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Hollywood Blondes

Originally conducted via MySpace for Artless Nonculture Webzine, March, 2009.

I recently sent a series of questions to Mr. Stiv Reynolds, singer and guitarist of Youngstown, Ohio pop punk trio Hollywood Blondes. Here's what he had to say...


ANC: For the record, please state your name and purpose.

Stiv Reynolds. Doing whatever the fuck I want.

Give a brief or not-so-brief history of the band, if you would be so kind.

Bagger used to play in Johnie 3. I wanted to start a band. He brought Billy into the mix. Here we are.

Describe your sound in one or several words.

Unoriginal blueprints from Lookout! Records early ‘90s catalog.

Who writes your songs?

I write the lyrics. Most of the tracks we have recorded were loose chord progressions by myself, with a collaborative effort on the finished product. Don’t ask me about my songwriting process, because the last four songs we did for our Connect Four split had the lyrics written and/or finalized in the studio minutes before being recorded. I’m kind of lazy.

Who or what are some of your biggest influences?

If you asked Bagger this question it would be "cold beer and hot chicks". I’d have to say yeah to that. As far as bands go, I’m sure if you’ve listened to us you know where we’re coming from.

Tales of Interest:

How'd you get into punk?

I got into punk from my good buddies Johnie 3 and some other friends from high school. I was more into Oasis and BB King when they were listening to the Lillingtons and NOFX. I still listen to that shit to this day. I can’t front on BB King. It’s still some of the best music I’ve ever heard.

Have any good tour stories? Exceptionally weird gigs, bad experiences, or funny anecdotes?

Good tour stories? Not so much. We’ve met a bunch of great bands playing out of our local scene. Bands like the Lebowskis, the Sheckies, the Goddammits, Flamingo Nosebleed, the Bricktops, the Slotcars... Other bands like the Apers, the 20 Belows, the Guts, the Prozacs, etc. have all been awesome to play shows with and just hang out and party with. That’s what makes this shit what it is; meeting awesome people and having fun. You learn an awful lot from the guys who have been doing it for years and years.

Weird gigs? I guess maybe the Pop Punk ADD festival a few years back, out in New Jersey. The lineup was classic; the Sheckies, the Apers, Johnie 3, the Hi-Life, the Rydells, the Prozacs... Most of us spent the entire time at a bar up the street getting hammered. When one of the bands had to play, they left the bar, played, then tore down and came right back to the bar. We ended up at an awesome house party afterwards. That, to this day, is one of my favorite gigs ever.

What's the strangest request you've ever had while on stage?

Strangest request? Maybe to take my clothes off. But everyone gets that. I have, however, been shirtless and covered in peanut butter while playing. I’ve also had taco sauce, rubber floor mats, and bottlerockets hurled at me while we have played, as well as other numerous, NUMEROUS objects.

In addition to your vocal-guitarist duties with the Blondes, you've also been gigging with Johnie 3 lately as well. How did that come about, and what's the deal with the upcoming European tour?

Yeah. I have been in the studio with those guys recording the new album, doing second guitar and leads. I should be heading in to do some backing vox soon as well. I’ve also been playing gigs with them whenever possible, to get ready for the month-long "Euro-Trashed" tour at the end of this month. It came about because I’ve been friends with J3 for years and years now. They asked me to do some leads for them on the record, I said, “of course,” and that takes us to now.

The scene:

Who are some of your favorite bands to play with, locally and/or abroad?

The Sheckies are always my favorites. Those guys are the best at this kind of music. They have the catchiest tunes and are the best guys to hang out with. The now defunct Lebowskis were also always amazing live and just all around great guys. Locally, of course we fit in well with J3. The Turbo Lovers are another local band that we love doing shows with. I really want to do some local shows with First In Space because, well, they are awesome guys and they have an awesome sound.

What are some of your favorite places to play?

The Spitfire in Cleveland is always a blast. Locally, the Royal Oaks is becoming a new home for our shows. I also like the Brass Rail in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

What do you think our area lacks, in terms of a good punk or rock and roll scene, if anything? And how do you think we can fix it?

The funny thing about this area is, there really isn’t much of a scene for what we do. There are a lot of bands in the Youngstown area, but none of them have the pop punk sound. There are some awesome people doing great music, but nothing that really gels well with us. I also wanna see rock ‘n roll back. Just the attitude, and the show that goes along with playing balls out, honest-to-god rock ‘n roll seems to be missing. It ain’t supposed to be cute. It ain’t supposed to be funny. And it ain’t supposed to make everyone happy. It’s supposed to be loud, raw, and in-your-face. If everyone likes what you are doing, you are doing it wrong.

Other ran-dumb questions:

Who do you think is the best looking member of your band?

That’s me. No doubt a-fucking-bout it.

Who would win in a fight- Johnie 3 or Johnny Ramone?

Johnie 3. Even drunk as fuck, I’m sure they could take a dead guy.

What's your favorite color? ...And what's up with the pink t-shirts you guys have been peddling?

My favorite colors are blue, and the pink and black combo. Those pink shirts are now infamous. Just ask Ben Weasel.

Thinking man's questions:

If you could play a gig with any three bands, existent or non, who would they be and why?

Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and Motorhead, because why the fuck not?

If Blag Dahlia was at your show, and he heard you play a Dwarves song in your set, and he gave you shit for it after you came off the stage, what would you say to him?

You have no idea how close this has come to being true.

What do you have to say to punk rockers who claim, "Love songs aren't punk" or whatever?

Fuck punk. Write what you want. Let the internet nerds say what they want.

Wrap it up:

What's in the near future for Hollywood Blondes? Anything in the works?

We are working on our first full length right now. We’re getting the track list set up now and should be in the studio sometime this summer.

And on the distant horizon?

We plan on pissing off more people and doing what we want.

Any last words?

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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