Lillian Axe – Guitarist Steve Blaze Interview by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Get out of the way when the ‘Axe is swinging! They’re Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame members, and just released their eleventh album – so if you don’t yet know who Lillian Axe are guitarist Steve Blaze is keen to tell you…
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!
Steve Blaze – Pleasure!!
First up; congratulations on the new album, ‘XI – The Days Before Tomorrow’ – how are you feeling now it’s here?
Steve – I am ecstatic about this album. It’s amazing that it’s actually released; we have been working on it for so many months! I feel it’s the best record we have ever done and I’m really enjoying seeing the reactions….
Obviously it’s still early days but have you been able to gauge any sort of reaction so far?
Steve – Yes.. The reaction has been 95% amazing and 5% need to hear it because they want another “Love And War”, and will have to be convinced that this is our best album. But, that will come when they hear it! Overall, I am so very happy with the response!
I believe this is your first release with new lead vocalist Brian Jones – how different vocally is ‘XI’ to your older albums?
Steve – It’s new, fresh and extremely powerful! Yet, it is still the same passion we have always had in the vocal department. Brian has knocked it out of the park on this. It is the perfect transition from where we were before!
Did this new presence have an impact on the writing/recording process for ‘XI’?
Steve – A little maybe..? I still write in the same fashion I always have, but I hear Brian’s voice as a new instrument. It actually inspires me to go out even further than I ever have before. It impacts me, in that there are no limits to what he can do; and the type of emotions he brings to each song.
This is your 11th album to date – do things get easier or harder with each release?
Steve – Recording gets easier, but the business gets more difficult because of the state of the music business as a whole. The live venue business is really hurting right now, due to the economy, so touring has become more difficult. But, with experience comes the ability to deal with all angles of what we do. I give a lot more interviews now than I ever did before, which is a great thing!
Do you think some people may perhaps be surprised when they realise just how long a career you’ve maintained?
Steve – Yes. Many people are amazed how long Lillian Axe has been around, because we are considered the most underrated band in rock. I find it astonishing that we are at such a cult status, with the amount of records we have released. The cool thing is though, that we are constantly gaining new fans all over the world.
I understand you threw your American fans a free release party at the weekend – was it an enjoyable night? Is it nice to be able to connect with fans on a more intimate level?
Steve – It was an incredible show. My friend Billy “The Exterminator” brought us on stage and we hammered the crowd with songs from every one of our albums, including 6 new ones. Then we did a meet and greet after, for an hour, so we could shake hands and hug necks with all of our fans. The fans could buy the album in advance too!
You’ve always tended towards very different and interesting album artwork – what prompted the cover of this album?
Steve – Ash Sivils, who is an amazing artist, did the cover for the album. She created the last 2 for us; “Sad Day”, and “Deep Red Shadows”. Check her work out…., phenomenal!”
“Then a gentleman named Matt Touchard took her idea and made it explode! He also took all of the pictures and did the graphics for the CD booklet. It looks amazingly sharp and beautiful. This crest has symbols representing the 5 members of the band.
Are you hoping to give the new material an airing on the road soon?
Steve – Absolutely!! We are in the process of booking one or two U.S. tours now. Details soon! We are playing Firefest in the U.K. in October. And, we want to hit Europe and Japan as well. Things are in the works!
For the band is touring a pleasure or more of a necessity?
Steve – It is a pleasure although it’s difficult at times. There are lots of moments where missing home and your family are overwhelming; but it is a necessity to reach the fans. We really do love it and make the best of it, because it is a great family and a great organization.
Before each of our own personal axes fall, do you have any lifelong ambitions that are still to be realised?
Steve – You know, I still want to be an actor or have a T.V. show. I also strive to get this band to reach the entire planet!!
On a personal level, I strive to get closer to God; become a better man, and make sure my family and friends know how much I care about them. I want to become the best human being I can!
On this album have you been sharpening your blade against any subjects in particular? What’s been the driving force behind ‘XI’?
Steve – The driving force behind this album is my belief in God and in the goodness of the human spirit. As a species, we have a long way to go. I write about the end times; passing knowledge to our kids; the armed forces; anger; watching our tongues; memories; evil, and many other topics on this album, but they all deal with the basic premise of good vs. bad.
Finally, just who or what is Lillian?
Steve – Lillian is a force, an attitude, a strength of character and a brotherhood. All rolled into one!