The time between "Purgatory Falls" and "Kiss the Monster" is almost 6 years. Why did it take so long to get this album together?
PH: Recording it wasn’t a problem, but getting the artwork and label deal took longer than I’d hoped. Just one of those things. Also, in the time after Purgatory Falls I released Homemade Spaceship,my album of reconfigured ELO material, as well as Mile High Fan, a collection of stuff I recorded with Rusty Anderson and company from the late 80’s and early 90’s. So, my output has actually been fairly prolific for me!
You’ve written for a ton of great artists (including yourself). Is there a
special process to writing or producing for someone else (like E)?
PH: When it works, it works. That’s the bottom line. I’m a starter and E’s a
a finisher–that’s why we wrote about 20 songs together. I can generate ideas all day and E finishes what he starts. It’s a good combo. With Kyle Vincent, we’re laughingly true to our tastes and relish our differences. He’s always adding the syrup and I bring the rock. It’s fun. With Robert Lamm, we’re like two worlds coming together. You never know where we might end up. With Kalan Porter I tried to tailor the songs to his emotional state as a young man
coming to grips with creating his first album. With the Orchestra, we had the ELO blueprint as a starting point. Since ELO’s blueprint
was the Beatles, it wasn’t a stretch for me to go there.
Tell us three of your musical heroes and what makes them so special
HP: The Beatles for all the usual reasons. Their story is biblical to me. Their music is my blueprint for everything that’s possible in pop music. I was lucky to be alive for the whole thing. After that, it’s a long list.
Here’s one you probably don’t know about: Yanni Spathas, the guitarist for a Greek power trio called, Socrates Drank The Conium. (Yes, I always thought he drank hemlock, too.) I lived in Greece when I was a rock-hungry teen and Socrates was the best band in Athens. Spathas was, and still is, an amazing guitar player–a hybrid of Hendrix and middle eastern bouzouki players. He went places that were just stunning and original. Seeing him live was always a thrill and an inspiration. His tone and control were fantastic.
Buddy Guy is probably my latest hero. I saw him for the first time last year and suddenly everything that happened with Cream onward made sense to me. After hearing him play for about two minutes, I went, "Oh! HE’S THE GUY who bends notes all funny!" It was immediately clear that Clapton was a Buddy Guy guy, and therefore Jeff Beck, Mick Ronson, Joe Walsh, Tony Iommi, and everyone else in that classic 70’s rock pantheon. I loved finally seeing the lineage come alive right in front of me. That was cool.
How do you feel about your role in The Orchestra now that you’ve left it?
PH : I really haven’t thought about my "role" that much. It’s a major change in
my life to not be in the band. I guess I’m most proud of our album No Rewind– I’m always excited to create new material. I was happy that some of my songs became staples in the live set for a while–Jewel and Johnny, Over London Skies. At the end of my time in the band, 99% of the set was old ELO stuff, which is nice for the fans, but not as satisfying for me and, I’d imagine, the other writers in the group. As far as my role goes, I guess I’d like to think that I brought a good vibe to the live show and left behind some good songs.
What is your opinion of the "resurgence" in all things ELO sounding, like
Bleu, L.E.O. and The Nines?
PH: Every dog has his day when it’s a good dog. It’s inevitable that a major band like ELO gets imitated. I know that musicians like to uncover the secrets
behind a recognizable sound, such as recording drum parts separately like Jeff
did with Bev. An annoying process, but effective aurally. I like Bleu, but I haven’t heard much of L.E.O. I’m not avoiding it, I’m just always working on my stuff. Typical curse of being a musician.
What is next for Parthenon Huxley?
PH: I’m still evolving musically. I’ll always be a melody based writer, but I’m finding new ways to collaborate. I have a side project called Cranky that just came out. The first single is called "Marvelous". It’s pretty out stuff. I like it a lot. I hooked up with 3kStatic on a version of ELO’s "Ma Ma Ma Belle"– I’m happy to say it’s climbing electronica charts, which is new terrain for me.
I’ll be performing it at a massive electronica convention in Miami at the end of March. I’m also working on a song with 3kStatic and Colin Blunstone of the Zombies. Sony Creative just released Parthenon Huxley’s Six String Orchestra, a guitar loops library. So now producers around the world can have me in the studio with them–albeit in two-second intervals. I’m producing some young artists that I’m excited about–a girl in Charlotte NC who’s great–and I’ve got tracks started for the next P. Hux album, too. That process never stops.
That sounds great, thanks for interview, P.