Back in 2008, one of North Jersey’s most popular rock acts returned to the stage for the first time in 13 years with its original lineup. At the time, it seemed like many bands from that hair band and glam rock era were making a comeback. So why wouldn’t the mighty Trixter make their return? It seemed like the perfect time, right? Well, their return was ultimately a success, and here we are, four years later, about to celebrate the band’s first studio album of original material in 20 years. It is set to be released by way of the Italian record label, Frontiers Records.
Many of the bands from their genre usually just hit the road to make extra cash as a nostalgia act, but it seems like Trixter is taking a legitimate shot at a full-fledged comeback with the release of New Audio Machine on April 24. It’s a 12-track kickass musical masterpiece that truly exemplifies their signature sound and energy that we fell in love with on Trixter and Hear! If you put these three albums together, it would sound like they all came out of the same time period. Singer Pete Loran’s voice has not aged at all, Steve Brown’s trademark guitar riffs are striking and the thunderous backbeats of P.J. Farley and Mark “Gus” Scott were so typical of that Trixter sound.
The last time that I sat down with Steve Brown we talked about the 20th anniversary of Trixter’s self-titled debut CD in 2010. Today, we got to talk about the first actual Trixter record in 20 years. Here’s what Steve Brown and I talked about.
So the last time we spoke, you were talking about putting a new Trixter CD out….
You bet! And finally now, we have a new Trixter CD coming out. It’s hard to believe!
Steve, I’ve heard the whole thing, front to back, about 20 times already! It’s amazing!
I’m glad you like it! Dude, I gotta tell you this, and I think that I speak for the rest of the guys—we are so proud of this record, I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, and I think it combines the best elements of everything that we’ve ever done from the first two records, Trixter and Hear!, and even the two new songs that were on Alive In Japan. It really pulls everything together.
Were any of these songs leftovers from Trixter or Hear!?
Yeah, “Physical Attraction” was leftover from the first record. That was one that just didn’t make the cut, but we always thought it was a great song. It’s definitely one for the New Jersey fans from back in the ‘86 to ‘89 days, the Studio One and the China Club—that was always one of the fan favorites. So, that one made the record, which came out killer. And “Walk With A Stranger,” which was written by Snake and Rachel from Skid Row. That was a leftover from their first record, and they gave it to us because they thought it would be a better Trixter song than a Skid Row song. So that was another one.
Actually, those two songs are definitely for our Jersey fans, in the sense that they remember that we used to open up with “Walk With A Stranger” back when P.J. joined the band. So we’re happy with the way that one came out too but nothing really that leftover; just those two songs. “Drag Me Down” is a song from ‘93 that I wrote with Glen Burtnik from Styx, and that was gonna be for what was gonna be the new Trixter record, but we decided to do the Undercovers record instead. We were involved in a little bit of a legal battle with our old record company, and some other things, so we couldn’t do that. Everything else on the record, like “Machine,” “Ride,” and “Get On It,” are all brand new. Actually, those were written when the record was just about done, and I kind of turned to P.J. and Gus and said, “Man, you know what? We need three songs that are more Trixter oriented.” I actually wrote those three songs in a matter of a day. Those are the three songs that I like to tell everybody that kind of pulled the whole record together because we wrote them, we recorded them, and had them mixed and mastered within three weeks, which was pretty cool. So, it had that sense of urgency in it, and those three songs really pulled the record together.
I have to say that you guys didn’t really pull away from what you’ve always been doing. Everything sounds right in line with the first two records…..
I agree, man! That was the goal from the very beginning when I first came to the guys about two and a half years ago when the seeds were sowed to write this record. I wrote the song “Dirty Love” and I just wrote it out of the blue, it just came to me, and I wrote it and I did a demo really quick down in my studio, which actually turned out to be the demo. Actually, nowadays with ProTools and stuff like that, nothing is ever a demo anymore. There are actually parts on the finished recording that are from the first time when I recorded it. The cool thing is that I got down, did a rough version of the song, which pretty much hasn’t really changed since that first inception. I did a really good version of it with me singing. I played it for Gus, he heard it, and I said, “You know what? We’re making a new Trixter record.” So that was the song. That and “Drag Me Down” were the two songs that I knew we were on our way to making a record, and then I presented it to Pete and P.J. and everybody was kind of like, “Yeah, you know what? I think it’s time that we make a record.”
Like I said, every song that I heard, you can tell right away that it was Trixter.
That was the goal! I said to the guys, well, we all said to each other, “We gotta make a Trixter record! This can’t be us trying to be something else. Let’s be us full on. Let’s be all Trixter. Let’s be big vocals. Let’s be big guitars. Let’s be over-the-top drums with the drum samples, and make it a big rock production.” The coolest thing that I keep hearing as I do interviews all around the world is, “You guys haven’t missed a beat,” which is very cool! And it sounds like it could be on the radio today, and it sounds like it could be up there with Buckcherry or Nickelback or Daughtry. It has elements of Trixter. It is Trixter, but yet, it still got, with the production and the sound and the melodies, that it could be on the radio today, which is very cool.
Now, you guys are planning a full tour to support this CD right?
Yeah, we have like 15 dates on the table right now, but the first local show will be the Bergen PAC, and that’s going to be our CD release party, Thursday, May 10, with Warrant and Dokken, so that’s going to be a great show because that’s a great venue, and we’re really looking forward to it. That’s going to kick everything off, and from there we’re doing a bunch of dates. We’re doing the 21st anniversary of the Blood, Sweat, And Beers Cherry Pie Tour with Warrant and Firehouse, which is very cool, and then we got a couple of shows with Dokken and Winger and Ratt, and so it’s going to be a really busy year for us.
Now, with all of your busy schedules and different projects, how will you guys be able to manage a full-fledged Trixter tour?
Well, Trixter’s the priority. We’ve all worked for the last four years to get to this point. First putting the band back together in 2007 and going out and playing live for the first time in 2008. Every year has been building and building to get to this point to where we have a new CD out, which is not only a new CD, but a great CD that we’re so proud of. So, right now, we’re looking at a ton of American dates, but also for the first time doing a proper tour in Europe in the fall, and getting back to Japan and wherever else! We’re full-on with this and we’re hoping that the next two years bring on kind of a resurgence because no matter what I still believe. Eddie Van Halen told me years ago that music overpowers bullshit, which means great music, no matter what the trends are, a great song and a great record can always rise to the top no matter what, and I believe that.
The three of you guys still live in Jersey. What about Pete? Doesn’t he live on the West Coast?
Pete lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and this is a record where we utilized all of the technology of the file sending over the internet with YouSendIt, and it was very cool in that sense. We had some friends mix. Chuck Alkazian, who’s worked with everybody from Tesla and Christina Aguilera, he mixed half the record. We would just finish a session here, send it off and then a couple days later, through YouSendIt, you get a killer mix back, and we would send it to Pete to lay his vocals down on it out in Arizona. And our local buddy, Cory Pensa, who’s the guitar player for The Benjamins and Nine Circles, he actually mixed the first single, “Tattoos And Misery.”
How many of these new songs will be in your live set?
Honestly, right now, a lot of the shows, we’re only doing a 45-minute set, so we’re probably gonna start out with two songs, “Tattoos And Misery” and something else, and then we’ll break it up. Unfortunately, we know the reality of when you go to see your favorite band and then they’re starting to put in too many new songs, and usually, those are the songs where everybody gets up to get a beer. When we’re able to do some headlining shows we’ll play more. The thing is, these new songs go perfectly with our set. “Machine” or “Tattoos And Misery” is right up there with “Bad Girl” and “Play Rough” and “Give It to Me Good.”
What’s in store for Trixter moving forward?
Tour, Tour! Go out and play as much as possible! Bring the music to the fans and keep going! That’s really it. I will tell you this: This definitely is not going to be the last new music that we make. After getting the record done, we all, finally, looked at each other and said, “Man, this is really good, and this is fun again!” So, I think that we’re going to let this go as long as possible. Sky’s the limit at this point. We’re committed to working this record and going out and playing live and trying to work it as much as possible!
Trixter’s first CD in 20 years, New Audio Machine, hit stores on April 24. You can also catch Trixter live with Warrant and Dokken at the Bergen PAC in Englewood, NJ, on May 10. For more information, check out trixterrocks.com.