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Hollywood

The 80-90’s big hair rock just never dies. In the club scene it’s still rollin’ today rockin’ as hard as ever. It’s such an easy meal ticket to claim you’re an 80’s band to get gigs (that pay double what classic rock bands get) many do so. But a cool moniker and some 80’s sounding band name ain’t gonna cut it when you have to sing those ridiculous high notes over and over night after night so many 80’s chart toppers are famous for. GNR said it best “It ain’t easy baby”. Not to mention pull off a screaming Eddie Van Halen solo when every eye in the club is glued to your strat. Believe it or not kiddos 80’s music took talent to produce and reproduce.
The reproduce part is the tricky one. Studios caked the radio tracks with layers of dubbing, effects and other such wizardry. Not to mention every band member was free to play or sing every second of the song as many times as needed to get it right. It could take months to get under 4 minutes of perfection.

Getting on stage and paying that same song live means living up to the radio version the crowd is used to, but without the wizard and his magic gear, and doing it right the first time, every time. That’s why we see many 80’s cover bands slagging along all night playing the hits but not reproducing them. When you see this you think “Why would he even try to sing that, or he skated past the whole solo?” These bands are OK corner pub bands but they don’t bring that song back to life. They’re posers (for a nice 80’s touch). It’s obvious to all of the less than wasted in the crowd who’s posin’, and who’s not, trust me.
How about “Hollywood” for an 80’s band name. Right now that would sell like bootleg gasoline in the 80’s club craze. But, what if your name was Hollywood since the eighties? That’s what we have here.
Band members Brian “Stumpy” Lee, Michael Oakley , Scott Hanons & Steve Starmann took the stage in 1983. Playing great glam rock (and musical chairs with members), they toured in the 80’s to the 90’s. Then, Nirvana euthanized the big hair scene in the arenas and club music followed. No problem, The band switched to 90’s grunge when demand dictated and continued on. Hollywood eventually went back to their roots and got out the glam again, right when it came back in big fashion.
Today all the original members (saving Stumpy) are on stage again and kickin’ ass again with “Kick Start My Heart” and the like. I saw the show at Knotty Pine (a westside heavy weight of band bars). Hollywood kicked harder than a mule right out of the gate. The first set list read; Van Halen (x 2), Bon Jovi, Black Sabbath and Ozzy, KISS, and more and more. All true to the radio versions and each Hollywood member stood out at times and showed off their pro kicks. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice signature Hollywood tweaks on the harmonies, solos and timing. They subtly “modernize” certain aspects of some songs, others they play totally straight. Truth is, regardless if they’re playing Whitesnake or White Zombie, they rock.
Well now you want to go but where can you see them? The Hollywood’s show date list doesn’t look anything like Sonny Moorman’s (seven days a week or damn near). Or for that matter like Sonny Hill’s (nothing), well, better than Sonny Hills. Just know Hollywood shows are few and far between. The band likes it that way. They get all fired up, tuned up and when the amps warm up they’re excited to tear it up. The crowd is just there along for the ride. These guys love to play.

 

 

 

 

 

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