Greetings brothers and sisters! Today we will be chatting with a woman, who not only has a very unique name, but also is very unique behind the drum kit as well. Forget about that whole stupid remark ‘She plays pretty good for a chick'.... This lady plays pretty damn good! Period!
Greetings to you, Lux and welcome to Metal Maidens!
Lux: “Hi and thanks for having me on here!”
Ok, I am sure this is not the first time you have been asked this, but your name is very unusual, is Lux your real name?
Lux: “I get this question asked all the time. There is a certain mystery behind my name and I've told some people about how my parents were hippies back in the day and they named me Lux. Lux meaning ‘light’ in Latin.”
You play drums for the thrash metal band SACRED STORM and the psychobilly band NEKROMANTIX. Talk about two very different ends of the spectrum. Which band did you first get involved in and how do you manage to split your time without favoring one over the other?
Lux: “I first started in SACRED STORM with guitarist Kenny Krenzin. Him and I met and started jamming and writing songs right after I graduated from high school. We completed our band by adding a friend on bass and entered a ‘Battle Of The Bands’ contest at his high school later that year, where we took first place. Since then we've continued to play locally, added a second guitarist, played a couple tours and recorded a couple albums. Lucky for me, it's been pretty easy so far splitting my time between both SACRED STORM and NEKROMANTIX. With NEKROMANTIX, we usually rehearse a few weeks before going out on the road and stuff like that and we'll know for how long I'll be out on the road for. The guys know, when I'm in 'Nekro-mode’, they'll have rehearsals and song writing without me and when I'm back, I'm back. It's also been easier, because our singer is in another band, called HORRORPOPS, so he also splits his time with a second band, which allows me to do the same, when he's busy with them. It has worked out great so far!”
Can you tell us a little about each band and maybe describe their music for potential fans who may not have heard of them?
Lux: “I'm sure many metalheads would enjoy listening to both bands! Even though psychobilly sounds like it would be a completely different music style, it does have metal influences. In simplest terms, psychobilly is a mix of punk and rockabilly combined. It's played fast and sounds really cool. I use double bass, when playing with NEKROMANTIX and if you like MEGADETH for some reason, there's a good chance you'll like NEKROMANTIX. I keep in touch with our fans online and when I visit their profiles, they seem to always list MEGADETH and NEKROMANTIX as favorite bands. SACRED STORM can be described more as thrash metal with death metal influences. Our latest album sounds a lot thrashier and I'm playing blast beats, which always sounds cool. Our influences include MEGADETH to OPETH to SLAYER to LAMB OF GOD. We pretty much listen to everything metal.”
NEKROMANTIX and ROB ZOMBIE, I would say are somewhat similar in musical styles, would you agree?
Lux: “Both bands are definitely heavy and they are similar enough to be on the same bill without fans being too surprised.”
Who are some of the other bands you have played with in the past?
Lux: “I've only been a permanent member in a few bands so far. I started out playing in two original bands, one being SACRED STORM and the other was an all-female progressive/experimental rock band MYSTERY HANGUP. We were also based out of Orange County, CA and played the local big venues and festivals and toured the states. We even released a music video for one of our songs called "Vista De Un Ladron". The only song in Spanish off our album. We were doing everything 'do-it-yourself' style, which I think a lot of bands are doing nowadays and after six years or so, we decided to take a break.”
If it were possible what bands would you love to share the stage with?
Lux: “I would love to share the stage with LAMB OF GOD of course. Their drummer Chris Adler has definitely been an inspiration for me. Other bands would be bands like JUDAS PRIEST and MEGADETH, who I started listening to, when I was about sixteen.”
You recently attended the NAMM festival. Can you tell us what the festival is all about?
Lux: “NAMM is a big music convention in Anaheim, CA. It's not open to the public, so the only way you can get a pass to attend is, if you're an artist (endorsed, on a label, etc.) or if you work with a music company whether it's at a music store, instrument company or audio company, etc. A lot of big names come out to this event and this is where companies like to showcase their new gear coming out and network and all that. Big named artists will also do autograph signings at their endorser's booths. For example this past year I saw Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, etc.), Abe Cunningham (DEFTONES, PHALLUCY), Dave Lombardo (SLAYER, GRIP INC., etc.). All these guys doing signings and there's usually a long line backed up of fans wanting to get a chance to meet them. I think, it's a lot of fun attending this convention for me personally. All my drummer friends from around the States fly out for this and it' s a week long of hanging out and meeting up with everyone as well as my endorsers and it's cool to walk around and check out the new drum stuff coming out.”
Who are some of the drummers in metal that you look up to?
Lux: “I've already mentioned Chris Adler, but he's so cool I'll mention him again! Mike Portnoy is definitely cool. I also like watching Derek Roddy (HATE ETERNAL, etc.) play and Paul Bostaph (currently in TESTAMENT). These are all great guys. I like Dave Lombardo's style and I really like to watch any drummer live, because we all have our own way of doing things.”
What about drummers who you admire outside of metal?
Lux: “I do like Abe Cunningham's drumming, DEFTONES drummer. He was also an early influence on my playing. I also like Buddy Rich's playing (American jazz drummer and bandleader), Nick Mason (PINK FLOYD), John Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN) and Steve Shelley from SONIC YOUTH.”
I see you play double bass as well, was that a difficult thing to master?
Lux: “I started playing double bass early on which made it easier and it only gets easier with the more practice you put in.”
What kind of gear do you use and why?
Lux: “I play Paiste cymbals, because I love their sound. I'm currently playing their Signature Reflector crashes and 2002 Sound-Edge Hi-Hats. I like to mix sounds and have one of their Twenty model chinas, which reminds me of a gong and has a lot of sustain. It sounds really awesome! For bass drum pedals, I use Axis Percussion longboard pedals. I have their A Double model, which is a double pedal, but I disassemble it and use it as two pedals with the option of setting it back up as a double pedal, if I ever need to. This really comes in handy for when I'm playing fill in gigs and bringing a second kick drum isn't an option. For sticks I use Pro-Mark 747 model in Japan Oak. They just last longer and hardly ever break. When I started out playing drums, I was using Pro-Mark and as I started hearing about other sticks and brands I started experimenting with them and trying them out, but would end up breaking them way too often. In the end I came back to using Pro-Mark. As far as clothing gear, I'm not the t-shirt jeans kind of gal, I'll trade that for a corset! (lol) I like to dress up, when on stage and I get really cool clothes to do that from Too Fast (http://www.toofastonline.com). They're awesome!”
Is it true you play in stiletto heals?
Lux: “Of course! When I first started playing I was wearing regular shoes and as I started getting into my high school years, I think I was drumming in sandals.... Then I started drumming barefoot and after a while I was getting sick of that and started leaving my shoes on again, except by then I was wearing cute little pumps and as I grew older the heels on my shoes would get taller. And that's how that all started. I just started leaving my heels on, plus it looks super cool and super bad astronaut.”
I would think that would be incredibly hard on the calf muscles, correct?
Lux: “It's actually the opposite! It's hard on the shin muscles. I never practice in heels, but when I'm on stage and play that first show in a while with Sacred Storm, my shin muscles are killing me after the first song or two with consistent double bass! After that, it starts to feel okay and the next show isn't that bad.”
It would be kind of funny to imagine Dave Lombardo from SLAYER playing in heels, don’t you think so?
Lux: “It is both funny and disturbing! I'll take it!”
I have seen a few of the live videos of you playing and I must admit, that I was blown away not only by your speed but by your technical skills as well. You are really a badass behind the kit, Lux! What is most important to you as a drummer, the respect of your fans and other musicians or accolades and awards from the media?
Lux: “Definitely the first one. Respect is something you have to earn and work hard for and I think there's a sense of accomplishment when people, fans or fellow musicians, respect you for your playing. Getting awards and accolades from the media is nice, but it's the listeners and fans, who come first.”
You are such an accomplished musician and have won numerous awards for your drumming skills. In 2007, you were voted 'Female Drummer Of The Year' by Rock City magazine, as well as "Best Female Drummer" by All Access magazine and many others... It must make you feel very proud, that the industry and fans have recognized you for all of your hard work, but do you ever think we will see the day when the tag of 'Best FEMALE Drummer' will be dropped to simply say 'Best Drummer'?
Lux: “I think, that in general the tag 'female' before any musician type would eventually be dropped. Nowadays, we see more and more women picking up instruments and playing out, which is great! In my case, I'm not sure, if I would ever receive a 'Best Drummer' award from a highly notable awards show, because there is so much to learn when playing rhythms, beats and four way independence on all four limbs! But who knows, where I'll be in five to ten years from now? Anything is possible...”
As a strong woman in heavy metal today, what can you and other women in the scene do to try to finally get rid of these prejudices?
Lux: “I think, it's important for us to stay on top of our game and to keep up on practice. Also, when speaking to male musicians I always hear, that women musicians feel like they're talked down to or feel that guys think they don't know what they are talking about. I think, the way a person comes off when speaking is important. Women should be confident, when speaking about anything and not feel like they have to act a different way, because they are a minority. I can honestly say, I've rarely ever felt smaller than any male drummer when talking about gear or music. Maybe it's because I started playing so young and it's all I know or maybe drummers are just more relaxed and cool about anything. Regardless, it doesn't matter, who I'm talking to. I'm a musician like everyone else. One thing I've seen in female musicians is, that if one dresses in super revealing outfits, the musicianship side is less likely to be taken seriously. That's why I like to dress sexy with cute heels and a cute top, but it's never too revealing. My main focus is my drumming and not my body. I think, a lot of women need to consider that.”
What is your opinion of women musicians and vocalists in the scene today?
Lux: “I've met and played with a lot of awesome women musicians and vocalists and musicianship and personalities have been great! I think, this is definitely a plus, since there is a cliche, that all-girl bands are a bunch of drama. After jamming and playing with the all-female rock band ABSINTHE, they were all really awesome to hang with at rehearsal and to share the stage with at shows. I had filled in on drums for them several times within the past month and they were all awesome to work with. Even their injured drummer came out to a few of the rehearsals and shows and she was really cool.”
It seems to me, that even though the metal scene has exploded with women vocalists in the last few years, there have not been many drummers but that seems to be changing daily with musicians such as yourself, Mercedes Lander (KITTIE) and Linda McDonald (THE IRON MAIDENS), just to name a few. Why do you think it has taken so long for female drummers to come onto the scene?
Lux: “I know, there are plenty more excellent female drummers playing metal out there! I'm not exactly sure why there aren't more names on our roster, but it could be for a couple reasons: not playing enough gigs and getting your name out there, being in a small independent band or not playing music full time and it's more of a side thing. It could also be, that drumming takes a lot of effort and discipline, if you want to play extreme metal and maybe that doesn't call to too many female musicians and they would rather pick up a mic. Whatever the cause may be, I think being a drummer is the coolest and it's such a great way for expressing yourself! I would never give it up and definitely recommend, that more females pick up some sticks!”
Are you comfortable as a mentor or role model to young women out there, who may want to follow in your footsteps and if so, what advice would you give to them about playing the drums and the overall music business?
Lux: “I could go for either mentor or role model for other females out there. So much can be said about playing drums, but the main things are consistent practices, keep learning on the kit, get ready to handle anything that comes your way on this crazy ride the music industry will take you on.”
I can't imagine you have a whole lot of spare time, but when you do, what kind of things do you enjoy doing outside of playing music?
Lux: “I really enjoy hanging out with friends and family, even though it's for a short time. I love hanging out with my boyfriend Kenny Krenzin. He makes me laugh so much and we like to do silly things, like play mini golf and make bets on who wins or loses... Sounds so metal, right?”
Where can fans buy merchandise from you or your bands?
Lux: “I have a webstore, where all purchases go straight to the band at: http://www.luxdrummer.com/shop.html. When buying from iTunes or CDbaby, they take a cut of sales, which isn't that great for independent bands, so it's always good to buy directly from the band. Thanks guys!”
Is there anything at all you would like to add to this interview, maybe something your fans do not know about you?
Lux: “My fans know, that I'll be coloring my whole hair a crazy color, but don't know yet what I've decided. I've chosen to dye my whole hair a cherry red with black on the bottom. It's going to look so cool! I had asked fans online what they thought would look cool and I got so many comments and suggestions. One that really stood out was getting my hair done in red leopard print, which sounds cool, but would be really hard to do and keep up with having long hair. Others included three colors or more like black hair with blonde and blue streaks and the list is endless. Thanks to everyone for your recommendations and I can't wait to show you my new hair color!”
Lux, on behalf of myself and Metal Maidens, we want to thank you very much for sharing your time with us today. I really believe you are a gifted musician and I think the sky is the limit for you, my friend. We wish you and your bands well in the new year and beyond.
Lux: “I really enjoyed this interview. Thanks so much for working with me and for the good wishes!”
Horns up brothers and sisters, Nick Rohm.
Visit Lux' official site at: www.luxdrummer.com/
or go to her My Space site at: www.myspace.com/luxdrumgoddess