[published]: 1986, January 5
[in]: Nassau Newsday, p. P8
[article]: "Talking With": George Criston
[by]: Keith Perry, Jimmy Wilkinson, Nicole Legault, Lisa Pezzuto

We interviewed 24-year-old George Criston, lead singer for the Canadian band Kick Axe, in Manhattan recently. We were a little nervous meeting a person who plays in a heavy metal band, but we soon found out that he is very down-to-earth and a lot of fun to talk to.He topld us that the group's second album, "Welcome to the Club," is being released later this month. He is single and lives in Milwaukee, Wis.

Q. How did you come up with the name Kick Axe?

A. It comes from the kick drum and a guitar that is sometimes called an axe.

Q. How did you meet and become a band?

A. Kick Axe was a band for almost eight years before I joined. I joined the band about three years ago. I sent them a tape of how I sing, and they told me to come on up to Canada and try out.

Q. Do you think the new group's sound will give you success?

A. I think so. I think we are expanding musically and learning how to write better songs.

Q. How much do you get paid for each performance?

A. It depends where you play. If we play in a nightclub, we get a certain amount, but if you play a concert, you get a percentage of the tickets sold. It varies from §1,000 to §10,000 and beyond.

Q. Have you made a video yet?

A. Yes. It's cold "On the Road to Rock" from "Vices" album.

Q. Is it difficult being an opening act?

A. No. You're only there for 45 minutes, so you have to expel two hours of energy in 45 minutes. You're there to get the crowd ready for the lead band.

Q. What do you like least about touring?

A. Well, you travel about 250 miles a day. That wears on you.

Q. Who do you feel is your greatest competition?

A. Ratt and Motley Crue. Everybody is a competition to us. You can't let that weaken you. The competition has to make you stronger. Hopefully, on this album we will take off.

Q. What message do you want people to get from your songs?

A. We write positive-attitude songs. We just want to play good rock and roll and let our audience have good times.

Q. Are your parents proud of you?

A. Yes. I've had 110 percent support from them.

Q. Are Canadian audiences different from American audiences?

A. No. They are rock and rollers everywhere.

Q. How did you spend your first paycheck?

A. Buying breakfast. I had come from a small band and I wasn't used to playing every night. When they gave me a check, I couldn't believe it, I thought it was for the entire band. It is expensive on the road because you have to pay for your meals and clothes.

Q. Which is more important to heavy metal: lyrics or songs?

A. They both are important. They must intertwine.

Q. What type of music do you dislike?

A. I have everything from the Plasmatics to Barbra Streisand, and Quiet Riot to Spyro Gyra. The one type I appreciate but it cringes me is 'down home country music.'

Q. Do you ever forget words to songs when you are performing?

A. Every day. There are some songs I have sung a thousand times, and they just go out of my head. When I can't remember them, I'll go back and sing the first verse again.

Q. Who have you toured with?

Q. Judas Priest, Quiet Riot, Scorpions, and Krokus.

Q. Have you ever thought of taking a mellow song and making it a heavy metal song?

A. We took "A Little Help From My Friends," an old Beatles tune and we did it pretty heavy.

Q. What TV shows do you like?

A. I've always been a "Star Trek" fan and I like MTV a lot.

Q. If you could choose any concert anywhere, who would you want to see?

A. Heart. I've seen anybody else, but I haven't seen Heart. I would have like to see the Michael Jackson concerts and Live Aid, but we were touring.

Write to Kick Axe, c/o Jensen Communications, 118 N. Evergreen St,. Suite 202, Burbank, Calif. 91505.