H.O.T.S. bound for somewhere

Local punk trio looks to opening slot for NOFX, beyond

Holding On To Sound: (Left to right) Vanessa T., Zabi N. and Bennett M.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

Saturday, January 30 is shaping up as a very big day for Holding on to Sound (aka H.O.T.S.). The Vegas punk trio—guitarist/vocalist Bennett M., bassist/vocalist Zabi N. and drummer Vanessa T.—is set to play for its biggest audience ever, at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. The headlining act? A little SoCal band called NOFX. Adding to the locals’ excitement: The show will serve as a release party for latest CD Songs for Freedom, which will be sit on the same merch counter with NOFX’s Punk in Drublic. The Weekly caught up with Zabi for the hottest in H.O.T.S. news.

So how did you guys score the NOFX gig?

We were on a DVD a little while back for GC Records—the Chemical X DVD Zine—and they had some contributions from Fat Wreck Chords. Then we saw that NOFX was coming through [Vegas], so we talked directly to the people at Fat that we knew through GC. They did some research on us—saw us on the DVD, and we sent them a CD—and they really liked it, so they said, you can open.

The Details

Band Guide
Holding on to Sound
From the Calendar
Holding on to Sound opening for NOFX with Smoke or Fire
January 30, 8 p.m., $18.50.
The Joint, 693-5000.
Beyond the Weekly
HOTS MySpace

How big a deal is it for the band?

We’re really excited. Bennett told me the other day that he’s been wanting to open for NOFX his whole life. Who listens to punk and doesn’t like NOFX? They’re legendary. So we feel very fortunate. And we didn’t go through a promoter. We got the show ’cause they liked us.

H.O.T.S. can get pretty heavy. How do you think it’ll go over with NOFX’s crowd?

NOFX will have parts where it’ll be fast and hard, and then, all of a sudden, there’s a ska/reggae thing going on. And we’ll go from fast-tempo, high-energy to some dub/reggae thing. We touch a lot of genres, and that’s kind of what [NOFX] did when they were first starting out. So hopefully, the crowd will dig it.

The timing of the CD release: planned or a nice coincidence?

We wanted to put it out in November, but we were having a tough time with the mastering and mixing. We drove to Seattle to record it, and between Seattle and here, we had kind of a tough time getting it back. But once we got it back, John from Macro-Fi—Professor Def—produced/mixed it; we were fortunate to have someone that good working on it.

Are you satisfied at the DIY level, or hopeful a big-ish label will come calling?

We want to take that next step, but we feel like if a bigger label comes at us, it’s because they see us as walking dollar signs. If they listened to our lyrics and what we have to say, they probably wouldn’t come near us.

Is Songs for Freedom as political as its title suggests?

It’s pretty political. I’m full-blooded Afghan, so I have a strong political view. I don’t think everything overseas, even in my culture, is great, but I don’t believe in what America is doing, either. I kind of lean both ways every now and then, and same for the rest of the band.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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