Interview with Steve Blaze (Lillian Axe)

LILLIAN AXE - Act XI: The Days Before Tomorrow

Steve Blaze, the founder and guitarist from the legendary Hard Rock band LILLIAN AXE out of New Orleans, USA, took time out to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s latest studio release …

Metal Express Radio:

The new Lillian Axe album is entitled Act XI: The Days Before Tomorrow … what’s behind this title?


Well, we included “Act XI” in the title because it’s our 11th album, although some people have been quick to remind me that it’s really our 10th studio record, since we released a live album as well, but it’s our 11th release overall. The title “The Days Before Tomorrow” was actually introduced to me by my wife, who told me she came across this statement in something she was reading and thought it would be something that I would have come up with. As I was thinking about it, I thought it actually was a great phrase since I believe all of our actions and all of our deeds mean something or have a role in causing a specific outcome … and that’s reflective of our music career as well. If I take a left at one corner and take a right at another, our lives and our direction can be changed forever, so it’s important to me and to all of us that we make all of the “right” moves. So, I thought this title represented my philosophies well, and if anything, I wanted people who encounter this album to at least be left with something that may provoke some thought.


This album was released on Valentine’s Day in 2012, or February 14th … was there anything behind that release date, or was it just coincidence?


Our manager actually came up with the idea of a Valentine’s Day Massacre release! Actually, that date was just chosen to make people remember the release date a little better. It’s hard to pinpoint a date, much less a month, when an album was released, but by releasing on Valentine’s Day, we thought that date might stick. And, we thought it might help sales a bit since guys could go out and buy this for their girl friends or wives as well!


Lillian Axe has had a few shake-ups over the recent years at lead vocalist, and now you have another new one in Brian Jones … how did this relationship develop and come about?


When Derrick LeFevre said his life was taking him in a new direction and that he wanted to leave the band, we saw Ronnie Munroe at Rocklahoma not that long afterwards and we kind of rushed him into the band because he was available and we thought he was great. However, moving too quickly may have been a mistake because he lived too far away. It became evident right away that there were too many difficulties logistics-wise to make the relationship work properly, and we had a mutually amicable parting. Later, some friends said I needed to meet up with Brian Jones … they said he already knew our catalog and that he’d be a great addition to the band, but that he was a little quirky. This time, we decided to take it slow and get to know him and have him audition … the whole nine yards. Then, after we got a good feel for him and him for us, we knew it was the right move to bring him in the band.


You’re the producer of the new album … how did you incorporate Brian’s very “clean” vocal style and sound into The Days Before Tomorrow?


One thing I always try to do is to avoid trying to make somebody sound or be something they’re not. In the end, I just let Brian be Brian … I didn’t tell him I want you to do this or sound like this … I just told him, “Here’s the lyrics … go ahead and sing!” And he did just that. Before we’d record a track, I’d tell him to go in the other room and warm up by singing it 4 or 5 times before we even got the tape rolling. Then, after he had his mind wrapped around how he wanted to perform it, I’d tell him to come back and let’s have some fun doing it for real. I knew Brian would bring a whole new dimension for our back catalog and that he’d work well for the new material too … overall, I thought he did a fantastic job. From a pure production standpoint, I surround myself with people who are on the same page as I am and that I know how to work with. No band or album is going to totally blow the world away any longer in my opinion … if some band has such a product; chances are in today’s world it won’t be accepted anyway. But, we’ve established a style and approach that people have come to expect, and there are still a lot of people out there we can reach who aren’t familiar with us. We’re not the same band or the same people we were 20 years ago, and our music and approach reflects that. Regardless, though, we were and always will be committed to putting out the highest quality product we can.


How do you deal with fans who want Lillian Axe to knock out albums that are more in the vein of your style 20 years ago than what you’ve evolved to become with say this new album?


I actually get comments like that fairly often from fans who loved our older albums they usually say something like, “I checked out your new record and it’s a lot different than my favorite album Poetic Justice“. My response to them is, “YES, it is! But don’t waste your effort trying to make comparisons. Just listen to the new record from top to bottom and take it in for what it is. Listen closely and enjoy it … don’t focus on the past or our past works … just clear your mind and you might be surprised at how much you like it without a preconceived opinion.”


Do you have tour plans on the docket to support The Days Before Tomorrow?


We’re working on a string of dates in New York in March 2012, a summer package tour in June and July, and we might be headed to Europe just before that. Fans should check out our Website … we’ll keep everyone posted as plans develop.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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