Hold On Hollywood: Rocking Your World From The Heart of Houston
Hold On Hollywood: Rocking Your World From The Heart of Houston
Hold On Hollywood is based in the heart of Houston, TX, and they are primed and ready to rock your town with their vibrantly massive anthems. The band has opened for the likes of Bon Jovi, A Perfect Circle, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, and recently headlined a comeback from lockdown show at BFE Rock Club in their hometown. Love Stories of the name of their latest EP, featuring highly memorable songs as well as an impressive cover of the Eddie Money classic Take Me Home Tonight. Prior to Hold On Hollywood’s show at BFE, Highwire Daze interviewed guitarist Nick Dees to find out about this dynamic band on the rise. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Hold On Hollywood, and how long the band has been together.
Nick: Hey, I’m Nick Dees, I play guitar and sing back-ups in Hold On Hollywood! We’ve been together almost 5 and a half years now.
Where is the band based out of, and what is the local music scene like there?
Nick: We are from, and still based out of, Houston, TX. There is a large music scene because it is such a large city. In the outer area where we are more located, there is definitely a lot of heavier bands. But if you get into the inner-loop, more downtown areas, you’ll find all kinds of different acts, it’s quite mind-blowing. We are of course well known for the many successful Rap/Hip-Hop artists that have come from our town too, and there’s many more to come over the years ahead I’m sure!
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Love Stories EP title?
Nick: The title tells you exactly what the EP is, a collection of Love Stories. We often write about love, what we consider to be one of the most basic human emotions, and all of its different shades and aspects. When trying to find a name that fit it well, this very simple title came up and we felt it just fit with the whole theme perfectly. It’s straight to the point.
Select two songs from Love Stories and what inspired the lyrics.
Nick: “Movies” is track 3, and our single off the EP. The lyrics of this song are about the nostalgia of youth, the good times we all got to experience or dreamed about growing up. First cars, first loves, going out with friends before you were old enough to get into the bars and clubs. You’d be going to see the hottest movie that weekend, always hoping to bump into that person you were really into, or building up the courage to ask them out on a date.
“Too Late” had its lyrics written mostly by Ian, and he described it as coming from a time he fought for the first time with a girl he was with. You know how it goes, they had their first real argument, and it made him feel dreadful afterwards. He never wanted to feel like that again, wanted to take it all back, just go back to how it was before that happened.
How did Matt Noveskey of Blue October become involved with producing the EP and what was it like working with him?
Nick: We met Matt when we played with Blue October originally at the 94.5 the Buzz Bud Light Roast back in the summer of 2018. About half a year later, we were starting to talk about finding a serious studio to record in as we wanted to do something a step up from what we had done up until then. Orb had already come up in our conversations way back when, before we ever played with Blue and met Matt and the rest of the band. I had actually emailed the studio to figure out about rates and everything, but we ended up not going to record anything for a while. Now that we had become acquainted, we decided to reach out personally to him, and he was stoked to be a part of the project as he loved the band and the sound we were creating. We scheduled some dates, and the rest is history.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your band and live shows in your city as well as the release of your EP? Are you nervous about doing a live show on June 13th at all?
Nick: Houston, just like every other city, went on a complete lockdown. They closed all the bars, clubs and restaurants, which effectively cancelled all of the shows for every band, big or small, for months. We had just released the EP a month prior, and this seriously hindered our promotional abilities, preventing us from being able to get out and play for the large crowds in and around our home area.
As far as the first real show back – nervous, definitely not. If anything, I would say we are excited. It’s been a long time since we’ve been on a stage together in front of fans, longer than it’s been for us in years. We like to play live, it’s one of our favorite things and strongest aspects as a band. We are definitely looking forward to it. And the icing on the cake is that we are at BFE Rock Club, which is actually where this band got its start and played our first show ever. It’s our true home as a band when it comes to venues.
What could one expect from a live Hold On Hollywood show?
Nick: We always try to make things larger than life. We try to bring that arena level rock show to a bar or club near you. You should feel like you’re actually seeing a show, getting entertainment and a real performance. Crazy things happen sometimes from lap dances by some of us, to unplanned covers, and so much more! Sometimes, it’s like a whole Magic Mike routine up in there. You never know what’s going to go down each night, so you just have to be there!
What was the experience like opening for Bon Jovi and did you get to meet or hang out with him or anyone from the band at all?
Nick: It was a literal dream come true. Almost didn’t feel real the whole time. We did get to meet Jon for a few minutes, he came out and talked to us, took a photo with us, and asked about the band and stuff. He was really humble, down to earth, and just cool. It’s really awesome he gives bands the opportunity like that, because he definitely doesn’t have to. That night changed our lives for sure. Also saw Phil X, the guitarist, walking around a bunch but we didn’t try to bother him! When we first walked past him at some point back stage before doors opened, he said to the guy he was with, “Oh, these guys must be the opening band!” Guess he could just tell by our look! Haha.
What was it like opening for Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and did you meet Mike at all?
Nick: We got to play with Mike at Buzzfest 2018 in Houston, along with many other major names that we couldn’t believe we were seeing our name alongside. I personally went and watched him from side stage, and Josh Katz from Badflower was there too. He was waiting to get video of Grandson performing with Mike. We hung out there most of Mike’s set and it was just super surreal to me in that moment. I realized how grand this had all become, and was feeling really blessed and thankful. I got to get a picture with Mike right after he finished playing, he was nice enough to stop and do that, but that was all the time I really got to spend with him.
If Hold On Hollywood could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Nick: Shoot for the top. Mötley Crüe back at their peak, Girls, Girls, Girls/Dr. Feelgood eras or something. That would be crazy, one giant rollercoaster of a party the whole way through, rock n’ roll in its rawest form.
Has Hold On Hollywood ever played in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area or plan to do so in future days?
Nick: We have not, but some of us did travel there together right before the band got started. It was an awesome trip and we really want to get back out there. We love it there, it’s THE city, you know? Definitely want to play there someday as well, wouldn’t it just be so fitting? Hold On Hollywood goes Hollywood, haha.
What’s up next for Hold On Hollywood?
Nick: Right now it’s just a process of trying to get things back to normal now that the world is starting to level out again. Rescheduling some shows, properly promoting ones we now know will be happening. Also trying to get back on the train of pushing Love Stories properly. We released our music video for “Movies” during the quarantine and we would still like to film at least one more for this EP. Writing more is always on the agenda, and just having a good time together.
Any final words of wisdom?
Nick: I always tell myself, everything works itself out in the end. Just do your best, don’t stress, and things will be alright. Times when we felt we were at our lowest or weakest point as a band, we had some of our biggest successes. Life is a funny thing but it always seems to come around when it needs to. Work hard, and you’ll be surprised how far you can go. I’ve surprised myself a million times, and still do, but sometimes it’s not even surprising anymore because, at this point, I tell myself, “You know, I’ve ended up in crazier situations.”
Ian Dartez (Vocals/Guitar)
Nick Dees (Guitar/Vocals)
Corey Morgan (Bass)
Devin Holden (Drums)
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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