Blast Magazine: At what age did you first pick up the guitar?
Steve Blaze: I was 6 years old when my parents bought me my first guitar.
Blast Magazine: Who were your earliest influences?
Steve Blaze: My early influences were AM radio, cartoons, and classical music. I started taking classical and flamenco guitar at that age. Alice cooper and Black Sabbath were my first rock influences. Mainly for the writing techniques.
Blast Magazine: Did you have any formal music lessons?
Steve Blaze: Yes I was taught begiiners guitar at 6. The instructor told my parents I had outgrown the class after a few months. I then took classical and flamenco guitar from Edie Leibe for several years, then Richard Greene. I took some jazz theory but it bored me. I then taught a few hundred students over the years. It really takes a lot of patience to teach.
Blast Magazine: Your first band OZ was a cover band. What were some of the songs you covered?
Steve Blaze: Oz played everything from Sabbath to Queen, UFO, Styx, Bad Co., Alice Cooper, Toto, Aerosmith, Zep, you name it!
Blast Magazine: Why did you decide to leave OZ and form Lillian Axe?
Steve Blaze: Oz basically morphed into Lillian because we had a manager who was staeling from us. We got away from him and started fresh.
Blast Magazine: Robin Crosby (Ratt) produced Lillian’s freshman release. How did he become involved in the project?
Steve Blaze: Lillian was asked to open for Ratt, Queensryche and Poison. Marshall Berle, who managed Ratt became our manager and Robin wanted to produce. It came with the deal.
Blast Magazine: For me, Lillian Axe’s first two releases had more depth musically then just about all the other hard rock releases rolled into one that were released during ’88 & ’89. In your opinion, why were you not as popular?
Steve Blaze: We have always been the cult favorites, the underdog band. If I had a nickel for every time someone said we should have been the biggest band of the era, I would be filthy rich. Dont know why, but it's in God's time. I still feel we are on the way to where we should have been. Many bands such as Kings X and Saigon Kick are in the same boat.
Blast Magazine: 1992’s ‘Poetic Justice’ saw the first and only cover song. Who’s idea was it to record Badfinger’s – “No Matter What”?
Steve Blaze: Mutual agreement. We loved Badfinger. They had a very tragic history, so we did it as homage to them.
Blast Magazine: In my opinion, every song on ‘Poetic..’ is a 10. Why did IRS chose to release the cover song as a single instead of an original track?
Steve Blaze: No damn idea. They saw it work for Van Halen I guess.
Blast Magazine: Once again it seems Lillian is the Rodney Dangerfield of music and over looked. Did IRS just not promote the release or was it just plain lack of radio play compiled with the changing of the music scene?
Steve Blaze: IRS started off really working it well. They just dropped the ball as things started to peak. Possibly it was financially related. The scene changing really screwed the music business up.
Blast Magazine: The songs on ‘Psychoschizoprenia’ are to say the least heavier than anything you had written in the past. Was this something you set out to write, or was it just the progression of your songwriting?
Steve Blaze: Just a progression. I think they sounded heavier because we had more and more control of what we did in the studio.
Blast Magazine: After the release of ‘Psychoschizoprenia’ you disbanded Lillian Axe and formed NLE (Near Life Experience) how receptive was longtime Lillian fans to the new edgier NLE?
Steve Blaze: Mixed emotions. I think a lot of people were just upset that Lillian took a break. The real fans gave it a chance, and the bulk of them loved it. It took a little time though.
Blast Magazine: After re-uniting the band you released, ‘Fields of Yesterday’ a collection of b-sides and songs Lillian Axe never used. Why did you decide to do this instead of a CD of all new material? (not that this wasn’t new material to fans…lol)
Steve Blaze: We did some reunion shows that went very well. We wanted to get some material out quickly while we wrote new stuff and worked things out within the band.
Blast Magazine: I read somewhere that Lillian Axe has several songs that were never used. Any plans on releasing a box set of unreleased material?
Steve Blaze: We have lots of unused stuff. Some may pop up in the future!
Blast Magazine: Did Ron make the decision to leave the band?
Steve Blaze: Ron left to do other things in his life. On my end, there are no hard feelings at all. I can't speak for him, but there shouldn't be any on his end. We had a great chemistry and got along great. There were some disagreements but they were never personal, just band direction stuff.
Blast Magazine: How many vocalists auditioned before you made the decision on Derrick?
Steve Blaze: Only listened to a few. God blessed us when I found Derrick so quickly.
Blast Magazine: How easy was the transition from Ron to Derrick?
Steve Blaze: Piece of Cake! He walked in and it was a wrap.
Blast Magazine: From the time Derrick was hired how long did ‘Water Rising’ take to get recorded?
Steve Blaze: Maybe a year?
Blast Magazine: Bassist Darrin Delatte wrote the music for the song “Antarctica”, this is the first time Lillian has recorded a song were you did not write the music. How hard was it to give up that control?
Steve Blaze: Not hard at all. It was a great song. He was still in the band when we decided to use it.
Blast Magazine: What is the current status of Angel?
Steve Blaze: Angel is waiting on Frank to finish some demo work. Then we hopefully will record a new album!
Blast Magazine: I have just received word that the tentative title for the new Lillian Axe CD will be ‘Sad Day On Planet Earth’. Can you give us any insight on how many songs there will be on the release or a ballpark release date?
Steve Blaze: 12 songs.....May-June release!!!!