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| 12 September 2012 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

Hey Brian – thanks so much for taking the time out to talk with The Rockpit!!

Shane, thank you man, I’m honoured. You guys have interviewed Alice Cooper, Andy Scott, and more so for me to be added to that list of interviewees is mind blowing.

For those who aren’t aware, how did you come to start Hard Rock Nights?

I’ve been doing Hard Rock Nights for 2 years this summer, but I didn’t start it. The show had been around before me, it was more of an interview/retro show then. The guy that was doing it originally was getting burned out and was going to kill the show.

What you hear on Hard Rock Nights now, I was doing a similar type of show at a local college radio where I lived in Amarillo. He heard the show online and asked if I would be interested in taking over Hard Rock Nights. I thought about it for a couple of weeks and told him I would do it if I got to make the show mine he said yeah and it went from there.

When I took over Hard Rock Nights I think it had something like 15 affiliates. In the first two months I lost every affiliate, but two maybe three of them. It slowly built back up to where we are today with 62 affiliates!

Your show byline is “Finding tomorrow’s Classic Rock today…it’s what we do”. What drives you?

Man, the same thing that has always driven me…trying to get good bands heard.

So many kick ass bands are completely ignored by FM Radio because they are all to busy playing Nickelback and Nickelback wannabes.

I’m not sure about Australia but here in the U.S. Sirius XM is just as bad instead of using Hair Nation and Boneyard to help break bands like Trucker Diablo or Hellcity Glamours they play songs that any rock fan has heard at least a million times and play them to death a complete waste of their resources in my opinion.

I’m just trying to even the playing field for bands like the Treatment, Crazy Lixx, White Widdow as much as I can

You’ve done a fantastic job not only in building the brand Hard Rock Nights, but also in broadening the global appeal of a lot of young bands. From our position Down Under we have noticed you’ve long championed a lot of young Australian bands – who are some of your favourites you’ve discovered in the past couple of years?

Wow thank you I appreciate you saying that.

Man I could give you a list of Australian bands as long as my leg that I dig. I’ve said this before and without trying to sound like a kiss ass I’ll say it again. Australia has one of the best rock scenes in the world. Not just Sydney and Melbourne, but the country as a whole.

The Driving Conditions are the band that got my attention and put it back on Australian rock because they remind me of Rose Tattoo, but I love the Lockhearts, Neon Heart, The Deep End, Sunset Riot, Black Aces, Ragdoll, Heaven The Axe, Babyjane, Iron Jack, De La Cruz, Cannons Mouth and there is at least another 2 dozen Aussie bands I could sit here and name for you.

Just so much good rock and hard rock coming out of Australia right now you guys are extremely lucky

The Hard Rock Nights website mentions a battle you had “standing toe to toe against Hard Rock Café International” – can you elaborate on that for us?

When I took over Hard Rock Nights I registered the domain for and we put up a splash page saying something like “Hard Rock Nights Coming Soon”.

The next day I received an email from Hard Rock Café International threatening to sue me for trademark and copyright infringement if I didn’t cease and desist and sign over the rights to to them because they said they owned the copyright to “Hard Rock”.

I started telling people about it on Facebook and Twitter. I posted their email on the website and put out a press release about what they were trying to do. It was picked up by Blabbermouth, Bravewords, and all kinds of other music websites and the next thing you know I get a second email from Hard Rock Café saying they were dropping their complaint and apologizing for the misunderstanding.

Whilst interviewing or DJing, have you ever been completely lost for words? What do you do in a situation like that?

I try to be as prepared as I can, but I’m an airhead and completely lose my train of thought all the time. You just start over or blow it off and go on to the next segment.

If it’s an interview you better have your act together especially if you want to be taken seriously by the artist you’re talking too.

What’s next for Hard Rock Nights? How big can the show realistically get?

Oh man I have no idea…I always say I want the show on at least one station in every country in the world. The show is heard in 11 countries right now so there are something like 185 more to go.

As long as people dig listening to what I try to do each week and as long as stations want to keep carrying the show I’ll keep doing it.

I’m looking at launching my own radio station in July hopefully. If you like what I do on Hard Rock Nights I think you’ll love this station.

Wow – make sure you keep us up to speed on that one. Going back in time – how did you discover rock music and at what age did you decide this was what you wanted to do with your life?

Easy 1978 I was 8 years old my cousin Danny played Kiss “Destroyer” for me it absolutely changed my life after that I didn’t care about anything else – rock n’ roll just became my obsession

I had heard that it was KISS that changed everything for you. Which KISS character did you most identify with when you were a kid – and now?

The Demon back then because he scared the bejesus out of me. Still Gene Simmons today – love him or hate him he is a master at marketing and branding KISS.

I honestly think he could sell hell to the devil!

Hard rock still only seems to have underground cult appeal at the moment – do you envisage a time when rock will rule the airwaves again like it did in the late eighties?

Honestly no…not as long as big corporations own all the radio and tv stations. They are going to play what they want people to hear and unfortunately the majority of the people are going to listen.

How do you think bands can survive financially in the digital age?

This is just me, but I say touring, touring, touring, and merch sales; if you’re in a band and serious about music you should be out on the road playing for people 6 months out of the year. I hate to say it, but two weeks is not a tour.

You’re based in Dallas – how is the live music scene in Texas nowadays?

Dallas is amazing…good or bad you have a pick of shows to go see every night of the week, both local and national acts and because of where it is located in the U.S. pretty much everybody is going to make a stop here whether they are headed out west or going back to the east coast. Plus you have Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston all reasonably close so if you miss somebody you can jump in the car and catch them at the next stop.

Something I didn’t know before moving here, but Dallas is a metal town. Pantera, Hellyeah, and Drowning Pool are all from the Dallas area, but there are a ton of good hard rock and metal bands playing on the local scene too.

The only complaint I would have is there are no big hard rock festivals here like back in the day with Texas Jam. Hopefully someday Hard Rock Nights can help change that.

Do you think there is any way to combat the insidious spread of autotuned Glee and Idol and X Factor and pop pap that our kids are force fed, and get them listening to real music again – or is it just a phase all kids must go through and rock will get some of them afterwards?

I think pop is a phase most kids go through because the songs are simple, easy to sing and remember the lyrics and like you said they are force fed it through tv and radio every time they turn around.

My little girl is 7 and unfortunately she listens to Hannah Montana, Katy Perry, and all that stuff. But when she gets in the Jeep with me to go somewhere she’s wanting to listen to Ratt’s “Loving You’s A Dirty Job” or the Ramones, Kiss, or Twisted Sister so no doubt rock is going to get some afterwards.

I know what you mean – my daughter is almost 5 and loves Def Leppard, Kiss, Twisted Sister and so forth as well as Mary Poppins, and so on. Thankfully she hasn’t been sucked into the Hannah Montana cult yet – I have recently indoctrinated her into The Monkees though, and she adores them. That’s about as manufactured as she has got though [Laughs].

2012 has been a bonanza year for rock n’ f’n roll already – what are a few of your favourite albums so far?

Man I couldn’t agree more, so much good music has come out this year.

I just got the new American Dog album “Poison Smile” I am really digging that. I LOVE the Lockhearts E.P. “Entrance & Exit Only” and Neon Heart’s debut. I really love this band from Vancouver called the Lifetakers I can put their EP on repeat and listen to it all day long. The new Little Caesar album is damn good, Wildstreet, Switchblade Scarlett, Hard Honey, Swaggerjack, and Aviator Shades are all really good bands.

I’m looking forward to checking out the new Ragdoll EP – I’ve got it, but haven’t had a chance to sit and listen to it yet

If you could go back in time and be in the studio for the recording of any song or album, what would it be?

Any Rose Tattoo album. In my opinion, Rose Tattoo is without a doubt one of the greatest bands to ever walk onto a stage.

I’d probably pass out from excitement if Angry walked in the room – he’s a legend, one of rock’s best front man ever!

Finally mate, what for you is the meaning of life?

You only get one so live it at 10, love your family and friends, crank your music to 11

Where can our readers find out more about Hard Rock Nights we’ll be launching a new website here in the near future always try to have something to talk about there

and you can find me on Twitter @brianbasher or @hardrocknights

Thank you so much for your time Brian

Shane – thank you for having me it means a lot!

Category: Interviews

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