Trixter’s Steve Brown and PJ Farley reflect on their lifelong friendship, and why they’ve finally decided to tour the UK

Trixter's Legacy: Reflecting on Decades of Rock Influence...

Interview by: Mark Lacey

 

When Trixter’s debut album landed in 1990, selling 500,000 copies in the US, lead guitarist and founding member, Steve Brown was still only just 19 years old. Having started the band aged just 12, his and Trixter’s rise to fame was a euphoric journey that saw them supporting the likes of KIX, and Skid Row before they were even signed, and laying the path for global success. However, timing is everything in the music industry, and the tide was turning away from hair metal and classic rock, and their brilliant follow-up album ‘Hear!’ never quite reached the same heights, ultimately leading to the band’s split in 1995.

After a 12 year absence, the band returned with the original line-up, and produced two further albums in ‘New Audio Machine; and ‘Human Era’ re-igniting their passions, and introducing a whole new generation of fans to their music. Fast forward to 2024, and Steve Brown and bassist PJ Farley (whom some may also recognise for his tenure with Fozzy) are both in the UK with Trixter for only the second time following a one-off performance in 2016.

MGM caught up with Steve and PJ in their dressing room at their final show of the tour in London.

MGM: You guys have been playing together for a very, very long time? And you seem to get on so well together. That doesn’t happen with every band.

Steve: PJ and I have played together just under 36 years, but we’re celebrating 40 years of Trixter. July 7th of 1984 was the first official Trixter gig, so we’re heading into our 40th year of existence. Our friendship … it’s a funny story, but it’s a simple one, man. When we got together, it was immediate. It was fate. It was meant to be. He and I just became brothers right off the bat. PJ was 14 and I was 16 when he joined the band.

PJ: You’re never too young to have the eye of the tiger.

Steve: I started Trixter when I was 12. We grew up together. The two of us have spent more time together with each other than with any other human being on earth; our wives and family members included. After 36 years, I can honestly say, and I hope PJ thinks the same; we still have a great time together. We laugh. We love this life. Rock’ n roll is in our soul.

PJ: We have an endless appreciation for the fact that we get to do this. So, it helps. It’s our job, but we appreciate it and we know we’re lucky and blessed to be able to do it.

MGM: Stepping back in time, you guys played together in the first incarnation of Trixter for ten years until 1995, and then parted company, before getting back together in 2007. How has your sound, and the band, evolved over that time?

PJ: The sound has changed a bit because it’s matured. We’re different people. We’re better, more evolved songwriters. Better musicians. We’re just an older, wiser band that’s been honing our craft for almost 40 years.

MGM: What was the catalyst for you coming back together in 2007 and doing it all over again?

Steve: It was time for us to do it. When we disbanded in 1995, it was never a question of if, it was just a question of when. It started in 2006; I was getting angsty and started working on some things. I’d heard about these festivals going on in America, notably the Rocklahoma festival. The first one went on in 2007, and it was massive. We looked at each other and said, you know what? I think it’s time to open the blue garage door again and bring it back. And it was a phenomenal nine years. From 2008 to 2017, with the all original band, we did two great records, which we’re proud of. ‘New Audio Machine’ and ‘Human Era’ are as good as, if not better, than our original records from the 90s.

MGM: There’s normally four of you in Trixter, and you’re here in the UK as a three piece? Where’s band member number four?

Steve: Ah the ‘where are they now’ files!

PJ: Our drummer tonight, Martin. We just met him on Thursday at soundcheck. He’s a local boy. The other two original guys, like our singer, he just couldn’t play anymore. Life got in the way and he was reluctant to commit to any shows, so we put it on the back burner for a little bit. We took another little breather for a couple years. Then I was out doing acoustic shows with Eric Martin from Mr Big, and we had some shows booked, and Eric got sick. So, last minute I just said, fuck it, I’ll fly Steve out, and we’ll just play Trixter songs. We haven’t done it in a while. It’ll be fun. And it turned out to be amazing. Everybody loved it, and we had a great time. So, we’ve been doing it ever since; almost four years now. It just kind of evolved into this. The other two guys are not playing anymore.

Steve: And the drummer died in a bizarre gardening accident.

MGM: When you’re doing your Trixter set now in America, is it just the two of you, or do you play with other musicians?

PJ: We have a percussionist that’s with us in the States.

MGM: Trixter haven’t really performed in the UK before this year, and the only previous show was at Rockingham in Nottingham in 2016. What brings you back?

PJ: Well, we had this anchor date, as they call it, in Great Yarmouth for Hard Rock Hell. It’s been great to plant that seed and stir it up a little over here, so we can get back over here.

Steve: It’s been phenomenal. We’ve had a really great time. What’s really cool with this configuration, is like here at the Black Heart, we’re doing Trixter acoustic, which is semi acoustic. I’m playing electric guitar through an acoustic simulator, but it’s toned down. At Hard Rock Hell we played a trio, full on electric set, like the old days, and it’s been going over great. We blew them away and it gives us that ability to do whatever gigs we want to do.

MGM: The UK is really starting to embrace proper classic rock music again. Have you noticed that through your short tour here?

PJ: We felt that the UK always did embrace it but we just never got over here. So, we had that FOMO, and just said, we got to get over there.

Steve: Back in the day, sadly, our managers were not forward thinking enough, nor did they want us to risk the investment of coming over here. On our first record when we were gigantic in America, we had major distribution problems over here, and our record didn’t even come out for six months after it was released in America. So, there was never a big push for Trixter to come to the UK, or Europe. We would have loved to, because we love to play and we would have loved to have been a worldwide band. But you know what? Better late than never. We’re here now and we’re loving it.

MGM: You’re both well know for performing with other artists. Steve; you’ve worked with Danger Danger, and Def Leppard. PJ; you’ve done stuff with Fozzy. Seems like most musicians are involved in lots of different parallel projects at the moment.

Steve: We have the octopus mentality. We have tentacles out everywhere and trying to scrape whatever money we can. But we’re professional musicians, that’s all we’ve ever done. When the shit hit the fan and grunge took over, we didn’t quit, we didn’t get day jobs. We continued playing music and making music, and that’s what we do. Nothing’s ever changed. We just love to play.

PJ: Nowadays you have to play in a couple of different bands, because the days of just the one band, it’s tough. Plus, we love playing with other people. I mean, it makes us better musicians and keeps us busy.

Steve: We would have loved for Trixter to be the next Def Leppard and be a legacy band, where that’s all we do. We’re hoping that as we get older, we sort of fall into one of those bands. We’re in our fifties now. I tell PJ the first 50 years was a warm up to the next 50 years because it just keeps growing. But we are still to this day, having the time of our lives, getting to fly around the world and see all these great places.

Today I had my first proper British Sunday roast in Saffron Walden

MGM: Now that you’ve been the UK, you’ve played three dates and you’re getting a good response. What happens next? Are you going to come back to the UK?

PJ: We’re just getting started. We came to plant the seed, that’s all. To let everybody know we’re alive and well and this is what you’re going to get.

Steve: We’ve already got an offer to play the HRH Sleaze festival in September. We’re so blessed that we have so many different projects going on, but the offers are there and we’re kicking ass and that’s all that matters.

 

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