Red Hot Radio
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Red Hot Radio

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Red Hot Radio - That's What We Said
Posted on 07/01/08 by NoseOverTail

Red Hot Radio - That's What We Said
Record Label: None
Release Date: July 1, 2008

Uh-oh! Questionable band name. Seemingly lame album title. Amateur artwork.

Upon opening the package containing That's What We Said, the debut album from Las Vegas' Red Hot Radio, these were the three glaring signs that jumped out, each a red flag strongly warning me not to enter any further. As a critic, though, I've taken an oath to remain as objective and open-minded as possible when regarding any music, obstacles be damned. If there's any lesson to be learned here, it's the old clichéd "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover" (Or in this case, the whole package). For I'd be willing to say that, with blinders off and the music as the sole criterion in judging this album, That's What We Said may just be the biggest and best surprise of the year.

Fans of earnest, Midwestern pop-punk who may still be mourning the demise of Hot Rod Circuit should re-direct their attention to Red Hot Radio. Lead singer Kevin O'Connell's voice can easily be compared to that of Andy Jackson, as the two share the same gritty phrasing that defined Hot Rod Circuit's sound. O'Connell's lyrics draw from everyday life experiences, like trying to meet lofty expectations and ultimately prevent disappointment, and that blue-collar yearning is what makes the songs so charming. The songs are never simple – there are impressive style changes and guitar flourishes – but because of O'Connell's delivery, where he means every word he sings, they're never complex. That same appeal is what carried bands like Hot Rod Circuit so far in the first half of this decade, and with any luck, the same could happen to Red Hot Radio.

That's What We Said (which, as a title, admittedly is more endearing if it's not a play on the popular double-entendre retort) is brisk in length and seamless in flow. Clocking in at just 30-minutes, the ten songs that make up the album effortlessly transition into each other. The leadoff track, "I'm Not, I'm Just" is a mere 40 seconds long, finding O'Connell muse on the predictability of relationships in five lines. It serves as a quick introduction to "Have A Breakdown," which contains the album's strongest chorus. The melody is exciting without veering on quirky, and shares similarities with "The Pharmacist", from Hot Rod Circuit's Sorry About Tomorrow. "Sell Everything I Know," "Flaws To Flaunt", and "Five Or Six" are all similar exercises in upbeat, genuine pop-punk.

But where Red Hot Radio really excel are on the album's ballads, particularly on centerpiece "Of Body And Space" and closer "A Pawn To Play The Game of Deceit." The interplay between clean guitars and O'Connell's reverb-heavy vocals provide a raw, delicate balance reminiscent of emo in the 90's: think American Football and Braid. Would you have ever expected such weighty comparisons from a band called Red Hot Radio?

So by all accounts, consider me dumbfounded that these guys had it in them. Usually bands with names so bad aren't supposed to be so good. For every ten Cute Is What We Aim For's, there may be one Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin. But let's strike band names altogether from the conversation; in this business, they should ultimately be irrelevant when the music can speak for itself. Give Red Hot Radio the benefit of the doubt.

Recommended if You Like
Hot Rod Circuit, Your Favorite Weapon-era Brand New, Braid

read the review on-line here:
http://absolutepunk. net/showthread. php?t=380391 -


Red Hot Rock Show

Thursday night at Fritz Bar and Grill delivered a perfect rock show featuring Reno's own Red Hot Radio. The show started around 8:30 p.m and brought in a huge crowd of fans.

Red Hot Radio's lead singer Kevin O'Connell was celebrating his 23rd birthday so shots were going all around-especially for the birthday boy. The crowd had their own special: $5 dollar pitchers of beer, a Fritz' favorite. Red Hot Radio is made up of Kevin O'Connell (singer/guitarist), Aidan O'Connell (guitar), and CJ Hillstead (bass). Last night they had Jamie Locks of Reno Rock band 'Beercan' played for them last night because
They recently split from their last drummer.

Red Hot Radio had the crowd head banging and dancing around to their powerful sound. The thing with Red Hot Radio is that they sound like a rock band should; their sound is almost perfect and it feels like your listening to an actual famous band. These guys take their music seriously and it’s very apparent. They played a bunch of songs while leaping and dancing all over the stage.

Guitar player Aidan O’Connell was throwing his guitar and bouncing around ala Pete Townsend from The Who. It’s obvious that this band will make it big because not only are they awesome musicians but have breathtaking stage appeal. They are true performers.

Half way through the show Reno’s wild punk band Beercan members Josh.Can and Bill.Can dominated the stage by playing a special song for Kevin’s birthday.

The Show was unbelievable to say the least and both these bands are well known and well respected amongst the Reno rock scene. I seriously suggest seeing these two bands perform, and prepare to rock your socks off! - Reno Gazette Journal

Don't touch that dial
Red Hot Radio

By Sarah Cook

This article was published on 01.04.07.

Red Hot Radio is, from left, CJ Hillstead, Kevin and Aidan O'Connell and (not pictured) Emily Sully.
For more information on Red Hot Radio, go to

For those of you who are familiar with bands in Las Vegas and have heard of the song "White Hot Stereo" by Hung by Halos, then the name Red Hot Radio might ring a bell inside your head. There's a reason for that.

"I really liked the name of that song but didn't want to be accused of stealing it, so we kind of played it off by going with Red Hot Radio," says Kevin O'Connell, the 23-year-old singer and guitarist of this four-piece band.

Alongside O'Connell are his younger brother, Aidan, 21, on guitar and backup vocals; CJ Hillstead, 23, on the bass and backup vocals; and Emily Sully, 21, on the drums.

Red Hot Radio has been in action since February 2004, although the eldest O'Connell and Hillstead have been jamming together since they were about 13 years old. (Funny how soccer can bring people together.)

"We're pretty obsessive Beatles and Beach Boys fans," says Kevin. "Superdrag was always a huge influence with us, too. CJ's and my high school band actually got to open for them in Vegas back in 2002. We were already huge fans, so it was insane to play that gig." Basically, Red Hot Radio is an all around mix of rock 'n' roll, with sounds comparable to the popular band Say Anything.

The O'Connells and Hillstead are a trio of guys from Las Vegas, so the land of summertime heatstroke is pretty much home base for this group, but they consider all of Nevada their stomping ground. Attempting to make Reno a more familiar place to explore their musical abilities, Red Hot Radio has made it a point to get out and play in places they relate to, like the university where they go to school and most of the nearby bars.

If you're stumbling around downtown and want to see the band's show, Fritz's Bar & Grill is the right direction to head. They play most of their shows at this university joint. They also can be found occasionally at the Zephyr, Tonic or Satellite.

The band hasn't had it all easy, though, especially not when it comes to percussion. Sully hasn't always been the drummer for Red Hot Radio. Apparently, there's a scandalous story behind that sudden reformation.

"When our douche-bag drummer dropped out of a week-long tour down in California all because his boss at the cell-phone store wouldn't give him the time off, we kicked him out of the band and did that tour with an MP3 player playing all of our drum tracks," claims O'Connell. Sully was a blessing for the beat-less band, and she's become an important part of what makes this band unique.

Red Hot Radio will be taking a short hiatus, most likely until the beginning of February, as they prepare to come back in 2007--hopefully, more ready to rock than ever before. - Reno News Review

For Immediate Release

Fresno Area Bands Win Spot on Ernie Ball Stage at Warped Tour

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA (August 8, 2007) – The live portion of the 11th Annual Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands is about to begin, and there’s local, homegrown talent taking the stage! This year, over 13,500 bands entered the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands competition for a chance to perform live on the 2007 Vans Warped Tour. Nominated by fans and then hand-selected by a panel of Ernie Ball judges, four bands per tour stop have earned a spot on the Ernie Ball Stage for a total of 180 unsigned band performances this summer.

Coming to the Selland Arena in Fresno on August 22, the local bands selected to play live at this summer’s Warped Tour on the Ernie Ball Stage are: Anti-Social of Montebello, CA; In Times of Distress of Merced, CA; and Red Hot Radio of Las Vegas, NV. (Due to special circumstances, only the three aforementioned bands will be playing this stop.)

“We think it’s great that Ernie Ball gives independent music artists the chance to be heard,” said Charles Cordova, bass/lead vocals for Anti-Social. “There are so many great artists out there, and the music industry can be tough without the right contacts.”

“We think it’s great that Ernie Ball gives unknown artists the platform to boost themselves into the music scene,” said Ryan Oliver, vocals for In Times of Distress.

“We seriously just can’t wait to be on stage,” said Emily Sully, drums for Red Hot Radio. “It has been a collective dream of our band for years.”

Giving musicians the incredible opportunity to sound off to huge crowds, the stage has featured more then 5,000 unsigned bands, including then up-and-comers Bowling For Soup, Sugarcult, Story of the Year, New Found Glory, Avenged Sevenfold, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Less Than Jake, and more. This year, winners will play alongside headlining bands Throwdown, My American Heart, We Are the Fury, It Dies Today, and more. For a complete list of all bands playing the Ernie Ball stage, go to

The Vans Warped Tour starts on June 28 in San Diego, CA and will make 45 stops across North America this summer, ending August 25 in Los Angeles, CA. Bands entered the competition by uploading two songs, a bio, a picture, and a band website. Every band profile can be heard online at

The 180 bands who make it to the Ernie Ball stage at the Vans Warped Tour also compete for the chance to be one of four showcase bands chosen to play live before industry and record label executives at a major Hollywood venue in the fall of ‘07. Throughout the Battle of the Bands competition, participants will be judged on performance by a group of Ernie Ball staff and sponsors as well as highly regarded musicians and entertainment industry professionals.

All registered bands are automatically eligible to win thousands of dollars in rock ‘n’ roll music gear from Battle sponsors in the also fan-driven online voting competition, where fans vote for their favorite groups at the Battle website from June 28–September 10. The top four bands in this Battle portion will win prizes from Battle sponsors including Auralex, Krank Amps, DW Drums, Boss, Electro-Voice, Ernie Ball/Music Man, OLP Guitars, Taylor Guitars, Zildjian, M-Audio, and Remo.

Since its debut eleven years ago, the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands has given the best local bands from North America the opportunity to showcase their talents in the world’s longest running and largest live music promotion in the music industry. The Vans Warped Tour heads into its 12th year with a lineup of more than 106 bands on six stages that includes Anberlin, Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, Meg and Dia, Paramore, and The Used.

For more information on the Battle, contact Ernie Ball at (800) 543-2255, or visit Editors may contact On the Horizon Communications at (805) 773-1000 or
- On the Horizon Communications


"Deal Ordeal" from the Red Hot Radio EP is currently being played on AREA 107.9FM and X-107.5FM in Las Vegas ( ;

"That's What We Said" - July 1, 2008
1. I'm Not, I'm Just
2. Have A Breakdown
3. Sell Everything I Know
4. A Simple Rhyme 4 Starting Fires
5. What I'm Seeing
6. Of Body and Space
7. Flaws to Flaunt
8. Unquotable Advice
9. 5 or 6
10. A Pawn to Play the Game of Deceit

"Red Hot Radio" EP - Dec. '07
1. 3 a.m.
2. This Aint What You Want
3. Millions Upon Millions
4. Deal Ordeal
5. A Simple Rhyme For Starting Fires
6. Sell Everything I Know



Red Hot Radio
‘That’s What We Said’

Kevin O’Connell: Lead lungs, Guitar
Aidan O’Connell: Guitar, Lungs
Cameron “CJ” Hillstead: Bass, Lungs
Emily Sully: Drums

Sell everything I know…
Out of the Vegas Valley of shiny shirts and replica-themed everything, come the Henderson heroes, RED HOT RADIO. Raw. Simple. Honest. A band that truly appreciates music and understands what they want from it, RHR is saving all the flash for the phonies. A band refusing to sell out, they are standing up to set themselves apart from the pack, and their debut album, ‘That’s What We Said,’ does just that. Straight to the point, the band stays true to their influences with heavy driven melodies, while still incorporating fast and loud guitars for an indie/punk rock feel.

I’m not trying to say that we lost our way, we could have done anything with our lives…
With an enduring sound, RHR comes out to play good music and in return hopes you like it too. As with all scenes and fads, everything has got to end, but RHR has chosen to stay true to their roots and not sacrifice themselves for cheap thrills. The group has garnered a solid local following, as O’Connell’s lyrics capture the youth looking for substance and something more than just a catchy rhyme. Whether it is post-adolescent angst, fear of conforming to a narrow-minded society or the inability to stand up and follow your dreams to do what truly makes you happy, RHR offers a little something everyone can relate to.

It’s all part of the design…
After enjoying years in various high school bands and playing weekend house shows, it was during their college years that RHR was brought to life. The O’Connell brothers drew in long time friends Sully and Hillstead to form the pop-rock quartet. Started in Reno, Nevada while the three guys attended UNR, Sully soon joined the group, while she was nearby in the Bay Area attending school. After time spent commuting for shows, graduation brought the older O’Connell, Hillstead and Sully back to Vegas. Young O’Connell soon followed, and RHR was kept alive. The relocation back to their hometown gave the group an opportunity to become more than just a college band, by following their hearts to make an album. Thus, the birth of ‘That’s What We Said'.

Everybody’s trying to figure out their place in life, I guess I’m doing something right.