April , 1992
By Cheryl Harris
Turnin’ The Airwaves Into True Believers
One never knows what to expect from the weather. In some parts of the country it could be eighty degrees, sunny, and you'd likely find the beaches in Florida and Texas filled with Spring Break revelers.
But on this particular day, the members of LILLIAN AXE were nowhere close to those warm sunny beaches. Instead, they were stuck in Boston. At 2:00 p.m. on Friday — with a long bus ride ahead of them — and a show to perform that night in Buffalo.
All of which brings us to the crux of the matter. It seems Boston was — at this particular time — practically shut down by a snowstorm, although guitarist Steve Blaze had a more adept way to describe the current situation.
"Blizzard! Plain and simple. They're expecting six or eight inches — but it's really wet snow — melting as soon as it hits the ground," he said.
All the better to make snowballs with?
"Ummm . well, yeah," was his reply. "I guess it's really warm in Dallas?"
Wait a minute. Who's conducting this interview? I didn't have the heart to tell him it was sunny and seventy-five degrees at home. And speaking of home, when it comes to LILLIAN AXE — home is, most assuredly — in Texas.
But they're not all Texans, although vocalist Ron Taylor, guitaris, ikeyboardist John Ster, and bassist Darrin DeLatte all refer to Dallas as home. Drummer Gene Barnett is a non-Texan. And Steve Blaze, the band's lead guitarist and primary writer (both musically and lyrically) hails from New Orleans. Currently on the club circuit supporting their latest, Poetic! Justice, the guys are elated over the response they've received so far.
"Even though our first single, "True Believer," did so well on !' radio, we're still amazed when we go in to places we've never played before, and play to a packed house. The crowds are great, but the best part about it is they know every song word-for-word! " Blaze exclaimed.
Yet when it comes to record label support — well — it's no secret to the legion of LILLIAN t: AXE fans that their previous label treated the band with not only cool indifference, but inadequate promotion and limited record distribution as well.
But enough about that negative aspect. Instead, let's talk about the enthusiasm being shown LILLIAN AXE by their new label, Grand Slamm/I.R.S.
"We feel good about it, but we also feel we deserve it," Blaze asserted. "This is the way a record company is supposed to work a record. Face it, a lot of the major labels can learn from the way Grand Slann/I.R.S. are handling LILLIAN AXE right now. I'm happy — but at the same point I'm feeling like, hey, they should be doing this. Everybody's working toward the same goal and putting out the effort that's needed."
And even though "True Believer" is destined to maintain a high ranking on the charts for some time yet, don't expect a supporting video. Why?
"The original plan from the start was not to do a video for the firstcut," Blaze explained. "We wanted to let the song work. We went early with "True Believer," and took it to radio a month before it was released. Now it's been out for three months, which is a long run for a single. The plan was to establish a strong base - I mean, we just started touring a couple of weeks ago — and we've sold close to 100,000 albums already, with no video and not even a tour, jlust off the single!"
"And that sets us up really nice," Blaze continued, "for spending money for filming the second and third cuts. We've laid this base down, now we can come in with all guns blazing! "
LILLIAN AXE's remake of the classic "No Matter What" will be the next single off Poetic Justice, and the band just finished filming the video in New Jersey.
Surprisingly, when it comes to musical preferences, Blaze feels he draws his inspiration by listening to things other than hard rock.
"I've always been into classical and flamenco music, " he remarked, "but I've recently started to listen to New Age piano sounds, like George Winston. And I like renaissance music! It's really atmospheric and melodic. Face it, my life is so stressed-out and high-strung, that after a show I just need to pop a tape in and relax!"
"As far as the hard rock category goes, I think I've pretty much heard it all — over and over again," he laughed. "That's where I think we're coming in with a unique approach toward the music. It can be melodic, it can Ix textured, and with different acoustic instruments used. And it can also be exciting at the same time without having to be repetitious and cliche."
Looking to the months ahead, the current tour will take them through June. But don't be surprised when you hear that LILLIAN AXE will be opening for a major act during the summer months. "It's not firm yet — so we can't mention names."
In the meantime, mark your calendar for April 15. Without a doubt, you'll have finished work on your taxes the day before (yeah. right!) so head on out to Dallas City Limits to catch the LILLIAN AXE show, which the rest of the nation will hear via the night's Z-Rock broadcast. And don't forget to pick up a copy of Poetic Justice at your record store! Opening the show that night will be SKIN DEEP, the Plano high school group who are generating a lot of local and national interest since winning the Rockin' The Nation For Education contest recently.