An Interview with Snowy Shaw

of Swedish 70's & 80's influence Glam Band, XXX, in late July 2009 by Glenn Milligan

Why did you decide to call the band 'XXX' and what was the response from people to the name?
The response is great everywhere. There are several meaningless meanings behind picking that name.
One explanation may be that X means 10, and we are 3 ten year olds...mentally.

How did the band come together and what are your backgrounds with regard to music?
Rob and I had been tight friends for a few years after we found out how much we had in common especially with our passion for image bands such as KISS, Alice Cooper, Mötley Crue and W.A.S.P. Then later I decided to try help his less fortunate previous band by producing a 3 track single for them, on which I also played drums. Despite my attempts I couldn't do much to save them, I doubt anyone could have. When I later decided to form a new glam/glitter act with more emphasize on the british 70s glam explosion which I definitely prefer, I asked if that would be of any interest, which apparently there was.

Where did the cartoon of the idea of XXX come from and what made you decide to go with this idea?
Well, the circumstances under which this album was made, alot of it wasn't planned ahead and just came up as we went along.

Towards the final stages we didn't yet have any album title or a real solid concept, So one day in the mixing studio I thought up the whole idea of using the song Heaven, Hell or Hollywood? as the album title and having us drawn superhero comicbook style. Each of these words in the title would be connected to a band member, enhancing ones personality and/or alter ego. Like pretty boy Rob being the superficial one as in Hollywood, X is very lowkey, innocent, pious and quiet so the Heaven part suited him well, while I'm more the angry hot tempered type and got the Hell part. In order to pull this whole concept together it was essential and necessary to have the real deal portraying us as these comicbook superheroes, rather than trying to save money bringing in a local amateur making it truly pathetic and who else would pull that off better than an artist from Marvel Comics who make Batman, Spiderman, the incredible Hulk and so forth. We got hold of the artist Al Rio from Marvel Comics and he was willing to do it.

Well, what's the point of even trying to pretend differently here, when it's so damn obviously,... KISS!,.. who inspired us, as it has practically inspired every kid and I must say it is a childhood dream come true to finally become a superhero... hahaha! The only difference is, most people grow out of that... we didn't!

Why did you decide to sign with Perris Records?
Simply because they are the best option as for this genre of music in North America. Warner and Atlantic don't stand a chance,... neither did we that they would sign us,.. hahaha!

Why did choose to cover Cheap Trick's 'I want you to want me' which sounds amazing by the way?

There are certain songs that I've always loved since the first time I heard them and often by one hit wonder bands, and also there are songs with favorite bands that I've always felt the band didn't quite execute to its full potential and therefore always dreamt of getting the opportunity to have a go at. I have several of those kind of covers up my sleeve for future XXX releases, liveshows etc.

In this case, I wouldn't call myself a big fan of Cheap Trick per se, but this particular song I loved so much from the first time I heard it be played at a kids discoteque around 1978, that I would later sneak in and steal the vinyl single from the DJ booth a few weeks later, because there was no stopping me, I just had to have it. I guess you could say I have somehow redeemed myself now,.. and after all I do not play the part of Heaven,..Hahaha!

Have they heard it and what was their response to it?
No first hand information here but I heard they loved it.

How easy was it getting the rights to use the lyrics in the booklet and also record the song in the first place?
It was easier than you might expect.

What were your favourite moments of writing and recording the album 'Heaven, Hell Or Hollywood'?
Once me and X as the producer team had made up our minds regarding the new direction and how to solve the problems that had occured it was just pure fun and a creative challenge I gladly embraced. It's not without reason I'm nicknamed Snowy the Savior in some circles, I've earned it.

What songs are your faves on the album and what influenced them?
I must say I really like them all, each and every one for various reasons. I think we recorded 15 or 16 songs in total and the idea from scratch was the we wouldn't use any more than 10 songs on the album.

(The Japanese always want or demand bonus tracks, so we put 2 extra tracks on the Japan version)

The bulk of the material was based on my big passion and love for the 70s glam and punk scene, but maybe also a little bit of contemporary american skatepunk that I like too. The other guys contributed with a little more 80s kind of style of glam/hair metal too.

Various band names that spring to mind that's been useful inspirational tools in our attempts to make good, catchy, happy rock songs with XXX are Sweet, T-Rex, Plastic Bertrand, Sex Pistols, Thin Lizzy, Queen, Suzi Quatro, Alice Cooper, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Ramones, Blondie, AC/DC

even a bundle of swedish rock/pop bands from late 70s early 80s like Snowstorm, Noice and the singer/artist Magnus Uggla who had made his own wonderful hybrid by borrowing heavily from the british 70s glam and punkrock scene.

I wanna elaborate and explain the reason we wanted just 10 songs.
I dislike when CDs have 14-16 tracks and I get tired and bored after the 2nd or third song. Some people seem to think in terms of overkill, quantity before quality and give a lot of bang for the buck and and include several crappy fillers.

I'm not by any means saying those XXX outtakes weren't good songs, but we selected and put together these 10 songs that fit and would make the perfect combination in blend, moods and styles for a great homogenic record in the end. So if you want to hear more, just listen to the album once again.
That's why I decided we'd place the actual title track last as well,.. because I can assume people wanna hear that one. Also I discovered that most of my all-time favorite albums or LP's in fact had about 7-8 songs on them and lasted only for 35-40 minutes approximately, Like Kiss - Destroyer, Rainbow-Rising, GNR -Appetite for Destruction, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC and so on,..

Next time, I think we f*ck*ng skip releasing CDs altogether and put out vinyls and digital downloads.. the perfect combination. Call me conservative.

Which songs came together the quickest and why?
All of them came together very quickly during a very inspired weekend or two. I wrote all the songs on the album in 2-4 days total, X had some riffs and ideas that we worked on and finished too. Our intention was that Rob and I would split the lyric writing half/half between us, but it didn't quite pan out well so I ended up and wrote his bulk too while on tour with Therion in South and North America.

Who are the people who were so strong in character that you wrote 'So Fxxxing You'; 'Miss Misery' and Tomboy' and what's the story behind them as well?

Huh? Aren't we foregetting that we're talking glam/glitter rock here? What kind of bitch is Sweet's Hellraiser about? and still to this day has anyone figured out what the hell Life on Mars? is all about?

You're looking too deeply for meaning and messages here, when there actually is non, I'm basically just writing in general terms based on a number of experiences I've had so it's rarely about any particular person, incident or event.

And even if there were/are I wouldn't reveal it and ruin the cover would I?

To me it's always been more about putting the right words to a certain vibe and feeling I have about the song in question in an attempt to bring that vibe across to the listener, using associations and references I guess, it's also a wordplay and the challange of fitting the right words into the melody with the ight phrase at the right place. I can't really say because I haven't really analysed what or why I do like that. In a way it's like trash poetry if I may say so myself.

So who's is the pink outbuilding that you are photographed in, where is it and who came up with that idea?
It's in the backyard of my old now torn down house,. so obviously that too was my idea initially, but then the whole image thing at the time shows off our communal preconceptions about "glam" in general.

Silly idea perhaps, but glam has always been about playing with sexual roles, gender bender and androgyne and pink is widely considered sissy or gay and a colour for little girls, and predictably dressing up all in black, looking fierce and pissed off which is always acceptable and the norm does hardly gel with XXX's happy glam music, so I just thought pink would upset and stir up emotion with some narrowmindead people who obviously wouldn't like XXX anyways, might as well get rid of them right away.

To be honest, as you know I've been with tons of different bands in different genres but with XXX I have for the first time ever experenced some resistance from my fans in the heavier departments saying stuff like "Snowy, What the f*ck is this XXX!? You are no longer my hero or idol, I hate it! "

Sad to admit this, but what the f*ck can I do? you can't please everyone all the time, I'm doing my music first and foremost to please myself... if people likes it, I consider it a bonus, and nothing could make me happier.

What are the best gigs you have played so far and why?
You must mean me personally, since the scheduled XXX tour in Europe a few months ago was cancelled for some reason and we haven't played any shows yet for various reasons.

What influenced the vocal choral style on 'Heaven, Hell & Hollywood' at the beginning of the song?
If you're referring to the high pitched falsetto intro I'd say Queen, Sweet and Uriah Heep, which are some of my biggest influences.

What's your view of bands like 'Steel Panther' and such like who appear to be taking the world by storm?
Never heard of.

So obviously I don't have any idea. But the name sounds like that from the movie Rockstar.

In general I don't give a sh*t nor bother keeping updated just for the sake of being up to date. But of course once in a while up pops some band that attracts me, and it's rarely metal bands.

What bands/artists would you like to tour/support and why?
I dunno, the bigger the better I guess, so that we can reach the biggest possible crowd. and preferably in a somewhat similar style as XXX. I doubt Morbid Angel fans would approve of XXX.

Where in the world would you like to play and why?
Everywhere and anywhere they wanna have us, but on a personal note I'm curious about Australia which I've never toured and would love to.

How is Gothenburg, Sweden right now as a rock scene?
As a native Gothenburgian,.. (or whatever one should call it) it's hard for me to answer, but judging from all the outside perspective I'm being told constantly its blossoming and have been for many years. The Gothenburg Sound is a pretty well spread phenomenon in the death/metal circuit, but that's not all there is to it, we have a strong indie pop scene and a helluva lot more too. Out of a swedish perspective I think Gothenburg has the most successful and internationally established bands, and all of them are more or less friends with each other without any rivalty. If you compare it to the capitol Stockholm it's way more grounded, less concerned about trends and definately has a more blue collar working class mentality and attitude. It's kind of an interesting subject, I don't think I'm too far off if I dare compare the relation between Gothenburg vs Stockholm to Birmingham vs London in the 70s.

I definately do not suffer from any little brother complex but the older I get the more patriotic I tend to get.. but that won't stop me from eventually packing my bags and move my ass away from this rainy, cold, bleak fucking country one of these days.

What's up with labels in th UK and Europe - seems crazy that no one has signed you up over here yet and what woud you be looking for to get signed over here?
Yeah I couldn't agree more, you're dead right.

But well, we all know that the record industry as we know it is going straight to hell, and labels are going bankrupt every week and record stores are closing down every day. In fact more than half a dozen of the labels I was in negotiations with for XXX was already facing bankruptcy and eventually had to throw in the towel.

I guess kids don't want to go out and buy albums anymore obviously, so it's a big risk for labels to sign new bands, so they rather try to play it safe and sign up the flavour of the month copy cat bands if any.

So I started my own little humble label and have just signed up for digital downloading world wide, so within shortly XXX will be available on each and every digital platform on the planet, assuming that everything works according to the plan. For people who still wants the physical CD they can easily order it from or otherwise or

What are some of the biggest rip-offs and cosn you have encountered so far in the fickled business of music? What p*sses you off the most about it?
Hahaha! Don't get me started here.. You wouldn't like that.

In order to stay healthy, sane, happy and somewhat content rather than to implode of anger and bitterness I have chosen to take on the behavior of an ostrich and put my head in the sand and pretend like nothing, otherwise I might have become a serial killer.

What would you say have been the disadvantages and advantages of myspace, facebook or that new thing called Twitter for you as a band?
Myspace is a great promotion tool/forum for bands I guess, can't say I've explored it to its full extent like some do though, but it has most definately been a big help for XXX, can't say I see any negative side to it.

Personally I have deliberatly avoided getting soaked into both Facebook and Twitter, and that goes for XXX as well,.. but hey, now that you brought it up, might be a good idea that XXX is presented on those too. I just don't have the time to do everything on my own.

What band's albums do you like to play when not working on your own material and why?
Since I got Spotify I have been listening a whole damn lot more to music, because it's so damn easy and accessable. I listen to all kinds of shit, newer bands and stuff I grew up loving but haven't heard for years and years.

My latest and best new discovery is this fantastic girl from Sweden called Miss Li,.. I would really recommend you check it out, she's phenomenal. As unique as Kate Bush and Nina Hagen once were. Lately I've listened a lot to old Nazareth, Uriah Heep and Guns N Roses, Green Day etc.

Why you ask,.. Hmm because I like listening to it I guess, I don't think I listen for the purpose of studying a skilled technically advanced musician or any crap like that, which I of course can be totally excited, flabbergasted and impressed by, but that's not really what I'm after these days, a great singer with an exceptional voice yes, but a lightning fast shredding guitarist or blast speed drumming out of hell is not the kind of thing I'm looking for.

Neither do I listen to steal ideas for songs or productions or anything like that, but if I like something I get inspired and subconsciensly influenced I guess, whether I want it or not, isn't that how it all works?

I remember giving a phone interview with some metalmag a few years ago and the guy asked me about my influences and what bands I listened to, I said "well i dunno, eh nothing in particular eh whatever basically.. ABBA maybe,.." and then he replied Oh ABBA really, do they have good drums? -- To me it seemed like the most stupid thing ever to say, do one actually think because that I'm originally a drummer that I only listen to music that has good drums? It's so absurd, just proposterous. In fact my favorite bands as I was growing up had some of lousiest drummers in the world, but on the other band the best songs and singers to my taste.

What would be found on an XXX Tour rider?

Lego, heroin, salt licorice - turkish pepper preferily. wireless broadband. Coffee, Göteborgs Rapé Snus, Vanilla cream soda. beers, water, pepperoni pizza and some hot sexy girls in black stay ups and/or crotchless panties. + one big fat girl with a giant strap-on for X,.. that's his fetish (laughs)

So what are your favourite XXX films and film stars and why? I had to ask sooner or later with a band name like that - lol.
My favorite XXX movies and actresses? Hmm, let me think for a split second.. Jayne Oso, Tera Patric, Ricki White, Shyla Stylez, Laura Lion just to name a few on the top of my head.

If you were talking about the action movie... I haven't the slighest clue,.

What cool road stories do you have?

XXX hasn't got any yet, but personally I do have quite a few funny anecdotes of drunken insanity, wild escapades in excess and other remarkable and funny inside stories,..
but then again, you'll have to wait for my book ;-)

When can we expect to see XXX in the UK and where?
The sooner the better, i can't wait... but I'm afraid I'll have to, since few people in Great Britain have gotten hold of our music yet, so I doubt there are a huge demand for XXX,.. (the band that is ;-) )

What's next for XXX with regard to anything at all that you wanna talk about?

Well, what's up next would be these special kind of trailer/video shoots we gonna do in a few weeks if everything go according to plan.

We've really been dogged by misfortune in that video department as the first director looped off with our video budget to finance his own studies at some film school in Los Angeles.

Besides that I'm pretty excited to see how the digital download will turn out world wide in a few weeks time.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside music?
Frankly I don't have much spare time to spare outside of all my obligations within the music and everything connected to that, but I like watching good movies, playing with dogs, hanging with friends drinking and partying, and last but certainly not least, having sex - preferably with someone else hahaha!

Any plans yet for the next album or even a solo Snowy Shaw release?
As a matter of fact I'm currently writing more material for a solo album,.. one out of many solo projects with a particular concept or direction that I have in mind.. you'll see eventually. And as for new material for XXX, I've already written loads of new songs but had to stop myself and take care of other administrational crap that comes with running the band and the business, besides every-f*ck*ng other thing I'm doing.

What are you all proud of so far?
don't know about the other two, but Rob just had a kid a few months ago, I think he should be proud of that. I'm mostly proud of my endurance, longevity and patience and that I haven't killed the other two guys,..yet hahaha! just kiddin´

Funny you would ask, but it suddenly dawned in me as I was sitting in business meetings for XXX in Los Angeles last year that what I was in fact mostly proud of with XXX was that I managed to turn a disasterous situation around and what I had accomplished. If the album or XXX for that matter was that good and had that great potential is a whole different subject. I was a little blinded by my own satisfaction of saving the ship from sinking,..

I realize I don't make myself very clear here, but I really can't say anymore right now.

What would you like to say to any fans reading the Interview?
Hello there fan, friend or follower.. I speak directly to you,.. Yes YOU!!!

After reading this interview, feel free to think I'm a blunt self centered idiot, but I always shoot straight and speak the truth.. and the truth is XXX- Heaven, Hell or Hollywood? is a great f*ck*ng album by a great new up-and-coming band,.. and you'll be sorry if you missed the train, and you won't be able to brag to your friends that you were right there when it all happened jump aboard and join the XXX Army now! (order the album)

Thanks for a great Interview Snowy !!! Big Thankyous Nicky Baldrian & Tom Mathers for Setting it up!!