Local Scene: Hot Rod Heathens ready to rev up rock ‘n’ roll-a-billy engine

2013-05-24T00:00:00Z Local Scene: Hot Rod Heathens ready to rev up rock ‘n’ roll-a-billy engineTom Lounges Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

From the ashes of his last group 3 Peace, veteran bassist Mike Vetromila has risen like a phoenix with a new project. Staying with the trio format, Vetromila has assembled The Hot Rod Heathens with drummer Patrick Mulloy (ex-Purple Rose Gang) and guitarist/trumpeter/vocalist Jordan Gross (ex-Biscuit & The Mix and The Big Dog Mercer Band).

“We’re doing what we call ‘rock and roll-a-billy blues’, which is a blend of each members’ individual background -- rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, country and blues,” explained Vetromila.

“I come from a background of rockabilly and doo-wop styles, which has greatly influenced the new band’s sound,” he continued. “Jordan has a powerful blues background but along with B.B. King, Jordan was also greatly influenced by rockabilly guitarist Brian Setzer (of Stray Cats fame). Patrick brings a country/roots rock influence to The Hot Rod Heathens and had been the original drummer for Three Peace. He had left the line up early on because he had to relocate for a job. Now that he’s back in Northwest Indiana, it’s great to be playing with Patrick again,” said Vetromila of his Heathens rhythm partner. “The three of us together have created a pretty unique sound and set list.”

The Hot Rod Heathens make their official public debut on June 2 at Rascal’s Pub & Grub (9623 Wicker Ave St John) when they join other area bands – Nicole Garza, Jebco Black, Scattered Pieces, Jamrose, Jimmy Sarr band and Big Top – in performing for a benefit concert to aid fellow musician Amber Rose with medical bills.

The now Nashville-based country singer Amber Rose has long been a Northwest Indiana favorite and her band is largely composed of region musicians. Together they have made frequent performances at venues like Northwoods in St. John and various area summer festivals. Rose is currently 15 weeks pregnant and has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is expected to undergo more surgeries and long term treatment over the next 12 months. A donation of $10 is requested for the 21 and older event. More information on the benefit: (219) 365-7880.


• Australian bluesman Moondog J’s new tour of the U.S. brings the talented guitarist, harmonica player and vocalist from “down under” to Chicago’s blues-steeped South Side for a 9 p.m. Saturday performance with backing from The South Side Horns and keyboardist John Wells at Sullivan’s Irish Pub (4460 W. 147th St.) in Midlothian. Opening the show will be blues combo The Casanovas with Mz. Peaches. More: (708) 385-4100.

• Back from a tour of the Southern U.S. states, Northwest Indiana’s blues rockers, Head Honchos, will visit their home turf long enough to kick out some tunes this evening at Leroy’s Hot Stuff (333 W. Highway U.S. 20) in Porter, before leaving for a run up to Canada for a series of performances. The Honchos are anchored by guitarist Rocco Calipari (formerly of Howard & The White Boys), a native of Detroit who now calls Valparaiso home.

The group’s live show is a mix of vintage covers from the songbooks of artists like Albert King, Wilson Pickett and Aaron Neville, along with original tunes like Lucky's Train," "Whiskey Devil," "Good Love," "That Driving Beat,” from their self-titled debut album. Tonight’s show time: 8 p.m. More: (219) 926-6211.

• Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan, who turns 72 today! Local singer/songwriter and Dylan devotee Jef Sarver will co-host a “Bob Dylan Birthday Salute” with me at 6 p.m. today on 89.1FM-The Lakeshore.  Tune in or stream the show live at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.

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