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Mark Schenker – Bass for Kix

Date: 9/25/12
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Kix has been making music for over 25 years. Why did it take so long to release a professionally filmed concert?

MARK: A lot of people have asked that. We had a group of filmmakers from Connecticut, called Visionary Creations, who were hardcore Kix fans who were buggin me about it for a couple years. So we discussed it as a band and gave it a shot and those guys did a great job, very professional. We recorded audio on hard disc at the same time. So we struck a deal with Frontiers Records so we figured it was a great time to give the Kix fans a live visual product since the last live album in 1991 was audio only. It was long over due but it all worked out and was easy to do.

2. Do you know if there is any pro shot footage from the 80s or 90s that could be released on DVD?

MARK: There is, from Japan but nobody knows who owns the rights to it. It’s all over YouTube and we have a 3 inch tape copy of it. Its from the “Blow My Fuse” tour. Its pro shot and it sounds rather good. We thought about releasing it as a companion DVD to this one we just recorded but we can’t put something out we don’t have the rights to. That’s the only one we know of that’s pro shot.

3. Tell us about the song selection for “Live In Baltimore”, and why didn’t you play anything from “Show Business”?

MARK: There’s a couple different factors there…we didn’t want to include too much that was previously released on the 1991 live CD and wanted to get some different things in there like ‘Kix Are For Kids’, ‘Midnight Dynamite’, ‘Ring Around Rosie’. And we thought stuff like that was more important to the fans than what was on “Show Business” because that album came out post-Nirvana and grunge and it really didn’t sell to well. From the Kix hometown it sold ok, so to take up space with songs that hardcore fans know but no so much the casual fans, we decided to include the most popular songs with a few songs from the early records. At the same time, it was a pretty long concert and you can’t do everything. Some things get left out, but I think we did really well including just about everything people would want to hear. Like a couple people complained and said “hey, where’s ‘Get It While Its Hot”, but what are you gonna do, a couple things will get missed. We did the best we coould to cover a lot of ground.

4. How long have you been in the band?

MARK: 2003, when we first started Kix shows after the band broke up.

5. Has it been discussed to make new music?

MARK: Yeah, we are coming out with a new album next year. Frontiers is putting out this live CD/DVD and part of the negotiations was to release an album of new music. We have about thirty songs written and feel like many are as good as any Kix songs put out before. You know a lot of bands put out new music and we all know it’s just not as good as their past. We wanted to make sure we had good stuff, especially with Donnie Purnell (former bassist) not in the band anymore because he wrote most of the material. If we felt these new songs weren’t near the old stuff or just plain didn't sound like Kix, we wouldn’t be releasing it. It wouldn’t be fair for us or the fans. We are recording the album over the winter and hopefully Taylor Rhodes who produced Hot Wire and co-wrote a bunch of the fan favorite Kix songs.

6. What’s the direction like? “Blow My Fuse”, “Midnight Dynamite”?

MARK: It would be hard to put these new songs up against a specific album. There is a specific Kix sound, and these songs of course have that, there’s a certain level of energy and subject matter. I couldn’t say anything specific as to what these songs sound like, but I think certain ones do sound like they could come from the first two albums, to “Midnight Dynamite”, to “Blow My Fuse” and “Hot Wire”. I think they all do sound like classic Kix and the guitars are still very much in the mix. I’m really into guitar tone, I’m all about the guitars. Brian and Ronnie are sticklers for tone and they still have all the amps they recorded all the classic Kix albums with. So I’m sure these songs will have a good Kix guitar edge.

7. Does the band think in the 80s they reached the level of success that was satisfying to them, or exceed expectations?

MARK: You know what, I hear them talk about it once in a while, (because I wasn’t in the band then) missed opportunities, bridge-burning, etc, as a fan I always thought they should have been bigger. Maybe they weren’t on the right record label for what they were doing, I don’t know if they had the right people at the record label to get behind the band, that’s kinda the impression I get. Everybody always talks about Kix legendary live show, the albums, and ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ becoming a hit single…those things should have been a springboard to bigger and better things. And after the Nirvana/grunge thing came out there was a whole shift and interest in the industry and it didn’t include bands like Kix. I think everybody thinks about it in terms of longevity, Kix is still playing and selling out several thousand seat venues. Whether it’s a club, theater, or festivals. We are all really blown away by it. The guys in the band are so thankful we can still do it on this level, and I’m blown away because I’m still new to it. We played a show in Montana with Cinderella and when you’re on the road and don’t see a house for miles and you say to yourself “where do the people live that are gonna come to our show? There are only gonna be maybe 200 people, I just know it”, and then you get on stage and there’s 5, 10,000 people. Its great and is always a wonderful surprise. I think people know Kix still deliver, and Steve (singer) keeps in shape, exercises, warms up before showtime, he’s a true professional maintaining his instrument, and he not only can sing like he did twenty years ago but is still a ball full of energy on stage. He’s really hard on himself making sure that he delivers every night.

8. Does Kix play many of the European summer festivals? Because I don’t really see the band on many lineups.

MARK: Unfortunately no, we have been asked and we will probably will do some this summer. We’ve been asked to do Sweden Rock this summer so hopefully it works out. Maybe we can do the UK and Germany as well. We’d like to do those big festivals like Bang Your Head! and Wacken. With this new live DVD/CD coming out hopefully that will help. Plus it costs a lot to go overseas. So we hope to string some dates around a live festival appearance because its expensive to travel to Europe for just one or two festival appearances that could be many miles or countries apart from each other. If the right opportunity arises we will gladly take it.

9. Any plans to reissue or remaster the Kix back catalogue?

MARK: It would be nice, Atlantic records has control of the catalogue, so we have absolutely no say. But people all have Ipods now, and when you play a Kix song you can hear it doesn’t come through as loud as newer recorded stuff. Like listening to a song from “Midnight Dynamite” come up next to “Hot Wire”, ‘Hot Wire’ is considerably louder. It would be great but I don’t know if Atlantic feels like there’s a market for it. They did do the 20th Century Masters CD which remastered some of the songs, but this is how much the record company cares out that kind of product, they spelled Steve’s name wrong in the credit calling him Steve Whitehead. Obviously they really don’t give a shit at all. “Midnight Dynamite” mixed by Beau Hill is an amazing sounding recorded, and they way it transferred from analog to digital on cd does not do it justice. If you could hear what I have on my Ipod (because I have the equipment to do remastering for myself), man does that album sound killer!

10. Does Kix have any other plans besides the new live DVD/Cd and album in 2013?

MARK: We will do a lot of touring, always festivals and casinos, maybe do some summer dates with Cinderella. We love those guys, great band. Hopefully that will happen.

11. What are your favorite Kix songs and why?

MARK: My favorite is always ‘Cold Shower’ cause it has a nice bass part and odd ball drum beat and I like tightening up with Jimmy on that and we tend to push a good groove on that. I like the a cappella vocal too. I also like ‘Hot Wire’, ‘Girl Money’, ‘Cold Blood’ has a great groove, and ‘Ring Around Rosie’ is nice and heavy too. All about the energy!

12. Are you involved in any side projects?

MARK: Steve, Jimmy and I have Funny Money and we have done a few albums with that band and play shows when Kix isn't playing. For myself I have a nice studio in my house so I produce and mix other bands and songs of my own for film and TV.

Official website: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialKIX


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