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Interview - Steph Honde (Hollywood Monsters)

Interview with Steph Honde from Hollywood Monsters
by Jeff Legg at 21 June 2014, 1:17 AM

Jeff Legg recently did an interview with Steph Honde, lead singer/guitarist for the “Supergroup” HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS and got insight on his storied musical career. He gets into his past, the excellent new album, “Big Trouble” from HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS, and what the future holds for him and his current band of talented and much traveled musicians. He has joined forces with Tim Bogert on bass (VANILLA FUDGE, CACTUS), Don Airey on keyboard (DEEP PURPLE, WHITESNAKE, MICHAEL SCHENKER), and Vinnie Appice on drums (DIO, BLACK SABBATH). With a sound remeniscent of classic bands like WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE, and BLUE MURDER to name a few, these guys offer up a gem of an album that the music industry has been in need of for years. Every track on “Big Trouble” is really strong, well crafted songs and should have the classic rock enthusiast smiling from ear to ear.

Hello Steph, I really appreciate you taking the time to sit down and do an interview. I know that you are extremely busy these days and I wanted to start by saying, “Thank You”, for doing this. Let’s start off by letting our readers in on your musical career. Whether you want to say it or not, you’ve been a huge rock star outside of the U.S. for years, and the time has come for the U.S. to witness your immense talent. Having fronting the band MAMOOTH and then being a “guitar god” for the French hard rock band CAFÉ BERTRAND until 2011, you have had the kind of success that most only dream about. Can you fill us in on some of the highlights of your career?

Hi! The highlights of my career were all my “first times”: The first time I played live (it was like playing in a stadium to me), the first time I opened for DEEP PURPLE, the first time I played in a stadium, and the first time I played with Paul Di’Anno….we had no rehearsal with him so.. I can say that met him on stage (there are videos of that show on YouTube). It was pretty impressive to see him coming on stage while we were playing the intro of “Wrathchild”!

Where were you born and raised, and how old were you when you knew that you had an “ear for music”?

I was born and raised in south of France in Manosque, it’s a small town - 2 hours away from St Tropez I never thought of myself as having an “ear for music” ,but I remember very well the first album I bought, it was in 1988 and it was “Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son” from IRON MAIDEN. I will forever remember the first I listened to that album.

Who would you credit with being some of your biggest musical influences that helped shape your style?

I would say: PINK FLOYD-ZAPPA-THE WHO-DEEP PURPLE-MARILLION LED ZEPPELIN to name a few.

Who are some of the newer artists that you are listening to these days?

Michale Graves (Ex-MISFITS)-THE WATCH-JOE BONAMASSA-OPETH-SPIRITUAL BEGGARS etc.

At what point in your career did you think to yourself, “I can really make a living playing music”? Was there a moment or a specific show that you remember thinking that?

I never thought of it that way: It was and still is a passion-I HAVE to do this, I have to play music, I have no choice. Music is a part of me.

I know you’ve been a guitar virtuoso for many years now, but when did you decide that you wanted to become a lead singer?

I started as a drummer then I thought that it would be great to be able to write songs so that’s why I became a guitarist…not for the instrument itself but because I wanted to be a song writer. I decided to become a lead singer for the same reasons and because, to me , Gillan, Plant, Coverdale, Dickinson were like super-heroes!

Those influencs are really evident in your vocals, for sure on the new record, and you could very well be on your way to becoming a superhero yourself. OK, let’s get to HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS. Because this band is a true “Supergroup” and all of you guys are seasoned veterans, it must’ve taken a lot of time and planning to get everyone together and then record this album. Can you comment on that?

Yes, I had the idea of that band while I was opening for DEEP PURPLE and it took me 2 years to get everybody and to do the album. The funny thing is that the recording itself took just a couple of days.

It’s no secret that “Big Trouble” sounds like something out of the late-70’s to mid-80’s, reminiscent of bands like WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE, and BLUE MURDER, among others. Was it a concerted effort to bring that big, classic rock sound to this release? Did you write the music with that style in mind or does it just come naturally? How did the songwriting take place for “Big Trouble”?

I didn’t really have any plans. I just write what comes to mind: Music first, then the lyrics.
“Big Trouble” tells the story of a journey, a spiritual journey.

Some people might be surprised to see Paul Di’Anno, original vocalist with IRON MAIDEN, singing the final track, “Fuck You All”. Talk about that collaboration.

I asked him while we were touring together. I just asked him to pick a song from the demos I had. I knew that he was going to pick that song!  It was pretty easy, he is an easy guy to get along with.

You recently moved full time to Los Angeles. Was that part of the plan to get HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS moving forward and is the American market the main target?

Not really, it just happened that I met my wife in California, then I met great musicians and that was it! The main target is the world!

This record should resonate well with the “real” hard rock generation but might be a hard sell to the yuppies of the world. With the current state of the music industry in the hands of teenagers with their social media accounts in hand, how much confidence do you have with the record label that they will give “Big Trouble” the priority that a major release needs to be successful?

Mausoleum Records is doing an amazing job! The album is going to be released nearly everywhere in the world (Europe-U.S-Japan) and Rock’n Growl is doing an awesome job promoting the album. I just saw on internet that the album is going to be distributed at BestBuy and that’s a big deal for a “Frenchy’ like me! I can only hope that I can get the teenage crowd interested in the album, I see more and more teenagers in the vinyl record stores hunting for vinyl like myself. It gives me hope,

Is the plan to keep HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS together for multiple albums and tours? Where do you see this going in the future?

We are planning on touring early next year and next summer for sure. The goal is to tour and record another album and hopefully everybody will be on board.

What can you tell us about the tour? What countries will you play and what members will be on that tour? Will you be touring the U.S.?

We will tour in Europe first. I can’t give an exact schedule at this moment since it is being organized as we speak. But of course, touring the U.S is a must!

Do you have any other projects going on that your fans might be interested in hearing about?

One of the songs from the album will be featured in a French action movie; I’m very excited about it.

I want to thank you again for doing this interview; it’s been a real honor for me. I think you’re a real rock star in the truest sense and wish you all the best in the future. I can’t wait to see HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS live on tour.

Thank you for your interest and kind words. I will make sure that you are the first to know about the U.S tour and I hope to see all of you on our tour.

www.facebook.com/HollywoodMonsters
www.music-avenue.net/mausoleum/
www.rockngrowl.com
www.facebook.com/steven.stevens.90



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