The Hellenbacks are a Las Vegas band with an impressive pedigree. Led by frontman, songwriter and producer Jimmie Romero, the group counts some of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip royalty among its ranks. In addition to Romero (a successful actor and musician) the band includes Guitarist Michael “Doc” Ellis (Formerly of Love Hate and Ratt) and Drummer Al Serrato (Formerly of Jet Boy).
They debuted in 2017 with the album “Vampires in the Desert.” The record was well received and soon followed by the group’s sophomore release “Harsh Environment.” The two albums introduced a band with a real Hard Rock vibe. The Hellenbacks’ sound is informed and inspired by decades of Rock & Roll. From the Les Paul-fueled Classic Rock of the 70’s, to the legendary Los Angeles Metal scene of the 80’s, mixed with a hard dose of 90’s Alt/Metal and Grunge. This is Guitar Rock with a capital G and R.
“III” is the latest album from The Hellenbacks, released worldwide to all major streaming services on April 23, 2021. On the record, the band is joined by an impressive list of guest musicians; Guitarist Todd Kerns (Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators), Bassist Sam Harman (Void Vator), Bassist Barry Barns (Count 77), and Guitarist Dylan Dice.
The fourteen track album continues the The Hellenbacks’ sonic explorations in the realm of hard hitting riff-Rock. Tracks like the single “Pleasant Doom” mix 90’s-style poly-rhythmic guitar with vocals that bring to mind 70’s rockers Triumph. Elsewhere the band dips into Garage Rock (“What I’d Do To You”), a Blues romp (“World on Fire”) and a bit of psychedelia (“In Two Full Moons”). “Stay in the Light” drops some Chili Peppers-worthy Funk on top of a swampy Country/Rock stomp.
Throughout the album, The Hellenbacks mix different eras of music to create their own unique sound. For instance, “So They Say” combines a “Too Fast For Love” era Motley Crüe groove with some big Soundgarden-style riffs, and even a bit of Beatles-esque vocal harmonies. Lyrically, Romero has taken his vision deeper with a concept album addressing some personal issues.
With this album, we really wanted to do something different; stretch ourselves creatively and musically,” said Romero. “The concept record format allowed us to tell a much larger story. One that lets us explore deeper and more progressive issues like mental trauma, recovery, personal growth, morality and true beauty.Jimmie Romero
Check out “III” in its entirety below. You can also hear the song “Pleasant Doom ” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. We had the chance to chat with Jimmie Romero about the band, the album and the future. Check out his answers to our 8 questions. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect. Get on their socials and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from The Hellenbacks.
8 Questions with Jimmie Romero of The Hellenbacks
Where are you from?
How long have you been making music?
I started at the age of 4. My grandparents bought me a drum set. My neighbors must have hated us because my mom kept my drums in the garage and I would get up every morning and beat the crap outta them. But then I moved to guitar at 9. A delivery man from the local liquor store saw I had a guitar and asked if I knew how to play and I said “no”. So he tuned it up and said I don’t know the names of the strings or the chords but I can teach you some songs. I said, “okay!”. So before work he would come by for an hour and teach me songs.
By 11 I was playing with other kids in garage bands and by 14 I was in my first recording studio. We were recording in a 24 track studio on REAL tape! I loved the experience. I was blown away by the mixing console. I asked the engineer, ‘How long did it take to learn what all these knobs do?’ He said, “If you learn how you use one channel, the rest of the 23 are just the same.” After that I was hooked and I went on to own my own 4 track recorder and record my bands, then moved on to 16 track tape machines. And the rest is history. haha!
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
Al Serrato on Drums, Doc Ellis Guitar, Rowan Roberson on Guitar, Sam Harman on Bass. Other players like Barry Barns and my partner in crime Todd “Dammit” Kerns are also involved.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Jackson 5, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Elton John, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rod Steward (faces era), The Stones. To name a few. lol
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Sylvester Stallone, for his movie Rocky. He never gave up on trying to get his movie made. The studios tried to buy the screenplay off him for like 500K. Even being broke and having only a few dollars in his bank account, he turned them down. He felt in his heart he needed to be the one to star in Rocky and stuck to his guns. Look at him now.
What inspired you to create this project?
I always have to write and produce music, it’s in my DNA and the guys are very talented musicians and great friends. It’s a magical experience when we all get together.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
Well we have a movie coming out supporting this concept album, should be out in September hopefully tour on this album and record some more.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I hope everyone checks out our new record, there’s a great story behind it and a good message. I hope to see you all on the road.