Lillian Axe is a New Orleans glam-turned-hard rock band from the early 1980s. The group signed with the same management as Ratt, Marshall Berle who had earlier worked with Van Halen, after opening for the LA glamsters and subsequently had its debut produced by Ratt’s guitarist Robin Crosby. The core of Lillian Axe had merged with the remaining members of Stiff. The band had a semi-hit, called Dream Of A Lifetime, with its debut album. With the wind of change providing resistance, MCA dropped the group in 1989 after Love + War’s softer sound disappointed fans. The band disbanded in 1995 leaving behind a legacy of four albums. Predictably, the band reappeared in 1999 and released a compilation of odds and ends, entitled poetically Fields Of Yesterday, as well as a live album, called Live 2002. The band was booked to tour with Cinderella and Judas Priest in 2002. Ron Taylor left the band in 2004. Darrin De Latte left two years later.
The line-up remained in flux with guitarist Steve Blaze forming a core. The band released Waters Rising with singer Derrick LeFevre in 2007. Lillian Axe performed at Rocklahoma in 2007 before 100,000 people replacing the cancelled Tigertailz. The band signed with the Swedish Blistering Records for 2009’s Sad Day On Planet Earth and three subsequent albums. Lillian Axe was chosen to support Alice Cooper on the road in both 2007 and 2009.
Phil Sadler, Charlie Bagarozza, and Steve Blaze launched a new label called Love & War Records in 2010 with links to Lillian Axe (Blaze was the lead guitarist/founding member of the band, while Sadler promoted the group’s shows in the Midwest area), the label’s first-ever release would be the group’s tenth album overall, Deep Red Shadows. The album - produced by Blaze and mastered by Ty Tabor of King’s X - was released on July 20th, 2010. The label was seeking band solicitations and had a website at http://www.lovenadwarrecordsllc.com/. Former singer of Metal Church Ronny Munroe joined Lillian Axe replacing departing singer Derrick LeFevre. Apparently, LeFevre did not commit to touring. Former Metal Church singer Ronny Munroe, who joined the band in the summer, quit Lillian Axe in the autumn. He supposedly wanted to focus on his other bands. He would join Firewolfe in 2012 intead. In the spring of 2011 Lillian Axe had yet another new singer. Brian Jones was formerly of Full Moon Circus. Lillian Axe, with Brian Jones on vocals, signed with AFM Records. The band's next album, XI: The Days Before Tomorrow was released on January 27th, 2012. The America Rocks tour with Jack Russell's Great White, Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys, Lillian Axe and Pretty Boy Floyd was touring the USA in the summer of 2012. During its 2013 string of dates en route Texas Lillian Axe had a tour bus accident and had to cancel its shows. Lillian Axe would release an acoustic and live album, One Night In The Temple, on April 15th, 2014 through CME Records. It was produced by Steve Blaze. Logan featuring the first Lillian Axe singer Johnny Vines re-released its 1993 EP with ten never-before-released tracks through FnA Records in 2019.
Steve Nunenmacher is the brother of Crowbar’s Craig. The name Lillian Axe was inspired by the image of a dead bridesmaid in the film Creep Show. The liner notes for Sad Day On Planet Earth end with the line, “Who the fuck is Lillian?”
LILLIAN AXE - SAD DAY ON PLANET EARTH - BLISTERING
Despite its gloomy title and equally dismal cover, the band/album clearly has a religious bent that cannot be denied. Perhaps not a surprise for an American act, but amusing for such a sordid package of pessimism to have a religious bent. Aside from the obvious, titles like Jesus Wept or Divine, lines about believers, saved souls and heaven and hell point towards matters divine for Lillian Axe.
On the musical front, Lillian Axe orders up a mixed bag of hard rock and heavy metal sounds. Quality aside, the style is remarkable for 2009. First, however, the album begins with a pensive instrumental filled with acoustic guitars. “God bless the children of the... beast.” Megaslowfade at the very least hints at Kiss and not for the last time. The song is a modern version of classic Kiss with the vocals mixed favourably and a few inventive beats throughout. Jesus Wept is more akin to something one would hear on Dokken’s Erase The Slate. The song has a good feeling and melodic vocals, which do not yield to the modern trend of hitting the higher pitches. There is a great bass line on this one. Ignite kicks off with a bass line reminiscent of Diamond Head’s Borrowed Time album and goes on to satisfy with doubled-up vocals and better guitars. The title track is the start of many slower or more sombre passages on the disc. The acoustic guitars are everywhere and certainly negatively impact the heaviness factor. At one point, Derrick LeFevre’s rhythm sounds copied from Olivia Newton John singing, “hopelesslyyy devoted to youuuu...” Do compare lest your eyeballs are rolling towards your forehead and disbelief is setting in! Within Your reach is a good example of the band’s mellow sound here furthered with keyboards.
Sad Day On Planet Earth is a hard rock album proper, but it has too much material that is mellow or soft to be much beyond merely 'above average.' - Ali “The Metallian”