Katie McGowan 16/06/2005
I arrive at 5pm, two hours before the doors open for a Fightstar gig, despite the Fighstar claiming to be a new 'grassroots' band, they certainly have a lot of young Busted fans desperate to catch a glimpse of Charlie on the tour bus. I scramble past the excited kids and enter the venue. My mission today isn't to shmooze with the Busted star himself but to check out the much more credible bands supporting him.
Hollywood Ending arrive late for their sound-check but invite me inside to watch them set-up before heading down to the dressing rooms for the interview. The Liverpool Carling Academy has great dressing rooms, comfy seats and light bulbs around the mirrors. The band are thankful, despite having to share the smallest dressing room with their tour partners, Cry For Silence (In the meantime Charlie and co have the largest dressing room to themselves…) 'We had to share a hallway between 9 of us at one show' says one band member '9 of us, while Fightstar had the dressing room to themselves' but Hollywood Ending love Fightstar and are very thankful the band invited them on tour. Bassist, Adam Watson goes on to tell us how cool the tour had been so far. Merch-wise the band had sold more than any previous tour, they've picked up a lot of new fans and find themselves meeting groupies after the shows aaah the life of a rockstar eh?
The band tells us how Charlie Simpson is actually great guy and invited Hollywood Ending on the tour after hearing their CD. This tour seemed a little different to their previous ones supporting much more credible bands, 3CR and the mighty Pitchshifter but the band thought it was too good an opportunity to miss. Hollywood Ending are still without management or a booking agent but have a strong DIY view, booking and promoting themselves. Before the band was formed in 2002, each member was in a separate punk band. The punk mentality remains with them today, not only in the DIY booking of shows but also in their goals as a band. A lot of Hollywood Ending songs carry a message; anti-war, anti-establishment and songs against organised religion to name a few. Taking influences from old punk groups, Greenday and the Deftones then mixing it with melody and a 'sick northern sense of humour', Hollywood Ending manage to create catchy, memorable tracks, which go down fantastically with the Fightstar crowd later that night.
The band all met at school in Rochdale, initially called, Lazy Jack. Once the band signed to Mighty Atom, they felt their name was doing them no favours, “A lot of people thought the name change coincided with the record deal but it didn't, we liked the name the producer suggested” Adam told us referring to the producer of the band's first EP. The band all take part in the song writing process and when asked how they would describe their music to a new fan we were given a number of takes on their style; “Stadium Rock” (Usman) “Chav Core” (Ben) “Heavy U2” (Adam) “Melodic Rock” (Tom).
After a few giggles we the band got to talking about their dream gig, playing the MEN with Greenday, Operation Ivy, Rancid, Deftones and Pantera. The usual rider for Hollywood Ending is only a few bottles of water. Given the chance for a dream rider they'd make life as difficult as possible; consisting of Playstation 2s, as much beer as possible, gay lobsters, Kinder eggs without the prizes inside, M&Ms separated by colour and Lucy Pinder. If the boys had the chance to work with another musician past or present; Tom would work with Mike Portnoy from Dream Theatre “he has the biggest drum kit in the world and is shit hot”, Usman would work with Billie Joe Armstrong from Greenday as he considers his song writing amazing, for similar reasons Ben would want to work with any member of Guns and Roses except Axel Rose. Slash is a hero of Ben's and he's been a fan of G&R since he was 7 years old. Adam couldn't decide so chose the Sussex Pistols!
Banter about pre-stage rituals followed, the band doesn't really have any rituals before they hit the stage. They all slap hands and wish each other good luck. Adam 'kisses a wolf' before the show…A Wolf watch that is and Tom always needs a baseball cap before he will settle on the drums - he doesn't feel right without one. Nerves before the show begins are still common for the band but they feel they've progressed a lot over the last few years. Last year's Pitchshifter tour gave the band the opportunity to improve their stage act and learn a lot about the music business.
Talk shifted to releases and MP3s, one band member confessed to downloading Natalie Imbruglia's latest track illegally “everyboy does it, albums shouldn't be a tenner anyway, the bands don't see that money”. Hollywood Ending aren't afraid to show their love for downloadable music either - their next single will be 'Angel Town Part 2' which they hope to release as a free downloadable track from their label website. In the meantime the band will be continuing to tour, they may even bag a few summer festival appearances. The band feel there's a musical revolution starting to take place in the UK, with pop-idol going out of the window and more credible bands coming to the front of the UK scene. They tipped us off to two bands, which they think will make it big in the near future, Cry for Silence and Peas. Before they left to head for the stage, Ben wanted to make sure I left a message for the fans out there. “Thanks for buying our music and coming to the gigs, I love Manchester United!” and with that they were off….