[published]: 2002, August 2
[in]: Headbangerz Ballz
[article]: Interview with Larry Gillstrom
[by]: Jamie Handshoe

Thanks Larry for taking time out to do this. Vlado thanks for setting this up!

Jamie: What made Kick Axe decide to regroup?

Larry: Kick-Axe did not break-up because of any internal problems. We were great friends right up until the end. But there were so many external problems facing us that we could not realistically continue at that time. Now that those external problems have faded away and the wounds have healed we want to make some more music together.

Jamie: Have you started the recording of the new album yet?

Larry: Yes... We have done pre-production on 5 songs so far and are working on another ten.

Jamie: Kick Axe wrote Running wild in the streets for Wasp, do you know Blackie personally? Also were you happy with how the song turned out for the album?

Larry: We sold that song to Blackie outright. I think they didn't want any other writing credits on the album, or something like that. I met Blackie at the studio and at the Roxy in L.A. a few times. Seemed like an alright guy to me. He told me that he didn't think his version of Running Wild In the Street turned out as good as our original version. And neither do I.

Jamie: Vices was a great record, were you happy with the sales it had or did you feel like it should've sold more?

Larry: I definitely feel it should have sold way more, but there were problems. Everybody was pulling us in different directions. The management, producers and record company guys weren't all on the same page and the record fell through the cracks. The Judas Priest tour and Kerrang magazine helped pull the sales up a bit but it never really got the exposure it should have...

Jamie: Alive and Kickin' was a promo that was released only on vinyl for radio stations to play one time and then they were sent back to the record company, will Alive And Kickin' ever be released to the public?

Larry: I didn't even know about that pressing until I saw it on Vlado's site. Like a lot of other rockers at that time, I only paid attention to the things that were going on right in front of me. We were constantly touring and left all the music biz stuff up to our manager. Which proved to be a big mistake.

Jamie: Why didn't you use Spencer Proffer as the producer on Rock the World? Also was that the very first album you ever produced?

Larry: Our manager embezzled (snorted) our recording budget for the third album, so we couldn't afford an outside producer. I had led most of the pre-production on the first two albums and was elected to produce this one cuz I was cheap... ah, I mean inexpensive.

Jamie: Are all 3 studio albums finally available on CD?

Larry: Yes...

Jamie: How do you feel about music sharing over the internet?

Larry: I don't have any problem with it. I agree with Sting that music is it's own reward and the money side of it is just secondary. That's just an opinion though and I can understand why others might be more concerned about it.

Jamie: Kick Axe was one of the many great Canadian metal bands, how do you feel about American metal compared to Canadian metal?

Larry: Canadian bands are great and American bands suck... just kidding, don't quote me out of context :-). I love every band that puts in the time and effort as long as they've got some talent that's worth hearing. I don't really see the US/Canada border as having much to do with metal bands in North America. If there's any dividing lines I'd say it would be East Coast/Inland/West Coast. Most good metal bands in Canada had to go to the US to be recognized. The music industry in Canada at that time did not understand hard rock or metal bands.

Jamie: Brian Vollmer was the first person we interviewed and he was a great and friendly guy. You toured with him, any funny stories?

Larry: Yes he is a great guy. Everyone in Helix was great. We had fun together on many occasions. Too bad about their manager Bill Seip... He was like a drill sergeant. He managed us for a few months until we fired him.

Jamie: What direction will Kick Axe take musically on your next album?

Larry: A little more bluesy and straight-forward. We'll try to make it as contemporary as possible but still very heavy guitar-oriented rock. It's kinda like the lyrics from one of the new songs "never change... never be the same".

Jamie: Who are some of your favorite guitarists? Who influenced you the most throughout your career?

Larry: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton (when he was in Cream), David Gilmore, Eddie Van Halen, B.B. King to name a few.

Jamie: Any last words for the fans?

Larry: Last words? I don't know Jamie, that sounds like a question you ask someone just before they get executed... But I guess I could ramble a bit. We're coming up with a great new CD of songs that really represents what Kick-Axe has always been about. Winnipeg, Canada had our most hardcore fan base before we got signed and those people willl love this stuff. Disco never died. And rap music sucks more and more with each new artist... So I guess we got some unfinished business. Keep on welding metal and let 'em know that it'll never be loud enough.