INTERVIEW WITH MÄDHOUSE GUITARIST AND FOUNDER MIKKY STIXX
Date: June 2, 2021
Interviewer: Mark Horvath
Photos: Michael Kronstorfer
Fans will know him as “Mikky Stixx”, lead guitar player in his band Mädhouse. Working right through the global Covid pandemic, Mädhouse wasted no time in releasing their sophomore album ‘Bad Habits’ on April 23rd. We chatted with Mikky about the rise of the band and where this seemingly unstoppable freight train all started.
Sleaze Roxx: First of all, a congrats on such a stellar sophomore album! I don’t think I have seen as many overwhelmingly positive reviews for one album before! How was Mädhouse formed?
Mikky Stixx: It was in 2017 when a couple of friends of mine and I organized a tribute show in our hometown of Vienna [Austria]. You know, just for kicks… We were like 20 musicians playing a three-hour set of our favourite songs from the ’80s. From Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Poison to Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard and so on. It was called the “Hard ‘N’ Heavy Tribute Show.” That night was such a blast that a few of us decided to keep jamming together. So actually, we started as a cover band. Sooner or later, I got bored playing only covers so I began to write our own songs. The first one was “Hard ‘N Heavy” dedicated to that glorious night! That was the starting shot for Mädhouse!
Sleaze Roxx: Ah yes, I recall ‘Hard ‘N Heavy’ as being the final track on your debut album ‘Money Talks Bullshit Walks.’ Who are your influences as a guitar player?
Mikky Stixx: The reason why I started to learn playing guitar was Kee Marcello. It was my very first concert at the age of 10 when I saw Europe live in Vienna in 1989. He is one of that kind of guitar players who has an excellent technique but also a great feeling. But there are many terrific guitarists who had a big impact on me…. like Dimebag Darrel, Mick Mars, Richie Sambora, Tom Keifer, Zakk Wylde. Funny thing is, I’m left handed but got the strings placed upside down, like on a right hand guitar. So I play the low E string at the bottom and the high E string at the top which confuses a lot of people, especially my bandmates when it comes to showing them a new riff or lick [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: That is very interesting. So you don’t play left-handed guitar though like Tony Iommi?
Mikky Stixx: The body of my guitar is shaped left handed, like a normal left hand guitar but the strings are put upside down… There are not many people playing like this… I’ve seen some jazz players playing that way. I just learned it that way.
Sleaze Roxx: How does the band write the songs?
Mikky Stixx: I’m spending most of my time in my own studio writing and recording songs anyway. So the songwriting procedure is mostly the same. We are not a band that writes songs in the rehearsal room. Basically, I write and record a song, send it to the guys and then they come over to my place and we record the tracks detailed. Afterwards, we go to the rehearsal room and check out if the songs are “live suitable.” Since I’m doing the producing by my own, the whole producing process indeed is very extensive on the one hand. On the other hand, we are way more flexible and not dependent on time limits or costs, etc.
Sleaze Roxx: Many bands have a leader of sorts, as in Malcolm Young was the leader in AC/DC, Nikki Sixx in Mötley Crüe. Is there more of a boss in Mädhouse?
Mikky Stixx: I don’t like the term “boss.” We are a band, friends, who have fun together. As a matter of fact, I’m doing the whole songwriting and producing, and actually meanwhile, I’m the only founding member in the band which maybe keeps the focus on my person a little bit. But Mädhouse wouldn’t be Mädhouse without anyone of the members. Everyone adds his personality to the band and is doing a great job! Rickey [Dee] enriched the sound immensely with his unique bass sound, just as the new members Casey [J. Eiszenman] on drums and Thommy [Black] on guitar do. Not to mention Tommy [Lovelace] on vocals who leaves his mark on the Mädhouse sound impressively. Of course, there are also many things to coordinate beside the music. Mostly, I am the one who’s doing that stuff… but I wouldn’t call myself a boss…. More a dictator as Rickey would say [laughs]. Just kidding [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: Mädhouse had some line-up changes since the first album. What prompted those changes and how did you end up finding your new members?
Mikky Stixx: Our former drummer, Ken [Shuri], became a father so he had no more time for a band. Former guitar player, Freddie [Heart] and I had different ideas about the future of the band so we decided to go [our] separate ways. Rickey Dee actually has always been around the band from beginning. He’s a good friend of mine as well as Casey Eiszenman…so i took them on board. Only Thommy i didn´t know before he joined us. I was searching for a guitar player and saw a video of him on facebook playing a Autograph song. without further ado i asked him if he wants to join Mädhouse…he was like “omg…i´m a big fan of you guys!” he culdn´t believe it…hahaha…well, a few days later he came over to my place for an audition… the rest is history
Sleaze Roxx: Do you see a continued demand for your type of music in Europe?
Mikky Stixx: It’s been said that there’s no big scene in Europe for glam rock/hair metal but that’s totally wrong. There are just not that much bands playing that style. As a matter of fact, we sold our first album like 90% to America and I’m sure the scene over there is still much bigger than anywhere else in the world. But there’s something going on in Europe. The problem is not that here aren’t enough people who are listening to glam rock…. There are just less bands playing glam rock. But that’s what we are here for!
Sleaze Roxx: That’s great and an interesting answer because most new bands from Canada and USA need to go to Europe now to have a career. How was the band signed to ROAR (Rock of Angels Records)? Does the label give you tour support or promotion? How does ROAR help the band?
Mikky Stixx: After the release of our debut album ‘Money Talks Bullshit Walks’, we started to contact several record companies. We sent out a few demo songs from the new album and some of the labels replied. But ROAR Records did not just reply… They were especially motivated and forward looking from the beginning. We really had the feeling they wanted us so we decided to sign at ROAR Records and honestly, that was the best decision for the band so far. They are [hard] working, very professional and promoting the band as well as the new album outstandingly. Our albums are available worldwide now. There are stories, interviews, etc. in magazines. Our songs are getting played on radio stations all over the world…. So we are very happy to be part of the ROAR Records family!
Sleaze Roxx: Fantastic! Let’s talk some more about touring. Whereabouts has the band toured so far? Have you toured with any notable bands yet?
Mikky: We played the Novarock Festival — the biggest festival in Austria, had a few local shows, but you know the entire last year was marked by Covid and lockdowns. So, just like any other band, we lost a whole year to tour. But we’re looking forward and we believe the situation will change so we can travel and enter the stages again soon.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes, that’s true. Your debut album was released only three months prior to the first Covid cases appearing. So what are the goals of Mädhouse?
Mikky Stixx: We wanna tour around the world, hang out and having fun with our fans and friends. So we hopefully make it, besides Europe, to the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and so on in the next year. And of course, we are always busy with working on new songs. Mädhouse never laze around [laughs].
Mädhouse‘s “I Walk The Ponygirl” video:
MÄDHOUSE – “I Walk The Ponygirl” (2021) – Official Music Video. Taken from the album “Bad Habits”, out on April 23, 2021.Get “Bad Habits” now: https://bit.ly…
Mädhouse‘s “Sick of It All” video: