. I have a strictly 7 guitar, Steve blaze model. 26 frets. Amazing guitar. Through Guilford guitars I have a Blaze model and another called the redeemer. That’s all I play. Composite acoustic guitars. They are my road guitars. I use Morley wahs. T.c. electronics system.

Same set up for studio?

   We try different amps. Try all different configurations. Sometimes we run direct. Whatever works

Do you find that some songs are created for the studio that you might not be able to replicate live?

    We make the song for the record. Some songs have a lot of over dubs but we still play them live. A great example of this is queen. You listen to the studio records and they are just over the top. Then you see them live and they pull it off. That’s how we do. We keep it as real as possible. We play all our songs sometimes you adapt to the live setting. But we never write a song that we couldn't play live. It’s us. It’s all Lillian Axe

Ever get tired of playing the songs?

(laughs). I never get burnt out. The crowd energy keeps us going. We have a good time playing.
We will keep touring, making records and keep on doing what we do. There is nothing except for my heart stopping that will keep me from playing music. It’s not an easy task to do anything in life for 25 years.


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