News Segment


September 7, 2004

Kick Axe Returns With New Studio Album ‘Kick Axe IV’ On Song HausMusic On September 7, 2004

‘Kick Axe IV’ Is The First Album From The Canadian Hard Rockers Since1986

Kick Axe, one of the best and most successful heavy rock bands toburst out of Canada in the 1980s, returns with ‘Kick Axe IV,’ itsfirst album of new material in 18 years. ‘Kick Axe IV’ will bereleased on September 7, 2004, by Song Haus Music.

The band includes vocalist Gary Langen, guitarist Larry Gillstrom,guitarist Raymond Harvey, bassist Victor Langen and drummer BrianGillstrom. All of the members contribute vocal harmonies.

The 14 songs on ‘Kick Axe IV’ are: “Right Now,” “Rockin Daze,””Consolation,” “Turn To Stone,” “Do You Know,” “Who Knows Ya,” “Woe,””Time,” “Slip Inside My Dream,” “Who Says,” “Rock N Roll Dog,” “BlackHeart,” “City Lights” and “The Only Ones Here.”

“We always felt like the band had unfinished business. Every couple ofyears we would talk about getting back together, and now we arefinally able to do that,” says Larry Gillstrom. “It took us two yearsto put ‘Kick Axe IV’ together. There were a lot of songs to choosefrom.”

The band was originally formed in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1976 byLarry Gillstrom and brothers Victor Langen and Gary Langen. Ray Harveysoon came on board and by early 1978 the band relocated to Vancouver,British Columbia.

“The move to Vancouver really changed our outlook and we were able tobuild up a great local following,” Larry Gillstrom says.

Gary Langen left the band before the end of 1979. In 1980, LarryGillstrom’s brother Brian Gillstrom joined on drums and Charles McNaryclimbed aboard as lead vocalist. Kick Axe was still not entirely happywith its lineup, and national advertisements resulted in Milwaukeenative George Criston earning the lead vocalist slot, and he relocatedto Vancouver in 1982.

Kick Axe signed with Pasha Records and recorded its 1984 debut ‘Vices’with producer Spencer Proffer. “Heavy Metal Shuffle” was a modest hitfrom the album, which very nearly went gold after a well-received touropening for Judas Priest. The follow-up album, ‘Welcome To The Club,’was issued in 1985. The band also recorded two songs for the’Transformers: The Movie’ soundtrack but record company brass wereafraid the band’s name was not suitable for the young audience, sothey were credited as Spectre General. ‘Rock The World’ was releasedin 1986 but severe business-related problems going back to ‘Welcome ToThe Club’ caused Kick Axe to fade away by 1988. But the band neverformally broke up.

The members all stayed in touch and many remained involved in variousaspects of the music business.

“Several of us still played in groups just for fun, or wrote songs forother bands. I got into developing software and video games and havebeen fortunate enough to be successful at it. My brother Brian starteda limousine company that’s now the biggest one in Vancouver,” LarryGillstrom says. “After leaving the band initially, Gary played withbands in clubs. Raymond had left the band before ‘Rock The World’ andhe joined the Vancouver band Rock & Hyde, which was Bob Rock’s oldband. Bob went on to produce albums for Motley Crue and Metallica.”

Awareness of Kick Axe never waned: the first two albums were reissuedon CD to brisk sales and positive reviews; copies of ‘Rock The World’have sold on eBay for $150 (U.S. dollars); and several fan-created websites have been started, including one in the Czech Republic( ‘Kick Axe IV’ is a deeply satisfying album forKick Axe because they were able to translate their accumulated wisdominto richly rewarding songs.

Upon the reformation of Kick Axe two years ago, Gary Langen came on board. Criston was not able to participate due to his behind-the-scenes commitments with the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Dido and AvrilLavigne. With the exception of Gary Langen, the lineup on ‘Kick AxeIV’ is the same as ‘Vices’ and ‘Welcome To The Club.’

Kick Axe plans to hit the road again for an extensive tour. The bandhas already performed one highly successful, eagerly awaited reunionshow. It took place in August 2004 in Regina, Saskatchewan, theirhometown, which also happened to be the last city they performed induring their original run.

Longtime allies within the media and radio have encouraged Kick Axe’sreturn. The band plans to stick around.

“There is no foreseeable end at the moment. Tasting it again is veryenticing,” Larry Gillstrom says. “We went into this withoutpreconceived notions of how the music would sound. ‘Kick Axe IV’ isvery emotional and from the heart. We all got what we wanted out ofthe album.”

For all the latest Kick Axe information, including tour dateannouncements, visit

Courtesy of Song Haus Music