Interview with Maxine Petrucci

Metal Express Radio had the honor of catching up with “Guitar Shreddess” (yes, she “shreds”!) Maxine Petrucci of Madam X fame as she prepares to release her excellent, independent solo album Titania in Japan this March.

Tell us a little about Maxine Petrucci. How did you get started in music? Who influenced your musical career?
I started playing flute when I was about 10 and a year after that my father bought me a guitar for my birthday. He made sure I was classically trained on both instruments. Everyone in my family played an instrument! Growing up just north of Detroit I was surrounded by the Kick Ass Rock radio out of Detroit in the 70’s. I saw the all girl group “Fanny” on a rock show on TV. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Wow, these girls can rock! I knew right there and then that Rock was what I wanted to do.

Who are some of your favorite musicians, whom do you listen to and why?
Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, John Petrucci (no relation) – These guys are great and they spent a lot of time practicing and it shows! I love bands like Gentle Giant, and yes, but what I really like are bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. I seen Priest the other night and it rocked just like the first time I saw them! 30 years together and the new album they have out is one of the best I’ve ever heard. Tell me one other band that has done that cause I want to hear them! More recently I like “The Darkness” they have a great singer. It seems like the new bands today are afraid to sing, they just hammer along trying to prove to us how cool and heavy they are! Speaking of cool and heavy, I love “System of a Down” they have a crazy Metal sound that is refreshing in today’s cookie cutter world.

Madam X was a band formed in the mid-80’s with your sister Roxy on drums. What occupied your time since Madam X disbanded and releasing Titania?
When Madam X broke up around 1989 I was burnt from years on the road. I took a break for a couple of years and in 92 formed an all girl group “Hell’s Belles”. In my opinion the best all girl line up ever! Not having the “Seattle sound” we struggled to get noticed and gave up. Being thoroughly disgusted with the music industry I decided to take a break and tried living in the “real world” for a little while. I owned a couple of clubs in northern Michigan “The Tumble Inn” and “The Hollywood Cafe”. We always had National acts coming trough and I would play with the house band, Dr. Bone, as an opening act. This was great for me musically. It forced me to learn other people’s material and kept me playing almost every night. In 1998 I played bass on tour with Vixen for their Tangerine album. I started writing my own stuff in 2001 and recorded Titania over a few month’s period in 2004. I love writing my own stuff. Having the freedom to play what I want is wonderful. My whole career people always told me I was too heavy. What the fuck did they know!

Some would say that when Madam X hit the market in the 80’s it was a Metal market mostly Male dominated. Did this present any challenges for Madam X?
Roxy and I were always under pressure to prove how well we could play. People would some times run behind my Marshalls to see if I was plugged in thinking “some guy” was playing instead of me backstage. Give me a break! I’m not a great guitar player for a girl! I’m great period!

What’s the origin and significance of the new album’s title Titania?
Titania is the Queen of the fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I turned her into a Heavy Metal supersonic Queen. There isn’t much more of a concept other then that. I thought about calling the project “Titania” but went with Maxine instead. The name Titania was taken several times over by other bands. I will be called Maxine forever, no one will take that from me.

How did bassist Billy Sheehan get involved on Titania?
We’ve been friends with Billy for years and asked him to be a guest on the album and he graciously accepted. Billy rules, you should check out his new CD Cosmic Troubadour, I love it!

On the new album your sister Roxy (Madam X, Vixen) plays drums on all tracks and your brother Paul (Motor City Rockers) plays bass on “Love Test”. Is this the first time the three of you have officially recorded anything together?
All three of us never really played together much as a group. Roxy and Paul have a lot of talent and will be guests on my next CD as well.

With Vocals, Guitar, Bass and Drums covered by all Petrucci siblings why haven’t the three of you created your own band?
Were not the freakin’ Osmonds! Everyone isn’t really available for that. We all have our own separate project’s going on. It’s hard to get us all together just for a couple of songs.

On Titania your “shred guitar” style should attract the attention of Shred Guitar fans, which has predominately been a Male market. Do you find that a lot of Male guitar fans have a hard time taking you seriously?
The Shred and hardcore Metal fans have embraced me quite warmly! Which excites me beyond belief. I’m doing my best to please those fans cause without them where would I be? I am Metal! I listen to Metal! My music is not sold out or “commercial” at all, it is heavy and it does shred! When someone says I shred I consider it to be the highest compliment. I play hard and constantly push myself. There is blood on my guitar! Thank you for saying my “shred guitar style” will attract attention.

What’s next for Maxine Petrucci? Any plans beyond Titania? Will you perhaps tour for the album?
Titania is beginning to pick up steam. I’m receiving great response from the CD. It’s being released in Japan on TKO in March 2006. I’m currently writing and recording my second album. I’m not going to rush it I want it to be great. I am still working hard to promote Titania. Because I’m independent it’s hard to get the word out to the whole world all at once! I need Titania to have a great deal of success so I have enough financial backing to tour which I can’t do on my own at this time.

Any last words, especially for women trying to make it into the music business?
Women are making it big in music today. It’s too bad most of them use their bodies as their main talent. I think that will only get you so far. Good songs are where it’s at! Try to write good songs and don’t quit, not everyone is going to like your music. Great musicians all have one thing in common… they practice. Work hard at your craft and don’t quit, very few people have overnight success! I think it is important to listen to all types of music so you can grow as an artist. Everyone is influenced by what they hear if they say they aren’t they are lying! The Internet and stations like Metal Express Radio are keeping Rock and Roll alive, without them we would have to listen to Ashley Simpson forever. That sound’s a lot like hell to me!

Rock On!
Maxine Petrucci


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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