The Guilty release re-recorded songs with new line-up & discuss moving on after singer Alex Attic’s passing
Back in early March 2019, Australian hard rockers The Guilty suffered the devastating blow of losing their lead vocalist Alex Attic after the latter died of medical complications after suffering a cardiac arrest on February 28, 2019. The Guilty decided to forge ahead with founder / lead guitarist Scotty Gregs and drummer Paul Styman, continuing with guitarist Jack Vesic, bassist Carl and lead vocalist Dixie Normas. The group has since released some re-recorded versions of past songs such as “Bottle of Rock N Roll” (originally on the 2015 album Guilty As Charged) and the title track to their album Dirty Money (originally released in 2018).
Speaking exclusively to Sleaze Roxx, Gregs spoke about the shock of Attic‘s passing back in March 2019 and what Attic meant to him and the other guys in the band. Gregs stated: “It was really a shock. I won’t go into what happened due to privacy and respect for his family but when he was gone, it was surreal. He wasn’t just my singer but he also was my personal lawyer but more so my best friend and the brother I never had, as I have no brothers or sisters. He really was an innovator lyrically. He was not in any band and he found me through gumtree on an advertising for a band. I answered his ad. We caught up for a beer or more. He was prim and proper in his decked out suit and I was decked out in heavy metal gear. He was one of the kindest giving gentleman I have ever met… Yet, he’s a so called rock singer.
We had a chat and organized a rehearsal with some of his mates and his voice was shockingly horrible. It was what I expected on first impressions. He persevered to the point I had to tell him he ain’t no singer. We tried our best and it was crap, real bad crap. Then a year later, we always kept in contact. He said, “Let’s record at your house” so we did and still, the vocals sucked. Time went by and I thought [light bulb moment], “Let’s lower the key the song is in.” So I re-recorded the song and he sang the opening verse and holy shit, magic just happened. He nailed it. I was in tears. It was a magical moment. What I learned is that bands, when they get a singer, they should be able to sing anything in any key. The answer is “wrong” and I learned the hard way. We recorded our first album Guilty As Charged. It was raw and unprofessional but fun. We always pushed each other to do better but that album sounds like a first album. It lacks production, sounds raw but still has an edge to it. It was a very exciting time.
Fast forward, with four albums under our belt, Alex’s death was a huge loss. He was a great lyricist and melody maker. I would record something and one week later, he had it all figured out. We never ever wrote together. I would send [him] music. He would do the rest and then me and Al would do the back up vocals later. He was a gem of a bloke. One show we did, we were an opener for two big bands and we got on and just did our best. That’s all we could do and we had everybody up and movin’ and groovin’. It was a blast. Before the first song, they looked at Alex and must have thought, “This is gonna suck.” He’s like Graham Bonnet in a suit and tie and all…. Well, they all went nuts as soon as he opened his mouth and we were snubbed by the other two bands as people were walking out as they were playing live. True story and we were not trying, just up playing having fun…
I miss him very much. I didn’t write for ages and the band members were feeling it too. Our drummer especially, he knows the family too. He was broken to the point after Alex passed away. We all [got] caught up and almost called it a day. It’s the grieving process. It is what it is but I still miss him so much more on a family level as I know all his family and still keep in touch as I consider them my family.”
In terms of how the new line-up came together, Gregs indicated: “It was after a while. Our awesome drummer and all round awesome mate, Paul Styman, and I caught up. I guess we both missed playing music. It’s the bug. When you’re in a drought musically, you get the bug after a while and want to go out and do it again. Paul was very inspiring to me. He’s the most experienced out of all of us, is very humble and loves a few beers like me. I don’t know what I would do without Paul. He’s a great “ideas” man and gets the gigs. He is a great and true friend but more so, an awesome drummer. He’s the “thunder from down under.”
We did one memorial gig for Alex at a place called the Bride Hotel Balmain in Sydney. The place was packed. It was total madness and we wanted three other bands to open. First was a Rolling Stones tribute band. Second was a great band and dear friends, Barside, who play originals kind of like early [Black] Sabbath and then there was The Jakies who are like a second family to me. I hate categorizing them but they are like Midnight Oil with an edge. Midnight Oil are an Australian treasure of a band. Look ’em up. We had Alex‘s two sons on stage — Jakob on bass and Justin on vocals. We blew the fuckin’ house down. After that, we had to look for a new singer. I put an ad in and this bloke called Dixie Normus — that’s not his real name — answered the ad on Facebook. I thought what do I have to lose. He came and checked us out. He did a few tunes and was good but we were skeptical [laughs]. It’s hard to replace a dear family friend you know. We did a gig not long after that and I had to do the lead vocals for most of the set except for the last three songs, which Dixie did well. I was glad it was over. He was so nervous pacing up and down ’til we started to play and he was bloody awesome and nailed it. After that, the buzz came back and it was time to move forward.
I don’t want to forget Jack, our other lead guitarist. He’s a top person and really can rip a lead. He’s very humble, kind and a little shy but can really rock the hell out of a guitar. Carl, our bass player, is such a nice bloke. He also plays in a blues band and has jazz and blues experience. I thought he was too talented for us but hell, he is the riff master. He executes everything and is solid as a rock, and such a gentleman.”
In regard to why The Guilty decided to re-record some of their songs with their new singer, Gregs explained: “We decided to re-record the old stuff but re-recorded it how we do it live and also to test the waters to see how Dixie would work out. He nailed it! The recording process was painless and he executed everything. Not bad for a bloke who hasn’t been in a band for 20 odd years. He was a real blessing and has a good soul. There’s also more to come. I have five new songs written and hope the next album will be out early next year.”
The Guilty‘s “Bottle of Rock N Roll” single (February 2020 version):
The Guilty Are , PAUL SYMAN- DUMS … SCOTTY GRREGS – GUITAR, JACK VESIC-GUITAR, CARL – BASS EXTRODINARE a++++++, DIXIE NORMAS -LEAD VOCALS
The Guilty‘s “Dirty Money” single (February 2020 version):
The Guilty isPaul Styman -DrumsJack Vesic-Lead GuitarDixie Normus-Lead VocalsScotty Gregs- Lead Guitar Carl-Bass GuitaMixes And Produced By Scotty Gregs