Interview: The Many Talents of Madam X and VIP Aftershow’s Maxine Petrucci
By Andrew Catania
Guitarist Maxine Petrucci is best known for her work in Madam X. Maxine’s sister, Roxy is the drummer from the band Vixen. Her current project, VIP Aftershow, features Maxine on guitar and Roxy on drums. VIP Aftershow have released one full song, titled “Kilmister” which is a tribute to the late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Mark Slaughter is on lead vocals.
Maxine is a talented guitarist. Maxine should be glistening the pages of guitar magazines with other current, top talent. I sat down with Maxine and discussed Madam X, Vixen, VIP Aftershow and her mastering of the fretboard.
How did you become interested in guitar?
MP: It was my Father’s idea. He had started me on flute in elementary school band. Then for my 12th birthday, he bought me a classical guitar. He was hoping I would pursue more classical and symphonic music. I think it was a shock to him that I eventually chose the Hard Rock and Metal Arena.
Were you self – taught or did you take lessons?
MP: I took flute lessons from Hannah Lahti from The Detroit Concert Band and by the way she is actress Christine Lahti’s Mother. Then later took flute lessons from Ervin Monroe from The Detroit Symphony. I took guitar lessons from Eligio DiBerardo who taught me the classical guitar, and he would enter me in The American Guild of Music Competition where we compete against other students from across the nation in our category and win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies. I would come home with 1st and 2nd place awards. My Parents were so proud!!!
What kind of guitar did your Dad as your first one?
MP: It was the guitar my Dad bought me for my birthday, a Crestwood classical nylon string guitar.
What was the first band you joined? Were you dealing with the typical stereotypes of being Female?
MP: We started a family wedding band with my brothers and Sisters and did that for a few. Then Roxy and I started our first all girl band with Denise LaTourelle on bass and her sister Laura LaTourelle on lead vocal. We were called ‘ Pantagruel.’ We were inspired by the all-girl band’s Bands ‘ Fanny‘ and ‘ Cradle .’ As far as dealing with typical stereotypes because of being female, yes. That was impossible back then. Guys thought Women couldn’t rock like Men. They thought it was physically impossible. Roxy and I play harder than most Men to this day. I believe it was even harder for the Gals in Fanny and Cradle with my conversations with Guitarist Patti Quattro. Roxy and I ignored that mentality and continued. We refused to be treated as just T&A. What’s amazing is that it’s just instruments. It’s not like lifting a truck or something. There are a lot of ‘Fem Guys’ in rock anyways that play size eight strings and guys that hit a light on the drums. Look at all the Girls rocking it these days. They are now accepted and shredding and playing hard equal to the guys.
With the music industry the way it is with streaming being the favored thing to do, how difficult is it for you to make music and survive in this climate?
MP: It’s tough. You can’t survive on it as a job. You have to love music to continue these days. It’s a changing world, and everything we want is available at our fingertips. That’s why big stores like Macy’s, J.C. Penney are closing. We can go online and order or stream anything we want. My Husband buys music online, and he doesn’t want to deal with physical CDs. He wants no clutter. Others I know feel the same. Not good for me or others trying to sell records but this is the way it is. You have to play live shows nowadays to sell CDs so that the fans purchase at the show.
Let’s talk about your guitar playing. What kind of style would you say is your playing?
MP: I think I still fall into the 80’s rock style with a classical influence. I have to try not to overplay from what everyone usually says to me, especially when I’m recording. An old review of the Madam X‘ We Reserve the Right‘ record said “Maxine plays her guitar leads like an erect you know what,” and to you the truth, I would like to keep it that way.
Are you presently endorsed by anyone? If so who?
MP: I have a discount type deal with PRS Guitars. They gave me my first one. Then after I get deals on guitars I buy. Most companies don’t do that anymore. It’s a tight market out there now.
What does your rig presently consist of?
MP: I play PRS Guitars, old Marshall 50 and 100-watt heads and bottoms from the 1960’s and 70’s and Peavey Triple X head for the studio. Live I have a Line 6 POD HD 500X pedal board that my bassist Bryan Paxton from my single band, set up for me. He and I made that sound perfect for live shows since you can’t take amps with you anymore.
You’re a member of Madam X; now you have a new band called VIP Aftershow with your sister Roxy, how did that come about?
MP: We were writing songs for our new Madam X album and realized that they were not suitable for MX, so she suggested getting some of her friends in other bands to guest perform on these songs. As we did with Mark Slaughter and Mike Pisculli for two songs’ Full Metal Jacket‘ and ‘ Kilmister.’ Kilmister was the first song Roxy formerly co- wrote with Vixen keyboardist Chris Fayz. Then came Full Metal Jacket that she and I wrote. We have more kick ass songs that we will be releasing shortly. With Madam X, the album is done, and legendary producer Michael Wagener mixed 8 of the tracks ( he also mixed the VIP Aftershow tracks), and Mark Slaughter mixed three tracks. Kevin Sharpe engineered. It’s being mastered now. It just took long being that we all live pretty far apart.
You’ve released two songs with Mark Slaughter on vocals, are there any plans to put out a full record together?
MP: That would be nice! Never can rule anything out. He seems to be kind of busy with his solo band that he just released a new album with and his band Slaughter and mixing and producing bands. We all have several projects each too. So who knows, whatever is meant to be will be.
Who are some of your idols?
MP: As far as guitar players that would be Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Peter Frampton, Rick Derringer.
Any Guitarists catch your eye today?
MP: OMG, Jimi Bell from House of Lords and Maxx Explosion. He’s incredible. I can’t believe he’s not all that known. He shreds like no other with a blues-rock lead style licks. I can so appreciate his talent!! Hoping they get booked on the MORC (Monster’s of Rock) cruise. I would love to catch them live.
Have you played any other instruments besides guitar?
MP: 1998 I played bass for Vixens ‘Tangerine‘ tour. That was a blast. I played bass on most of my solo band Maxine total of 3
albums. I played flute on a track titled ‘ Wicked‘ on my ” Back to the Garden.”
What are your plans for 2017?
Getting the anticipated Madam X album titled ‘ Monstrosity ‘ finally released with all original great talents- Bret Kaiser lead vocal, Chris “Godzilla” Doliber bass, Roxy Petrucci Drums, and myself Maxine guitars, unleashed to the world. The album is great and something we can feel proud of. Also, we will be on the MORC Cruise Feb 2018. It’s a blast!!!! As far as VIP Aftershow, we will continue to release new great songs with different special guests. Our two singles ‘Full Metal Jacket‘ and ‘Kilmister‘ are available to buy on all digital outlets. And soon Madam X will be available for sale too. Thank you, Andrew, for this interview and keeping Rock alive!
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