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Under the Lights

Rejuvenation

There comes a time in many rock group’s career that retrospect has to happen.  In the case of Sweden’s “Crazy Lixx”, that time came in 2014, and here is a glimpse of how these five dealt with it:

Question: So, knowing that this is Crazy Lixx’s fourth record, why the self titled status?

Answer: Originally it wasn’t meant to be self titled but going through possible titles we

found that nothing really stuck. Then I presented the idea of making it self titled and we all kind of felt it was suiting for the album, considering this album really came out the way we feel a Crazy Lixx album should sound. Then as always with self titled albums, fans and press can’t just leave it at that (like with Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ or Whitesnake’s ‘1987’) and because of the symbol on the front of the album I’ve already heard some people referring to it as ‘CL’. But I think that’s nice. People can call it whatever they want as long as they enjoy it.

Q: Being the Producer as well, Danny, did you put more pressure on yourself during the recording sessions?

A: I always go to great lengths to make the best out of my vocal recordings but most of the production work was actually made more with the guitar and bass recordings. I think I might have pushed the guys more than I did myself actually. But in the end I think we got a great result out of it. When it comes to recording vocals, for the past 3-4 years I’ve always done it the same way; I record myself in my own home studio and give it as much time as it needs to sound how I want it to sound.

Q: What would you say is different with this album than the previous three?

A: I think it’s more complete than the others, from the song writing, music and lyrics all the way to the playing, musicianship and production of the album. All in all we’ve become better at pretty much everything that has to do with making an album and also zoned in on what truly is the “Crazy Lixx Sound”.

Q: In preparing for the review of this selftitled effort, I noticed that the energy level is very high, and everyone seems so up; was it hard to capture all of that energy… And keep focused?

A: It was actually easier than ever because we set out to make our best album ever but without the pressure of a close deadline or limited, expensive studio time. This time we recorded bits and pieces when we felt up to it and where we felt it would be best and most comfortable to do it, instead of booking a high-end studio for two weeks and then working our asses off day and night to get it all done before the studio time was up. The kind of work strategy that we had on this album suits us a lot better. But then of course it took a year to get it done, from the first drum recording to the final masters.  And that’s without considering the song writing that was done before that.

Q: We hear eleven fantastic slices of rock on this effort… How many songs did you go in with, and would some of those left be for the next album?

A: We looked at around 40 more or less complete demos for this album and a lot of the songs that we left out are sure to be in the running for a follow-up album. My guess would be that we can probably add 10-15 new demos to that pile in a year or so, so there’s no shortage of material for more albums, that’s for sure.  Then again, we try to set our standards higher for each album so a lot of the stuff that we left out now probably won’t make the cut in the future either. Then there are songs that were great but simply didn’t fit in because there were already too many songs of the same style, tempo or lyrical content selected for the album. We try to have diversity on an album and when you get many songs of the same style you simply leave out some of them for later.  That doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t good enough, they just had to make room for another kind of tune.

 

Crazy Lixx  (Self-Titled)                                   
Frontiers Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

Wow! this sounds so fresh and new, that one wouldn’t think that “Crazy Lixx’s latest is actually the group’s fourth excursion!

From the opening blasts of “Hell Raising Women” we are hit with hard rock galore!  And it just keeps coming---big fat riffs, a huge Rock Voice and a driving bottom that just keeps driving us towards Rock Heaven!

This self-titled collection shows the Swedish quintet at the top of their powers.  All barriers are gone---this record must have been recorded with the adrenaline set to maximum!  Every song shines—every agarangement pops!  Danny Rexon’s singing is at a level I haven’t heard for a long time.  the playing is tight—some nice changes in every song and everything is loaded with huge choruses!

The twin guitars of Edo Liam and Andy Zata are red hot, and they both add meat to the vocals. And on every number!  That rhythm section-whew! can these two play!-Joel Cirera on drums and Jens Sjoholm on bass—never a lull in the bottom end!  There is so much energy on this “Crazy Lixx” album, you are going to have to press pause midway through just to catch your breath!

This is definitely a “Call To Action” from five fantastic Rockers!—an album worth its weight in platinum!!

   


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Non Prophet Society:  Dec. 12th  Easy Fix:  Dec. 13th   Zamboni Brothers:  Dec. 18th & Dec. 19th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:  Dec. 19th & 20th   Zamboni Brothers:  Dec. 26th & Dec. 27th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   The Rockies:  Dec. 12th   Devon Coyote:  Dec. 19th

Dream Café:   Mike Farris:  Dec. 12th & Dec. 13th   Taylor Cook Group:  Dec. 20th                                             (A Boxing Day Bash)—Poppa Dawg’s Blues Band:-Dec. 26th    Rann Berry’s Rhythum & Soul Revue:  Dec. 27th & 28th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Lake City Casino:  Sherman Doucette Band Blues duet:  Dec. 12th & 13th

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:  

Minstrel Café:  Blue City Trio: Dec. 12th & 13th   Fighting Orange:  Dec. 18th & Dec. 20th   The Rowdymen:  Dec. 23rd    Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Dec. 27th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)  Chuck Norris Band:  Dec. 12th  Papa Wheely:   Dec. 19th & 20th

The Green (Vernon):  The Young’Uns:  Dec. 26th & 27th

The Max Night Club (Vernon):  The Young’Uns:  Dec. 12th 

Whiski-jack’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Dec. 5th & 6th

Notable Concerts:

Prospera  Place:   Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015

Kal Tire Place (Vernon):  Blackjack Billy/Doc Walker/The Road Hammers:   Dec. 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th   

South Okanagan Events Centre:  Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



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Long Way Down

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the lead singer of “Three Lions”, and raved about his new solo record!  this week, I humbly give you the latest conversation I’ve had with this humble British Talent:

Bruce: When I received this assignment, Nigel, I must tell you I was simply amazed that a solo effort was coming our way from you, what with the Three Lions bursting on the scene and all; you must be just chalk full of music!

Nigel: Thanks very much! It’s a passion I have had for many years, my whole life revolves around music, playing, writing or listening.

Q: Please take us through the events that steered you to make this decision in releasing music on the Solo plateau…

A: This album was recorded before I was introduced to Vinny and Greg. I had been signed to Frontiers as a solo artist and then met the Lions and things have gone from there.

Q: Upon first listen, “Long Way Down” is different than the Three Lions release; although both run in similar musical rivers…are the songs on this record more personal?

A: A little I guess because these were the first songs I got to record, but I don’t really write from personal experience although that sometimes plays a part and gives me an idea to elaborate on. I have a vivid imagination when it comes to lyrics. There are obviously similarities to the Three Lions record but still quite different as the songs on Long Way Down were written with no collaboration with other musicians.

Q: Whom did you enlist to help on this?

A: I recorded the Vocals, Bass and Guitars.  Mario Percudani plays guitar on the record and Alessandro Mori plays drums. Ale (Del Vecchio) put the Keyboards down and also sang some BV’s. I’m very lucky to have had such great musicians and nice guys on the album.

Q: In my opinion your Talent absolutely shines here… Sort of what was promised on the group’s debut is fully realised here…So did you work with a little more freedom?

A: With Long Way Down and Three Lions, we were allowed to write the music we love, there was no agenda or instructions. Both albums are exactly how I wanted them to turn out and I’m very proud of them.

Q: What was it like working with Mr. Del Vecchio! He seems to be everywhere these days!

A: He’s a Legend! Not only is he a fantastic producer, vocalist, and keyboard player but he is one of the nicest guys in the world. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

Q: What are your hopes, Nigel, for “Long Way Down”?

A: I hope people like it, naturally. I think it has some great songs, great musicianship and I hope that the listener gets the feeling of passion and energy that was put into making it.

Q: I know I keep going back to the Three Lions, however, the group is so powerful and your debut on the scene the same; so now with just as powerful a solo debut, are you going out by yourself with live gigs, or would you incorporate some of this material in the Three Lions’ set?

A: Yes, I have a sold out live show to launch the album in December in my hometown of Bradford and am honoured to have been asked to play with Bailey at the Frontiers Rock Festival again in April next year. I hope to have some more live dates for next year also for both Bailey and Three Lions. I’m sure there will be some cross overs on the live shows. At my launch party I’m very pleased that Vinny and Greg, plus the Mancubs have agreed to join me for a couple of tunes and Vinny is playing guitar on the solo stuff too.

Q: I notice that there is another Bailey on this record, is this a family member?

A: Yes, that’s my brother Andy, he is part of the Bailey live line up and also the Three Lions. It’s great to have him on there and live our voices work so well together, he has an amazing voice.


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Papa Wheely:   Dec. 5th & 6th  Hank Stallion:  Dec. 11th    Non Prophet Society:  Dec. 12th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Wild Son:   Dec. 6th

Dream Café:   Black Umfolosi:   Dec. 5th   Jack Semple:   Dec. 6th   Black Umfolosi:   Dec. 8th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:  

Minstrel Café:  Poppa Dawg Blues Band:   Dec. 5th & 6th   The Kinga Heming Trio:  Dec. 9th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)  Hank Stallion:  Dec. 5th & 6th   Chuck Norris Band:  Dec. 12th  Papa Wheely:   Dec. 19th & 20th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Dec. 5th & 6th

Notable Concerts:      Cleland Community Theatre (Penticton):  Rann Berry’s The One Hit Wonders Show!! (Last show of 2014)  Dec. 6th @ 7:30pm

Prospera  Place:   Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015

Kal Tire Place (Vernon):  Blackjack Billy/Doc Walker/The Road Hammers:   Dec. 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th   

South Okanagan Events Centre:  Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 

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Unlikely Pairings

You may recall back in 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing the President of Frontiers Records, and we talked about his talent for putting musicians together that would otherwise not think of collaborating with each other.  Serafino Perugino has pursued this concept and the fruits of his labour is about to be unleashed to the world!

Below are three such “Unlikely Pairings”:

First-an excerpt from that very interview:…  

Bruce:  Your vision of certain Artists being put together and seeing what they come up with.  You have done so with Issa, and others, but now in 2013 your MasterStroke: the Lynch-Sweet Project!  Such a diverse group of Musical Masters, when did this thought come to you?

SP:  There has been often criticism about Frontiers patronizing “studio projects”,  though I think this has been mostly mis-interpreted or misunderstood by part of the press. When I try to put together musicians or bands (which is not something that I have been doing since yesterday, but probably dates back to the THE SIGN band project featuring Mark Mangold, Randy Jackson, Terry Brock, Billy Greer and Bobby Rondinelli in 2000) I always see this as an opportunity for the musicians to relaunch careers or to gain extra exposure if compared to what they had until that moment. We always try to be creative here and we always discuss about possibilities of cooperation between different musicians. I had the idea to work with Michael Sweet on a different musical environment compared to Stryper. He liked the concept and we started discussing who could be nice to have on board. George’s name came about and he liked the idea – so, that’s pretty much it!   

It would be interesting to know what you hear from this combination…what elements of these Artists do you imagine will be the most creative factors?

SP:  I think in the case of Lynch – Sweet that would be the amazing vocals and the guitar work. Add to this the solid drumming from Tichy and I guess we all know this is going to be good rock music, right?

Bruce: Serafino, what other unique combinations to you have in mind?

SP:  Several really. Just wait and see!

”Only To Rise” is such a meaningful title for this unlikely pairing! and as Michael Sweet has said:  “SWEET & LYNCH was born as the brainchild of Serafino Perugino, President of Frontiers Music”, recalls Sweet. “He asked me to basically sing on this record and then I suggested producing it and co-wrote the songs with George”, continues the singer.  Over a year in the making ‘Sweet & Lynch’ s “Only To Rise” is the finished result of this unique collaboration!  George Lynch, the iconic guitarist of “Dokken” and “Lynch Mob” and Michael Sweet, the vocalist and guitarist for “Stryper” went a couple of steps further with this project.  The pair  enlisted ex-Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy and bassist James Lomenzo of “White Lion”, “Black Label Society” and others—to round out “Sweet & Lynch”!  All are of legendary ‘stuff’, and all have a passion to puts this juggernaut out on the road!  “Only To Rise” displays each of these players influences from over the years…from “Journey” to” Van Halen” and everything in-between!  Inspired by the President of Frontiers, these four have put their heart and soul into this project…such that “Sweet & Lynch” may very well continue as a recording band for years to come!  “Only To Rise” is set to hit the streets in January 2015.

The Master-musician, Mat Sinner was also in the sights of Serafino of Frontiers.  Another unlikely pairing, Mat and vocalist Russell Allen from “Symphony X” and “Adrenaline Mob”  have come together to meld European flavoured ‘Power Metal’ with the more modern aggressive ‘Nu-Metal’ that is rising of late.  “Level 10” is the name of this musical force, and their first release will be called “Chapter 1”…with what we hope will be the first of many chapters from this unlikely pairing!  The multi talented Mat Sinner is no stranger to music lovers across the globe, a legendary bassist, song-writer and producer—Mat has put together the famous ‘Rock Meets Classic’ series of performances all across the Continent, with such musical lights as Alice Cooper, Dan McCaferty, and others—along with full symphonic orchestras plus of course his bands;  “Primal Fear” & “Sinner”, that features high-end musicians from all over the world.  Russell Allen is a sought after singer that does time with “Adrenaline Mob”  and most likely better known-“Symphony X”.  Both have put together a unique combination of musicians that include the legendary keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio, and guitarists Roland Grapow & Alex Beyrodt.  On drums and percussion is none other than Randy Black!  Six highly talented and accomplished musicians that will undoubtedly make a very big splash on the music scene, and not just in Europe but all over the planet!  “Level 10” could be considered a mega-project, as Ralf Scheepers, Amanda Somerville, and Magnus Karlsson have also contributed to “Chapter 1”!  Looking forward to the end of January for this to come out—will it change the face of Metal?—most likely!

Another unlikely pairing—but this time, complete with an unlikely Rock Opera!  Jorne Lande and Trond Holter have come together and written a Rock Opera that is of the highest degree.  “Swing Of Death” is the story of one Count Vlad the III—better known as Dracula!  A musical drama about the inner life and feelings of this infamous character.  Yes, a Rock Opera, but not one that will bore you—on the contrary, “Swing Of Death” is a fast paced, melodic affair—that does have some powerful dramatic moments—but coupled with diverse and melodic musical landscapes that will thrill each and every listener!

So, my musical friends…as 2014 is preparing to leave us, we can certainly look forward to a new and powerful year of music in 2015!  With the likes of these three unlikely pairings, 2015 may well become a renaissance year for Heavy/Melodic Metal!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Nov. 27th  Moni Funk: Nov. 28th  & 29th

Dream Café:   Justin Gibbery Trio:   Nov. 29th

Fernando’s Pub:  Autopilot:   Nov. 27th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  The Trews:  Nov. 28th Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Fleetwood Public House:  Linus:  Nov. 28th & 29th

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:  

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)  Colt 45:  Nov. 28th & 29th   Hank Stallion:  Dec. 5th & 6th   Chuck Norris Band:  Dec. 12th  Papa Wheely:   Dec. 19th & 20th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Dec. 5th & 6th

Notable Concerts:    

  Prospera  Place:   Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015

Kal Tire Place (Vernon):  Blackjack Billy/Doc Walker/The Road Hammers:   Dec. 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th   

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015

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Just The Music

This week finds me wrapping up some intense music assignments, for both Fireworks and Melodic Rock magazines.  All the music is, of course, top notch—but I have found a couple of outstanding groups that bear further mention.  The first is the San Francisco area group “T. Clemente Band”…fronted by guitarist extraordinaire Teddy Clemente.  His music is a combination of Hard Rock and Progressive—just a couple guide posts for us-and his skills on the guitar are amazing.  His new album is called “Lost In Time”, a huge production full of Rock Anthems that one would expect from a veteran group!  Teddy also features one of the best female vocalists emerging on the scene today!  Amanda Dieck belts out the rockers, and sings the slower tunes most regally.  “Lost In Time” is not Teddy’s first effort, he has a battery of original tunes that are worthy of your ears.  To get to know this caring, gifted musician visit his web site at:  www.tclemente.com   and discover for yourself this soon to be Rock Powerhouse!

Now, another group that I have fallen for, thanks to Fireworks magazine, is “Estate”.  “Estate” are brand new, and from Russia.  Billed as a Heavy Metal five piece, this group breaks new ground in their  interpretations  of Metal.  I would say that the five are classically trained musicians that have been heavily influenced by modern Neo-classical Artists as well as Russian Folk music.  They combine modern Hard rock with Russian folk and mystical stories from the past.  Heavy-yes, but also very melodic.  All five have bounded not only in music, but share similar outlooks on life, religion, history and sense of purpose.  All of this combined compels them to breathe fresh air in a somewhat constricted musical style.  Their debut, “Fantasia” is well worth seeking out.  I do not think they have North American distribution as of yet, so check them out at: www.estate-band.com and be prepared to hear something different!

 

Another group that caught my ear is “Black Fate”—again a Progressive Metal outfit out of Europe.  In fact they are from Greece and what better way to describe them and their music but with my Review of their latest release:

 

Black Fate  “Between Visions & Lies”
Ulterium Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

Although many of us may not have heard the music created by this group—they have a lot of history.  Harkening from Greece, “Black Fate” began back in 1990.  The group released a couple of demos, “Black Fate” and “A Piece Of Dream”, which found favourable reaction in their home country.  In fact these two recordings actually were critically acclaimed!  The group continued to press on, playing live and recording.  A major change in the line-up during the 2000’s saw the group finally releasing their debut full length album, “Uncover” and continued to make headway.  As 2007 approached, the group changed their line-up slightly and had a renewal of energy and commitment—and saw the release of “Deliverance Of Soul” in 2009.  A couple more adjustments and the group were starting to make some more headway, getting favourable response wherever they played.  The time came for this group of highly trained and inspired musicians to sit down and start to compose a new collection of heroic music…and they did!

Back in the studio, and determined to nail down a sound that would fully represent them, take them in a slightly different direction and give themselves some satisfaction, “Black Fate” are finally ready to release!  “Between Visions & Lies” is that very album.  A classically tinged Heavy Metal collection that rocks!

Full of technical expertise and flash, melodic and driving—we experience eleven molten passages that will amaze!  The group are also ready to amaze us with taking this album on the road.  2015 should see their collective efforts rise higher and louder.  “Black Fate” will be rewarded for all their hard work and determination.  “Between Visions & Lies” will make sure of that!

Bruce E.J. Atkinson    


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band: Nov. 21st   Rann Berry:  Nov. 22nd   Hank Stallion:  Nov. 27th  Moni Funk: Nov. 28th  & 29th

Dream Café:   Justin Gibbery Trio:   Nov. 29th

Fernando’s Pub:  Autopilot:   Nov. 27th

Neighbours Pub:  My Kind Of Karma:  Nov. 22nd

Turtle Bay Pub:  Blues Night-Poppa Dawg:  Nov. 21st

Longhorn Pub (Vernon):  Sunday Night Jam—all musicians welcome!—Hosted by-Rick Zip & The Wheelhouse Band:  

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)  Radio Lifeline:  Nov. 21st & Nov. 22nd   Colt 45:  Nov. 28th & 29th   Hank Stallion:  Dec. 5th & 6th   Chuck Norris Band:  Dec. 12th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Dec. 5th & 6th

Notable Concerts:    

  Prospera  Place:   Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015

Kal Tire Place (Vernon):  Blackjack Billy/Doc Walker/The Road Hammers:   Dec. 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:   Black Label Society:  Dec. 30th  

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:   November 27th 



Read more Under the Lights articles

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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