Bassist Victor Langen
Interview by Lord of The Wasteland/Transcription by Duke
Canada?s Kick Axe got a raw deal, plain and simple. Plucked from bar band status and molded into an image that personified them as the hair band du jour by 80s uber-producer, Spencer Proffer, the Regina-based five-piece took the fast road to success with 1984?s VICES album (featuring ?Heavy Metal Shuffle? and ?On The Road To Rock?), its quickie follow-up, 1985?s WELCOME TO THE CLUB and finally 1986?s ROCK THE WORLD. As quickly as they rose to success, the band went down in flames amongst a sea of lawsuits brought on by bad management in 1987. Forced into hiatus until the numerous legalities were ironed out, Kick Axe returned in 2004 with the simply titled, IV. Along the way, the ?classic? lineup lost vocalist George Criston, but was replaced with original vocalist/drummer, Gary Langen. That album?s success was fueled not only by its mix of straight-ahead rockers and AOR-ready ballads but by the cult status that Kick Axe has achieved over the years. Original copies of the ROCK THE WORLD CD fetch nearly $200 US on eBay, a Czech fan site has every imaginable detail about the band?s history and a devoted fanbase still exists for Kick Axe?s crunching riffs, soothing vocal melodies and fist-pumping anthems.
Being a long-time fan?Kick Axe/Helix in 1984 was one of my very first concerts?I spoke with bassist Victor Langen back in October 2004 just 11 days before the band was to play a CD release party for IV at a small, out-of-the-way Vancouver club. The interview (which has undergone nearly as many trials and tribulations as the band itself!!) deals with the new lineup and CD but also the countless obstacles the band faced along the way during our 90-minute chat. Most surprisingly, Langen speaks in detail of how Rob Halford of Judas Priest personally picked Kick Axe to open their DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH tour, how Criston was almost chosen as the vocalist for Black Sabbath, the band?s encounters with W.A.S.P., King Kobra and Quiet Riot, as well as numerous other eye-opening tales of life on the road with Kick Axe!!!