INTERVIEW WITH CRAZY LIXX’S FOUNDING MEMBER AND DRUMMER JOÉL CIRERA
Date: July 8, 2016
A CLOSE CALL — BACK IN AUGUST 2015, CRAZY LIXX ANNOUNCED THE DEPARTURE OF THE BAND’S TWO GUITARISTS AND THE FUTURE SEEMED BLEAK FOR THE SLEAZE ROCKERS. LUCKILY, THE THREE REMAINING BAND MEMBERS — FRONTMAN DANNY REXON, DRUMMER JOÉL CIRERA AND BASSIST JENS SJÖHOLM — DECIDED TO FORGE AHEAD WITH AUDITIONS AND THE LINE-UP WAS FILLED WITH GUITARISTS JENS LUNDGREN AND CHRISSE OLSSON. FAST FORWARD ALMOST ONE YEAR LATER AND CRAZY LIXX HAVE JUST RELEASED TODAY THEIR PHENOMENAL FIRST LIVE ALBUM — ‘SOUND OF A LIVE MINORITY.’ SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH CRAZY LIXX’S DRUMMER JOÉL CIRERA TO GET AN UPDATE ON WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE BAND AT THIS TIME.
Sleaze Roxx: Crazy Lixx have just released their first ever live album ‘Sound Of The Live Minority.’ Do you think it has been long overdue or released just at the right time, and why?
Joél Cirera: I believe that it came at the right time. We didn’t have plans at first to release a whole live show but the opportunity rose up to have the whole show recorded so we thought that maybe we would release one or two songs but in the end, it was a great sounding show so we thought “What the hell! Let’s do it!”
Sleaze Roxx: It must have been tough coming up with the setlist for the new live album considering how many great albums that Crazy Lixx have. Was there a lot of debate on what songs that should make the live album and if so, what are some of the songs that did not make the cut?
Joél Cirera: Not really. We have a live set that we worked on and have played for quite some time where we have mixed the set to be able to please all the fans. There are songs from all the albums we have released and we were very pleased with how it came out. We always want to play as many songs as possible but time restraints are always a factor but this time, we had a long set so there wasn’t really any songs that didn’t make the cut.
Sleaze Roxx: Crazy Lixx’s live album is a bit unusual in the fact that it features only one of your two new guitarists. Was there any thought of waiting to release a live album with both Jens Lundgren and Chrisse Olsson playing on the album?
Joél Cirera: No. As I said earlier, we got an offer to have the whole show recorded and we knew that Bang Your Head Festival is one of the best festivals we have played so we knew that it was going to be great to play and record that gig in particular. I can’t say if we are going to make another live album in the future but it would be cool for the fans to hear how we sound now compared to then.
Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of Jens and Chrisse, what have they brought to the band and how do they differ from Edd Liam and Andy Zata?
Joél Cirera: They are very different from each other. Adde and Edd are phenomenal guitarists and left a huge gap in the band but both Jens and Chrisse are fantastic and have filled the gap with flying colours! We feel a new unity within the band and both of them have quickly found their place and are contributing to the band.
Sleaze Roxx: By the way, I really like how the band kept the suspense going in unveiling its two new guitarists to the world? Who thought of that idea and how do you think it went?
Joél Cirera: Danny [Rexon] thought of the idea to have like this “idol” concept where we are the judges and we had a great time doing that video. We hade a lot of people coming out and putting in great performances and I think we made a really funny video. I also got the chance to use my alter-ego “Lord sidfläsk” (Lord porkbelly) and it’s been a long time since we laughed so hard.
Sleaze Roxx: Back when I interviewed Danny [Rexon] in August 2015, Crazy Lixx had suggested that the future of the band was at stake. How serious were the thoughts of packing it in for the band? In other words, how close were we to losing Crazy Lixx?
Joél Cirera: They were really serious. We knew we had a very capable guitarist in Jens [Lundgren] but we needed one more and it’s not easy replacing guitarists as good as Edd and Adde. We sat down — me, Jens [Sjöholm] and Danny — and had a long talk. We weren’t so positive to begin with but we said “Let’s see what happens with the auditions” and luckily we tried. There was Chrisse and one more guy but Chrisse took us all by storm and we are really happy we made that decision to keep on playing.
Sleaze Roxx: When I first listened to ‘Sound of The Live Minority’, all I could think was that Crazy Lixx have the energy and the great songs that would have been needed to be a huge household name back in the mid to late ’80s and ultimately play live and travel the world. Instead, even though there is no doubt that Crazy Lixx have achieved a lot of success, the band has yet to come to North America to play due from what I understand to the right opportunity not coming up. Is there a certain amount of frustration within the band in likely knowing that had the band been around in the mid to late ’80s, you might be as big as a Mötley Crüe or Dokken?
Joél Cirera: Well, it’s mostly a financial issue. Visas to USA are superexpensive and therefore it’s not possible at the moment. We do want to come and play though. I have been to the States a couple of times and love the USA. In particular your food, even though I might gain an additional 30 pounds [laughs]. You can’t be bitter about being born in the wrong decade. We at least have had the opportunity to make this kind of music and being able to hear that people all over the world are loving our music is more than most bands can say and we feel very lucky to have been able to do so.
Sleaze Roxx: Funny you say that. I would have said the opposite that I like Europe in part for the food! I haven’t yet been to Sweden though. Speaking of Sweden, there has been a surprising amount of Swedish sleaze type bands calling it quits or taking a hiatus in the last year. Sister Sin and Crucified Barbara are no more. Dirty Passion are on an indefinite hiatus and you in fact have their guitarist now in your line-up [laughs]. What are your thoughts in so many of Crazy Lixx’s Swedish peers calling it quits?
Joél Cirera: I think it’s about people not being able to do this anymore. We all came up around the same time and both we, Crucified [Barbara] and Sister Sin have been working with our bands for over 10 years. I don’t know their reasons for calling it quits but things change. As we get older you get more and more obligations. Both me and Danny have kids and that changes a lot, It’s hard to motivate being away for a long time from your family and you have to make a choice. Either you find a compromise or you call it quits. In our case, we have compromised and are at a place where we are balancing our lives with our passion and as long as that works, we don’t have an issue to continue playing music.
Sleaze Roxx: I got to say that I am excited to hear what Crazy Lixx will come up with in terms of new songs with Jens [Lundgren] and Chrisse [Olsson] now in the line-up. When can we expect a new studio album from Crazy Lixx?
Joél Cirera: Oh, I can’t give you a date on that but I can say that we are recording some new tunes for the “Friday The 13th” video game that’s coming out this winter if I’m not mistaken. And we have started recording some drums for some new songs. We haven’t set a date though but we will keep the fans updated on Facebook and other social media. Both Jens and Chrisse are contributing but we haven’t set which songs that will be on the album but they are writing some killer tunes.
Sleaze Roxx: You are one of the two remaining founding members left in Crazy Lixx. The band has gone through I am sure a lot of ups but also some downs. What would you say has been the biggest highlight and the biggest low for you so far in the band?
Joél Cirera: The biggest up is definitly playing big festivals as Bang Your Head Festival and Sweden Rock as it is on home soil. But meeting people that love the band and travel long ways just to see some ugly guys from Sweden — with the exception of Jens Sjöholm, he is sooooo dreamy [laughs]. The biggest downs are always when we go through a line-up change. It’s always ripping up emotions and you always question the band’s future and we have been a couple of changes to say the least.
Sleaze Roxx: How would you rank Crazy Lixx’s four albums and on what basis?
Joél Cirera: First, ‘New Religion’ because it’s our biggest album and opened a lot of doors for us. Second, ‘Crazy Lixx’ because we went back to our roots on this album and I feel have some of the best songs we have made. Third, ‘Loud Minority’ because it was our debut album and it’s a collectable since it’s no longer in print. And your first album is always special. Fourth, ‘Riot Avenue’ — it has some great songs but lacks in production and in sound. We wanted to try something new and the result is OK.
Sleaze Roxx: Although Crazy Lixx are releasing a new live album, it does not appear that the band will be really touring behind it and that is despite the upcoming season of summer festivals. Why is that?
Joél Cirera: It came out too late. You have to keep in mind as well that we were not a band until December  and have gone almost a year without a complete line-up so festivals are reluctant to book someone they are not sure exists and since we didn’t play as much, we didn’t have much to bargain with.
Sleaze Roxx: Crazy Lixx did headline or perhaps co-headline WildFest in Belgium two months ago. How was that experience?
Joél Cirera: Great! Jan [De Greve] who booked us and arranged the festival was great and very friendly. We had never been to Belgium before so that was very cool. We actually had a fan drive for a couple of hours and she was very sick and that makes you humble. Great crowd as well and the bands that played before us where very good — especially Hell In The Club!
Sleaze Roxx: What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year and 2017?
Joél Cirera: We are going to play some shows and see if more get booked, and start making a new album as I mentioned before. In 2017, we hope to have a new album out and tour for that album.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your top three favourite albums of all-time and why?
Joél Cirera: Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller — a phenomenal album with not one bad song on it. Tool’s ‘Ænima’ — Maybe not an album you expect from a guy that plays ’80s rock but they are my favorite band ever! Megadeth’s ‘Countdown To Extinction’ — a remarkable album.