INTERVIEW WITH CRAZY LIXX SINGER DANNY REXON
Date: July 4, 2017
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
CRAZY LIXX ARE ONE OF THE FEW NEWER BANDS DOING ’80S STYLE HARD ROCK THAT I HAVE ACTUALLY GRAVITATED TOWARDS. SOMETIMES, I FIND THESE BANDS TO BE A LITTLE TOO PRETENTIOUS. I RESPECT EACH AND EVERY BAND THAT IS OUT THERE TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING, BUT FOR ME, THERE’S ONLY A FEW OF THESE BANDS THAT I LISTEN TOO. CRAZY LIXX DOES A VERY GOOD JOB OF CREATING ORIGINAL ’80S STYLE HARD ROCK MUSIC. I RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH CRAZY LIXX SINGER DANNY REXON AND LET ME TELL YOU, THIS GENTLEMAN IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT ALL MUSIC IN THE ’80S ERA. AFTER OUR INTERVIEW WAS COMPLETED, WE CHATTED BRIEFLY ABOUT UNRELEASED KISS SONGS. HOW THE CONVERSATION WAS GENERATED YOU MAY ASK. WELL… IT WAS IN REGARDS TO THE ’80S HORROR MOVIE CLASSIC ‘SHOCKER.’ I MENTIONED THAT THIS SOUNDTRACK FEATURED “SWORD AND STONE” BY BONFIRE. REXON AND I BOTH AGREED THAT THE KISS DEMO WAS FAR SUPERIOR. THAT GOT THE BALL ROLLING IN TERMS OF A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ROCK TALK. FOR THOSE WHO KNOW ME OR THOSE WHO HAVE READ ALL MY PAST INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS ETC., I COULD TALK ALL DAY ABOUT ANYTHING REGARDING ’80S HARD ROCK.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO CRAZY LIXX WAS ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO. A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, WHO WE WILL CALL ERNIE, HAD JUST DISCOVERED CRAZY LIXX’S FIRST ALBUM ‘LOUD MINORITY.’ HE PLAYED THE ALBUM FOR ME AND FROM THERE, I HAVE BOUGHT EVERY ALBUM SINCE. I WILL ADD THAT ERNIE MAY BE THE BIGGEST CRAZY LIXX FAN ON THE PLANET. WHEN IT COMES TO THIS BAND, ERNIE DOES NOT MISS A BEAT. IT WAS WITHIN A CONVERSATION I HAD RECENTLY WITH ERNIE THAT HE ALLUDED TO THE FACT THAT I SHOULD TRY AND GET AN INTERVIEW WITH SINGER DANNY REXON. SO BEING A GOOD FRIEND, I QUICKLY OBLIGED HIS REQUEST. I CONTACTED REXON AND THE REST IS HISTORY. SO HERE BEFORE YOU, I PRESENT DANNY REXON OF CRAZY LIXX.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of ‘Ruff Justice’, you have new members in the band. What happened between this album and the last?
Danny Rexon: Well, as you said, two members left the band back in the summer of 2015 — both guitarists Andreas Eriksson and Edd Liam. It was quite a hard blow for the band. We had only released our self-titled album less than six months prior and we hadn’t really had time to promote it properly. We actually thought about giving it all a rest. We were doubtful if we had the energy to start searching for new members and starting over again with a new lineup. Luckily, Jens Lundgren, who is now in the band had been covering for Edd Liam. Edd had actually left a bit before Andreas, but we announced them both together. So Jens was with us on a couple of gigs and he was willing to join the band. Jens knew of Chrisse, whom he had been doing some recordings for in his studio a couple of years ago and he suggested that we try him out. All in all, we got our new guitarists together quicker than I had imagined and I think that’s one of the reasons we were able to stay in the game. That, and the fact that we got some overwhelming support from our fans urging us to continue and look for new members when we were decimated back in ’15.
Sleaze Roxx: So it sounds as though it hurt the momentum of the self-titled album, which must have been tough. It was a stellar release. For me, I thought it was great because you redid “Heroes are Forever” from the first album ‘Loud Minority.’ Apparently the first album is very hard to get these days.
Danny Rexon: Yes, the first album has been out of print for many years, so it’s very hard to get anymore. This November, it’s 10 years since its release though, so perhaps we should be looking at a re-release of some sorts? Nothing planned right now, though.
Sleaze Roxx: On ‘Ruff Justice’, what was your approach going in? I notice that some of the songs have a more melodic flavor to them? “Walk The Wire” comes to mind.
Danny Rexon: Yeah, we started out as we usually do, looking at old demos and talking about what kind of album we wanted to do. Pretty early in the process I was contacted by GUN Media who wanted some ’80s flavored hair metal for their upcoming Friday the 13th video game. So I wrote “XIII” and “Killer.” We already had “Live Before I Die” since before. I sent the songs over and they were thrilled by the style and this kind of became the starting point for the rest of the album. The overall feeling and vibe of those songs were something that we thought about when we put together the rest of the album. That specific song “Walk the Wire” that you mentioned was actually an old demo that we had lying around since 2011.
Sleaze Roxx: So can you give me an idea of the lyrical content of “XIII.” It’s a very interesting and different title.
Danny Rexon: Yeah, that’s one of the songs that was written for the F13 game. So naturally, lyrically, it’s about Jason XII. Of course it is roman numerals for 13 and there’s also mention of Friday night in the lyrics. So it’s basically about a bunch of youngsters around a campfire at night, with Mr. Vorhees getting ready for some blood.
Danny Rexon: Well, basically I started to listen to all those songs from the ’80s that were written for the same purpose. Alice Cooper, Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Dokken, Dudes of Wrath, etc. And I kind of combined all the elements that I think made those songs what they are and tried to package it as a Crazy Lixx song. When I was doodling around with riffs to the songs, I put on old ’80s music videos on my computer, muted the sound and just tried to get in the mood of what I was watching, trying to convey that to the guitar playing.
Sleaze Roxx: When it came to songwriting on this album, did you do the majority of the writing like on past releases? And how do you generally write? Acoustic guitar… demo the whole thing and bring it forth to the band?
Danny Rexon: Yes, that’s absolutely correct. I wrote almost all of the material for the album. Usually the process is just as you described it. I start out with a riff, a vocal hook, an idea for a chorus or something like that. Work around a bit with it on an acoustic guitar typically and then, if I feel the song is strong enough, I program drums and sometimes keyboards for it. I record the other instruments and do a quick one take vocal on it, with some backing vocals where needed. Then, if I still think the demo came out good enough, I send it to the band for them to listen to. I think, for this album, we probably had around 30 demos like this to pick from and just as many half-finished demos where perhaps there were no vocals or maybe just a chorus recorded or stuff like that. So there’s a lot of material lying around, still. If we wanted we could record another full album starting tomorrow, and it’s not that all the songs that were left behind are worse than the ones that ended up on the album. A lot of different things factor in when you choose songs for an album. For example, you may not want too many songs of the same tempo or beat or maybe too many songs with the same lyrical content or maybe it’s just that some songs, although good, just don’t fit with the overall vibe of the album, but might very well fit perfectly on the next one. So we’re keeping all our old stuff. You never know when it will come in handy. For example, “Walk The Wire” and “Kiss Of Judas” are both old demos from four to five years ago, but we didn’t feel like they would fit until this last album.
Sleaze Roxx: The sound and production of Crazy Lixx, I can’t help but notice how great your drum and specifically your ride cymbal sound. Without giving away too much, how do approach certain production things? Mikes, drums, guitars, etc.
Danny Rexon: We use a lot of layered guitars. You know tiny bits and pieces that just come in for a second or two but that give a lot of flavor to the song when combined properly with backing vocals. There’s a lot of work behind it and if you’ve read the credits for the album, you can see that we’ve involved like ten different backing vocalists for different songs. Each one has layered multiple takes of the same part until we’ve achieved that fatness that we’re after, so on one chorus it can be like 100 different tracks mixed together all in all. As for the drums, that was mainly handled by Jens Lundgren for this album and then [Chris] Laney does a lot of work where he blends in samples of old ’80s drums, especially for kick and snare to get a more authentic ’80s sound. The ride however is all acoustic, picked up with a good mic in a big room.
Sleaze Roxx: Would you say Chris Laney has been a big help in making you a great producer?
Danny Rexon: I’ve learned a great deal from working with Chris Laney, especially when it comes to guitars and backing vocals
Sleaze Roxx: Occasionally you make reference to religion. “Children Of The Cross” from the ‘New Religion’ album and more recently “Kiss Of Judas.” I think religion is an open ended question and everyone has their views on it. How does this come into play for you?
Danny Rexon: Well, I’m totally fine with faith and people’s personal beliefs, but I have an overall problem with organized religion which I find can often become manipulative and destructive towards people. A lot of shit has been done, and is still being done, in the name of religion. I was raised as a Catholic myself but I left the church quite a while ago. Generally, I used to write more stuff on religion in the past but as of lately I think I’ve become more tolerant of it, at least Christianity, so not many lyrics about that are popping up in my mind any more, but you never know.
Sleaze Roxx: When it comes to your vocal style, which I think is very unique, obviously it’s a natural thing, but is there ever a time where you say “I’d really like to sound like this song.” What I mean is do you occasionally reach into your influences and borrow something vocally?
Danny Rexon: You know what it was great talking to you. Catch you later. Take care!
Crazy Lixx “Wild Child” video:
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