80's Glam Metalcast interviews Kevin Steele (Roxx Gang/Mojo Gurus)
On the change from Roxx Gang to the Mojo Gurus?
Roxx Gang was a big voodoo glam slam band. In the early 90’s, all the rock clubs were closing and grunge was taking over. Roxx Gang’s style of music was falling out of fashion. I always had theses blues rock roots and there was just starting to be a lot of baggage associated with the Roxx Gang name. One night we were playing a party and we didn’t want to go in with a full Roxx Gang production. We played under an alias which was “Mojo Gurus”. We played an bunch of old rock and rockabilly, outlaw country. We had a blast. We just started scaling things down and eventually became the Mojo Gurus. We went back to our roots and played more blues based rock. When I went from Roxx Gang to the Mojo Gurus, I lost a lot of the 80’s Hair Metal fans. I felt my songs like “ Red Rose”, “Fastest Gun In Town”, “Ball and Chain”....weren’t like “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Cherry Pie” or “Down Boys”. I never really associated us with a lot of those bands that came out when we did. I had no particular kinship to them.
On working with producer Beau Hill on “Things You’ve Never Done Before”?
Beau Hill is a great guy. Virgin didn’t know what to do with us, but they had tons of money and got us everything we wanted. They let us pick our producer and Beau Hill was on the top. We were big fans of the band KIX, and Beau had just produced their recent release. He worked with Ratt, Alice Cooper, and of course Winger and Warrant....who we weren’t crazy about musically. He was the only producer we worked with that had constructive ideas that I agreed with. Just a super cool, funny guy. It was my best experience in the studio.
On the L.A. Guns stealing his video idea?
Talk about the backstabbing that goes on behind the scenes. Our second video “Scratch My Back” was produced by an English cat named Ralph Ziman. Roxx Gang went to England to tour. So I was hanging out with Ralph. I tell him I have this great idea for our next video (“Red Rose” which was never made). I want to be standing on a porch of of this old southern mansion and rose petals to be raining down on me. He makes “Ballad of Jayne” for L.A. Guns- he swiped my idea man!
On getting offers to reunite Roxx Gang and his thoughts on aging Rockers?
I get them all the time. Not only do I get offers to reunite...I get offers from bands that you know from the 80’s. I won’t say who because I don’t want to embarrass them. They get in contact with me and say we’ll play as Roxx Gang. You don’t even have to rehearse with us. Just show up and we’ll do a tour as Roxx Gang. Look...I grew up idolizing people like Steven Tyler and Alice Cooper. It’s hard to age gracefully in Rock, especially for a singer. I look at Steven Tyler now, and it’s cool that he can move around and he is fit enough to wear clothes like that- but your 70 something. You shouldn’t be wearing clothes like that. Your songs are aimed at prepubescent girls and to me...Aerosmith fans, more power to you...who the fuck am I to say anything. For me personally....it’s creepy. A 70 year old grandpa is singing songs to teenage girls. 80’s fans are unforgiving. They are stuck, they want me to be Kevin Steele of Roxx Gang. I am a different person, I was like in my 20’s. I was singing “Scratch My Back” “Too Cool for School” “I Need Your Sex”. I’m a middle aged man now. I would feel ridiculous dressing up how I used to dress. I would feel ridiculous singing “I Need Your Sex”. A lot of these guys from the 80’s....like Stephen Percy, is still trying to be 80’s Stephen Percy. So many of these guys are doing that 80’s thing and for me personally....I find it kinda sad. I gotta do what makes me happy. If I had to sing Roxx Gang songs every night at this age I would be a miserable prick. When you are in your 60’s and 70’s stop wearing eyeliner and skintight pants...it’s disgusting.