Rx27 interview

I’ve received an interesting e-mail from Manager of Rx27 – art punk rock band from Los Angeles which felt determined to share with me their music ideas. I listen to punk rock really seldom so honestly I don’t feel confident enough to assess this music. Instead, I decided to give Rx27 few questions to understand better their point of view. Check out their newest video clip and read what Thad, Maxine and Joie have to say about Rx27 🙂

Official Rx27 website: http://www.therx27.com/

source: BlankTV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soyl2hCL6rw

How did you create Rx27?

Thad: Rx27 has evolved from a need to express our point of view and desire to craft songs that have the ability to penetrate the veil of mediocrity that permeates what is considered popular music.

Maxine: I actually just met Joie and Thad in these last couple months, and had the honor of joining them while we worked on music at Paul Roessler’s Kitten Robot Studio.

Joie: A friend introduced me to Thad and we had a mutual passion for great songs with to die for lyrics. Music that makes you feel something that you’ve never felt before. I found a kindred spirit in Thad. We had the same desire for writing songs. So we just wrote a bunch of songs, got some guys together and really made some beautiful art. Then finding Maxine was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I always heard a female voice in my head that would sing along with me and when she walked into our lives I knew I found that voice! I haven’t had these caliber level musicians in a long time! I’ve been writing songs ever since but now to have a unified band that has the same belief is like heaven on earth, not to be over dramatic.

What are your biggest music inspirations?

Maxine: The artists and bands that never back down from telling it like it is, straight up, direct, in your face. I have also fallen in love with those gifted in using their poetry and spoken word, and inspire me to use that in their music..using powerful imagery to transport me to them instantly.

Thad: Anyone or anything that speaks truth and can somehow manage to make it stick in your head.

Joie: I guess it would be my feeling. They kind of dictate how I see the world and if I’m in a good mood I see the world is a great place if I see the world as a shitty place then I’m having shitty feelings. Feeling lyric is better than thinking about a lyric and if I can get my mind in my heart on the same page then I know I can get a good lyric going. I try not to have musical influences but I do like the sounds of 77 punk rock like the clash the damned the dead boys and the new wave bands or goth bands of the 80s. I really like Stiv Bators. He was pretty iconic but got overshadowed by Joey Ramone and Johnny rotten.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 74289634_412141053031712_5192053060666392576_n.jpg

What are your lyrics about?

Thad: Mostly pain and loss…but also sex.

Maxine: Reality, my truth, the darkness, the light, my experiences (good and bad), people in my life, relationships.

Joie: The world around me. The seen and unseen. The believed and unbelievable. Love sex death and what happens when you truly don’t give a damn what anyone says. Songs with purpose and the greater good. And knowing we live in a world of opinions that come at you like facts. Just be smart and don’t let anyone get you down.

What are your dreams and plans regarding concerts?

Maxine: Performing in huge arenas and stadiums!!! Huge dream! I see it happening, can’t say when, but it will.

Joie: Everywhere anywhere that’s will have us. Europe is fun. Places where I have never been. And to play like it’s the last time ever on stage. And incorporate the audience. Be it a club, theatre or stadium. Reach everyone and make them feel something different.

Thad: We would truly love leave our respective lives behind and be able to share our music with a different audience every night for as long as possible. We are moving everything in that direction.

You have recorded fantastic EP. Really ass kicking. What about full album?

Maxine: That will probably be happening in the future sometime. Right now I think we as a band want to give everyone a taste of Rx27 and give them more gradually… as opposed to dumping everything all at once. People get bored very easily and want to look for the next big thing 24/7.

Thad: To be honest I feel that the attention span of both artists and listeners has shortened to the point where asking someone to actually listen to 12 or more songs is self indulgent.  At least for now we intend to release singles and small collections.  This keeps fresh material emerging all the time. 

Joie: We have a lot of songs written, probably two records full of really great songs. We are always writing . That’s what writers do. but in this day a full record would be useless. people don’t digest them or take time to discover what is really going on underneath the song. It is nice to see people really focusing on the lyrics. We can thank the rap game for that. But still with all the music at our fingertips it’s about playlists. It’s a singles world now so we’re going to release a single every month or two with a video.

How is it to live in Los Angeles?

Joie: It’s across between the 7th layer of hell and paradise. It’s pretty hard. But the challenge is to be your own person. Sick city explains it all. I could leave and give you all the reasons but I still stay. The women and music sometimes are great. Opportunity and the weather is amazing. If you are a loner like me you can disappear for weeks. I have done that. It’s also sad seeing wealth and poverty 2 feet away and people are numb to it. I like the way the eagles and Guns N’ Roses and the dead Kennedy’s talk about California. That what I wanted to do with the lyrics of sick city. I did most of my life in the east village. That was a womderful place but like everything else in this world it dies. LA is to big and wierd to die. It may burn to the ground but it will never die. It will always be a mystical place where dreams live or die.

Thad: It’s brutal. It’s survival by will. Here it feels like everything is designed to destroy you. The only things that keep me from sinking are the connections to a few true souls, music, and the belief that we can create a better reality.

Maxine: Nearly impossible, rough, rushed, congested, dirty, dreamy, pretty, intriguing, classic, historic… mind boggling.

Thank you for this interview. Would you like to add something to your fans?

Thad: I’ll leave that to my esteemed friends.

Maxine: A sincere thank you for supporting what we do and joining the ride.

Joie: Thank you for having us and for your readers. Fans is a strange word. The people who like what we do probably have a lot in common with us as people. There’s no difference there’s no line dividing what is a fan and what is an artist. In my opinion life is a work of art. Treat it as such. But I do wanna say to musicians or artist just who find some interesting riff to play and then put some half assed lyrics down and call it a song. Please stop. Music and Lyrics need to be felt like a an old friend or like a destructive enemy. I’m a slave to the song. It’s a process not an assembly line. Even though people make a living assembling songs. Doesn’t make it right. There are so many bands so many songs so many ways to reach people. Give them your best. Give the song time to mature. If you are a writer find your voice. Don’t copy or mimic. Be a slave to song then be a master.

written by: Sam O’Black, Thad, Maxine, Joie

Andy Sneap interview

photo credit Rachel Lange

It’s an honor for me to chat with Andy Sneap. Despite his huge impact on sound of heavy & thrash metal music, he turned out to be friendly, unpretentious and sincere. Andy smiles from ear to ear with special joy because he loves his job as:

– a renowned music producer (among others: Accept, Blaze, Saxon, Opeth, Megadeth, Nevermore, Testament, Spiritual Beggars, Masterplan, Cathedral, Machine Head)

– a guitarist (Sabbat, Hell, The Scintilla Project, now Judas Priest).

In this period of time, Andy is performing on stage with my favourite band Judas Priest, which I love since I’ve heard “Angel of Retribution” (2005) as a kid.

Their music have changed mine (and many others) entire life, actually it is a first pure heavy metal act ever. Judas Priest stayed active through the decades, released 18 varied and always innovative albums, played countless awesome concerts and inspired not only heavy metal but also other genres.

By the way it’s worth to remember that band Exciter took its name from opening Judas Priest’s song from “Stained Class” album (1978) and then created extreme metal.

My interview with Exciter (sorry, I was allowed to give only this kind of questions which Exciter doesn’t receive from everybody else):

https://musictivity.org/2019/09/20/exciter-interview-tour/

Nowadays, Judas Priest is still powerful. Their newest longplay “Firepower” (2018) is in my opinion the best since “Painkiller” (1990). They are giving spectacular shows and playing live both newest killers, evergreens and also some oldest songs for the first time since many many years.

Sadly, original and beloved Judas Priest’s guitarist Glenn Tipton is not able to play anymore due to Parkinson disease. No surrender, Glenn! We, fans, support you all around the world. We are always ready to make our best to help you whenever and with whatever you need to feel better. Your name is carved in gold of music history and all next generations will remember about your talent and legacy.

Andy Sneap is playing guitar during current Judas Priest concerts. I especially flew to Europe for holidays in August 2017 because I wanted to see Judas Priest in Dortmund, Germany. I live in Iceland so I took a plane first to Copenhagen, made use of this great opportunity to sightseeing the capital of Denmark, after three days moved with bus and ferry to Hamburg, stayed over there next few days and finally commuted with train to Dortmund 😛

My articles about these two cities:

Copenhagen https://musictivity.org/2019/08/30/opeth-the-vintage-caravan-copenhagen-17-11-2019/

Free Hanseatic City of Hamborg https://musictivity.org/2019/08/13/jessy-martens/

I remember full Westfalenhalle, enthusiastic public, out of this world performance. Andy Sneap looked excited, smiled all the time, played perfectly and apparently had a pleasure to observe public from scene while staying next to Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis. Honestly, I thought before this concert that Andy Sneap is just a special guest whose role is to support Richie Faulkner on the second guitar 😉 But my personal opinion after the show is that Andy Sneap was a positive and important figure who adds a value to the group. I enjoyed to see him as a part of Judas Priest.

I hope that Judas Priest will make soon very awaited tour in Europe together with the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. I wish Andy Sneap to enjoy each moment of this tour!

I asked Andy for the interview for Musictivity. I was not allowed to give him questions about current situation in Judas Priest (he is not an official member of the band) but in this case it is an amazing opportunity to get know about many other cool things which happen in his life.

If somebody ever thought what’s up with Andy Sneap while he is playing on scene with Judas Priest then here are his today’s opinions, dreams, memories, inspirations, remarks and hopes.

photo credit Andrew McGovern

Hello. How are you in 2019? What are you doing in 2019?

I’m ok thank you. 2019? This year has been a pretty hectic one, as was last year. [Judas] Priest were meant to be out Feb/March with Ozzy which obviously got postponed so I ended up mixing the new Killswitch Engage record. We then did the 3rd leg of the Firepower tour in the US and I’ve just finished mixing the new Testament record. So I’ve been jumping between mixing and playing quite a lot, which is a bit of a challenge, the studio seems very quiet to come back to after 18 months on the road… Just a different pace, you sit there feeling shellshocked and jet lagged thinking what just happened…

Wow, so Testament is going to release new studio album in January 2020 and you are mixing this longplay. I afraid that whatever Testament will release, it will never beat “The Legacy” \m/ But perhaps thats not their intention?

I don’t think you can really compare an album a band does now to something they did 30 years ago. People change, influences change, line ups change, technology changes etc. We always hold those albums close to our hearts because of where we are at in life too. [Iron] Maiden are a good example. People have different favourite albums depending on when they discovered them and actually its the same with Priest… Any band with a long career and a run of quality albums really.

How would you compare upcoming Testament album with their other longplays?

I think Testament have spent a bit more time writing on this record. It’s always hard to tell an opinion about music at this stage. I’ve heard the songs so many times that I don’t have a fan point of view at the moment. I need to distance myself from a record and revisit it in 6 months time.

Sure, I get it. I’m impressed that you have worked with so many excellent metal bands both as a guitarist, songwriter and as a record producer. What do you love / appreciate mostly in metal music? Which values are the most important for you when you decide to cooperate with musicians?

I have to hear something that appeals to me, whether its melody or the heaviness or the guitar playing… something. It was the energy in rock and metal that won me over as a kid. Once I got into music I never looked back and it’s still the same. Playing and feeling that energy of everything locking together is amazing.

Could I ask you one question about band which is less known? Are you still an active member of The Scintilla Project with Biff Byford (Saxon) on vocal? Or was it only a side fun which finished in moment when album “The Hybrid” was finally released in 2014?

No, not at all. That was an album Biff got me involved in just to mix and I got roped into it a bit more than I expected. I didn’t mind but I wouldn’t take any credit. I was just helping out playing some of the parts that were already written and needed tracking properly.

As far as I know, it was a soundtrack to sci-fi thriller “Scintilla” / “The Hybrid” by Billy O’Brien. Did you watch this film?

I watched the film, thought it was ok, obviously done on a budget. What’s interesting, I was working on this album with Biff where he hadn’t written the vocal patterns so he was out of his comfort zone a little. I thought it pushed him a bit, but he did well.

Did you enjoy working with Byff Byford? What is he like as a person?

He swears a lot, and I mean A LOT. Fooking this and fooking that. You definitely know when Biffs is in the room. I like Biff, I’d call him a good friend these days. He has his stubborn moments but then I guess we all do. He’s very driven, quite brash, but there is a side to him I’ve seen with his kids and people around him that is actually very genuine. He’s a good guy and can still belt out a tune so fair play.

David Halliday was another influential artist in your surrounding. Is it true that he was your first teacher? What good could you tell about him?

Dave was someone I really looked up to growing up. He was a great inspiration as a guitar player and just as a band leader and person. I often wonder what he would be doing now. I met him when I was 12 and he had a very good temperament and patience while teaching me how to play. I was so absorbed in playing guitar and Hell (his band) seemed so professional back then. Certainly the most pro band out of the local scene by a long shot. So he made a big impression on me on how to do things, music, bands and positivity in general.

Who inspire you nowadays? Do you take inspiration from different masterpieces not only related to great music?

I just do my thing. I’m always trying to learn. I think you can learn from every situation you find yourself in. Its always fun talking with other producers, we all talk about gear and little tricks etc, so picking up techniques from other guys in the know is always interesting. It’s surprising after 25 years how much knowledge you have gained but don’t realise that until you talk to a class full of students who are just starting out. Then it becomes apparent.

From which of written by you, songs / compositions / fragments are you most proud of?

I think the success of the first Sabbat album was cool and putting the first Hell album together was an achievement. Obviously I didn’t write any of that. I find it strange that Sabbat album is held in such high regard knowing that we we’re just kids trying to find our way musically but I guess that’s part of the freshness of it at the time. I have good memories of recording that one. I also find it amazing: we were only 15 – 18 when we started writing that stuff.

Congratulations then. Could you tell me please what do you think about the idea to combine music tours with sightseeing opportunities? Even if musicians don’t have much spare time during tour, they still can check out cultural heritage of visited place (at least to google it). It can be inspiring, fun and add unique dimension to entire tour experience.

We try and get out and about when possible, probably not as much as you’d think but if we are in a main city and there’s something to see we will try and organise something. I’ve had a few near death experiences with Ian Hill in hire cars recently, but it’s alway good to get out the hotel room. It’s easy to waste a day looking at four walls with a guitar and cold pizza (haha). It is a luxury being able to travel like we do so it’s best to try and see a few things. Guitar shopping is always high on the list, especially in Japan.

What is your favorite cultural activity during traveling?

We don’t get quite that much spare time, it’s not like a holiday. To be honest we keep ourselves to ourselves a lot of the time when it’s a non show day so it can be quite boring and lonely walking around a town on your own. If we travel after the show, it means we are getting into the hotel at around 2am, so you tend to sleep in a bit after that and before you know it the day off has disappeared.

Thank you for this insight. As far as I know (google told me haha) you come from Derbyshire, UK. It’s a county in the East Midlands, south east of Manchester, with population around 1 million people. Is it a post industrial area with forest (Peak District National Park) or do you have much better opinion about Derbyshire?

Google is wonderful, isn’t it! Derbyshire is nice. I grew up here, moved to Nottingham in my early 20s and then worked in the US a lot and ended up putting the studio on the farm where I am now from the early 2000’s. There’s about 15 acres to the farm and a big electric gate. I’m dug in waiting for the zombie apocalypse. It’s like the UK version of Waco, I’ve got all my backline set up and no ones getting in without an invite (haha).

(haha) What are your plans and desires for 2020?

I’m chatting to a couple of well know bands about producing whether we can make it happen with Priests touring schedule. I am mixing Saxon in March and it looks like Priest is now starting in May but things are still being penciled in at the moment.

I didn’t get a permission to ask you about Judas Priest’s plans so one more question about their older longplay. “Stained Class” is my favourite Judas Priest album. How do you perceive the sound of this particular longplay “Stained Class”?

It’s one of my favourites too. For me this is the classic line up and the band were really finding their feet. It really is such a killer record. I think the production is pretty honest for the time, very analogue and almost session like… not over done. I think it compliments the songs for the time.

Thank you very much for the interview, Andy Sneap. 🙂

authors: Sam O’Black and Andy Sneap

photo credit: Rachel Lange

photo credit: Andrew McGovern

Exciter interview + tour

I decided to prepare something special for Musictivity readers when I noticed that the first band in the world which have ever played speed metal announced European tour in November and December 2019.

British Judas Priest have created heavy metal but Canadian Exciter moved this music on entirely new level 40 years ago. It was raw, aggressive, wild, violent and fierce.

Nowadays Exciter is considered as a pioneer of thrash metal. They showed on the scene how to be extreme before Metallika, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth defined thrash metal. I guess that Canadian bands have usually harder way to the top than US bands so we can appreciate that Exciter still exists in 2019 and is full of energy to give us the best show.

Current Exciter line-up:

  • Allan Johnson, bass, Exciter 1980-1988, from 2014; also: ex-Reverend, ex-Beehler, ex-Jet Black
  • Dan Beehler, drums, vocals, Exciter 1980-1988, 1992-1993, from 2014; also: ex-Thrasher, ex-Beehler, ex-Jet Black, ex-Kiljoy
  • Daniel Dekay, guitars, Exciter from 2018; also: Aggressor, ex-Midnight Malice, Diemonds, ex-Shotgun Cure

source: Metal Archives https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Exciter/1103

Asomvel is a special guest on Exciter European Tour. They come from England, play heavy metal since 1993 and released 3 studio albums: “Kamikaze” (2009), “Knuckle Duster” (2013) and “World Shaker” (2019). What I find common both for Exciter and Asomvel is that they play straight to the point. They know how to keep listener’s attention on their music because each moment is meaningful and energetic. Especially Motorhead’s fans will love Asomvel!

Below you can remind yourself entire “Heavy Metal Maniac”, watch new official Asomvel videoclip, check tour dates and read the interview with Exciter’s bassist Allan Johnson.

source: The Classic Heavy Metal Vault https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVgHY9v7ubs&t=1573s

source: Asomvel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Vwv_ce2tY

02.11.2019 Tokyo, Japan

27.11.2019 Zaragoza, Spain

29.11.2019 London, UK

30.11.2019 Hagen, Germany

01.12.2019 Mannheim, Germany

03.12.2019 Rome, Italy

04.12.2019 Paderno Dugnano, Italy

05.12.2019 Winterthur, Switzerland

06.12.2019 Tilburg, Netherlands

07.12.2019 Kuurne, Belgium

08.12.2019 Billstedt, Germany

Hi \m/ Vocalist and drummer Exciter Dan Beehler sent recently a personal message for all European fans: “Maniacs – get ready for some oldschool punishment as we bring the EXCITER machine pounding through Europe – see you at the front, long live the loud!”. This massage pounded my smartphone. It was almost like Rob Halford’s kick. Rob punished a fan in Chicago (Illinois), 25th May 2019, kicking out a private smartphone from his hands because the guy distracted Rob with too strong flash in the camera. Haha! What kind of punishment do you prepare for European fans and for what a crime? Or maybe Exciter’s concert is a sport?

Allan Johnson: Well maybe punishment is the wrong word to use haha. It’s going to be loud and fierce – that’s the only way we know how to deliver. As for the cell phone thing, during one of our last shows I had two guys standing right in front of (me maybe five feet away) and they videotaped the entire time with their cell phones. Too bad that they missed the show by looking through their phones the whole time. At some point I thought they would stop but they didn’t. It kind of spoils the show for me because you know if you make a mistake it’s going to show up on Youtube the next day. I let people do it though. Otherwise if you get mad at them, you end up looking like a jerk and you lose a few fans.

It seems that you will perform pure metal for the first time since 1986 in England, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. How good contact do you keep with fans from these countries?

Allan Johnson: There are a few fans that like to contact me on Facebook, and that’s cool. I try to reply to everyone that messages me, sometimes it’s difficult to get back to everyone because there are so many messages. There’s also the EXCITER Facebook page which people message us on and it’s me and Dekay that answer over there because Dan is not on Facebook. It’s great to have social media now to be able to communicate with the fans.

What a masterpiece coming from Belgium, Switzerland or Netherlands would you call the most impressive for you (of course it can be music or something not related to music at all)?

Allan Johnson: I don’t know about anything coming from these countries except the beauty of the countries themselves. Whenever we’re in Europe and we travel on land I just really enjoy seeing the countryside and even some of the cities are beautiful too.

Everybody knows that Exciter created speed metal. However I can hear doom metal in “Power And Domination” (“Death Machine”, 2010). There is something about bondage castle in the lyrics on the beginning of this composition. Why bondage castle?

Allan Johnson: We did create speed metal which was then named Thrash metal. We were one of the first bands to do the Death metal vocal style, mainly in the choruses and backing vocals really though, Dan used to overdub some really low vocals but they were mostly lost in the mix and did not become as prominent as we intended. We had nothing to do with the Death Machine album, we didn’t write it or play on it, that were all John’s songs and the lyrics were terrible. Most of the time they don’t even make any sense. Bondage is not something that Dan and I would write about.

Popular proverb states that all roads lead to Rome. So then we have a traffic. And you will play in Traffic Club on 03.12.2019. Two days before in Germany, one day later in another Italiano big city, Milan. Don’t you need more time to immerse yourself in Rome’s atmosphere?

Allan Johnson: We often wish that we could get to see more of the places we travel to but it’s never a standard option. We fly in a day or two before the show, do the show and leave the next day. That’s typical. When we played the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise last year my wife came with me and we booked some extra days to hang out in Florida. It was like a mini vacation for us and it was great. But unfortunately we don’t do it very often. 

I can understand that your wild performance will be so intense that you will actually make the best use of dynamic opportunities available in Rome. That’s amazing because who else is able to experience Rome in one evening? Spartacus could feel jealous!

Allan Johnson: Our performance never changes, we always give it our best. Sometimes you have an off night, or there’s certain things that go wrong, equipment malfunctions or the monitors don’t work right and you can’t hear yourself or what’s going on. You can’t let the audience down though. I’m hoping that this audience takes it all in and enjoys it to the max. But yeah, we only get a bit of time in any place we go to so we have to make the best of it.

Your music is full of aggression but I need to admit that Exciter is likeable. Thank you very much for the interview \m/

Allan Johnson: Thanks, it is aggressive, it’s not metal if it isn’t, and the new music we’re coming out with is the same and better in some ways. We’ve never been comfortable, we’ve always had to fight for everything, nothing ever came easy for us and it still doesn’t in many ways. That comes out in the music, the aggression, the anger, the edge. I think Dan hits the drums even harder than ever, and with the addition of Daniel Dekay who is a wild guitarist on stage we’re better than ever before.

author: Sam O’Black