Bruce Tousinau – guitars and backing vocals
Johnny Duff – guitars and vocals
Robert Fernandez – bass
Joe Vernagallo – drums
Pasadena, Texas 1982: The beginning…
Mox Nix began when Bruce and his neighbor, a singer named Tommy Rogers met Johnny and drummer Donny Bragg at a music convention. They started jamming and brought in Robert in on bass after a few months.
”Pasadena is an industrial city outside of Houston that’s known for the movie “Urban Cowboy ” and every local band’s dream was to play at Gilley’s or to play Top 40 or country music at the local dive bars and ice houses. We wanted to play heavy metal– European inspired metal and we couldn’t have picked a harder path. ” J.Duff
”We played a few parties without a name but Tommy came up with Mox Nix. I think he got it from a comic book read by American soldiers. They took “machs nicht” which means to make nothing and started saying Mox Nix…slang for “no problem or no worries…we liked the way it sounded and the name stuck.” B. Tousinau
The early going was rough:
”We didn’t play Ozzie or Van Halen or other radio friendly bands that would have got us a quick following..instead we were playing Michael Schenker, UFO, and early Judas Priest. Not a whole lot of people in a small town were coming out on a Wednesday night to hear “Princess of the Night” by Saxon” J. Duff
”In the early days Joe Coody would patch together a light show, Ed Duran, Larry Hlvaty and Mike Hunt would roadie for us and they were pretty much the only people at the first few shows besides us…” B. Tousinau
Eventually Tommy and Donny left the band so Johnny stepped up to play guitar and sing and the band brought in Joe on drums. Joe and Johnny had played together as teenagers in a band named Fixer.
Joe’s friend Richard “the metal mutt ” Kelly would often come to the rehearsals–this would end up playing a key role in the band’s progress.
”So with Joe in the band we were able to play a lot of the more aggressive metal such as Metallica, Anthrax and Iron Maiden…we took a few steps back playing this kind of music as a lot of people didn’t know what to make of our new direction but little by little the crowds grew. Instead of playing to a handful of people on a Monday night we were now playing to large crowds on the weekends…this was now around 1985…all of a sudden the guys from Helstar, Deadhorse, Tyton, Syntaurus and Rok Bergade are coming to our shows. Maybe we’re on to something…we would play at the Texas Tornado on a Saturday night and would have close to 500 people paid at the door. We would split the $3 cover charge with the club…not too bad for a band that didn’t play a single song heard on the radio.” R. Fernandez
Around this time Mox Nix started introducing some originals to their set list…the people at the shows seemed to like it…after a few months they opened for a band called Detonator at a club called Corners. Detonator was pretty big in Houston at the time and only played original music. The four in Mox Nix decided to do the 8 or 9 original songs that night.
” We opened with “Steal The Show” and we kind of did. It went over huge and we never did covers after that…”J. Vernagallo
”Fanzines were the Internet of the time and Richard Kelly used to bring them to practice all the time. He came up with the idea to send our “all access” demo tape to some of the fanzines and magazines…Aarshock, Kerrang!, Metal Forces and others. The reviews came back strong and we started getting five dollars in foreign currency from places as far away as Poland, Russia, Norway and Canada. I remember our first request came from a guy named Jamie Fulton in Canada–he still keeps correspondence with the band to this day…thanks to Richard our early music got out in the world and noticed.” R. Fernandez
A few months later the band received a request from Paris, France based Axe Killer Records–“they had heard about their demo and next thing we know we’re recording our first album. Helstar had just been signed to Combat, King’s X was on Megaforce and we now had a deal. We were signed without really trying. It just kinda fell into place…” J. Duff
”Somehow our album made into the hands of Joe Anthony–also known as “the Godfather”–he was a DJ in San Antonio and had a metal show every Saturday night on 99.5 KISS. Not only did he play us every weekend but he pulled some strings and got us on regular rotation. Suddenly “Ready or Not” was getting played next to Journey and Def Leppard during the day. This was huge for us. Promoters are calling us and they want us to open for Accept, Yngvie Malmsteen, Warlock and The Killer Dwarves…friends would call us on the phone saying they were driving around San Antonio and Corpus Christi listening to Mox Nix. KLOL in Houston plays us a many times thanks to Linda Silk and her support. Joe Anthony constantly playing our album in south Texas took us to another level.” R. Fernandez
Now MoxNix is playing in front of thousands…they ‘re definitely on to something…
”By this time we’re looking for U.S. and worldwide distribution…enter Shatter Records. Their big name acts at the time were Paul Di’Anno of Iron Maiden and Rhett Forrester of Riot. Robert mailed them a tape of our first album and they sent some people down from New York. They wanted to see us live before signing us so they booked us in support of Paul Di’Annos Battlezone. ” B. Tousinau
”We had barely come off stage before they offered us a record deal…cut to the winter of 1987 and the four of us are in a van heading to Pyramid Studios in New York to record with Alex Perialis(whose voice you will hear on the rough tracks…) and Rob “Wacko” Hunter of Raven. It was cold as hell but it was worth it to record with Alex and Rob. They really helped tighten up our sound…” J. Vernagallo
The end…(sort of…)
”The sessions went well but things at Shatter Records were not. The label was an upstart company and went out of business before the album could be completed and released. Our contract expired and next thing we know we’re living in Los Angeles trying to land another record deal.” R. Fernandez
”We all tried hard to keep it together…we played the Sunset Strip–once again we’re playing to small crowds–maybe our guitars weren’t pink enough or our hair wasn’t high enough but eventually the strain proved too much and we broke up in the summer of 1990.” J. Duff
In 2000 Axe Killer wanted to release their first album but on CD this time. Some artwork was added and Robert contributed the liner notes. The cd sold very well and their was still interest in the band.
”We decided to re-record “Red Planet” and “Lightning Without Thunder” from the “A Hard Place To Rock” New York sessions and it was great playing together as a band. I think we captured the spirit of those Pyramid Studio sessions…” J. Vernagallo
”We didn’t set the world on fire but we always played the kind of music that we as a group and musicians always wanted to play. We always had fun and we always enjoyed playing together as friends.” J. Duff
All of the members of Mox Nix still keep in touch and played a reunion show in 2010.
Robert Fernandez 2013