Lunatic's Serenade

Those crazy nights with Crazy Lixx

Hard rock has definitely made a comeback in Sweden and one of the bands leading the charge is Crazy Lixx. The band cites such influences from groups like: Guns ‘N Roses, Aerosmith, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.

The group formed back in 2002 and their intention for the formation of the band was to bring back that true 80’s hard rock style to the scene, so Tim Duran sat down recently to get the scoop on the band and their third release. Taking some time out from his busy schedule is vocalist Danny Rexon, who talks candidly of his love for the 80’s hard rock scene and his plans for Crazy Lixx.

HMS: So glad you took some time out for us. Can you introduce yourself and the instrument you play?

DR: I’m Danny Rexon – lead singer and founder of the band and also the producer of the new album along with guitarist Andy Zata.

HMS: I gotta’ know right off, were the old Great White albums jog the idea for the record cover? If not, whose brilliant idea was it?

DR: Hehe, no. Never seen the album cover you’re referring to. Aren’t all Great White covers just a bunch of naked women and sharks? I actually made the album artwork myself and also hand crafted the metal symbol that’s on the front out of sheet metal. I really like when you can see that the stuff is real and not just a bunch of digitally made art. Of course, I have added some stuff digitally afterwards but the amplifier in the back and the metal symbol are as real as it gets. Originally the idea was just to have the symbol photographed on a plain black leather background but it felt a bit empty so I built on the concept and added the amplifier in the back and those fiery electric discharges around the symbol and the logo. At one point we actually thought of naming the album ‘Amplifier’ because of the cover concept but we finally decided on a self titled album instead. Due to the metal symbol on the front though, some people have already started calling the album ‘CL’. But I guess that’s the fate of all self titled albums, people just have to make up a name for it, like Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ or Whitesnake’s ‘1987’.

HMS: I hear a lot of the old school sound in these songs. Who are your main influences and out of them, who impacted you the most?

DR: For me personally there are two bands that I see as my all time favorites, Iron Maiden and KISS, but I guess out of those two I get more influences from KISS when it comes to writing songs. I have yet to hear someone compare our music to that of Iron Maiden but I have heard a few drawing parallels between our songs and those of late 80’s and early 90’s KISS, which just happens to be my favorite period of the band. Really love albums like ‘Crazy Nights’ and ‘Hot in the Shade’. But you’re right with the old school remark. I would say that 90% of the rock music I listen to is pre ’93. I believe rock music was best during what I like to call ‘The Golden Decade of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal’, 1982 – 1992. To name just a few other great bands from this era that influence the music of Crazy Lixx: Scorpions, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Van Halen, W.A.S.P., Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. But I could make that list a whole lot longer.

HMS: And speaking of "old school sound" - what are your #1 guitars and the rigs you run them through to capture that tone? Any effects?

DR: For this album we used a whole bunch of different setups depending on the song. Fender Strats with Marshall JCM rigs, Peavy Wolfgang guitar with a classical 5150 for that Van Halen sound, Gibson Les Paul through a Mesa Boogie amp and different combinations of the above. For the clean guitar sounds we used an old Roland Jazz Chorus combo amp and on a few songs also the legendary Rockman Guitar Pedal that was created by Boston (the band, not the city) guitarist Tom Sholtz. It has a really recognizable 80’s sound to it that some would say is hopelessly outdated but that I simply love.

HMS: I'm a big fan of the driving rhythm section. Who makes the kit and that fat bottom end? (Tell me about the amp too)

DR: Joél played a DDrum Dios Bubinga set with UFIP cymbals and Wincent sticks. The kit itself was setup in a huge space that used to be a gymnasium. We put microphones all over the place and picked up a lot of the natural reverb from the room and that was a big part of how that large drum sound was created. The bass guitar is a custom made Sandberg VM 4 played through an Ampeg SVT-1000 and an EBS Classic Line. We put that monster (the rig, not the bass player) in a small room with a few microphones in front of it and then routed the signal through an old analog mixing board. We cranked the volume so much that the poor mixing board could hardly manage the signal but because of that we got that wonderful, slightly distorted and highly compressed sound that we were after.

HMS: Let’s go back a number of years. Who turned you on to rock n' roll? Was it them that lit the fire under your feet?

DR: Among my childhood favorites were sing along rock anthems like Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re not Gonna’ Take It’ and Whitesnake’s ‘Here I go Again’. I guess that’s where it all started and by the likes of it, I haven’t matured a lot since then, just found more songs in the same vein.

HMS: How was it in the studio this time around? It really sounds like you all had some fun in there.

DR: I really like recording and being in the studio, especially when I can just sit back, dictate and whip the others into doing their job, hehe. And we do have a lot of fun, sometimes almost too much and we have to remind ourselves that we’re there to get some results too. Studio time doesn’t come cheap either. But when it comes to recording my vocals I work best by myself. All my lead and backing vocals on this album were recorded in my home studio all by myself and that’s how I like it.

"You won’t get far with just an image if you can’t back it up with great songs."

HMS: The recording is clear and crisp! Who was behind the mixing board on this record?

DR: It’s the legendary Chris Laney, the guy who also mixed and produced our first two albums. This time around we handled the production part ourselves but employed Laney to do the mixing.

HMS: Do you write in the studio or is everything like "ready - set - go"?

DR: We never write an entire song in the studio. When we get to the recording part everything is already written and rehearsed. In almost all cases a demo recording of every song on the album has been made before we start recording too. But naturally there is room for changing bits and pieces while in the studio and it’s not uncommon that we change lyrics for songs after all instruments have already been recorded. Same thing goes for guitar solos. Many times those aren’t written when we enter the studio but rather made up on the spot.

HMS: What's next for you guys? Any shows or tours lined up?

DR: The coming months we’ll just take a well deserved break, wait for the album to be released, sit back and see how it goes. We are however planning to do another music video before December but other than that I’m looking forward to a nice and laid back end to this year.

HMS: What would be the ultimate tour for Crazy Lixx? Who would be on your bill?

DR: I have to say KISS. I guess they could be really hard to work with but still, opening for KISS would be a dream come true.

HMS: Describe a typical Show for us. What kind of crowd do you guys attract? The old farts of metal or the new generation of rockers?

DR: Actually a bit of both. And I have heard that we attract an unusually big female crowd as well – for a heavy metal band that is. I don’t believe it’s because we’re such irresistibly good looking guys, but there does seem to be something about our music and lyrics that speak to women in particular.

HMS: How long did it take to get from just starting out to getting your first record done?

DR: We started the band around 2002 and had our first album out 2007. We did have a couple of hard underground years in the beginning but since that first album we’ve released a new album almost every two years which I feel is a good frequency of release.

HMS: Any words of advice to the young go - getters out there wanting to make the scene?

DR: Don’t do it! No, but honestly, do it, but don’t count on it being able to pay your bills, at least not for a couple of years. There doesn’t seem to be a thing like getting a big break in the music industry any more. Most often it’s really just hard work and commitment that counts. And talent of course. And don’t fall into the ‘All Looks, No Hooks’ trap. You won’t get far with just an image if you can’t back it up with great songs.

HMS: I must say it has been a pleasure to dig a little in the more sane side of Crazy Lixx. Thank you all very much for taking time out for us. I'm sure you all would have had a better time kicking each other in the nuts.

DR: No problem, any time!

HMS: Thanks again and good luck wherever you go and whatever you do. If you ever find yourselves in Vegas, I know a good place to share a pint or two. Peace, my brothers in Rock!

DR: If we ever make it to the states, I’ll hold you to that promise!

Tim Duran, HMS

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