Hard rock/metal band LILLIAN AXE has been around for a long time. Forming in the late ’80s, the band has only had moderate success, while accumulating a faithful fan base through their live gigs. Guitarist Steve Blaze has been the anchor of the band from the beginning and still carries on with the music he passionately believes in.
With their latest release, Sad Day on Planet Earth, Steve and co. are still creating excellent rock songs with passion and determination that most bands fail to deliver.
By e-mail from his home in Louisiana, Steve spoke about the band’s name, his love of music, and the joys of new-found fatherhood.
How did you come up with the name Lillian Axe?
It was inspired by the movie Creepshow. There was a bridesmaid skeleton in the movie that reminded me of a senile elderly woman. I came up with the name Lillian for her, and the axe part just fell into place.
Lillian Axe has been around for many years, and you have created some awesome music, but only have had a cult following and are a bit underated in my opinion. Do you feel that you still haven’t gotten the recognition or respect that you deserve?
Absolutely. I believe we have gotten great respect from those who know us and have heard our music. However, we have never had the mass exposure necessary to break us in the commercial success realm. We have always been considered the most underrated and underappreciated band in the world.
You played at Rocklahoma 2009 in July on one of the side stages. I was unable to attend your set, but I feel, and many other members of the press that attended the festival that weekend, that you should have been included on the Main Stage. Nothing against Gypsy Pistoleros or Hericane Alice, but I think your style of metal would have fit better with the rest of the acts on those particular days. What are your thoughts?
We would have rather been on the main stage but we had a choice and the time slot worked out better for us. It was great to be there either way, but we should have had a better scenario.
With the revolving door of member changes and you being the only original member left, what is your motivation to keep this band creating new music and touring?
Actually, even though the band has had changes, this lineup has been solid for six years. Lillian Axe is about the music so even if the players change, which they probably never will again, the essence of the band stays strong and grows.
Do you ever get frustrated or exhausted after still slugging it out for 20 years?
I get frustrated with the business. Making music is the key. It’s all of the stupidity surrounding the mechanics of the industry side that drive me nuts.
Do you feel the band is as strong as ever with this current lineup?
This lineup is the most fired up and energetic, but everyone who has been in the band has been a great talent.
With the release of “Sad Day on Planet Earth,” your talent, creativity and determination still shines through. You really seem to have a deep love for what you create. What are your expectations for the new CD?
I want a platinum record! However, in this day and age it’s virtually impossible. I want this record to reach people and open their eyes to us. I hope it moves people’s souls as well and makes them feel things more intensely.
You wrote all the songs, played guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, as well as produced “Sad Day on Planet Earth.” Do you like complete control, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but do you feel that you have to do everything because you have kept the band going for so many years?
I have control, but it is centered around the input and ideas of all members and people close to us. I think our organization has put their trust in me, and it’s up to me to get the best possible expressions from the band.
You recently became a father, correct? Tell me about the joys of fatherhood, as I can relate!
My son Jude is seven months old, and I can’t even express the way my soul has opened up because of his life. I am so in love with him it’s scary. Sometimes in the middle of the day I will get choked up emotionally just thinking about him. He is amazing. It’s difficult to be away from him for a moment.
The “Waters Rising” album is such a great varied musical experience, each song has a different sound. “Fields of Yesterday,” towards the end of it, has a Pink Floyd “Astronomy Domine” feel to it, was that the result you were going for?
I really don’t ever think about going in any direction. Things just take their course. I love Pink Floyd so that’s a compliment. To get the message across, that song had to flow in those different directions.
What’s next for Lillian Axe? Any tours or single shows planned?
New video for “Megaslowfade” was just shot and we tour in Jan. and Feb. I have also started writing the next album.
Thanks for your participation Steve. Any last words for your fans?
Thanks for the interview. We love our fans greatly, so please come see us on tour!
By Kelley Simms