INTERVIEW: Danny Rexon – Crazy Lixx

Crazy Lixx new album 'Ruff Justice' out May 24th

Crazy Lixx has long been one of The Rockpit’s favourite Hard Rock bands and this year they are back with a bang with ‘Ruff Justice’. It’s an album that draws on the finest work the band has produced and sets it all to an 80’s Horror and Action Movie theme – a match made in Hard Rock heaven!  If you haven’t heard of Crazy Lixx but love those big sounds of the 80’s – by bands like Dokken, Skid Row, Firehouse and even Bon Jovi then Crazy Lixx is not just a band you will like – they are a band you will love. We caught up with singer Danny Rexon to talk about the new album, the new line-up and hitting those summer Festivals.

The Rockpit: Hi Danny thank you so much for talking to The Rockpit today. First of all pulling no punches the new album ‘Ruff Justice’ is amazing.

Danny: Oh thanks, thank you.

The Rockpit: It sounds like a lot of time and effort has gone into the album, which takes all that we love about Crazy Lixx and just ups the ante that little bit more?

Danny: Well as of lately we’ve switched our method of recording somewhat, in the past we just went into the studio and just recorded everything in like two weeks, but now we spread it out over a very long time, so we end up picking out two or three songs and maybe recording drums and bass guitar before we go back to writing and then maybe recording guitars for those first tracks. So overall since we started looking at demos for the album it’s been almost a year from start to finish.

The Rockpit: And you can feel that time has been taken, there’s not a track on the album that fails to deliver. Sonically it reminds me of the album you released just after we spoke to you for the first time – 2010’s ‘New Religion’. To me there are a lot of similarities between the two.

Danny: Yes, with ‘New Religion’ being our most popular album to date it was quite natural to go back and look at what made that so popular, and also the fact that we have two new members and they were also fans of the ‘New Religion’ album. So they too wanted to catch that feeling that we had beck then, so we went back to that album and looked at what made it – production wise and the type of songs and we tried to make something similar to that. but of course that was an entirely different story as we did that with Chris Laney at the Polar studios in Stockholm. Those studios don’t even exist anymore so we had to do things quite differently in a bunch of smaller studios and this time I produced the album myself and Chris only mixed the final product. But I felt that I learnt a lot working previously with Chris so I used a lot of his techniques especially when it came to how you lay down guitars and how you layer backing vocals and things like that. So I tried to look at the ‘New Religion’ album and try to do some of the things we did back then, and I think we managed to recapture it to some extent.

The Rockpit: I agree it sounds great and you’ve done a fine job on production. How are the new guys fitting in? There’s just you and Joel left from the line up for the New religion album?
Danny: Yeah we’ve had a lot of changes in the line up and even before the New Religion album we had another guitarist Vic Zeno who went to Hardcore Superstar. We haven’t actually made more than one album with the same set up. So it’s a bit strange.

The Rockpit: Does that get frustrating creatively, or is it fresh and interesting to be working with different people constantly?

Danny: You know when Andy and Ed quit the band back in 2015 we were actually not sure if we were going to continue, we’d had a lot of stuff with members in the past and the overall feeling was not very good, but I’m glad we had another try and we are quite lucky because at the time Jens the new guitarist was almost on his way in anyway as he’d jumped in for Ed on a couple of occasions, and he also helped us to get in touch with Chrissie the other new guitarist. So the whole process was very easy and both guys were from the same area geographically which helps a lot as we didn’t have to import someone from Northern Sweden or something like that. So it all went very smoothly, but it is frustrating as you always have to ‘back up’ and re-learn a lot of stuff and reconnect with new people , but I think everything’s worked out very good now, so I’m glad we gave it another shot.

The Rockpit: And so are we, you’ve always been one of our favourite modern Hard Rock bands and you’ve never let us down. With an album like ‘Ruff Justice’ you should be on a huge stage, there’s a cool theme underlying the album too – an underlying take on 80’s Horror and Action Movies. It reminded me of when all those films had a huge Rock song front and centre, where did that idea come from?

Danny: Yeah, I agree. Growing up I always kind of connected the two, a lot of those action movies that I saw in the 80’s and 90’s always had these really cool Hard Rock theme songs, but the reason we did it now was actually because of the connection to the ‘Friday 13th’ video game, so when we started out looking at demos for the album we were actually contacted by this game company and they actually wanted to do this ‘Friday 13th’ game and set it in the 80’s but they didn’t have the budget to license the songs from the 80’s, at least not back then, now I know they have a whole different budget. So back then they wanted this 80’s feeling and they thought it would be cooler to contact new bands that had that kind of sound and they asked us to make some new stuff for the game, so that became the songs ‘XIII’ and ‘Killer’ also. Then we added the song ‘Live Before I Die’ which was actually written for the album. And when we did that we thought that they came out good and started talking about having that as a theme for the whole album. keeping the feeling that we were writing for movies , and I think the result was really nice. And for me there was a lot of nostalgia in that too.

The Rockpit: I think you’ve got it just right, and I think that feeling will be there for people who listen to ‘Ruff Justice’ – it rekindles that feeling of big sounds for big movies of the past.

The Rockpit: You’re putting together some great European dates at the moment but will we get to see you further afield in support of the album, maybe in the US or even Down under?

Danny: Well we’ve looked at going to the US for a long time and unfortunately there are a lot of problems with it, mostly economical, there’s the trip of course and the visas. I know some bands have done the trip and been away for some time and I know other bands that have tried to slip in and play a few quick shows which is not something we want to risk because we’d like to be able to keep going. So it’s a whole different story than playing in Europe and something I hope we will do one day.

The Rockpit: You’ve got some great shows lined up in Europe – the Frontiers Festival in Italy, the Hard Rock Hell show in Sheffield later in the year, The sleaze Festival in Germany. How do you go down at Festivals like that? Do you enjoy converting the crowds from the big stage?

Danny: Well I personally prefer Festivals over club gigs, especially those big open air ones, but I guess that plays a lot to your ego! Because you stand in front of thousands of people and its the sort of thing you dreamed about as a kid, but I also think that what you say is true. we do get a lot of the audience who maybe haven’t heard of us, or maybe just one or two songs and they want to check us out and it’s perfect if you get a good time, and a slot where you don’t collide with another band in the same genre. I remember playing at Sweden Rock and we were on at the same time as Saxon! Which was kind of hard to compete with! So yeah, I really like those festivals, but unfortunately this year we were kind of late with the album so it was harder to find opportunities for festivals, we usually book out in January so it’s a little late and of course I’m really happy to be playing the ones we have got lined up.

The Rockpit: We had Eclipse visit us last year in Australia for the Melodic Rock Festival down in Melbourne, so it would be cool if that runs again next year to see if we can get you on the bill?

Danny: Yeah, we’d love that! It would be great. I love every possibility to play on a Festival stage.

The Rockpit: If you love the Rock of the 80’s there’s a real feel of some of the great names from that era on ‘Ruff Justice’ – bands like Dokken, Firehouse, Bon Jovi and Skid Row. What track are you looking at playing live from the new album?

Danny: We’ll we’ve rehearsed the new live set now and I think we’ve added three or four songs from the new album. Like many other bands we have certain songs we have to play and of course we’ll play those fan favourites and a lot from New Religion’ too. But if all goes well and we generate some new fans we’ll definitely add some more songs. For me though I always want to play the best set that the fans want to hear. You no longer promote an album by playing it live now anyway, I think the system has turned around a bit from how it was in the past. We just play a best of set.

The Rockpit: Every time I listen to the album I have a new favourite which is always a good thing. The mark of a really great album.

The Rockpit: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any great album just to see how the magic happened in the studio, what’s that album for you and why?

Danny: You know I’m thinking straight away perhaps ‘Trash’ by Alice Cooper because first of all there are a lot of cool people involved in that album, so I would have liked to have seen when people like Steven Tyler and Steve Vai went into the studio and Bon Jovi and all those guys. It’s definitely one of my favourite albums and because all those people were involved you can actually hear the different styles of song writing from different people. Plus I also like Desmond Child so I’d like to see how he works in the studio, or rather used to work as he’s’ not into Hard Rock anymore. So I think it’s one of those late 80’s early 90’s really big productions with a lot of stars involved in it.

The Rockpit: That would be cool. And the final question, the really easy one – what is the meaning of life?

Danny: The meaning of life? I’m sorry I can’t hear you very well… You’re breaking up!

The Rockpit: I can tell you’re trying to get out of answering the question (laughs)

Danny: Ok I did hear correct (laughs)… Well, I’m not sure, I think as I don’t particularly believe in an afterlife I think that you’re just supposed to live a good life with the people around you and do as much stuff that you enjoy as you can without making it impossible for those around you to do the same. So don’t infringe on their possibilities to be happy by being happy yourself. So it does demand some morals, you can’t just do anything, but you know, live a good life because I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything after to wait for so you might as well have a good time now.

The Rockpit: A great answer. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us today Danny and congratulations on ‘Ruff Justice’ we gave it a great review and we hope its the album that puts you on those gig stages more often!

Danny: I saw that. I’ve been sharing it, thank you.

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