Rocklahoma was fantastic. It was actually better than we thought it was going to be. We got added in at the last minute so we didnít really have the opportunity for them to advertise us being on it as much as we would have liked. We went on at seven oíclock so it was still daylight. It was very hot and people were just starting to come in. The response was unbelievable. It was a great, great response. The head promoter of the whole thing wants us to come next year. They were very happy. It just went really, really well. We played well and it was a good set and everybody we talked to was overwhelmed by it. It wound up being great.
For the first annual Rocklahoma, that sounds pretty damn good.
Yeah, no doubt. For the one night we were there it seemed to be set up really nice.
Thatís good. It should definitely be a success.
Yeah, I think the next three nights and the weekend with more people coming in, itís going to wind up being very good. If itís financially successful for them, hopefully theyíre going to continue to do it every year.
I definitely hope so. I hated having to miss out on it this year but hopefully Iíll make it next year. We havenít spoken in five years.
A lot of shit has happened with Lillian Axe over the past five years so why donít you run me up to speed? I guess Ron isnít with you guys anymore.
No, we went to Germany and played the Bang Your Head Festival in 2004 and at that time he announced that he just wasnít prepared to continue on. We were halfway through recording a new record and he just didnít want to go out and get back into it again anymore. He wanted to do other things with his life personally and musically. I had it seen it coming for a couple of years because now things are getting ready to go into full tilt. Weíre going to be busy, busy, busy. Already Iím doing so many interviews I canít even remember to do half of them. Itís crazy and the response has been really good. Weíre going out on tour in a few weeks and weíve just got a very busy year or year and a half planned. He wanted to step aside I guess. He was just wanting to start a new chapter in his life. It was very amicable. No problems. We were fortunate to find this new singer.
Thatís cool. Iím glad everything ended well. What else have you guys been up to in the past five years?
We put the live album out in 2002. For the last five years weíve been recording the new record. Then a year ago when we finally finished it, we were preparing to start shopping it, and then my publicist Chip contacted me and said that he had the perfect label for us. It was a relatively new label with major label distribution and a great team. He thought it would be the perfect home for us so he got in touch with me and I sent him a copy of the record and he loved it. We had contracts out within a couple of weeks. Thatís what weíve been working on ever since non-stop. My other band is recording a new record.
Yeah, and on a personal level that hurricane hit us and changed life for a few months after that.
For some people itís been several years.
Thatís true. I think itís one of those things where the effects will be around for the rest of our lives. One way or the other.
Yeah, because New Orleans will never be the same.
No, youíre right. I had just moved to Mandeville and bought a new house three months before the hurricane hit. When it hit, I had a tree fall through my roof, my fences were knocked down, broken glass. Just a lot of exterior damage. My mom and one of my sisters completely lost their house. And all the other destruction that went on. Just the buildings and the neighborhoods and just the way that the whole state functioned. And not just Louisiana. Mississippi and other areas as well. It was crazy but just the whole thing changed peopleís lives spiritually and just in the way that we run the course of our lives. Just how we value things. That all changed a lot too as well.
I can imagine it did. Iím glad that you got through it okay. I was definitely thinking about all the people in the music world that lived down that way.
Yeah, we almost lost the record. The room where the masters were, my engineer fortunately moved everything out before the hurricane hit because that room got flooded. We were lucky there.
Thatís why it took four years to work on that.
Exactly. We had our little scary time there but it all made us stronger.
What all has been going on with Near Life Experience?
The other guitar player wound up having to move to Belgium temporarily because his wife works for a big oil company. He had to relocate. My brother-in-law Bob Bearden who was the original guitar player had been sitting in and doing shows for us. We just played with Ratt at House Of Blues last week so he sits in until Richard our other guitar player is coming back to the States permanently at the end of the year. In the meantime weíve been writing and started recording a new Near Life Experience record. Weíve done a few shows here and there but the important thing is more than doing shows, it is to get a new record out so we can shop and find a label. Iíve been doing so much Lillian stuff, itís taking up so much time. Between those two things and all the other craziness going on, Iím doing a movie at the end of the year too as well.
Oh, really? What kind of movie?
Itís a vampire movie.
Oh, cool. Are you going to be a vampire?
Yeah, I have the lead role. We were supposed to start filming the weekend of the hurricane. When that hit, it totally just obliterated everything. We lost our funding. Half the cast and crew moved. Now we have a new director and they are working on getting the funding together so we can get back to filming in New Orleans because weíve spent about a year on pre-production. On getting everything ready. It just got completely sidetracked when the hurricane hit and now weíre trying to get it back together and hopefully start filming at the end of the year.
I can see you as a vampire.
Thatís what they said.
I can definitely see that.
Yeah, I had a lot of practice on my neck biting.
Make sure you practice that well and be careful of who you bite. You donít want to contract AIDs. Thatís something vampires have to worry about these days.
That is very true. We have to be picky about our victims.
Thatís right. Are you still working with Angel?
Yeah, Iím still playing with Angel also. Thatís a slow moving process. Thatís the one musical project that Iím involved in that I donít call the shots on. Itís pretty much Frank DiMino the singerís band. Heís in the process right now of, weíve had several labels that have wanted to sign the band to do a new record. He and I have written a bunch of new songs and Iím basically waiting on him to get his label stuff together. Iíve got so much going on with my other bands. Lillian Axe starts a U.S. tour September 4th so weíre going to be really, really busy for a while.
You sound like youíre incredibly busy anyway.
Yeah, nonstop. I started my own company too a year ago. I own my own commercial collection agency also so Iím an entrepreneur.
Uh oh, look out.
Running a company and touring. Playing music. Recording albums. I play in a basketball league in New Orleans. I take kung fu. Constantly traveling and moving. My girlfriend lives five hours away from where I live so when I see her itís a 10 hour trip there and back. Itís nonstop.
Steve leads a crazy life.
When the hurricane hit and everything went into slow motion, it was driving me crazy because Iíd get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night. I seem to function better like that when I donít have a lot of free time even though I bitch and complain about wanting free time. When I get it, I donít know how to relax. Iíve got to find something. There is always something for me to do.
You were performing the national anthem back in June.
Yeah, I did the national anthem for the New Orleans VooDoo which is the New Orleans arena football team. You can see it on You Tube. They called and asked if I would do it and Iíve got to be honest with you. Iíve been touring and playing in front of a lot of people for many years and I never get nervous. I was nervous for two weeks about the national anthem.
Did you sing it?
No, I just played it on guitar.
That national anthem is very difficult for people to sing and I think Iíve only heard one person that could pull it off.
Itís difficult basically all the way around. Itís such a passionate piece and so well known, you miss one note and people are all over you. Playing it on guitar you have to try to come up with a version that people can relate to so I did it in my own style. It was very intense. I drew on a lot of my signature fast riffs and at the end of it when it crescendos, the crowd started going crazy and clapping and screaming. There was a good feeling in that. It went over real well.
So you pulled it off.
Pulled it off. Now theyíre talking about me doing it for one of the Saintsí games.
Thatíll be cool.
Yeah, that would be great if I got the opportunity to do that.
Indeed because everybody knows about the New Orleans Saints.
Absolutely. I was in front of probably about 10,000 or 12,00 people. In front of the Saintsí it would be about 80,000. It would be good.
You guys didnít really release anything in the past five years after the live album.
No, nothing. This is the first studio record since Psychoschizophrenia. The first album since the live album.
Tell me a little bit about Waters Rising. Iím guessing that title came from the flooding.
No, thatís a misconception that everybody has. It was written about five or six years ago. It has nothing at all to do with the flood. The only even remote correlation on the album is that we have a website mentioned where people can donate money or goods to help the relief of the city. We have that on the liner notes. But Waters Rising pretty much represents the inner human boiling point and the fact that day to day, thereís probably a direct result of my life getting more and more hectic, but the older we get everyday it seems the tougher life gets. Itís harder and harder everyday just to function properly. You have put up with so much more. Technology is advancing. The cost of living is getting higher. Things are not as simple as they were in prior years. The Waters Rising represents the fact that our lives get much more hectic and sometimes you feel like you could drown under all the pressure. As the album started to come to, we started realizing there was this concept throughout the whole record of dealing with this adversary and adverse conditions and how do we handle that without losing our minds. Without starting to turn to the wide and ugly path in life. Itís very easy to do. The album has songs about how some people deal with that. Some songs are about how we should deal with it by being eternally grounded and spiritually grounded. Itís really the only way that you can function. Itís tough enough just to deal with a normal relationship day to day, much less deal with your work environment. Dealing with people around you. Watching the news and seeing just how everything seems to become more and more chaotic every day. Makes you want to shave your head and move to Montana sometimes.
I donít personally get involved in this mass hysteria that seems to go be going on in this country right now. Sometimes it feels like Iím sitting on the sidelines watching everyone be totally crazy.
Thatís what Waters Rising represents. People need to slow down, take a look in the mirror, sit down, and regroup. Get your head together. You canít deal with day to day problems unless you have it together on the inside. Whatever that is. For me personally, Iím a Christian. Iíve got a strong relationship with God. He gets me through things. He takes care of me. My family, my friends, and myself. Believing in what I do and realizing that some people canít handle it. They find means of escape whether it be alcohol, drugs, wacked out lifestyles, or whatever it could be. It doesnít work. All that does is feed the fire and adds to the craziness. Iíve got a bad temper. Sometimes things happen and I immediately want to go off. But if I sit back and I let time go by and think before I go off on somebody, it usually works itself out. If I think about things and basically count to 10 before I start going crazy when I lose my temper, things do have a way of mending themselves. Even down to the silliness of the way people drive their automobiles. Road rage for example.
They get pissed off at somebody and pull out a gun and shoot them.
A great example of Waters Rising right there. Just go through traffic for a little while. Iím constantly driving in traffic and I want a laser gun where I can just take peopleís tires out. I see somebody driving crazy, I call 911. I have no patience with that kind of crap. If I donít allow things to calm down inside of me I make the wrong moves and the wrong decisions in how I react. Thatís something that people need to sit back and do. Try to give a little education here.
Thereís nothing wrong with that.
Rock and roll doesnít always have to be just simply about going out and getting drunk. Rock and roll is about moving people on the inside and making them feel good and passionate. Giving them something they can listen to every day and not only be moved by the music but by what the songs are trying to relate as well.
In the past rock and roll has been used to basically give people social messages. Wake up and take a look at whatís going on around you. I have friends where all a politician has to do is tell them the moon is made out of green cheese and they actually believe it. Politicians are the biggest liars in the fucking world. You really need to research stuff before you believe what somebody tells you.
Yeah, thatís another thing. Thereís no trust. Nobody trusts anybody anymore. You canít trust anybody anymore. Thatís something where we as people have to sit back and make judgments on who can we trust. I do have some people I can trust. Even some of the closest people in my life I can only trust to a certain degree. Not that they will backstab me or hurt me a lot but some people have a penchant for exaggeration and some people just canít tell the truth if their lives depended on it. The only person you really have to trust and the only person you really can trust is yourself. I trust politicians as far as I can throw them.
Everything they do, they do for their own benefit. You canít get that through peopleís heads. They donít really give a shit about you. They just tell you they do.
They tell you that so they can get your support and your vote. Thatís just the way it is. People need to get smarter. People need to get less inconsiderate, less rude, and get smarter.
Tell me a little bit about a couple of the songs on the new record.
Thereís one song called ďQuarantineĒ and that song is about germ phobia.
Some people go really ape shit over that.
Well, Iím like that. Iím a fanatic about it. You can literally eat off the floor in my house. If I see a speck of dirt I go crazy. Iím very organized. As a matter of fact on our bus, weíre on our new bus, Iím running around and these guys, I become like their mother or something. If somebody has an empty cup somewhere they havenít thrown in the garbage, Iím on their asses. If I see somebody hasnít closed the curtain in their bunk, I tell them to close their curtain in their bunk. Iím crazy like that. I canít stand dirt and filth. Maybe thatís one of the ways that I separate from the nastiness of my environment by keeping my personal environment spotless. Itís the way I deal with pressure.
I can just see you at home with an apron on and a dust pan.
Youíre right about everything but the apron. Not the apron but I have four different vacuum cleaners. Things for the ceiling fan. I have a maid that comes to the house every two weeks. Iím insane about that but my house is clean. Thatís all I can say.
The real Steve Blaze comes out.
Anal retentive clean freak.
Tell me about a couple of more songs off the new album.
Thereís a song called ďThe 2nd Of MayĒ and that song is about child abductions and disappearing people and conspiracy theories about that.
There are so many children who disappear all the time and I always wonder what the hell happens to all these kids and why people donít really pursue that enough. I know that in various parts of the world there is child prostitution. Iím thinking that must be where those kids must be disappearing to.
Well, the sad part about it is, it was kind of inspired by Jim Beam, how many missing people there are just going into a post office, and not just kids. I wrote the song basically about a young girl. People that disappear, there are so many theories about it. Some of them just seem to vanish off the face of the earth. Then some of them pop up when theyíve found the bodies but there are so many theories as well that I donít necessarily discard like alien abductions or supernatural things that we have no idea about.
I think part of it might also be that child prostitution stuff. There are even some politicians with reputations of being pedophiles. Most of these people when they disappear, theyíre gone forever. You never even find a body.
Exactly, thatís the scary part. Usually if somebody disappears, at some in their life theyíre going to pop up somewhere. Plenty of them disappear and there is not a trace. Itís like they internally combusted. Theyíre just completely gone. Itís another aspect of our society that needs to increase and add more attention to. I remember when I was a kid, you could leave and leave your front door unlocked. You canít do that anymore. When I was a kid we walked up and down the street in my neighborhood and play football in the street. We cut up, rode bikes, and played. You canít trust a kid walking down the street in front of your house. You never know whatís going to go on. Thatís what ďThe 2nd Of MayĒ is about. Then letís pick another one here. ďFields Of YesterdayĒ which is a nine minute epic which is Lillian Axeís ďStairway To HeavenĒ. I think it could possibly be maybe the best all around song that I ever wrote. I just did an interview with a Netherlands radio station. That was the DJís favorite song. Itís been popping up as a lot of peopleís favorite song in the reviews. Itís just a very epic song basically about everything weíve been talking about. About mankindís evolution. The evolution of man as a spiritual being. Whether God just zapped us down here and weíre already there or we evolved from an amoeba. It really doesnít matter to me how we got here. Just read the Bible and believe the Bible which I do. We were placed here but I donít know how and I donít care. I know that manís here. I know that we evolved just in the way that we think because look how technology has evolved. I watch and see how man has changed and it seems to be that weíve gotten so diverse and so disappointingly de-evolving. We havenít gone from a race that has spiritually evolved and you would think that a primitive being as it evolves, it becomes more understanding and peaceful and increases in its ability to make life for good and we havenít done that. We seem like weíre going backwards.
Yeah, because we have a handful of people sitting around telling us how bad people are someplace else and then we take up guns and we kill each other in wars.
It even goes down deeper. Go on your Internet and look at people on blogs and on rants and raves and on websites where people can give their opinions. See just how inconsiderate and rude and some of the ugly things we say.
Have you ever watched the OíReilly Factor or that Hannity show?
I love Bill OíReilly. I think heís great. I think heís on the ball.
These people seem so angry and they spew out all this anger.
Why are people so angry? What it gets back down to is people are angry because they donít know how to control the things that are happening around them. They donít know how to control road rage and turmoil and other rude people. They donít have the inner peace to deal. Iím a prime example. Iím at the point where I canít stand rudeness. I canít stand inconsideration. To combat that I make sure that I donít act like that to people. If somebody is rude to me, I want to rip their throat out. Thatís why I have to sit back and say ďlook, if you act like that and you react like that, you are thatĒ and I canít be that. I learned to deal with it and as long itís not a physical danger to me or friends or family, I let it go and thatís their ignorance that they have to deal with. We have become a meaner race of people. We are more vengeful than we ever have been. We donít care about how we talk about each other and to each other and itís disappointing. There are a lot of great people in this world but thereís a lot of anger and meanness out there. It upsets me. ďFields Of YesterdayĒ talks about the questions that we have about our existence and how a large amount of mankind has devolved. Power and the me first mentality have taken over a lot of us and we donít care about the well being of the good. We care about the well being of ourselves. From TV commercials to TV shows, you can see that weíre all about reality shows. Weíre all about watching other people be miserable.
I think thatís so crazy. Who the fuck came up with the idea of putting a TV show on television to show me the misery that someone else is having? Donít people have imaginations anymore?
Sometimes reality shows are funny. Sometimes they get downright dirty and mean. For example the Rockstar show. I like watching the reality of band members mixed together and doing that. Itís when it starts getting into the ugliness and the cattiness and the soap opera aspect, then it gets ugly and thatís where people feed on other peopleís misery and grief and we perpetuate that with those types of ideas.
There was one reality show that I actually watched. I think it was called The Surreal Life. It was the one that had Vince Neil, M.C. Hammer, Corey Feldman, and a few other people on it. I actually watched that. In a lot of ways I enjoyed it because there was one point where Vince Neil talked about his daughter who had died and that actually brought tears to my eyes.
Some of those are interesting of course because you like to see how different people from different walks of life react to each other. You can learn some good lessons out of that. Then you have some of these like the ones that I really canít stand is Charm School and Flavor Flavís love whores. These people are just downright trashy and mean and hateful to each other. The Jerry Springer mentality. Even if we have to make it up letís really make the human race look as ignorant as possible so we can all sit at home and laugh at them.
I watched a few episodes of that and I donít think people can actually be like that. Thatís just impossible.
Well, I think a lot of it is rigged but I think that are still a lot of people like that.
Thatís really scary. There are a lot of people like that. There are a lot of great people on this planet. There are a lot of really smart people and cool people and considerate people but those are the ones that have got to fly flags for doing the right thing. If I can give some insight through music of how to deal with it, what to turn away from, and hit people in a powerful, intense way then thatís good for us.
Iím just one of these love, peace, and geese people. I just feel left behind or out of my element.
That is true.
Thatís going to be other peopleís ulcers.
When is the record going to be released?
Itís Tuesday. This coming up Tuesday. July 17th and the label is ecstatic about the initial sales and shipping and really excited. It comes out in Europe in August I believe. Everything is looking really positive right now. Weíve got a long, hard road ahead of us to promote this and a lot of work to do. Weíre geared up. The tour in September is going to be a very positive experience for us also.
Tell me a little bit about the upcoming tour.
It starts on September 4th in Atlanta and it finishes October 13th in Baton Rouge and I think itís 36 cities. I think we have five days off in six weeks. One stretch is a 16 day stretch in a row so we will be very busy.
I bet youíre excited about that.
Yeah, I am excited about it. Itís not long enough to make us crazy but itís not too short. There are still a lot of cities that we havenít hit but weíll hit on round two and hopefully weíll go to Europe at the beginning of the year. You never know what tours will pop up. Weíre getting ourselves healthy and geared up.
What else do you guys have planned?
That pretty much takes up all our time. We have a CD release party next weekend in New Orleans in our home town at House Of Blues and then we have a month to get prepared between rehearsing and doing a lot of press. That will continue to go on and then letting the record get out there. The single will go to radio probably in a week or so and then hit the road and come back. Iím actually getting married in December.
Congratulations. Thatís awesome.
Thank you. Everyone is asking why it took me so long. Maybe I was just busy.
Good things take time.
Thatís right. I get married in December and so Iíll be getting that together. As soon as I get married, not long after that weíll be hitting Europe.
Then youíll turn into a vampire.
Yeah, right. Iíll try to squeeze in filming the movie so I donít know. I have to take it a day at a time and try to remember everything that I have to do. I had to set my alarm for 4:30 to remember to call you because I did four interviews earlier today and I looked at the schedule and this one is the last one for the day so I had to put the timer on for 4:30. The time will just slip right by me if I donít have a reminder. I have to beef up my dosage of ginko biloba every day so my memory starts getting better.
Iím the OTC manager in my pharmacy so maybe we should send you a case.
It would definitely go to good use. Like I said, I have to sit down sometimes and take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and just refocus. I take kung fu now so that helps me out a lot. In addition to kung fu and weapons, I take tai chi because that helps me to get relaxed sometimes as well. As long as I donít see pink elephants flying through the air. Whenever that happens Iím going to have to check myself in somewhere.
Any other thoughts or comments?
www.lillianaxe.com, the site is up but it is being revamped. The brand new site will be in function this week. It has tour dates and links to interviews. Live pictures. There will be a lot of Rocklahoma pictures being put on there too. Weíre just thrilled about this record and we canít wait to hit the road. I really think that the Axe fans and a lot of new fans are going to be pleasantly surprised by this new record.