by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist —
Hardrock Haven is always on the lookout for breakout bands. They say timing is everything and the timing is definitely right for LA Rock band Kicking Harold. The band has been paying their dues for the past 20 years in the City Of Angels, but with the release of their 5th Studio album Red Light District, the timing may just be right for the band to take center stage.
Kicking Harold’s claim to fame is with their hit song “Gasoline” which is featured in the reality series Overhauling. Singer Tim Kelly has an infectious melodic voice that just draws you in. Kicking Harold has a sound that is a cross between Alice In Chains meets The Psychedelic Furs. They have a ‘80s vibe combined with dark modern grunge flair.
Kicking Harold will be performing in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Café by the hotel on Paradise May16th. The band will be hosting a contest for the best rock star costume and giving away a guitar for the best rock artist costume. In this exclusive interview with singer Tim Kelly, we discuss the making of Red Light District.
HRH: Tim, thank you for checking in with Hardrock Haven. Tell us about your upcoming gig in Vegas on May 16th. I understand that there is a contest for best rock star costume and you will be giving away a guitar?
Tim: I don’t have a lot of details on it. I know that they are doing some dress up like a rock star situation there. We are going to be giving away a guitar to the person who wins the contest. We are playing at the Hard Rock and that is their thing to have the guitars on the walls. We are giving it to one of the fans that come down. A little teen spirit.
HRH: That is awesome. Now I listened to the new CD Red Light District. It sounds amazing. I really like your voice. Tell us about the writing process for the album. I know the single “Kill You” has been revamped.
Tim: The writing process for this particular one was me going through old demos. I write all the time. I kind of collect songs throughout the years. I go through the pile and find the best hooks and the best songs. At that point I go through the ones I like the best and have the best potential. Every once in awhile something will come up in the middle of recording and it might change. Most of the time I have a little reservoir of songs to go through.
HRH: The video for “Kill You” is really cool. It has an appearance from adult star Mary Carey. How did that come about?
TIM: Mary had auditioned for the main role. We were doing casting and we went through everyone that was available and we settled for Sara the girl with the bright red hair because she looked like a super hero. As we were going through other available roles, it just kind of came up I wondered if Mary would be interested in a small cameo part. So we asked her if that would be something she would like to do. She was totally cool. It was a fun aspect coming out as a surprise. It was a big star at the end that no one was expecting. We just thought it was really cool and it worked out for us.
HRH: You also so one cover by INXS called “Need You Tonight.” That was really cool. It is a little bit heavier than the original version. Tell us about this.
Tim: When I was recording the album, I like to do covers. I was looking in the ‘80s kind of feel. Because there is quite a few songs from the album that have that have a newer drum beat going on. It is very popular on radio right now. I thought it would be nice to take a song from the ‘80s. It is kind of a happening era right now for everything. I always loved INXS. I recorded kind of late in the process and I was looking for something to have that extra track on there that was kind of fun to do.
HRH: Your vocal style kind of reminds me of The Psychedelic Furs. But you have a modern sound too. It is kind of like the ‘80s meets now.
Tim: When I did the album I made a conscience effort to incorporate both sounds. I wanted to have some songs that sounded like the first album. Then I wanted to push the envelope and do some songs that sounded like the newer bands that I was really into bands. As a writer you naturally kind of want to enroll whatever you are into your writing process. It was trying to have fun in writing stuff in the new style.
HRH: Your claim to fame is the song “Gasoline” that is in the reality show Overhaulin.
Tim: It has been the theme song for the first four seasons. Then they brought it back for the fifth one. It has been over ten years that the show first came out. It kind of took on its own life. There are tons of different versions of kids playing to it. It is great to play live.
HRH: How did you come up with the title Red Light District?
Tim: There are two reasons for that. One I like that term. When I am doing a new album I just try and find interesting titles. I liked the idea that you first think of the real Red Light District. For myself, my studio had a lot of red lights in it. A red light in the studio is an indication that you are actually recording. So when the red lights are on, you are in the studio and being creative. The Red Light District is a space where you need to stop whatever you are doing if you are not happy and you need to change things. It has multiple meanings. That is something I always loved for a band to do that.
HRH: Where does the band hail from?
Tim: We are from Los Angeles. I have been here since 1990. I am originally from Tucson, AZ. We have always been based in L.A. In the late ‘90s we were very popular in Las Vegas. We were playing out there all the time. A lot of people think we are from Las Vegas because of that.
HRH: Is there anything else that you would like to say about Red Light District?
Tim: We hope you pick it up. We would really appreciate it. If you like the old Kicking Harold stuff and you like the old alternative music you will really enjoy it. It is all melodic and we try really hard to give you your money’s worth.
HRH: Thank you Tim. See you May 16th at the Hard Rock Cafe on Paradise.
Special Thank you to Amanda from ABC PR for making this interview possible
Visit the band online: https://www.facebook.com/KickingHarold