Crazy Lixx Guitarist Andy Dawson’s Main Influences Slash and Steven Tyler – Interview

I like all kinds of rock music, but the music I grew up on was Bon Jovi and Def Leppard…then as I got a little older Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Guns n Roses. Of course from there my tastes went in all sorts of different directions from metal to grunge to punk to pop rock. I still have a soft spot in my heart for blues glam rock. I actually disliked Nirvana for awhile because they essentially killed it. Thanks to bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, the Darkness and Motley Crue’s reunion, the doors have been reopened for bands like Crazy Lixx. Recently I got the chance to chat with guitarist Andy Dawson. You can listen to it here and read along below.

Zoiks! (Z!): I don’t really know where to start. You guys got a new album coming out this month called “Riot Avenue.”

Andy Dawson (AD): Yeah that’s right.

Z!: You lost two members along the way though. Can you tell us a little bit about the experience of recording “Riot Avenue?”

AD: Uh yeah yeah. Well first of all it’s like the members, we don’t have to get into that, but the experience doing the album was very different from how we’ve been working before. You know, before we worked with a producer and a mixer and some other guy doing the mastering, and we had all these people in with us, helping us out, and basically it formed the sound if you know what I mean. It’s like we work with a great guy named Chris Laney, he’s done a lot of bands, and what I think is a big difference, he’s a great producer, but somehow he kind of formed this sound, our sound, you know, it sounds like him a bit more than what we wanted it to sound like, so this time we did everything ourselves. You know, we produced it, we mixed it, of course with helping hands, but basically we were in control and we decided how we wanted this album to sound, and that was the biggest difference from before I think.

Z!: I think you ended up with a really solid album. I’ve heard it maybe 3 times now, and I’m a big fan of it.

AD: Cool. Thanks.

Z!: What is your band’s writing process? Is it a group effort or is there a primary song writer?

AD: Well I think it’s somewhere in between cuz we, well basically, it’s like me and Danny, the lead singer, he and I did almost all of the writing on this album and the last album, “New Religion,” that was only me and Danny who wrote that album. On this album we have the new guitar player, you know, my best friend Edd Liam, and he’s been like maybe not writing the songs, but he’s been very helpful in coming up with ideas when the song is done, so he’s definitely formed the sound a bit. But yeah it’s mostly me and Danny who write the material.

Z!: Prior to this album did you have two guitar players in the band or is this a new thing for you guys?

AD: This is a new thing. After we released the last album, “New Religion,” when we started rehearsing the album and getting ready to play it live, we felt like something was missing. It’s a funny story there because I lived with this guy Edd who is now in the band. I lived with him for a long time back in Stockholm. And we were about to create an old school rock and roll…. we were all ready to go with this other band basically from scratch back in Stockholm and starting writing songs and planning on releasing an album and everything. And then me and Ed, and then I got the Crazy Lixx gig, and they called me down, and I flew down and I got the gig, and I had to leave Stockholm. And then he said ‘oh man fuck, we were supposed to do this. I want to play with you. I want to do it.’ And I told him, you know, just give me awhile and I’ll make sure of the fact that Crazy LIxx is gonna become a two guitar band, and then you know you moved down and we’ll have what we want, and that actually happened so it’s very funny how that turned out. But yeah we started rehearsing the “New Religion” album and I felt like man you know we are missing something her. It sounds empty when I do the solos. On the album there’s a lot of guitar parts and it’s a very big album so to do it live was impossible. So then we started talking about brining Edd, it was never a question of who more than him, we never tried anyone out, we never announced anything, he came down and he started hanging with the band, and we had a great time, and then we started jamming and rehearsing, and then he started playing with us live, and he has been for like one and a half years now, so naturally now he’s a permanent member of the band.

 Z!: I’m not looking to get into any dirt or anything, but what’s the status of the band right now. Are you a three piece or are you replacing other members?

AD: We’re a five piece band. Well sorry let me rephrase that. We’re four members and we have one who is actually more of a, he recently started playing with us, and we’ll see how things turn out. But we are four members and we are five with this extra guy who actually I just came from rehearsal and it feels really good there, so there will not be a problem with the future regarding that.

Z!: How old are you? Are you like 24?

AD: 23 actually.

Z!: I’m 32 and before I even hit high school Grunge had kind of taken over, and by the time I hit high school the boy bands and nu metal were what was hot at least here in America. Who were some of the guitar players that influenced your playing and sound?

AD: Well definitely not the guys in bands like Winger and Warrant and Poision. I grew up listening to Old Aerosmith so I’d say like Steven Tyler is like my biggest idol of all time and as a group I think Aerosmith and Guns-n-Roses, those were the posters on my walls when I was a bit younger, not so long ago, but guitar players, of course I like Joe Perry, maybe not of the lead things, but the way he creates his rifts. He’s the rift master, he and Slash. Slash I think is one of the guitar gods, but then I’ve gone through different eras. I’ve listened to a lot of old music like Hendrix is a big influence, Yngwie Malmsteen is a big influence, and Jimmy Page, you know all of those guys, they’re real heroes. But yeah to mention a few of course I like Van Halen and people like that, but all those bands I feel like there’s a lot of bands who don’t have that guitar player sticking out like Ratt for example. I know that he’s a great guitar player, I don’t know his name, but when I listen to Ratt, I don’t like it, but I like the guitars you know what I’m saying. But if you listen to Aerosmith the guitars is just the part of the thing, but it’s not the guitarist that makes the record good, it’s the whole thing, but I think those guys that I mentioned.

Z!: You mentioned Slash, I once heard an interview with him, where he said there’s a million great guitar players out there, but really what separates the best from just the other ones, is style. I was just gonna ask how did you develop your style?

AD: I think I developed my style with listening to all of these great bands. Now I’m into old old American rock like Creedence and stuff like that, and I really get off on that. The old old bands, but I think I formed my style with listening to all of this music and playing this music for so long. All the bands that I really love, like Aerosmith for example, since I was 17 I knew all the songs, you know, and I took them by ear because I didn’t have a teacher, I didn’t understand music in a common sense, so I had to listen, and oh how do you tune this how do you play this? You know it was really really a struggle in the beginning, but you know listening and playing AC?DC, Thin Lizzy, even Metallica, all the great bands and great guitar players and great musicians that formed me in this way, for this album I didn’t write the solos like I did before, for example, now I just play on what I feel in the moment. It’s funny for me because what’s happening now, is I don’t have to think anything, and I just record and if it’s good, and if it’s not good I do it again, but it’s not like I sit down and create for months, you know it’s not like that, so I think a combination of everything is mostly the music that inspired me, that created this freedom in the playing basically. I feel free now. I can do what I hear in my head, I can translate immediately, that’s a really cool thing I think.

Z!: Do you remember the first concert you attended and how that experience affected you?

AD: Yeah I think the first, I don’t remember the real when I was like 4, but the first concert I really remember is Aerosmith in Sweden in ’96 maybe, but I was like 8, 9 years old, and the Black Crowes were opening for Aerosmith, and I sat there with my dad, it was just me, no I think it was me, him, and his friend, but we were just, I was speechless, I couldn’t say nothing. After that I took all my dad’s, he had all the discs of LP old discs, and I plugged it in and I couldn’t stop listening to all this great bands. Kiss also. Kiss and Aerosmith was like oh I couldn’t listen to anything else. So that was the first concert that I remember.

Z!: Wow. That’s cool. That was actually my first tour too and I’m like 10 years older than you.


AD: Cool.

Z!: How would you describe you guys live?

AD: Well I think the way we sound now on this album is how we’ve always sounded live I think. We always had this dirtiness, we’re not so, we’re all like in the moment thing, we don’t, when we rehearse we don’t rehearse like other bands, we do a lot of things in the moment, and I think it’s much more. Well I think, if you listen to this new album, that’s how we sound live you know. It’s a lot of energy and it’s a lot of things going on, and basically we just want to have a good time, we want the people to have a good time. We want to throw a party for these people. We want to make them jump and dance and whatever so that’s what we’ve tried to do every single show is just get the people to get off and have a good time and forget about everything else and just have a one and a half hours of what rock and roll looks like to take them away for a second.

Z!: When will we get a chance to see you over here in the states?

AD: Well you know we’ve never been there. We were booked for a festival like a year ago or something, that just turned, you know it blew away, I don’t know what happened, the whole festival was just shut down, but I don’t know anything about it. But I heard from Danny today actually in rehearsal that there’s some east coast things going on, that would be really cool, but it’s like nothing is sure or anything. It’s a big big cost for us to go over there, so we have to do like 7 shows just to break even, but that’s the plan anyway by 2013. I think we really want to go over there and play a couple of clubs on the east cost, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, that’s the plan and that’s what we hope for.

Z!: That’s cool. What would you say is your band’s biggest accomplishment so far.

AD: Uh woah. I don’t know. I don’t think we have had a really big accomplishment. I mean we made, now we’ve made 3 records that we’re proud of, and we’ve played some great shows, but we never had that opening for AC/DC or those really big things never hit us yet, so that’s hard to say, but I’ll have to say this album is our best accomplishment because we really found our sound, we found what we wanted and maybe it’s not in perfection yet, but it’s definitely along these lines we want to continue to take the band back to where we think rock and roll’s about.

BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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