Mickey Lyxx’s career is taking off almost as fast as his fingers move.
The 17-year-old high school student by day is a rock star who plays under the stage name Mickey Lyxx by night.
He strolls into classrooms in Iron Maiden t-shirts and jeans, but commands Long Island stages in fitted vests, flowing shirts, leather pants and boots.
He picked up one of his father’s guitars five years ago and attended School of Rock, where he met his current band mates, Casey Kohler and Steve MacQueen, before donning his mantel in the summer of 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the guitarist began recording material at home, releasing “Defiance,” his first of seven singles, in October of 2020.
Since that time, he has made a name for himself beyond Long Island. His track “1849,” won “Best Metal Single” at the 12th annual Elephant Indie Music Awards based in New Jersey, and in September, he signed his first endorsement deal with Elixir Strings.
His debut album, “Freezing Speed,” which boasts his singles plus two more tracks, dropped Saturday across streaming platform and is available on CD at his shows.
“I got the CDs in and just having it in my hand was so surreal,” Lyxx said. “That’s a year’s worth of work in my hand. Just seeing that was insane and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who has come across my path in the last year and helped me out.”
‘Very much about the look’
Thursday night, Lyxx performed at The Loading Dock in Patchogue dressed head-to-toe in tight black attire, rotating through white, wood tone and black and white guitars.
When his outfits visit the color spectrum, his axes must follow suit.
“A guitar can play amazing, but it’s got to look cool,” Lyxx said. “At another gig I had a bright green outfit with a bright green guitar. It’s very much about the look for me.”
Nailing “the look” is paramount for Lyxx. He is a shredder, a guitarist who plays technical passages with speed and precision. The art is traced back to Eddie Van Halen and even earlier, but blew up in the ’80s when “the look” was equally (if not more) important as the music.
“It’s old school for me, it makes me feel young again,” Diane Filosa said after Lyxx’s Loading Dock set. “I was big into ’80s hair metal bands. It’s nice to see somebody carrying the torch.”
“I like listening to people do that kind of music now,” her daughter, Alexandra Filosa, said. “I’m 16 and you don’t really hear that too often with people in my grade, so it’s cool to come down and watch him play like that.”
Shredding is not a popular practice for Lyxx’s generation, but has a niche following on Instagram. He and other talented young guitarists tap into that community by posting covers, speed building exercises and original content to their stories.
‘I’m friendly with people who are my heroes’
Although his career is still fledgling, Lyxx has attracted the attention of musicians he’s listened to from an early age.
He studies under Jackie Vincent, a shredder most known for his work with the metal band Falling In Reverse, one of his favorite acts as a child. On Oct. 27, he premiered the video for his track “Forza,” in which he trades solos with Vincent, an experience he said “was the point of weirdness” for him.
For the past six months, Lyxx has worked with Mark DiCarlo, a name familiar to Long Islanders as the vocalist of the band Fuzzbubble, perhaps best known for their track “Bliss.”
DiCarlo sings various songs in Lyxx’s live sets, including a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and an original track they wrote titled “Dive Bar,” both of which appear on “Freezing Speed.”
“You don’t see too many kids, 16 or 17, playing instruments with such passion with what’s literally a throwback to the ’80s,” DiCarlo said. “It’s just cool to see him do it so well at 17. I’m in my 50s now and I don’t even do half the [stuff] he does on stage, confidence-wise.
“Anything I can do to help him and his band out I’m there for, cause I have a feeling in a couple of years he’ll be on stage at Jones Beach.”
“Going through all these stages, it’s been insane, this growth” Lyxx said. “I’m friendly with people who are my heroes. I’m still baffled that I’m close friends with Mark DiCarlo. It’s weird cause I’m just a punk kid. I just have long hair and I play guitar, that’s it.”
The life of a teenage rocker is not all amplifiers and applause.
These kids still have homework and are not immune to senioritis.
“Mickey Lyxx is my full-time job and I’m enjoying every second of it,” Lyxx said. “I don’t really focus on school, but I still get good grades.”
He said his parents understand his dedication and have supported his career thus far. His mother is there to listen to his nervous “babbling.” His father, who owned guitar stores and turned him on to shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, helps him overcome shyness when he is not wielding an axe.
“My dad is my hero,” Lyxx said. “I’ve had times with Mickey Lyxx where it’s been hard for me. When I have a guitar in front of me, I’m a totally different person. I’m quiet in person. He’s kinda helped me through the whole getting comfortable with people.
“I’ve never been phenomenal at having conversations but I’m getting comfortable now,” he added. “When I started doing shows, I always had this disconnect between who am I, and who is Mickey Lyxx? And how do I combine the two?” he added.
In ‘Perpetual Motion’
Fans can expect to see more of Lyxx, Kohler and Macqueen. They have several shows booked throughout the month and 2022, and are hungry for more. Lyxx added that he hopes a full-fledged tour is in the trio’s future.
The guitarist is already looking ahead to recording more material. He said he hopes to write more lyrics to pair with some of his instrumentals and work on finding his voice.
Although he sings some tracks live, his voice is absent on “Freezing Speed.”
While pursuing Mickey Lyxx, the high school senior (who asked we not list his school or real name) is also preparing to attend college to study business, an alternative which may find him in the shoes his father wore.
“I want to pursue the retail industry of music,” he said. “Selling someone a guitar, you’re selling them their dream.”
While he does not know what lies ahead, he is proud of his journey thus far.
“It’s hard being a musician in the sense that you don’t know if you’re gonna succeed, you’re gonna fail, you don’t know how far you’re gonna make it,” Lyxx said. “The fact that if gotten to do so much in a year is insane. I feel like if I were to retire today as a 17-year-old, I would be happy with what I’ve done.”