[published]: 1986, April 21
[in]: Hard Rock's Metal Studs, No. 35, p. 55
[article]: Kick Axe: Back & Burnin' with Welcome to the Club
[by]: Gerri Miller

Being the only American in a band of Canadians has been educational for Wisconsin native George Criston. "Canada? I thought it was all snowshoes and icicles," says George, but he found that there was more than hockey happening up north. His father, a trumpet player, learned through the grapevine that Kick Axe was looking for a singer, so George sent an audition tape and got the job, his first-ever gig outside of a high school band. Not bad for a guy with no experience, but George claims he has been singing since that first slap from the doctor who delivered him.

He used to sing all day while riding his dirt bike, and also vocalized in church choir. "I never wanted to be anytrhing else," says George, whom was influenced by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Bad Company, as well as big band music, via his dad.

Now George is putting his pipes to use on Kick Axe's latest album, Welcome to the Club, which he believes reflects the band's growth since their debut, Vices, and showcases a sound he describes as a mix of "crunchy rhythms and vocal harmonies."

George shares songwriting credits with guitarist Ray Harvey, drummer Brian Gillstrom, his guitarist brother Larry Gillstrom, and bassist Victor Langen, who produced 75 songs from which LP's 10 were chosen. The band writes continuously, says George, nixing and matching bits and pieces of songs to create new ones - but the best part is performing them live. "It's a bit more of a kick," says George, no pun intended. He looks forward to extensive touring, and a lengthy career. "This band's going to be around for a long time," he promises. "We have a foot in the door - now we're going to kick it down."