Hexx – American band, playing since 1983, they were and they are kick ass!
Hi! Tell me about Hexx and ‘80s, when you just started the band. Do you remember those times? Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Hello! Thanks for the interview and all the great questions! Well, we started Hexx because of our love for heavy music. We loved bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Deep Purple/Rainbow, AC/DC, Scorpions, Rush, UFO, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden Jimi Hendrix just to name a few. We wanted to emulate our heroes so badly that we forced ourselves to learn our instruments so that we could be as much like them as we possibly could. After a few years we just evolved into our own style based on our influences.
The San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980’s was a hot bed of talented musicians and bands. There were mind blowing bands performing every night of the week in the club scene. Before we became known as Hexx we were called Paradox and we had worked our way up from the back yard beer bashes and house parties and into the thriving bay area nightclub scene. At one point we got to open for acts like Dio right after he left Black Sabbath, Quiet Riot, and Lita Ford. We caught the attention of Record Mogul Mike Varney and he signed us to a two record deal with Shrapnel Records. Mike Varney claimed that the name Paradox was already being used by several other bands around the world so he asked us to come up with a new name to avoid confusion. Out of all the names everybody came up with “Hexx” spelled with two Xs was the only name everyone could agree on.
With our music we like to explore things a little on the darker side of life. We are all big horror and Si Fi movie fans so these kinds of themes and related subjects will often pop up in our songs.
If you are interested in reading the full history of HEXX in much more detail you can visit the HISTORY section on our new website at http://hexxmetal.com/.
Your last album, “Morbid Reality” was released back in 1991!!! Then you had hugest hiatus until 2013… So, guys, what happens back then?
Well, a combination of things happened back then. For one thing the Seattle Grunge sound was taking over but before that the glam metal bands and scene at that time had given heavy metal a lame reputation and made it even more difficult for the lower level darker/ heavier more serious bands to continue and survive. The Morbid Reality record was a culmination of all our years of hard work and frustration spilled out into one record. At the time when it was released it fell onto deaf ears and did not sell well enough to warrant Century Media picking up our option for another record release. We were tired of struggling, it seemed like we were just beating a dead horse to get up and run so with no seeable future in front of us we just fell apart. It was as simple as that. We lost the heart to go on and that was it.
Tell me more about your future plans. Are you ready to record new full-length album?
Yes, we have just finished working out a deal with High Roller Records from Germany for two new full length HEXX albums! We have studio time booked for February of 2017 to begin recording 14 new HEXX tracks! The album will be co produced by Bart Gabriel. We are very excited and happy to announce this!
So, now Hexx contains 3 new members, do you think this is really powerful and permanent line-up for many years? How different are your opinions regarding music with the new members? They are not young men, anyway, I’m curious if they are completely same-minded with you.
Ha! Your question is very perceptive my friend! It is true we are all old men now but we still have in our hearts the love and passion for playing heavy power metal music like the kind we made back in the 1980’s. This is by far the best and strongest line up in the history of Hexx! The new members: Mike Horn on bass, Bob Wright (from Brocas Helm) on 2nd guitar and the amazing Eddy Vega on lead vocals all know exactly and embrace perfectly the 1980’s power metal style of HEXX and we are re creating this sound and vibe we had back in the early days of San Francisco bay area metal!
Your past albums and various stuff were released by Century Media, Metal Blade etc… Do you planning to cooperate with them in the future?
Sure, of course. Metal Blade is doing well with the release of our 30th Anniversary box set and Century Media has re released Morbid Reality through Dark Symphonies records.
How was your life without music all these years?
Ha! I never stopped playing music at all. I just took a break from playing heavy metal. When Hexx broke up bassist Bill Peterson and I along with John Marshall from Metal Church got into playing Rockabilly and Psychobilly. We even made a few records and did a bunch of gigs doing this, it was a lot of fun! Bill and I even joined up with the legendary San Francisco Psychobilly band the HELLBILLYS. We made several records and toured the states and 3 times in Europe. Hexx drummer John Shafer and I are still active with the group today and plan on doing some shows and festivals here in the states and Europe in 2017 as well.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define Hexx’s nowadays sound?
Our sound today is very much like the sound and style we had on our Under the Spell record. The songs you will here on our new album coming out in 2017 will sound as if they could have written for the Under the Spell record back in 1985.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is the influence in your sound?
I have so many musical influences but I would have to say my main influences for guitar and song writing are Michael Schenker (especially from the UFO strangers in the night period) Ritchie Blackmore, the Scorpions (in Trance, Virgin Killer Love Drive and Tokyo tapes) Black Sabbath (Toni Iommi), Judas Priest, Rush and Jimi Hendrix. I could go on and on but I will stop here. These players are always with me when I sit down to write a new song.
Is there some well-known musician inparticular that you would like to use in one of your up coming albums?
Yeah, I would love to have Jimi Hendrix come back to life and co write a song with me and play on one of our new records!
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!! I wish!! No such luck. All of the guys in Hexx have to work hard all the time at our day jobs. The San Francisco bay area is one of the most expensive places to live on the planet earth. We have to work all the time just to keep a roof over our heads. Our Drummer John Shafer has his own business taking care of vacation properties up at South Lake Tahoe. He has to work his ass off to support his wife and children but he still manages to drive down to the Bay area to jam with Hexx as well as squeeze in a few hours of drum practice every day. Bob Wright also has his own electrical business. He too has to work his ass off all the time to make ends meet but still finds the time to contribute to Hexx. Eddy Vega is working for a Painting contractor right now and has to work long hard hours to support his children. He also has at least a 2 hour drive to make Hexx rehearsals. I work full time as a computer repair technician and Mike Horn has a full time career with the Genentech Corporation. All the time we manage to put into Hexx comes after the responsibilities to our jobs and families are met. It is not easy but we all live for the times that we can get together and work on the Hexx project!
How’s the metal scene in California right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days?
No, in fact it really sucks. Unless you are already a big name metal band gigs are hard to come by and they are usually in a small dive club and you are lucky to draw 100 people to the show. Sadly mostly all of Californians listen to some form of Rap or hip hop. Nobody here buys record or CD’s anymore. Everything is downloaded digitally from the internet. It’s very frustrating. That’s why we love to go outside of California to perform. For example we had a great time at the Milwaukee Metal fest this summer!
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
It’s been my pleasure and thanks again for the interview!!