[published]: 1985, November 9
[in]: Regina Leader-Post, p. B16
[article]: Regina rockers ready album
[by]: Shannon Hamelin

Hard work may be paying off for members of the Regina heavy metal band Kick Axe.

Band members hope they are on the verge of breaking into international stardom.

"We did every major magazine in the world, major radio stations and they've all heard of Regina. We are putting Regina on the map," said Brian Gillstrom.

The core Regina members - guitarist Larry Gillstrom and his brother, drummer Brian, bassist Victor Langen and guitarist Raymond Harvey - have been together for eight years. In 1983, the band added Milwaukee native George Criston.

Band members say they plan to conquer the world of rock. Kick Axe's first album, released worldwide by CBS, garnered top 10 hits in Warsaw, Nashville and Regina, to name a few disparate places.

Its second album, Welcome to the Club, due at the end of November, should ensure Kick Axe even wider acceptance.

Welcome to the Club contains 10 songs, nine of which are frenetic, head-banging, rock and roll numbers. The last song is a ballad. The theme of the album is survival in the 1980s.

Last year, Kick Axe opened approximately 35 concerts in the U.S. for Judas Priest. It also played with the Scorpions, Ratt, Night Ranger, Krokus, BTO, Kim Mitchell, Quiet Riot and Helix.

This year, Kick Axe and Helix (which is playing Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts in Regina Nov. 19 with Headpins) will start a two-months Canadian tour in mid-December.

The band is also headlining at the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts with Lee Aaron, in mid-January.

In March the band will tour the U.S., possibly opening for Judas Priest or Aerosmith.

A 1986 tour of Europe is also in the works.

The band said playing on the road throughout the U.S. and Canada has helped the band, giving the band a lot of insights and experiences, plus fodder for songs. It has a repertoire of about 150.

Gillstrom said the band has been paid a lump sum for selling its material to several "big" Los Angeles bands. These bands claim the songs as their own and Kick Axe receives no royalties or credit, just a one-time payment in exchange for an oath of secrecy.

The band also wrote songs for Black Sabbath, King Kobra and Quiet Riot. There was no secrecy demanded in these arrangements.

All five band members share the songwriting credits. Gillstrom said there is no animosity or ego problems among them. They bring their material into the studio, share it, alter it and create their music collectively.

But the band hasn't stopped there. Members of Kick Axe have been redesigning the tools of their trade.

Gillstrom has just put the final touches on a drum kit he designed. Manufactured and promoted by Ayotte, the kit utilizes a unique horse shoe configuration; the bass drum is hit from the bottom.

"I did it for the sound," he said.

The guitarists in the band have also had their ideas translated into instruments. All three guitarists endorse Fury guitar products.

Kick Axe is proud that all its endorsements are of Canadian products. "It's better quality and much better workmanship in Canada," said Gillstrom.

Despite the flurry of activity, Gillstrom won't comment on Kick Axe's fortunes. "Talk to me next year", is all he says.

The group splits its earnings sis ways among the five band members and Winnipeg-based manager Garry Stratychuk.

Whatever happens, the band is sticking to a solid rock and roll msound. Citing "machine music" (synthesizers and pre-programmed performances) as a bane to rock and roll, Gillstrom said, "It's the human feel that makes up rock and roll."