Danny Rexon is a busy man, and the workload does not look like slowing down any time soon. Currently on tour with Crazy Lixx in Europe alongside W.A.S.P, the band have also extended their deal with Frontiers. MetalTalk’s Taylor Cameron spoke with Danny to discuss this, as well as his work with Chez Kane, his music video concepts and how Crazy Lixx are true leaders of the Scandinavian-led ‘80s hard rock revival.
Our first port of call was extending the deal with Frontiers, which includes new albums, back catalogue remixes and re-recordings, looking for a hint at what era of Crazy Lixx these tracks will be coming from.
“I don’t know how much I can tell,” Danny told MetalTalk, “but it will be focused on the earlier stuff. We’re talking about music that was written before our newest guitarists, Jens Lundgren and Chrisse Olsson, joined in 2016. There are some things there that have a lot of potential but weren’t produced to the best standard or were released before streaming was even a thing. Some of the songs deserve a second chance.
“We’ll be releasing those along with some covers and new tracks. The new tracks are new in that they haven’t been released but will be a couple of years old to us. It’ll be a really cool release for the fans, as well as new listeners who may not know our earlier material. Everything will be done with fresh production and up-to-date sound.”
Street Lethal, the bands seventh album, was released towards the end of 2021. “With the new contract, there are, of course, studio albums in the plan,” Danny says. “The upcoming release will be a bridge between that, and we’ll be starting on our next studio album with new material probably after the summer. There’s always uncertainty with how long it’ll take, we’re hoping not too long, but it’ll definitely be a 2024 release.”
Last year was twenty years since Danny formed Crazy Lixx. How does he feel he has grown as a musician since then, and is there anything that he knows now that he wishes he had known back then? “That’s always the thing isn’t it [laughs]. You want to be younger, but with the experience and knowledge, you have now. I feel like there were a lot of lost years in the beginning, with different lineup changes. Of course, those aren’t things you can predict, but also the fact that when you’re younger, you’re more ambitious.
“You’re more open to different opportunities, but now that we’re older, we’re all pretty settled in what we do. I don’t think any of us would leave the band even if other opportunities came up. I don’t have any regrets, but there were a few years early on when there wasn’t a stable lineup, and we had a long demo band period.
“The band started in 2002, but our first album didn’t come out till 2007. We had almost five years of being a demo band and playing local clubs in Sweden mostly, and then our first album was released on an Indie label in 2007. We didn’t sign with Frontiers until 2010. That’s what I consider the band’s true start. It’s been 20 years, but it doesn’t always feel like it because of the slow start.”
Crazy Lixx are on tour with W.A.S.P on their European dates, and Danny has firm plans for the set. “Because we’re a support act, we have a fairly short set and are trying to impress a new audience,” he says. “We’ll be sticking to the top tracks in our catalogue from Spotify and Apple Music.
“It’s a bit harder to tell nowadays what songs are popular. Back in the day, they could tell by single sales and stuff like that. I don’t think there will be any surprises for the diehard fans. We’ll be going with pretty safe cards. The whole idea of this tour is to attract a new audience who may not have heard our music before.”
Danny worked closely with Chez Kane, who released her sophomore album, Powerzone, last October. “It’s been tons of fun,” he says. “This is the first production I’ve done from start to finish, with all the songwriting and mixing. When we started, we were hit with the Covid restrictions, so we couldn’t actually meet up. She did all her vocals remotely.”
“The first time we met up was actually for her first music video,” Danny says. “We had a little window after the summer of 2020 when travel restrictions were lifted. But the whole album was recorded and produced without us ever meeting. It actually worked so well that we did the same thing with her second album as well. She recorded her vocals at her place, and I did the rest at my studio. It’s safe to say that she’s very easy to work with, and I’m happy to continue working with her because I’m very satisfied with the results.”
With both the Crazy Lixx and Chez Kane projects, Danny and Jens Anderson [Crazy Lixx bass player] are heavily involved in the music video concepts, as well as editing the videos. What is it like working on the visual aspects of an album, and do concepts normally come easy?
“We have tons of inspiration,” Danny says. “Usually, it’s from the same batch of ideas because we’re very influenced by ’80s movies and music videos from the era. It’s never a problem to come up with ideas, but with a budget constraint, we can’t always do everything we want to.”
“Music videos have become a totally different thing than what they used to be,” Danny says. “They used to be this high-budget thing where you would record for multiple days and would turn out almost movie quality. Unfortunately, that’s the era we’re inspired by, when the music videos were larger than life. But we just work around the budget we have to create something with a similar vibe.
“As far as concepts, though, me and Jens are always coming up with a ton of ideas. It’s just a question of what we can actually do [laughs]. It’s always a lot of fun, though. We have a great time doing them. Usually, it’s long hours and a lot of work because we do it mostly ourselves, even building sets and props and stuff like that, but it’s fun for sure.”
Danny says that his ’80s/’90s music video inspirations are “all of the Hair Metal videos, the classic blue lights, smoke, big stages, beautiful girls, fast cars, all of that always works for me. I could probably name a hundred, but I’m sure you get the idea of the ones I’m talking about.”
On his YouTube channel, Danny has been pairing ’80s and ’90s movies with his tracks and creating music videos. “I’m trying to keep a steady schedule,” Danny says. “We’re doing one every other week now, which seems to work out well. Some do better than others. It’s hard to tell which ones will do best, but we got really lucky with one of them (She’s Wearing Yesterday’s Face: UST – ‘Killer Workout’ 1987). It’s pulled over two million views now since the start of the year.”
“It’s a concept we’re going to continue,” Danny says. “It’s an idea I think I mainly got from watching videos in the synth-wave genre. They did stuff like this for electronic music, where they’d make music videos for ’80s movies, and I always thought there was a place for rock music to do the same because in the movies, there was usually a lot of rock music.
“At first, I didn’t know how the copyright situation would play out, but I see now that it’s kind of easy to do on YouTube because they’ll usually just split the royalties between the copyright holders. So with Frontiers owning the music and the copyright holders of the movies, all the ad revenue splits between them, and everyone is happy. We haven’t had a situation yet where a film studio approached us, wanting to take it down. I think they’re just happy with the extra income.”
My favourite one so far has been The Lost Boys, one of my favourite movies ever, paired with Blame It On Love. “I agree,” Danny says. “That era of movies, the ’80s and early ’90s, there’s so many great ones. I think I actually have the problem of having more movies than songs [laughs]. So I kinda have to pick and choose. However, some of the stuff we’re re-recording I think will be a great fit for some videos.”
Danny Rexon quick fire round.
If you could go back in time to see one band/festival, who would you go see and why?
“I would say Kiss or Bon Jovi in the late ’80s or early ’90s. Back when they were in their prime. My favourite era of Kiss is the Crazy Nights/Hot In The Shade Era, which is funny because they weren’t as popular then. I’m not even sure if they were doing full arena tours back then, but I would’ve loved to have seen them during that time.”
Favourite ’80s movie?
“Tremors. It’s a B monster movie about big monsters coming up from the ground. I don’t know why, but the whole feeling of it is just perfect. I think all the sequels that came out after it are terrible, but the first movie is really, really good. It stars Kevin Bacon as well. It did come out in 1990, though, so it’s not technically an ’80s movie, but it has the same feel as one. That would rank very high for me.”
We feel like 1990-1992 can kind of slip into the ’80s anyways [laughs]
“Yeah, I always say that the ’80s were a very long decade. From 1978-1992.”
Top 5 desert island albums?
“I’d have to take an Iron Maiden album since they’re my favourite band of all time. I’ll go with Somewhere In Time which is my favourite album by them. Kiss – Crazy Nights, Jon Bon Jovi – Blaze Of Glory. Maybe an Alice Cooper album, probably Trash or Hey Stoopid.
“And just to give some variation, I would bring a Dire Straits album. I’ve always liked Dire Straits. When I was a kid, I used to fall asleep to Dire Straits in the car, which is a bit dangerous now because I still like to have it on while driving. But if I needed to get some sleep on the island, I could just put on some Dire Straits and would sleep like a baby.”