Formed by Steevo and Joe from the ashes of the Circus of Hell (goth-glam shenanigans with little or no redeeming factors) Lixx’s formative years were spent honing their glittercraft in the fleapits and toilets of Dundee, with the legendary Fen on pink Gibson SG and Bee on bass and home made platform boots. More infamous than inspired, they were a musical Marmite for the good burghers of Dundee – either you’d happily spread them on toast for breakfast, or you’d cut out the middleman and dump them straight down the toilet. In thrall to the Dolls and the Sweet, the set list contained such belters as ‘Loose Shoes’, ‘Decadent Dogs’, ‘US Lady’, ‘Junk Rock Blues’, ‘Sweet City Angel’ and ‘Somebody Sexual’. Let’s put it this way – you wouldn’t need to hear the songs to discern the subject matter – shagging, drinking, more shagging. The general populous somehow couldn’t get down with the pink leather jackets, feather boas, lipstick and lace, and the group found themselves acting as either a touchstone for those who identified with the outrageous look and got the glam influences, or as a lightning rod for ignorant and ill-informed accusations of the band being ‘poofs’ and ‘perverts’. It was all grist to the mill for the boys though, who claimed ‘only to use the band as a vehicle for sex’!
However, a move to Edinburgh, and the acquisition of Nazz on guitar and Stu on bass saw a change in image and musical direction. Nazz came loaded with an abundance of technical ability as well as feel, lending a maturity previously only noticeable by its absence. Initial gigs showed early promise, with Metal Hammer and Raw magazines reporting the band as ‘frontrunners’ in the UK music scene’, with journalist Alan McRorie proclaiming that ‘Lixx are dangerously close to the realm occupied solely by The Rolling Stones.” It wasn’t long before the Fast Forward organisation signed the band up on the strength of the buzz they’d created, and by late 1987, Lixx entered Pier House studios to record their ‘Loose On You’ mini-LP (mastered at Abbey Road, don’cha know) and set about touring up and down the country in support of said magnum opus. A gig in London prompted Metal Hammer to claim that ‘infamy was only a few months away’ with songs such as ‘In For A Riot’ ‘Drive Me To Ruin’ ‘Freeloader’ ‘Plain Jane’ and ‘Hot Shot’ already being proclaimed as classics, whilst Kerrang predicted that ‘in another six months they’ll be spreading their own particularly virulent disease right across the land,’ stating that ‘the rock renaissance is well and truly under way.’
The press was similarly effusive with praise for the LP. Kerrang’s Richard Heggie saw Loose On You as ‘one of the most accomplished indie debut albums you will ever encounter’ with the review comparing Lixx to Kiss, Guns n Roses, Faster Pussycat, Mama’s Boys and Bon Jovi. Metal Hammer claimed the band shared DNA with Wolfsbane, the Quireboys, and Zodiac Mindwarp and concluded their review saying that they heard ‘half-a-dozen reasons why Lixx could be at the front of the UK hotlist’. The album was reviewed in Greece, France and Germany, yet it was a centre page feature in the Daily Record of December 1988 that really brought home to rock fans all over Scotland just how close Lixx were to becoming serious contenders, with the paper rather comically proclaiming that the band had a ‘solid rock sound.’ You don’t say!
They were signed up by the same management company who handled the affairs of The Almighty, and the major record companies did come a-knocking, so for a little while it seemed as if the predictions for fame and fortune were about to come true, but alas, like many other bands, they never quite made that final push over the cliff. The band recorded the ‘From Here To Heartbreak’ sessions, the four tracks slated to be released as an EP, but by then the record company had gone bust – eventually the ‘dear John’ letter was sent by their manager and Lixx found themselves without a record or management deal.
The Highway To Hell is strewn with carcasses of musicians who just about made it, and the cracks began to show when Lixx became The Sons Of The Shaking Earth in a desperate attempt to change direction/image. The grunge explosion and resultant tsunami had reached land and all of a sudden playing rock n roll became unfashionable, and The Sons soldiered on for a year or so, recording the 3 track EP ‘Someday’ to little fanfare even though it was the best stuff they had written. Joe and Stu left, followed later by Steevo but with Nazz at the helm the band continued on, moving in a heavier direction, eventually imploding by the mid-nineties.
So, Lixx then. A tragi-comic tale once the dust had settled, with possibilities and potential left unfulfilled. Their legacy was a well-received mini-LP, a handful of demos, and a clutch of Dundonian ladies still reminiscing about the time Joe Doll took them back to his house ‘for a coffee…’
Joe ‘Doll’ Ogilvie: Vocals
Steevo Athwal: Drums
Nazz E White: Guitars
Stu Allan: Bass
Fen Ronson: Guitars
Bee Paterson: Bass
‘Loose On You’ LP
Blast Furnace Records Kickass 1
One Way Ride
Drive Me To Ruin
She Got The Look
‘From Here To Heartbreak’ unreleased EP
From Here To Heartbreak
In For A Riot
Plain Jane v2
‘Sons Of The Shaking Earth’ demo
Alive (Kill For You)
LIXX – EDINBURGH VENUE
A MERE six months ago, Lixx were just another local band quietly doing the rounds like so many others. Surely they’ve been popping musical steroids or guzzling some Jekyll And Hyde potion since then because, like the rejuvenated Scottish rock scene, they are now alive and kicking.
There’s eagerness and ambition in their every move as they parade across the Venue boards lead by semi-naked vocalist Joe Doll: there’s big heat power in the rhythms of drummer Steevo and bassist Stuart, and guitarist Nazi is happily getting down in Rhoads mode,
The charms of this good-time combo certainly have a magnetic attraction to the locals who willingly packed themselves in tonight and warmed to the trashy, sleazy sounds of a band destined for great things,
Plugging in with ‘Turn It On’ and ‘Thrill Of It All’, which were sacrificed in the cause of obtaining a great sound for the rest of the set. Lixx then unleashed a flurry of five consecutive tracks from their brand new (essential) debut album ‘Loose On You’.
‘Hot Shot’ and ‘One Way Ride’ showed promise leading in to three quite brilliant album tracks ‘Drive Me To Ruin’, ‘Plain Jane’ and ‘Freeloader’. These are the songs Tigertailz should be playing, though in many ways they’re similar to the kind of hooky burners which are making Cry famous.
‘Too Bad Too Late’ and ‘She Got The Look’, again from the album, paved the way for a hectic climax of ‘Joker’s Wild’ and ‘Second Cousin’ before Lixx were easily persuaded to return by a well-convinced crowd for encores of Zody’s ‘Planet Girl’, the Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ and their own ‘In For A Riot’.
With an album in the shops and a spell of serious gigging in the pipeline, it’s easy to believe that in another six months they’ll be spreading their own particularly virulent disease right across the land. The Scottish rock renaissance is well and truly underway.