Aaron Omen and the Hollywood Vampires bring their horror business to Dayton
By Gary Spencer
In the world of horror rock, every day is Halloween. The music itself centers on songs about monsters, vampires, Martians, zombies, murder, death and other horror film inspired fare that are paired with dark yet upbeat fist-pumping Ramones-influenced buzzsaw rock ‘n’ roll tunes with catchy, sing-along choruses about such macabre subject matter. While many people might have recently celebrated Christmas in July, soon Dayton’s creatures of the night will be celebrating All Hallows Eve in August when Aaron Omen & The Hollywood Vampires descend on South Park Tavern this coming Saturday.
Aaron Omen’s brand of horror rock as evidenced on his debut album, Beyond Villainous, gives noticeable nods to horror punk legends such as The Misfits both musically and lyrically with songs about corpse brides and the like all sung with a croon somewhat reminiscent of The Damned’s Dave Vanian. But an imitator Omen is not – the production is slick, and his lyrics and imagery tend to veer more toward the gothic and terrifying more than the campy territory that lesser horror bands inhabit. I wanted to get some insight into the ideology and music of Aaron Omen and his backing band the Hollywood Vampires, so I got with Aaron and touring drummer Kyle Thirteen for a round of Q&A. Here’s what the black cat dragged in:
Tell me about the genesis of your music career.
At a very young age I started worshiping band like Kiss, Alice Cooper and all the glam / hair metal from the ‘80s. The look, the pyro, the over-the-top stage show — it was love at first fright. And just like every other kid that is a fan of harder rock and roll, scary movies go hand in hand. So after playing in bands that I wasn’t happy in, I decided I should go out on my own. [Aaron Omen]
Why do you choose to make music in the framework of the horror rock genre?
Always had an attraction to the macabre and everything spooky. Music should have elements of what your parents warned you about. If you are not familiar with it, just imagine a horror movie put to rock and roll music. The lyrics are often smart, witty and catchy. Many songs are written in story-form, so you actually get a beginning, middle and end. In addition, many horror rock songs are very ironic, unpredictable and some are even quite funny. [AO]
Have you always written/performed Aaron Omen’s music on your own?
Yes I write all my own material and on my latest record, Beyond Villainous, I did all the musical arrangement and recording myself, but I always welcome input from my band mates. I am really looking forward to recording with them. [AO]
Tell me about the Hollywood Vampires. How did you start working together?
Aaron and I met a few years ago when I was on tour with Blitzkid. He was interested in me booking some tour dates for him. A few weeks before said tour kicked off his drummer quit and he called me to sit in. The Hollywood Vampires is also its own project. I had the idea for the vamps for years but I’ve always been busy with other bands. Now just seemed like the right time to unleash it. Think Motley Crue meets Lost Boys… [Kyle Thirteen]
They are the perfect backing band for me. [AO]
How many tours have you done together?
This is the second U.S. tour for Omen and the Vamps. We’re currently booking a European tour for the spring. [KT]
Is it difficult for you to maintain a musical relationship considering that Aaron operates out of Florida and Kyle lives in Ohio?
It does create its problems. We cannot rehearse as much as we would like to, but we take advantage of technology to share ideas all the time. [KT]
Tell me about your “Route of All Evil” tour mates, Children of October.
COA are longtime friends from Pennsylvania. We share the same influences and musical taste. Musically there are similarities but COA is just as much influenced by Slayer as Aaron Omen is by the Ramones. The themes and energy are all there, but the execution is different. We complement each other nicely. [KT]
Do you think that the horror punk genre has become a cliché?
Some bands just try too hard to pull off the “horror” thing. The bands that last in this genre are the ones that can write good songs, regardless of how many horror movie titles they can cram into the lyrics. [AO]
When most people first hear horror rock, they often dismiss it as a fad, but in truth, horror rock has been around for over 50 years! Classic rock acts like Alice Cooper and Kiss touched on the darker side of life in many of their songs, some of which are rock’s greatest songs… [KT]
Are you working on new Aaron Omen & the Hollywood Vampires material for release?
We are constantly writing and recording. Expect a new Omen and Hollywood Vampires record around the first of next year. [AO]
Imagine you are talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about horror rock. How would you describe what you do to this person in a way that might arouse interest in coming to your live show?
Ours is a music style that mixes goth and punk rock sounds with morbid imagery and lyrics … do you like horror films? Well you will love us! [AO]
Simply put, if you enjoy good, old-fashioned rock and roll and lyrics about the dead rising from the grave or a vampire lurking in the shadows, there is no reason why you wouldn’t absolutely love us. [KT]
Aaron Omen and the Children of October will perform Saturday, August 13 at South Park Tavern at 1301 Wayne Ave. in Dayton. Tickets are $5 and doors open at 9 p.m. for all ages.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.