Updated: Nov 1
By Brett Hoag Photography: Claudia Hoag
Hail, Metal Heads! As a heavy metal fan in Los Angeles, I thought the metal scene was dead. I think it was the demise of City Pages that led me to this conclusion. Back in the day, that was where everyone would turn to see who was playing and where. That publication kept track of up-and-coming bands so one could stay on top of the burgeoning scene in and around the Sunset Strip, as well as advertising national and international headlining acts playing around SoCal.
With the essential death of print media, one has to turn to Social Media to follow the metal scene, and if you don't know any new bands, it is hard to do so. This is the main reason I started to cover the metal scene for HeartofHollywoodMagazine.com a year ago. To that end, I have tried to see and meet as many bands as possible. One such band I met recently at Hy Roy Lounge in Huntington Beach, CA, is White Hot Red. White Hot Red consists of Mike Cummings on rhythm guitar, Anthony Turner on lead guitar and vocals, Joe Hardy on drums and Barry Roughny on bass.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for giving me some time between sets.
All: No problem!
How long have you guys been together?
Mike- I'm the new guy LOL I can't answer!
Anthony- So, the history of White Hot Red is very simple. We've been into this for five or six years. Barry and I are sitting at the bar and he asks me, "Hey, man. I've been trying to get someone to play guitar with us and no one wants to do it. If you can play these songs, I can get you on stage." I said, "So, what do we do after these songs?" He said, "We will have to play your songs." Time came and went. We learned some songs, then we got on stage. We found a singer and fired him. We Got another singer, and he quit. And the show must go on so I took over vocals and songwriting and that is what you heard tonight.
Did you know how to sing and play guitar at the same time?
Anthony- I've never done it before.
How long did it take you to learn how to do that?
Anthony- I prepared a little bit on vocals because when I joined the band, I started doing a lot of live Karaoke just so I could be a good backup singer, ya know? And then the songwriting just happened. I didn't know I was going to be a songwriter either. I got a girlfriend, I went on an emotional roller coaster, and I wrote 200 hundred songs LOL And now we're good.
(turning to Joe) Sir, I have to ask. How the hell do you play drums? We all know the one-armed drummer, but a legless one? I don't think anyone has ever seen or heard of that before.
Joe- I designed and invented a pedal. That's how I play.
Damn, dude. That's really cool. Here is my go-to drummer question. Krupa or Rich?
Joe- Oh, Buddy Rich. (ding, ding, ding) And we have another winner! LOL
Mr. Rythm Guitarist, Sir. You are the first band I've had with a rhythm guitarist. How do you fit in with the band?
Mike- Well, I've only been with them for about a month and a half, maybe? Barry- Yeah, about that. Mike- This is our second live show.
Really? You guys are pretty tight.
All- Thank you!
What is your goal musically as a rhythm guitarist within the band?
Mike- Kind of like Malcolm Young. Just strictly rhythm, I'm there, part of the team. Just make it happen.
Malcolm Young or Scott Ian?
Mike- There is no wrong answer! LOL I love 'em both, but needless to say, since Malcolm is strictly rhythm and I'm strictly rhythm, I have to go with Malcolm. Scott will throw some leads here and there.
Anthony-We were a three-piece for a long time and I was getting tired, so we've always talked about bringing in a rhythm guitarist.
Have you thought about incorporating duel leads moving forward?
Mike- Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Anthony - Yes, for sure.
You got the chops for it, Mike?
Mike- Hopefully! LOL
Anthony- Mike's learned a ton in a couple of months. I'm sure down the road, it will be great.
What is down the road for White Hot Red?
Anthony- Continue moving forward. That's all I know.
Barry- Keep playing live shows. We'll play in big spaces, little spaces, any space!
Who is doing your booking for you?
Anthony - Barry does most of it, but our new guitar player is a promoter. He booked one show already. Joe's booked us a show.
Mike- Yeah, I work at House of Metal Radio Show and I've booked bands for the past 13 years or so. Barry contacted me around the end of August about joining and we made it work.
Where are you from, Mike?
Mike- I'm originally from New Jersey. Yeah, that doesn't sound like an OC accent LOL
Anthony, where are you from?
Anthony- I'm also from New Jersey.
Joe- Native Californian.
Barry- Same. California.
How would you describe your music?
Anthony- We can't be pigeonholed. We tried to define our style when we first started. People said we were like a cross between Cheap Trick and Black Sabbath. Then it was, you sound like Def Leppard, now we don't even know LOL
Mike, what band was your major influence?
Mike- My first concert was Kiss at an early age. I saw them back in Madison Square Garden when I was seven years old and that changed everything LOL My brother is a musician, and my grandfather was a musician back in Ireland. I have grown up around music my whole life.
Anthony, what about you? Who's your biggest influence?
Anthony- Metal LOL
How long have you been playing?
Anthony- I started getting serious when I joined the band.
What made you pick up a guitar in the first place?
Anthony- I'm a super fan of metal.
Joe, how long have you been playing?
Joe- About 45 years.
How did you get in the band? Did you answer an open audition?
Joe- I have known Barry for a long time and he used to see my other band play. He knew I could play, so when they lost their first drummer, he asked me if I would be interested in playing with them. And I just decided to join the band. I have always just wanted to play as much as possible and my other band wasn't really playing a lot at the time, so I figured, why not?
Your biggest influence?
Joe- Probably John Bonham.
Joe- John Bonham and Ric Allen of Def Leppard because when I realized I had a disability (I was born this way). When I was younger, playing the drums was just always one of those things I wanted to do. Then I saw Ric Allen do it successfully and thought, "If he can do that, so can I." And then, Bonham for his technique and sheer power.
How did you invent the pedal? Do you have a workshop in the garage?
Joe- No, I am fortunate because my best friend owns a company that makes drum pedals. I had the idea and he helped me make it. He had the shop and the company and I had the idea. Then, I ended up working for him. LOL Very cool!
Barry? How long have you been playing?
Barry- I didn't even start playing until my mid-forties.
Why did you pick the bass? The bass never gets any love.
Barry- Because I'm too old, it was too late to learn how to play the guitar and it has that fat sound.
How did you learn? Are you teaching yourself or taking lessons?
Barry- I watch what they do.
Anthony- Youtube LOL
Who's your idol?
Barry- Steve Harris is god.
What do you have on the horizon? Any gigs?
Barry- We are doing a Toy drive on December 16th or 18th at the Doll Hut in Anaheim.
Alright. That's a wrap, Gentlemen. Thank you so much for your time.
All- Thank you!