Lillian Axe leader Steve Blaze knew he needed a break after touring for the Louisiana hard rock group’s 1993 album “Psychoschizophrenia.” He just didn’t know it would last 14 years.
“Yeah, I didn’t think it was gonna take this long,” says the guitarist, who formed the group in 1983 in New Orleans, releasing its self-titled debut in 1988. But Blaze says he was never worried about Lillian Axe resurfacing — as it has with the new “Waters Rising” album.
“Maybe everybody else was (concerned),” Blaze says, “and maybe a little bit of (the delay) was my fault. But I’m always very, very focused, and I always know what’s gonna happen — at least what my plan is. I always knew we were gonna be back.”
With a title like “Waters Rising,” many have been quick to assume that Lillian Axe’s new album was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the chaos it wrought on the band’s hometown. Not so, says Blaze; the title track was actually written five years ago, and one of the songs refer specifically to the disaster.
But, he adds, the group was certainly affected. He suffered damage to a home he bought three months before Katrina hit in 2005. Members of his family and of the band lost their homes entirely. “Waters Rising” includes information directing fans to donate money to relief organizations, and Blaze says he certainly doesn’t mind if the songs are heard in a post-Katrina context.
“I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon or seem opportunist; if the album had come out before (Katrina), we would’ve called it ‘Waters Rising,’ too,” Blaze explains. “But a lot of the songs pertain to and can definitely parallel things that went on in that hurricane.
“They talk about inner turmoil and boiling points and being about to explode — things you go through every day that cause people to go off the deep end and how it manifests in people’s actions. Some take the opposite way and get strong from it, and some people lose their minds over it.
“It’s all in how strong we are in order to deal with obstacles every day.”
Lillian Axe, Kings & Pieces, Killin’ Machine and the Common Groove perform Wednesday (Sept. 19) at the I-Rock Night Club, 16350 Harper, Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (313) 881-7625 or visit www.irocknightclub.com.
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