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“I want to get back up on the stage again before I get too old” said Krystal Childs, bass player and vocalist for the local band Dirty Lixx. It’s not as though Childs has been far from the stage though. She’s spent most of her life on a bus or blaring through a speaker. Drummer Tim Ortner and bass, guitar and keyboard player Richard Davidson can both relate, being rock veterans themselves. Though the three have all taken different paths to the stage they share now, none could resist the lure of a crowded bar, dancing and singing along to the music.
Devotion to music is about the only thing Davidson and Childs agree on though, each seeing different sides to just about every story, even their own. Davidson argues that Dirty Lixx originated as a revamped hair metal band, while Childs insists it was supposed to be a reunion of one of her old bands, Forced Entry. Either way, the intended lineup for Dirty Lixx fell through before they could get on their feet, leaving Childs looking for new members.
That’s when Arthur Mock showed up on their doorstep.
“We had had this rule that no one under a certain age is allowed – I won’t say the age – and Arthur was maybe, what were you 12 or 13?” asked Davidson. “I think he was 20” Childs said. Despite his age, Mock blew everyone away with his talent and technical skill. His choice of music didn’t hurt either. “He started playing 70s riffs, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, all this kind of stuff. I thought then that I liked where it was headed,” Davidson said.
Though the name Dirty Lixx lends itself to thoughts of 70s hair metal and Mötley Crüe covers, the band plays a wider variety of music.
“We have a solid theme in what we’re playing. It’s music that really, truly rocks,” Davidson said. Music like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Cheap Trick, Bon Jovi and The Beatles. Mock makes most of the decisions on what the band will play, and he never takes the easy route.
“We play out of the love for that kind of music,” he said. “It’s not what we think is the easiest, it’s not what we think will sell the most, it’s just what we really have a passion for.”
Though Davidson is now a seminal member of the classic rock group Childs put together, it’s not the place he would have imagined himself.
“I was in an all-original band called Careless Abandon. We thought we were going to make it. We were in the 90s, playing music that sounded like the 70s, all during the grunge revolution” said Davidson “I used to think I would never play a cover in my life, and now that’s all I do is play covers.” But he doesn’t feel like the switch to covers was a sell-out move. It wasn’t even an intentional move, just a happy accident.
“I was just going to run sound for this band and do some guest vocals, but when Arthur came aboard it started turning into a fest of great songs that I really love,” Davidson said. (Childs still holds that he plays with the band full-time now because she made him.)
Childs’ lineup was still missing a drummer though, and the position seemed to be the hardest to fill. “We had more drummers than Spinal Tap. Some of them died, some of them we actually killed,” Davidson joked. Tim Ortner finally filled the perilous role of Dirty Lixx drummer. He was drummer number four and six, but in the end Ortner had the talent, the personality and the indescribable something that made him a permanent fixture.
Childs’ talent for wrangling a good lineup can be attributed to her extensive experience in the music business.
“I started a long time ago in Fort Wayne in the early 80s. That’s back when we had the big trucks and the big equipment,” Childs said. Like Davidson, Childs planned to make it big and even spent years on the road touring. But sickness in the family brought her back to Fort Wayne and reality.
Dirty Lixx was Childs’ chance to say that she wasn’t out of the game just yet. She’s taken on every role she needed to in order to keep the group going. She’s a bass player and a vocalist who “peels the paint off the walls when she sings,” according to Davidson. She even takes it upon herself to act as the band’s sound engineer.
“We want to sound professional ,not like we’re a garage band. There’s no excuse for that, so I do all our mixing” Childs said.
Despite her experience, Childs still has to work for every ounce of respect she can get in this business, citing being a female as the main reason. But challenges haven’t slowed her – or the rest of Dirty Lixx – down. Despite differences and hurdles, they’re still playing the music they love, and they’ll just go on that way till they can’t anymore.
Said Davidson, “We’re trying to play music that we can be proud of, we put a lot of time into our rehearsal and presentation because we do care … and we are so passionate about our sound.”