10 Questions: MOXY (Interview, March 2015)

Legendary Canadian rockers Moxy release ’1974 TO 2014 – 40 Years and Still Riding High: Best Of’ on CD/DVD on Escape Music on 22nd May. Moxy started back in 1974 and to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary a new band was assembled for just an occasion. Joining founding member Earl Johnson in the new line-up were vocalist Nick Walsh and here we catch-up with both of them…

Moxy - 40 Years And Still Riding High

What have you got planned for the next few months e.g. recording, touring, etc.

Earl: Right now we are waiting on the reaction from the UK release and negotiating a NA release for just after that.

Nick: Well, the idea behind this 40th celebration is to definitely get out there and play! The fans have been very vocal about seeing this line up out on the road kicking the shit out of this classic material.

A brief potted history of what Moxy have been up to these past few years…

Earl: Really the band had been in hiatus until this project came up and the momentum kicked in from adding Nick, Rob and Alexis to the band.

How did the current line-up of Moxy come together?

Earl: Well Alexis came on board first on drums, he asked Rob which we did and Nick was the final piece of the equation to make the CD an DVD happen.

Nick: Well, I can only speak for myself and Rob, Alexis and Andy had already been brought on board before us. I was asked to do a one off show with the band as their previous singer had other priorities. After that I was asked if I would stick around to do the album and I accepted. Rob was brought in as the material called for a 2nd guitarist and as it turns out both Rob and I Co-Produced the album together.

When re-recording these older songs did the band change the arrangements much or was it case of giving the classics a fresher sound due to advances in production techniques? Is the song ‘Trouble’ a brand new song?

Earl: A lot of the songs such as THRU THE STORM – MIDNIGHT FLIGHT – ANOTHER TIME were never recorded the way I perceived them when I wrote them. Finally had a chance to go back and do them justice. TROUBLE was a song I wrote that I was not big on that Rob and Nick picked up on and made it happen. Turned out very well.

Nick: The great thing about Earl is that he was actually very open to the idea of us changing and working with the arrangements of the songs. In fact some of them got the full stripped down approach and built back up. We spent many weeks in pre-production working as a band to get this right, and yes making the material more contemporary with today’s production technics was something that Earl had always hoped for and was totally our mission.

Trouble was chosen as I had found an old demo floating around online and found a unique charm to the song. I brought it to everyone’s attention and we went from there doing what we were doing in pre-pro and once again made it a brand new song.

If this album is well received any plans to record a full album of new songs?

Earl: Definitley. This is almost a new band with the way we approached the recording and the future of the band going forward.

Nick: We are not seers of the future but the bottom line is if we are having any success at this and it’s still fun then the only logical step is to keep on doing it. We may end up writing a few and/or going back into the archives for some more rare gems.

There is a live DVD with the CD. Does the band feel more pressure when you know you are being filmed or is a case of putting on the best show you can each night?

Earl: Live recording is always a pressure situation. Alexis and Rob spent hours making sure it turned out right from an Audio and Video perspective.

Nick: I don’t think that there is a higher level of pressure as we know what we set out to do whn performing, we all have been at this a long time. However this was the bands very first performance together and there was no original intention to professionally put it out as an official release….shit just happens! HAHA

What have been the live highlights for the band in the past few years and why?

Earl: This is it. This is my dream recording where all the song s that I felt best represented MOXY are finally recorded the way they should have been in the first place.

Nick: For me, for the time that I have been with the band, the hightlight would definitely be working on the album.

To hear these songs from the 1970’s take come to life with today’s production techniques was a real blast.

Was there ever any plans to involve former surviving members of the band to guest on the re-recordings?

Earl: No.

Nick: I don’t even think it was something we talked about; when we were doing pre-production it really was all about the material. I feel that the songs themselves were bigger than who was performing them, so it was just about working hard as a team on this project.

Nick – what have Famous Underground got planned for the next few months?

My band Famous Underground are currently writing and recording new music for our second release. We have 9 songs recorded and have about the same amount to go before we actually sit down and select which ones will make the cut. We are hoping to have something together for a late fall or early 2016 release.

Message for you fans…

Earl: BIG THANK YOU to those who have continued to support the band during the lean years. Hope they love the new product.

Nick: The reason for this whole MOXY ’40 Years and Still Riding High’ celebration is that the fans have somewhat demanded it. MOXY still has many fans from around the world and they are very vocal about where they feel this band and these songs sit in the annals of Rock history. So it is for them that we deliver these Classic tunes with the energy they deserve. Crank it up!

Interview by Jason Ritchie

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