Heather Shockley is certainly not a new name in the rock scene. Not only is she known as a dancer in various big musicals like "We Will Rock You" and "Jesus Christ Superstar", but she also toured with KAMELOT as a background singer. She is someone, who knows what's going on. But she also knows how to surprise people. With her band ROCK IGNITION, she recently delivered one of the better melodic rock mini albums of the last few years. With both feet firmly in the time that big hair ruled the scene, she released "I Can't Resist", which breathes the hard rock of the 80s. In their biography, they called it "The Greatest Hard Rock Of The 21st Century". All the more reason to introduce the band, and Heather in particular, a bit closer to you. Hopefully, ROCK IGNITION will light your fire, as Heather did with ours....
When did ROCK IGNITION get together as a band, and how did you actually meet up with each other?
Heather: “It all started at the beginning of 2006. Jürgen and I had already done some songwriting together for my ex-band 900SEC and we decided to try out something more rocky - more 80's style. After posting one song on Myspace, the response was so amazing that we had no other choice than to put together a proper band!”
Did any of the band members play in other bands before they joined ROCK IGNITION, and why did they leave their previous band?
Heather: “As already mentioned, I have played with the band 900SEC and have been a guest singer for KAMELOT. Jürgen formed his own band, called HEADSTONE EPITAPH and he's the actual bass player of the power metal band SILENT FORCE.”
Is the line up of the band stable now and can you please introduce the band to us here?
Heather: “We decided to part ways with our drummer and guitarist because of musical differences. The new line-up will be officially announced very soon.”
Who came up with the name ROCK IGNITION and why did you choose this name?
Heather: “That was actually me. After many options, ROCK IGNITION seemed to be the name, that described our feelings towards rock music best. It's something that “Ignites our soul”!”
How would you describe the music of ROCK IGNITION yourself?
Heather: “Our music is pure and honest hard rock, very passionate and direct. With strong riffs and catchy melodies - pure energy.”
Which bands can we see as the biggest influence for the band, and maybe you can mention some influences for each band member individually as well?
Heather: “Lots of great hard rock bands from the eighties, such as BON JOVI, MOTLEY CRUE, KISS, MR. BIG, SKID ROW... I particularly love the band LITTLE ANGELS from the UK. Jürgen is also very influenced by classical music, mostly Bach, and also by the ‘mighty’ metal band IRON MAIDEN.”
Did you get any negative critics as well, and how do you deal with them in general?
Heather: “Of course, there's always negative critics and people that will think and write that your music is crap. Fortunately, we didn't have many of those, but we have no problems with that. It's impossible to be liked by everybody.”
Do you try to learn from it or do you rather want to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Heather: “If it is something that we think would help the quality of our music to become better, we are definitely happy to receive critics. There's always stuff you can do better, and learning is a lifetime process.”
What’s your favorite ROCK IGNITION song so far, and why?
Heather: “It's always hard to decide, ‘cause every song has its own history and each and one of them are your ‘babies’... I'd have to say that “I Can't Resist” is definitely very special to us, because it really started everything. On the other hand, “Your Truth” is very intense for me personally, because it talks about a past relationship.”
Heather, although ROCK IGNITION is a rather new band, you’re definitely not new in the rock scene. What was it like to dance in well-known rock musicals, such as “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “We Will Rock You”?
Heather: “For me being such a big rock fan, it was an amazing experience. The theater is my second home and being able to dance and sing in such great rock musicals was and it still is a big honour.”
Which part did you actually play in these two huge productions, or didn’t you have a particular role in these plays?
Heather: “In “Jesus Christ Superstar” I played the part of the “Soul Girl” and in “We Will Rock You”, I was Toe.”
You also sang in a band, called 900 SEC. What kind of music did you play with that band, and did you actually record something with them?
Heather: “It was more pop/rock oriented. We recorded a little demo, but nothing that was distributed around.”
Where does the name of this band come from and what does it mean?
Heather: “900SEC equals 15 minutes... Andy Warhol said that everybody should have their fifteen minutes of fame.”
Is 900 SEC still active? And if not, why did you actually quit this band?
Heather: “Not that I know of. It was a good experience, because the musicians were all professional and so I learned a lot, but in the end I needed something a bit more hard rock...”
Besides all this, you were also the background singer of KAMELOT. When was that, and what was it like to go on tour with this great band?
Heather: “That was in 2005 and it was one of the most amazing experiences for me. Being on stage in front of such big crowds with one of my favourite bands was not only an adrenaline rush, but a great life experience and something I'll never forget.”
Was it after you worked with KAMELOT, that you decided to start a band of your own?
Heather: “Yes. For me, there was no other place anymore than the stages of the world. Once you start doing it, it's like an addiction and singing my own songs to big audiences was always my biggest dream.”
Let’s have a close look at your live reputation here, if we may. With which bands did ROCK IGNITION share the stage already?
Heather: “For now, the biggest artist has being Marc Terenzi, the husband of Sarah Connor (very known in Germany).We opened for him and the audience was really warm and amazing. The rest of the bands were smaller bands.”
Do you also play covers during your live shows, or do you stick to your own penned material only? Which covers do you play?
Heather: “We usually play one cover song, and that's “Black Velvet” from ALANNAH MILES. It's a great song and fits perfectly to my voice. We also covered once “You Give Love A Bad Name” from BON JOVI.”
I can imagine, that you must’ve experienced some memorable, funny or nice things when playing or dancing live. Maybe you can share some of these moments with our readers here?
Heather: “The funniest (but most expensive) was, that while I was going crazy on stage, I bumped into Jürgen and my wireless microphone flew to the other side of the stage. I had to stop for some minutes and run to get a wired mic to finish the gig, but hey that's rock n' roll!”
If you could go on tour with any band of your choice, which band would you pick then?
Heather: “Tough question... It's hard to decide for one so I'll name my top 3: BON JOVI, SCORPIONS or MOTLEY CRUE.”
As a professional dancer, do you also try to mix your singing with some dancing moves while being on stage with your band?
Heather: “Not really... The fact, that I've been dancing for so many years probably influences a bit my performance, but I just try to look natural. I hate certain calculated movements, that look fake. I do love though, to play around with the other musicians and organize some little headbanging or bouncing that could look cool, when done simultaneously.”
Do you also play any instruments and if yes, which instrument(s) do you play?
Heather: “Unfortunately, I don't. I played piano for a while, but I was always to lazy to practice.”
Have you ever witnessed certain ‘male groupies’ (if they exist)? Are there any guys that come to you after a show, who want more than just an autograph from you?
Heather: “A lot of guys want more than just an autograph from me, but even though I'm very nice and polite to everybody I always make it clear, that I'm not interested.”
Are you already working on a full length album with ROCK IGNITION and what can we expect of the new material? In which way will it differ from the songs on “I Can’t Resist”?
Heather: “We're definitely working on it. We would love to have it finished by the end of the year, but this will depend of course on the fact of getting the economical support we need to have a great production. We've got lots of new songs and they all follow the line of our EP “I Can't Resist”, although for this album we don't exclude the possibility of adding some keyboards.”
Have you got any goals set for ROCK IGNITION and if yes, please tell us what you want to achieve with the band?
Heather: “Becoming rockstars, play in big stadiums and what else… Oh, yeah, become millionaires!”
What will be the next step on the ladder of success for ROCK IGNITION, in other words what are your future plans?
Heather: “Our next step is of course promoting the band as much as possible and pointing to sign a record deal that will allow us to record a kick ass CD and tour the world.”
Are there any interesting or important shows on the agenda in the upcoming months?
Heather: “We have a new manager and he's planning some shows for us, so if you keep checking our My Space page, you will be informed very soon.”
We are an online ‘zine, which is completely focussed on the female musicians in the (hard) rock and (heavy) metal scene. How important is it for female musicians to get this attention, or do you feel that you (being a female musician) already get all the recognition that you earn so much?
Heather: “It's definitely crucial for female artist to get as much support as they can. Even though things got much better, it's still a tough job for a woman to show people that they can rock as hard as any man. It's great to have people like you guys, that help us get the attention we deserve.”
You were born in Mallorca, but you are based in Krefeld (Germany) right now. Don’t you miss Spain a lot? I can imagine that the wheather is much nicer there, but the rock level in this country might be nothing comparing to Germany, am I right?
Heather: “You're absolutely right. Spain is a wonderful country! I love the weather and the character of the people over there, but Germany is a great place for rockers, since there's still a big scene going on. Plus the beer is a big plus!”
Do you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage that you are a female singer in an heavy rock band? And maybe you can give some examples here as well?
Heather: “I think, that it all depends on the attitude and professionalism of the band. It might still be a little disadvantage, mostly because it seems like you always have to be proving yourself, but a great artist like DORO showed that it can be done.”
What do you think of the heavy metal scene in general, and what would you like to change, if you had the chance?
Heather: “In Germany is still quite alive, but in general is trying to survive. The media doesn't support it as much as before and so the good bands have a hard time getting to be known by the regular listeners. If I had the chance, I would kick the ass of all those MTV pricks and force them to put all types of music on the heavy rotation.”
True or false: The metal scene was much better in the eighties and there were more metal fans, too?
Heather: “Unfortunately, this is true. I'm not sure if there were more metal fans, but the exposure on the media of hard rock and metal in the eighties was definitely much higher. I think that maybe a lot of the great bands that were successful in the eighties wouldn't have a chance in these days, or their way to success would be a thousand time harder.”
On one of the many pics on your website, I noticed you have a cross tattooed on your right hand. Have you got more tattoos and if yes, what do have you tattooed and where? Do you have any piercings too maybe?
Heather: “I have another tattoo on my right ankle, a little branch with thorns and two flowers. The tattoo on my wrist is a celtic cross with a crown on top, one of KAMELOT's first logos. I don't have any piercings, apart from a couple in my ears.”
Speaking of websites and the internet. How important is the internet for a band like ROCK IGNITION and where can people find you on the web?
Heather: “Internet has been ‘till now (together with the live shows) the biggest way of promotion for ROCK IGNITION, and the fastest way of communication with our fans. So it's a very important and powerful tool for us. Our website: http://www.rockignition.com is still under construction, but you can already download from there our presskit and acccess to our online shop, where you can purchase our CD and merchandise. And of course we'll be happy to read your comments on our guestbook. You also have a My Space page, don’t you? We definitely do: http://www.myspace.com/rockignition. Here you will find all the info you need about us and you can check out some of our music and photos.”
Do you have any other interests besides dancing and playing in a rock band?
Heather: “I love watching movies, at home or in the cinema, specially the ones that make you think. I'm quite a movie maniac, as soon as I have free time I watch lots movies, sometimes two or three in a row!”
Please tell the readers how and where they can buy the EP, that we’ve talked about in this interview? You can advertise for free here.
Heather: “Well, I think I already did! But here it is again: http://www.rockignition.com/shop.html. This is the address of our online shop, where you can purchase our EP and also all types of cool ROCK IGNITION merchandise. You will also find a link to our shop on our My Space page.”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe we forgot something to mention here, that is essential for the story of ROCK IGNITION and Heather Shockley so far?
Heather: “I just want to mention the fact, that we are personally taking care of our My Space page, so please feel free to drop us a line there or contact us via email to: email@example.com. We'll be happy to take the time to answer you personally!”
Do you have any personal messages for the readers of our online-zine?
Heather: “Thanks for reading this interview and stay tuned for more exciting news about ROCK IGNITION. We can't wait to meet you all out there!”
The last words are for Heather and ROCK IGNITION....
Heather: “Keep Rockin'!”
Visit their official website at: www.rockignition.com
or My Space at: www.myspace.com/rockignition