Another HRH Adventure

I had been waiting for so long for November to come around and just like that, I’ve blinked and my week in Great Yarmouth is over!

With it being my big birthday too this year, I thought it would be the best time to just have one big birthday party. It was a bit of that but the thing that meant the most to me was to catch up with a lot of people whom I haven’t seen in 2 years.

A lot of people from the HRH community I’ve met via Facebook so to actually see them in person was amazing. People kept coming up to me, complimenting my show, my clothes or saying nice things to me which is a very humbling feeling. The community is such a loving and caring one and I never felt unsafe.

The Area 51 Girls and myself, credit to Simon Dunkerly

The HRH Awards night was amazing! Kicking off with the red carpet of course and this time, Simon Dunkerly (HRH photographer) actually managed to get a photo of me with my eyes open! Presenting with Jonni again was another fun experience and to see a lot of my favourite bands including, White Raven Down and Twister was a joy.

Over the weekend I grabbed quick chats with many people but not so many photographs which I am a bit bummed about. At least I can say I was enjoying the moment more than worrying about capturing it. The after parties at everyone’s caravans was just hilarious! Throwing satsumas at Jack’s head (Twister drummer), being screamed Tina Turner lyrics by 2 parts of the Wicked Jackals, arguing (well maybe more drunk debating) over the best era of Bon Jovi with Darren and Brian, talking to one of Chris Holmes tech lads (a Frenchman with a tattoo of a fridge on his calf) and wandering back home at 5am, those are the best parts.

I thoroughly enjoyed quite a lot of bands over the weekend, including and not limiting to King Kraken, Tigertailz (who gave me a wonderful birthday gift), Orange Goblin, White Raven Down, Ginger Wildheart, South of Salem and many more whom I overheard wandering (staggering) around.

Yet again, a week with the HRH family, seeing long lost friends and partying with old faces made me realise that life really is for living. I can be quite reserved and like my nights in cuddled up with the dog, but when you get those times to party and do what you love, those moments are priceless.

It made me immensely happy. Running off little sleep, plenty of coffee, enough nourishment to keep going but the high of fun was more than enough.

When you have little confidence in yourself and party with those you look up to (Caz Parker of MMH Radio being one of mine), just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I know I use the same words to describe things but there is no other way to express it. A feeling you just can’t explain. I’ve come back with a new sense of myself and the direction I am wanting to go in, not just in my career but myself.

Maybe turning 30 has hit a different note but either way, a blistering time at HRH in between fire alarms, power outages, alcohol flooded floors and roaring voices! Roll on HRH NWOCR in January!

Have a Nice Day; I Certainly Did

When you find an album or an artist, you never purposely go looking for it, not one that will impact your life that’s for sure. “Have a Nice Day” did just that and it started me on a journey towards the music that I love today.

My parents are great lovers of music, especially my mother. She loves everything from Glen Millar to Marilyn Manson to Frank Sinatra to David Guetta and many more mad combinations. I started paying attention to music a lot more when I got to 13. Rock music always hit a bit more of a stride with me except maybe 90s dance tracks from the likes of Hadaway, Sash and other horrendous 90s bands. With Linkin Park, Korn, Aerosmith, The Offspring and Green Day rolling around the house, I started taking more notice of music. Thanks to my grandparents and dad having Sky/Virgin (NTL at the time), I found music channels such as MTV, Kerrang and VH1 and was immediately captivated. They played a lot of music videos of the great rock bands of the 80s and the first video I saw was “Living on a Prayer”. From that a love (more of a teenage obsession) of Bon Jovi grew and that year (2015), Bon Jovi brought out a new album.

Have A Nice Day album cover

The “Have a Nice Day” single was released on 8th August 2005, with the album of the same name being released 20th September 2005. That image of the smirking face is one that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. At the time of its release, I didn’t have any money to buy the album so I had to wait until I got money for my birthday to grab it all for myself. At Christmas the school made a trip to the Metro Centre in Gateshead and the only thing I wanted was the album. I headed straight to HMV and spent all my money on it.

From this album, the title track obviously grabbed my attention. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”, got to number five in the UK charts but their duet with Jennifer Nettles, got the track to number one on the US Billboard Hot Country tracks chart. I love both versions to be honest and it is great when played live. “Welcome to Wherever You Are” from the minute it starts has always pulled a string on my heart. It is uplifting and when in doubt of yourself, it is a great track to make you both cry and smile. “Story of My Life”, “I Am”, “Bells of Freedom” and bonus tracks such as “Unbreakable” and “Dirty Little Secret” are all outstanding and amazing. I just fell completely and utterly in love with this album!

I played it on repeat, constantly. Everyday after school I’d run upstairs and pressed play on my CD player and listened to it all the way through, learning it word for word. The only track I skipped was “Wildflower”, looking back at it now, sadly that track was a taste of what was to come from Bon Jovi in years to come. A lot of the songs are typical rock tracks with some emotional lyrics that did touch a nerve with my emotional state at the time. When the family became homeless, living in a shelter with convicts and addicts, we couldn’t take much. I had to take my Walkman and my CD.

Bon Jovi, 2005, album insert photograph

Thanks to discovering Bon Jovi, I went back and looked at their history. When Bon Jovi started, all of these other amazing bands were out there and I loved them too! Most of them I still do! “Have a Nice Day” was for me, the last album I felt that Bon Jovi were still a rock band. Yes I have seen them twice since, once with Richie Sambora (thank the lord) and once with Phil X (handsome man, great guitarist but not quite the same). I am yet to feel the same love, adoration and appreciation for the band and an album like I did with this one.

Over the years my love for Bon Jovi has wavered due to the lack of rock tracks and albums they have produced. I’ve not bought an album since “What About Now” but I have listened via Spotify. My love for the “Have a Nice Day” album will never change, the lyrics hit a certain spot at a difficult moment in my life and I needed music more than ever, just to escape and believe I was somewhere else with anyone else. My teenage crush of Bon Jovi and Jon will never change, my ultimate wish is to hopefully speak to Jon someday, a girl can have dreams right?

Watch the video for “Have a Nice Day” on YouTube and stream the whole album via Spotify to listen to your hearts content. I hope it helps and touches someone’s soul as much as it did mine.

Sleazy Does It…Again!

After 18 months away from live music, I was dying to get back to it and where else was it all going to start? HRH Sleaze of course!

O2 Academy, Sheffield

I have been eagerly anticipating Bank Holiday weekend since everything was allowed back open. Yes there was doubt as to whether the event would be allowed to go ahead with all the new Covid restrictions surrounding large events, I am so glad it did. It all kicked off at the O2 Academy in Sheffield on Friday night!

Walking past the O2 Academy gazing up at the sign “HRH Sleaze IV, The Return, Sold Out”, my heart was fit to burst with excitement! Checked in, unpacked, answered a few emails, threw on my glad rags and off I went. Enough hairspray on my head I created my own helmet, smoky eyes to blind for miles and finally bringing out the gold shorts! I was GlamRat ready for Highway to Hell, the warm up for the weekend.

Six bands compete for the Highway to Hell Competition, a chance to win a record deal with “Off Yer Rocka” Records, promotion and playing at events up and down the country including HRH Events, obviously. They had to play a short set of four songs with one being a cover track. The audience members each got a text while each band played and had to vote on performance, image, originality and whether they had “Balls”. The bands competing this year were: Fall from Ruin, Building Giants, Bastette, Kaluss, Lost Search Party and Cry for Mercy. Normally a performance by the previous winners open up the competition but sadly Twister had a prior engagement. Metalheads Enquire Within burst everybody’s ear drums with a killer set to get everyone fired up! It was great to back amongst the noise, sweat, alcohol and thundering vibrations from your back combed hive to your steel capped toes!

Bastette, Highway to Hell Winners 2021

After some blistering performances from all the bands and a bit of a boogie in between, Bastette were the clear winners of the night! Their performance was through the roof and the stage presence was undeniable. Bastette’s cover track was Pink’s “Just Like A Pill”, but far one of my favourite Pink songs. I presented the band with their award which sadly was not made of glass but consisted of a white helmet, scribbled and signed by big boss, Jonni. It was time to hit the hay and get refreshed for the long day ahead.

Saturday Sleaze

Jake Grimes, Twister

The first band up was my good friends Twister to get everyone warmed up. They had already softened the morning with a private acoustic show with DC members (then had another set on stage two later in the day) but were biting at the bit to get onto the main stage. Twister played tracks from the debut album “Cursed and Corrected” much to the crowd’s delight. Pounding drums, soaring vocals, booming bass and screeching guitars, a fantastic band to kick off one hell of a weekend! A very proud friend moment, watching them for the first time in nearly 2 years and singing along to every word. Following up was the Takeaway Thieves, sadly I missed most of their set but from my advantage point, the crowd loved them and wow they had one hell of a time.

Next up was Gypsy Pistoleros, a band I have seen so much about and are signed to “Off Yer Rocka” Records. I’ve played them on my show a few times, they are very supportive of what I do and I just had to see this! I don’t know how to describe it but I was not disappointed! It is one of the most unique things I have ever seen! They got everyone dancing and feeling like they were at a sleazy mardi gras! Covered in sugar skull face paint, big sombreros, a HUGE bass and of course a bit of brass thrown in. Got me dancing and in a fun loving mood that’s for sure. Giving us a sneak peak of a Christmas track (Yes I said the C word) was just the hit of the party! ¡Muchas gracias mis amigos!

Midnite City

After a quick turn around, next up was New Wave of Hair Metal’s very own champions, Midnite City! I first fell in love with these boys in 2017 and couldn’t want to be watching them again. The guys have an immense presence on stage and filled the room. In that huge dark room with no light of what was going on in the world outside, the guys instantly transported you back to the strip, catchy tunes, great to look at and all round good time fun. I had a dance with some friends and I haven’t smiled so much at live music in a long long time! Hair metal certainly isn’t dead and Midnite City always bring the party!

Tigertailz

For a while I disappeared helping out with merchandise for the bands so I didn’t get to see much of the afternoon but from what I could hear and the snippets I saw, everyone was having an amazing time! Everyone was happy, laughing, hugging and dancing without a care in the world. I caught a bit of Wayward Sons as we were rolling into the evening, first time I seen them since they opened for Steel Panther in February 2020. Once again, singing along, dancing and feeling good with Toby as entertaining as ever. Toby is like the friendly neighbour who will do everything and anything you ask him. I heard him say pardon to a heckler! A true British gent!

Tigertailz were there to wrap up the night and what a party to finish with! The crowd went nuts and the room was packed! Their limited edition welsh emblem shirts had been flying off the shelves all day. Rob (the singer) had a very busy day playing twice in as many hours, but not a drop of exhaustion in his performance at all! A band that doesn’t tour very often and performs when they want to is a great thing, gets the fans all hyped and for newbies like myself, a chance to see a brilliant band perform at their best. Dancing along to my favourite track “All the Girls in the World” had me smiling and dancing all over the place. The lights, the music and the fans made the room feel electric and I’ve never felt so alive in a long time, I’m sure the bands and the fans felt exactly the same. The lights came up, the disco started and danced into the wee hours of Sunday.

Super Sunday

The City Kids

Another day of great music awaited my sleazy fiends with it all kicking off with Sweet Teaze! They put on a blistering set waking everyone up, or adding to their hangovers, either way it definitely warmed up the room. If that didn’t wake you up then The City Kids definitely did! Not exactly punk, not exactly sleaze, whatever genre you wanted to put them in, a whole load of rocking noise with a sprinkle of boogie and a skip full of attitude is exactly what The City Kids are! Billy of the Suicide Notes jumped up on stage singing along to one of their tracks “Rats!” sent the atmosphere through the roof! On a side note I loved seeing people wearing “Who the F*** is Dirty Berty?” tees! And what a busy boy Berty was too this weekend! First performing with Tigertailz and then with The City Kids, no rest for the wicked!

The Mercury Riots

I did miss the next two bands from running around doing errands and interviews but from the snippets I saw, South of Salem packed the house and sold loads of merch to both old and new fans and that’s what I love about Sleaze, always discovering something new. She Burns Red turned up the heat and got everyone all fired up for the first American band on UK soil!

The Mercury Riots! Wow! What a great bunch of guys! So wonderfully Californian and so laid back, its infectious! Jonny and Zacchary set aside some time to speak to me before jumping up on stage and I loved their set. More of a hard/southern/blues rock band than sleaze but I think that didn’t really matter as the crowd welcomed them with open arms. Tracks about having a good time (Fired Up) and drinking (Save Me a Drink), it’s all everyone wanted and was actually doing. Guitarist on the bars, drummer running around between playing and just good old fan and artist banter. Can’t wait to see these guys again I really can’t!

Spike and the Quireboys

To wrap the night up was the mighty, The Quireboys. Definitely a favourite for the HRH family. Spike is forever the charismatic frontman flinging his mike stand in the air, playing the harmonica and inviting everyone to a “Sex Party”. The crowd was hammered as I think were the band but as long as you were enjoying yourself why did it matter? The night felt like it was never ending but nobody seemed to care, no one wanted the music to end but sadly the lights had to come up, the gear was packed away and the sleazy crowd crawled out the door and slid back to their hotels.

No other event other than Sleaze could announce that HRH Festivals were back. Yes there was a lot of line up changes due to the ever changing Covid restriction landscapes but the best of British pushed the event through the stratosphere, people will always mumble and grumble, no matter what you do but all of that was left at the door. We all hugged, kissed, laughed, cried, drank and danced until we collapsed. An immense and unspeakable feeling. This event brought out the best of live music from the UK (plus one from America), I know everyone will agree that it was one the best weekends I have had in months.

One hell of a sleazy weekend!

Sixx:AM Mixing It Up

Sixx:AM consists of (l-r): DJ Ashba, James Michael and Nikki Sixx

I have loved Sixx:AM for a long time and found them accidently via YouTube and stalking Nikki Sixx via Instagram. They only started because Nikki was creating a soundtrack to go with his autobiographical diary entries from the 80s at the height of his heroin addiction. That book became: “The Heroin Diaries”.

After the book claimed amazing success and the track “Life is Beautiful” topped the charts all over the world, Sixx:AM became a more permanent thing.

After a few years, tours and a jaunt here and there, the band went quiet with Nikki, DJ Ashba and James Michael going off to do their own things. Nikki was getting ready for round two of Motley Crue’s farewell tour, James was taking some time to himself and DJ was expanding ASHBA Industries and taking over the world.

Skin – Rock Mix on Spotify

A few weeks a go, the band dropped a photo on Instagram and teased fans, giving them a trickle of excitement of something yet to come, then this morning, this popped up on Spotify.

“Skin” is a delicate and impacting track of raw emotion and a silent fighter song for anyone who has felt different and unjustifiably judged. It comes off the album “This is Gonna Hurt” and made me cry the first time I heard it. Still does if I’m not in the best of moods. James’s vocals crate such a beautiful atmosphere, blended beautifully with the orchestra, and in my opinion, holds a silent tone. It takes you out of your space and makes you feel isolated and at one with the song.

The band have called it the Rock Mix and yeah they have, by adding a banging guitar solo courtesy of Ashba’s talents, more drums and rumble of bass. It’s a great remix but for me, it takes away the initial rawness of the meaning of the track and James’ pure emotion in the original track is a definite heart string puller. In this version James is kind of more relaxed and trying to make it more of an anthem rather than a sorrow and sob story. The piano and slow intro pulls you in for the emotional ride but it doesn’t quite have the same feel to me.

It is a nice change but the impact of the original song is miles better, it’s generous of them to remix the track but it takes away the rawness and realness of true issues that hide themselves amongst the lyrics.

Thanks for the change of pace guys but I love the original too much!

Go and have a listen for yourself and let me know what you think!