[published]: 2006, February 21
[in]: Hair Band News
[article]: Interview with Larry Gillstrom
[by]: Conspirator A

Conspirator A: Hey, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you doing this with us. I've admired you for years. Heck, I've got a poster of you on my wall! I put you right next to Angus Young. Anyway, I'm rambling, sorry. Your first question is how big of a role do you think you played in Kick Axe from beginning to present?
Larry Gillstrom: Hmmm.... How Big... I don't like to sound my own horn that much, but I guess I have always been the leader of the band, at least with regards to the musical direction and performance aspects.

Conspirator A: How long were you together before you got signed?
Larry Gillstrom: Kick axe sort of formed out of an earlier group called Hobbit between 1974 and 1976. After that Kick Axe went through several changes that eventually led to the group that got signed to CBS in 1983.

Conspirator A: How important was the look back in the day? Do you feel embarrassment when you look at the old pictures?
Larry Gillstrom: The look was definitely part of it. You had to have some sort of "over the top" look in those days to get noticed. But you also had to have the chops.  Our live shows were way more about the music and the energy we could generate with it... the way we looked was just a way to make us appear larger than life. I feel no embarrassment whatsoever from any picture I've ever had taken. That's who I was at that time.

Conspirator A: Did the band get along or was there that nasty internal friction that ripped so many other bands apart?
Larry Gillstrom: No doubt there was friction. You can't write and record great music without some friction, but for the most part we got along pretty well. We still do.

Conspirator A: What was the biggest crowd you guys played?
Larry Gillstrom: I'm not sure, I think it was an outdoor festival in Ohio with the Scorpions and Quiet Riot. Around 25,000 people.

Conspirator A: What's it like playing in front of a crowd?
Larry Gillstrom: You know, for me, it's easier to play for a bigger crowd. A large crowd just blurs into a single entity and it seems easier to get a reaction when the crowd is big and self-energized. Although, when your equipment breaks down, a large crowd becomes a very scary entity.... Also, you can't defend yourself that well against a large crowd, sometimes people throw things and nail you in the face, once I had a fan grab onto a scarf that was rapped twice around my leg...he wouldn't let go of the one end and was cutting off the circulation to my leg... had to boot'em in the head.

Conspirator A: What's the craziest thing a fan has ever done to meet you?
Larry Gillstrom: A girl started our hotel on fire so that we would evacuate out on the street.

Conspirator A: Can you regail us with any cool stories from the road?
Larry Gillstrom: One night we were playing at a packed club in Winnipeg. Brian was playing his drum solo and George and I were watching from the side of the stage. Brian kept losing and breaking sticks and for the first time ever he actually ran out of sticks. When he was left with only one stick in one hand, he still kept trying to do his solo and it was getting quite comical. Then that stick went flying out of his hand into the audience and he was left standing there with no sticks. There was a low grill of painted 2x4's above the drum riser and George ran over, jumped onto the riser, jumped up in the air and grabbed on to one of the 2x4s. He started swinging wildly like a monkey until the board broke loose. He handed the broken board to Brian and said "here's a stick, try and lose this one!" Brian took the long 2x4 and cleared his entire kit off the drum riser. The stunned crowd watched as we all left the stage laughing while the road crew came out to clean up the mess.

Conspirator A: Favorite/least favorite track you recorded?
Larry Gillstrom: Favorite: Heavy Metal Shuffle. Least Favorite: Don't wanna go there...

Conspirator A: The late 90's saw a reformation of many of the bands from the Era. Would you say that Hair Metal is making a comeback and do you think it will ever get back into the Mainstream?
Larry Gillstrom: In some ways it's making a comeback, but it will need to re-invent itself a bit to get back into the mainstream.There needs to be more than just the hair and the glam.

Conspirator A: What's your stance on mp3 downloading/file sharing?
Larry Gillstrom: I don't have a problem with it. It's the only way people can hear samples of most of the new records out there. Very few good acts are getting radio airplay these days.

Conspirator A: Any plans for 2006?
Larry Gillstrom: I'm working on a new theatrical metal project called "Wasted Widow". I hope to get a CD released soon. If I can get past the legal hassles I hope to release a Kick Axe live DVD.

Conspirator A: What can we expect to see from the Mighty Larry Gillstrom in the future?
Larry Gillstrom: More great music of course :) ... I'd love to get back out on the road soon.

Conspirator A: Where can fans find merch and how can they contact you?
Larry Gillstrom: Right now there is not a lot of merchandise available. Whatever is available can be found on the website.

Conspirator A: Anything you want to say to the fans reading this?
Larry Gillstrom: Stay tuned, I'm not done yet!