LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Wax Mekanix: I’m Wax Mekanix and I’m a shameless America songwriter, singer, guitarist, drummer, and percussionist.
In addition to my solo work, I’m a founding member of American cult rock quartet, Nitro. Not the LA glam Nitro that graced the MTV airwaves in the late 80s. Dana, John, Brad, and I formed Nitro in 1980 and were part of the US’s answer to the NWOBHM. I’ve got more than a few years of writing, recording, and gigging under my belt. When I step outside of Nitro for musical fun, I don’t have a static lineup to my band, so it depends on what/where I’m playing. There are so many inspiring creative people in the world to discover, so this is the appeal of flying solo in the way that I do it.
Wax Mekanix: 2020 is certainly one for the history books, and many of our musical brethren are scrambling to stay afloat and stay creative in these sideways times. I’ve been lucky because, like Superman, I have a Clark Kent gig that keeps me scraping by until we can all get together again for live music. I’m a believer that, if we (musicians and music lovers) work together and care for each other, we will be stronger, wiser, and better equipped to face all kinds of challenges in the years to come.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Wax Mekanix: I’ve always been a sunny-side-of-the-mountain kind of guy, so I’m taking this rare down-time to reconnect with those people that I care about. Some friends and family are a bit spooked by the unknowns that are part of 2020, so my goal is to use these odd times to strengthen and build on relationships that are important. Frankly, the most important part of my life is the people who love me and those I love. Everything else is secondary to that. Nurturing relationships is my primary focus these days. Creatively, it’s great to have large chunks of time to get into the musical work that I love so much. This includes writing and recording. I’m currently working on a new album for 2021 with my crew, so I’m stoked about that. I paint a bit, too, so it’s nice to have ample time to get with my canvases. I have found that large swaths of time are now available to feed my head and reconnect with the muses that serve as my inspiration. Finally, I’ve always tried to treat my body well, so I’m reinvigorating the way that I care for health and fitness so I can be around for a long time. I’m definitely trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
LOMM: Modern sounds are my thing J How about you? What does your genre means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Wax Mekanix: Genres are cool in that they help to calibrate us in many ways. We all love our sub-sub-sub-genre tribes. Anyone who knows anything about my musical trip knows that I co-founded American cult rockers Nitro at the dawn of the 1980s. With Nitro, John Hazel, Brad Gensimore, Dana Confer, and yours-truly crafted our mission statement to design a cornucopia of edgy, scrappy, punky, raw blend of heaviness based on guitar, bass, drums, and howling. Each and every Nitro member loves snarling, slamming tunes with a bit of pop construction to make them memorable and interesting. In addition to that, I’m a fan of acoustic sonics, too. When done right, it’s a tasty 3-dimensional feast of ear candy that I really dig. With my new record “Mobocracy”, Electric Talon Records is letting me bring all of that to my audience on November 20, 2020! Talking about music is fun, but listening at a volume of 11 is the best, so go check it out and decide for yourself.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Wax Mekanix: For my new record “Mobocracy” I had a specific goal in mind when I set foot-to-path. I figured, if I’m coming off the porch to run with the big dogs, I’m coming off strong. History shows us that artists will not let the kind of tectonic shift in American life that we have been witnessing, pass without comment. I’m just commenting now. Specifically, in the world of psychiatry, the Kübler-Ross model is known as the five stages of grief. It postulates a series of emotions experienced by terminally ill patients prior to death, people who have lost a loved one, or experienced some other great trauma. The five grief stages are:
America and, some argue, the world have been traumatized by recently events. My goal is to offer discrete albums containing a set of songs that are based on each stage relative to the changing America I live in. “Mobocracy” is denial. I’m working on recording the “anger” record now. I have written the “bargaining” record but have not started production of it. I’m currently writing songs for “depression”. That’s a big sloppy mouthful, but you asked 😉
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve
Wax Mekanix: In general, I am really happy with “Mobocracy”. Specifically, this is due mostly to the excellent people who helped me make it. Although I’m guilty of the invention of the songs and the weakest link in the chain, producers Lectriq and Machine are the real technical architects of the quality of the record. The musicians that are on the record are just amazingly good. The beards from Crobot, Brandon and Bishop, a murder of breathtaking backing vocalists, guitarists/bassists Tom Altman, John Hazel, and Pops Sewell, to name a few. I try to surround myself with people more talented than me and get out of their way. Either Lennon or Bono said, musicians don’t finish songs, they abandon them. I agree with that.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Wax Mekanix: Although Electric Talon dropped a few singles in October and November, “Mobocracy” is set for November 20, 2020 release, so we shall see if I get praise, scorn, or indifference. Frankly, all that the record has to do is please me….full stop. I know the kind of record I made and I’m going to be proud of it until I leave the planet.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Wax Mekanix: I have certainly played many live gigs over the years and look forward to a time when we can all gather again in a safe way.
LOMM: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?
Wax Mekanix: My goals are modest, really. I don’t have any desire to conquer the world. I love the work, the people, and enjoy most of the facets of being an artist. My mantra is: write, record, perform for interested audiences, rinse, and repeat!
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Wax Mekanix: As mentioned above, I wanted to craft some tunes about how ‘Merica has been thrashing around recently, so that was an interesting perspective to my writing approach. Generally, themes span a really broad range. Although not deliberate, and mostly in spite of my design, my songs inevitably reveal themselves to be about me in some way.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Wax Mekanix: Good question! Each one has its upside and downside. Each one requires using different physical, intellectual, creative, and emotional skills to do well. Because of this, I like them both equally. There can be a love/hate relationship with them, too, so getting one’s head right is essential to tease out the redeeming qualities. In the final analysis, I am thankful that I get to do them both.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Wax Mekanix: Since I am a solo artist, I typically create alone, usually with guitar. On “Mobocracy”, I did co-write a few of the tracks with Lectriq, the guys from Crobot, and Nitro guitarist John Hazel.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Wax Mekanix: The list is really long, but as a songwriter, it certainly starts with Dylan, The Beatles, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, and Queen. As a performer, it’s Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Queen, KISS, AC/DC, and Van Halen.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Wax Mekanix: My thinking is that if I come to any artists, I want their perspective on stuff. That’s why I go to them, right? The exciting part for me is to see what new notions an artist has. I hope that any audience I have will take this posture when I offer anything up to them. I have had fulfilling creative experiences when I trust the music and follow the music and avoid any pandering.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Wax Mekanix: Honestly, it is the rebirth of creativity when I write a new tune or stand back and gaze on a new painting. It’s evergreen and there is always something new, different, and exciting on the horizon. This is a wonderful gift that I have been given.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Wax Mekanix: I’d like them to know that I trust them, that I respect them, that I never take them for granted, and that I appreciate them more than I could ever articulate.