this day and age where 20-something denizens still struggle
with the rapidly tiring rock moniker of the rap/rock crossover,
it's refreshing to see an act such as Killing Heidi and
their "spunky alterna-pop" methodology begin to garner
attention. The band first got noticed in their native
country of Australia when alternative station "Triple
J" (also responsible for breaking Silverchair, if you
remember them) started playing their single "Kettle."
Couple that with a highly successful tour with "Big Day
Out" (Lollapalooza for the Land Down Under) and a brilliantly
performed and engineered debut album, Reflector,
on the independent label "3:33," and you might find yourself
saying, "They've got all the makings of rock 'n' roll
stardom." But are they good-looking enough? That would
have to be an overwhelming yes.
The band got its start with Jesse and
Ella Hooper, the brother
and sister duo who then recruited two other members some
time later...but only after they had a breakthrough hit.
Jesse--tall with neatly dreadlocked red hair who's constantly
seen in stylish eyewear--is the lead guitarist. Adam Pedretti
is the quiet, yet extremely capable drummer, and Ella,
recently featured in an all-too-sexy cover shot for the
Australian edition of Rolling Stone, leads the
way with her 18-year-old-nice-girl-femme-fatale fashion.
In what has to be the most extreme example of dangerously
good looks getting one in trouble, bassist Warren Jenkins
actually got into a fist fight with the boyfriend of one
girl who was, quite literally, throwing herself at his
feet after a show. Next time you see a publicity photo
of the band, look for the model good looks of Warren's
face punctuated by a Blade Runner-esque swath of
blue paint across the eyes in an almost Adam Ant fashion.
Is the New Romantic look back? Nah... it's the best that
a makeup artist could come up with on short notice to
hide his black eye.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Killing
Heidi on their radio/promotional stop in Portland, and
soon began to feel quite old...and ordinary looking.
DJ Anon: So, do you guys in Australia
all hate Paul Hogan?
Ella Hooper: Um...I don't think
we hate him, but he's really not relevant and I don't
even remember or know who he is.
DJ Anon: Well, you know, all of
America is very excited about his new movie.
E. Hooper: Well, then we're not.
DJ Anon: Someone from Australia
once said that all Aussies hate Paul Hogan, because he
was like this local guy who did these various little projects,
and then when he did Crocodile Dundee and became
really big in America, he left his Australian wife and
married this American actress and basically pissed everybody
Warren Jenkins: (in a Paul Hogan
fashion) THIS... is a wife!
DJ Anon: Are you guys like, on
an official tour now, or are you just hanging out in Portland
for the hell of it?
Jenkins: Officially, yeah.
E. Hooper: Well, we're not at home,
so I suppose that's
a tour for us.
Jesse Hooper: Well, we're out to
play in support of the album and do some promotional appearances
as well, so I guess it's a bit of everything.
DJ Anon: So, tell us about the
Australian Grammys. When did that happen?
Jenkins: That was October of last
E. Hooper: They're actually called
Jenkins: Yeah, Australian Recording
E. Hooper: But anyway, we got nominated
for 8 of them, and we won 4, which was more than any other
band got that night.
J. Hooper: Best New Artist, Album
of the Year, Best Rock Group, and Best Overall Album.
Jenkins: It was live on TV, a big
awards night and we just went bananas basically.
DJ Anon: Were Men at Work in the
E. Hooper: Oh my God... they were!
DJ Anon: Well, now you guys were
saying that you had no idea that you were going to win
any of those awards, though. Did you have anything prepared
at all to say in your acceptance speech?
Jenkins: No, we didn't have any
sort of speech prepared at all. We probably should have,
because we had to get up in front basically the whole
country on TV.
E. Hooper: And we just ended up
looking like idiots, because we were like "oh... um...
thanks everybody!" and that was it.
DJ Anon: Tell us about when you
played "Big Day Out."
J. Hooper: It was probably the
best tour that we've been on so far; I mean, it was fantastic.
DJ Anon: What made it so good?
J. Hooper: Just all the other bands
and the fun times that we had...Rammstein were there,
Placebo, Limp Bizkit...
E. Hooper: PJ Harvey, Coldplay,
Black Eyed Peas...oh, it was just like heaven; I mean,
I really feel like I'm getting to know all those people
well, especially after partying with them in some of Australia's
most beautiful places like Perth. It was so surreal, dancing
around on the beach with Brian from Placebo and the drummer
DJ Anon: Now, "Big Day Out" was
largely a male band event, so I'll bet you were real popular
at the band-only events where there's, like, all these
guys in all-male bands and then there's Ella.
E. Hooper: Well, it was my oyster.
E. Hooper: (laughs) No no no...!
And here I had just turned 18, which is "legal" (drinking
age) in Australia, you know.
DJ Anon: Not only were you close
to the only woman there, but you had just graduated to
E. Hooper: Oh yeah, I made the
most of it.
"Adam's got this thing in the rock scene where people point
at him and say 'look at his hair...
it's so shiny
and beautiful!'...and all the other drummers get jealous."
DJ Anon: Now, Jesse...you and
Ella are brother and sister. Are you protective of her,
or do you just sort of let her go and do her own thing?
J. Hooper: Well, since she's
"legal" now, she can pretty much do whatever she wants;
but up until that point, I kept an eye out for her...
in fact, we all pretty much did.
J. Hooper: She's not agreeing
with me, but...
DJ Anon: It's like... you want
my sister's room key...? Here it is!
DJ Anon: Ella, that's what's
known as prostitution here in the U.S. Jesse, I didn't
picture you as a pimp, but now that I look closer at
you...Seriously though, it must be kind of weird where
the legal drinking age in Australia is 18 and over here
Jenkins: I think you should be
able to bring your own rules with you when you travel.
DJ Anon: Like a special passport
stamp that allows you to drink?
Adam Pedretti suddenly wakes up:
Pedretti: We want diplomatic
DJ Anon: Tell me about the song
E. Hooper: Well, that was kind
of our breakthrough song in Australia.
DJ Anon: What is a "weir" anyway?
E. Hooper: Well, it's pronounced
like "weird," only without the "d" and it's like a big
reservoir. There's one across the road from my best
friend's house where I grew up, because I grew up in
this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and the local
pool costs, like, $1.50 to get in, so, we just went
to the weir and floated around on tires and stuff.
J. Hooper: That was some dirty
DJ Anon: What's amazing, Ella,
is that when you sing, it's not the typical "rock star"
look of veins popping out on the forehead and a furrowed
brow and flaring nostrils--you look very poised...and
E. Hooper: Yeah, I don't really
know how I do that!
DJ Anon: You guys are a really
good looking band... and you've got great hair!
E. Hooper: Adam's got this thing
in the rock scene where people point at him and say,
"look at his hair...it's so shiny and beautiful!"...and
all the other drummers get jealous.
DJ Anon: Do you guys use Aussie
Mega products in your hair?
DJ Anon: Well... ask a stupid