Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Q: Over the last few years Maxxxwell you have been playing with the Legendary Metal band: Hellion but you just announced that you are now joining SOCIETY 1. Before we get into that I have to ask will you continue to be part of Hellion or have you decided to leave Hellion and make SOCIETY 1 your main project?
MC: Hi there! Well sure, I think a lot of people are wondering about that and I’ll start out by saying that I’m as committed to Hellion as I’ve ever been, it’s just that Hellion hasn’t really been doing much lately and this opportunity with Society 1 came up so I jumped on it. In 2016, Hellion did basically one show and one other sort of guest appearance and it’s been pretty quiet other than that. I love playing in Hellion and I hope that we can get back out there but at the moment, it’s just not happening. With the Hellion lineup, it’s a big challenge to get everyone’s schedules to jive and right now Simon and Scott and Bjorn and even Ira are pretty busy with other projects. All that being said… I’m also very committed to Society 1, but obviously a lot of musicians play in multiple bands these days so I don’t think anyone from either camp is questioning my loyalty.
Q: What have you enjoyed the most about playing with Hellion over the past few years and what do the Hellion fans mean to you?
MC: Hellion has been around a long time so there’s this great long-term fan base. I joined the band at a great time when they were kind of restarting things so it was really nice to be there for that and see how happy it made everyone to see us out on the road again and releasing new tunes. Of course traveling with the band has been fun too and recording…
Q: Now let’s get into SOCIETY 1. I have to ask were you at all a fan of the band, were you aware of the band’s history or have you become more aware of the band’s music since you joined the band?
MC: I was already aware of the band and I’d seen them play before. I’ve known Matt for a long time actually. He directed several videos for my solo band a few years ago and we’ve kept in touch. Part of the reason I was interested in joining the band was because I knew Matt and DV and they had always seemed like good guys to be in a band with. Of course now that I’m actually playing in the band I’ve become a lot more familiar with their back catalog, but yeah I already knew the general sound and vibe of Society 1.
Q: Talk about The SOCIETY 1 gig. Did you audition? If so what was the audition process like?
MC: Yeah, it was a pretty classical audition process. I contacted the band first, after seeing their post about looking for a new guitarist and got some basic info about what kind of person they were looking for. After that they asked me to learn a few tunes and send them a video of myself playing the songs. I did that, and they liked what they saw and asked me to come in for an in-person audition with the band. I did the audition at a rehearsal studio here in LA and got the gig. Pretty straight forward. There was a bit of a time crunch too since they had a show coming up just a couple weeks after that. They announced that I had joined about a week and a half after I did the audition. It went fast!
Q: Maxxx you recently released a Metal version of the Classic Christmas song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” First of all talk a little bit about the tune, let people know how they can check it out and then I’d like to hear why you chose to cover this classic Christmas song?
MC: Sure, well it’s on Youtube for anyone to see and the single is available pretty everywhere digital music is sold. Basically, I had thought about doing a holiday themed tune in the past but just always had other projects going on and couldn’t make time for it. I’ve long felt that most holiday songs are pretty lame, with maybe the stuff from Trans Siberian Orchestra being the exception. I just wanted to do something with a harder edge to it. I chose that song specifically because it lent itself to a metal arrangement well and it was also a secular Christmas song that had lyrics that were more relatable for myself and to a larger audience. I did an instrumental version of course but I think that message is still there. It was a funny thing though, with it being a Christmas song I assumed it was in the Public Domain when I started recording it, only to find out later that it’s not, which meant I had to pay a bunch of licensing fees to release it. Oh well. As long as people enjoy it, I’m happy.
Q: You recently made the decision to bring an end to your internet radio show: The Maxxed Out metal Hour Show which was on www.metalexpress.com . First of all Maxx talk about why you decided to stop doing the radio show?
MC: I did the show for about a year and a half and it was a lot of fun, but after a while I just started to feel like I was talking to myself! With that format, there’s no way for people to comment or call in or anything like that other than them sending me an email. I think I was just so used to live performance that not having an actual real audience in front of me just didn’t work after a while. I’m still involved with MER though, as a writer.
Q: Now that you have ended The Maxxed Out Radio show do you know if Metal Express Radio – The Ultimate Metal Experience will continue to air the old shows?
A: That’ll be up to them. They’re welcome to do that if they want to, as far as I’m concerned.
Q: What was the most enjoyable part for you about having the radio show?
MC: Definitely discovering new music. I came across so many great bands that I had never heard before while doing research for the show. Some old, some new, but all of them new to me.
Q: What was the hardest part for you about doing the radio show?
MC: Choosing the songs was pretty difficult sometimes! There are so many good ones to choose from!
Q: You recently released “Queen Of The Reich” which is a tribute you did to QueensRyche. Talk a little bit about your decision to cover the tune.
MC: Sure, well that is just a great metal song and it’s long been a favorite of mine. I can’t say I like every Queensryche track but that one is just one of the all-time best. When I was considering tracks to cover, I was also working with Frank Casciato at the time and he was such a good fit for that song. He also sang one of the tracks on my Visions of Speed and Thunder album. So I had the passion for the song and the right voice… it was an easy decision.
Q: In regards to QUEENSRYCHE I have to ask do you continue to be a QUEENSRYCHE fan or would you consider yourself to be a fan only of the Classic Geoff Tate fronted version of the band.
MC: I’m a fan of both and I’ve seen the old Queensryche, from like back in 2004 and then I was able to see both the current Queensryche and Operation Mindcrime within a few months of each other just this past year. I have to say that Queensryche with Todd La Torre put on the better show. That’s not to say that Operation Mindcrime isn’t a good band. I think they’re a very good band, but just not quite up to the level of the current Queensryche lineup. When I saw Operation Mindcrime, they had made some weird decisions with the live show that I think really didn’t have the audience’s best interests at heart. They did most of the best known songs as acoustic versions and played a lot of material that most fans aren’t really all that familiar with. It would be like if Judas Priest played the whole Angel Of Retribution album live. It would still be good but not really what people want to hear. Anyway, obviously a lot of people want to take sides on this issue but it’s still okay to like both bands if you ask me.
Q: “Queen Of The Reich” I know will also appear on your upcoming covers solo CD. Talk about the upcoming covers CD. Can you name any of the other songs you’ll be covering? In regards to the upcoming Covers CD I have to ask will you be using any guest Vocalist or will these be strictly Instrumental covers?
MC: It will be mostly vocal covers, since I’m really enjoying working with a variety of singers. I have to say though, that I’ve pretty much abandoned the album concept in favor of releasing a long string of singles. When they’re all out, sure I’ll put out a CD with everything but these days and with the way that I operate as a solo artist, it’s just much better for everyone if I do singles. The music industry has changed so much, so fast and my attitude towards it has changed as well. I’m much more about putting out a wide range of material and slowly building a fan base over a long time than working silently for 2 years and then launching 1 big album. The industry moves quickly and so does my creativity so I think it’s really a much more natural way for me to work. In the past couple years I’ve been doing teaching, directing videos, photography, writing articles and album reviews, releasing guitar lessons…really spreading my horizons artistically and it’s been very rewarding.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say to all your fans out there Maxxx?
MC: Not too much else other than to say that I love hearing from fans or anyone interested in what I’m doing. I’m pretty easy to go a hold of, through social media, so feel free to reach out! I might take a while to get back to people but I’m always interested in what they have to say! Stay Metal!