The Real Heroes
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The Real Heroes

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The best kept secret in music



- The Real Heroes “Greetings from Russia”
Wednesday, August 04, 2004


The Real Heroes “Greetings from Russia”

Get set for some campy fun from five Texan musicians.

The Real Heroes’ debut is awesome. They have a retro glam-rock sound, emulating bands such as Mott the Hoople, T-Rex, The Sweet and very early David Bowie, with production and engineering so clean and authentic it makes them surpass any modern band trying to pull off the same vibe.

The epic sound of “Animals, Animals, Animals” brings the listener back to David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” days because of its similarity to “Moonage Daydream.”

“Me is the Drug” is the evil twin to The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” with its parallel high-voltage energy written especially for young party monsters.

“Move That Strut” is the band’s most catchy, most pop-oriented track. Benjamin Hotchkiss shamelessly, not to mention melodically, sings bad-boy lyrics with ultra attitude. There’s a resemblance to Lou Reed here. Well, maybe Lou Reed wishes he had it so good. Unlike Reed, The Real Heroes know the art of walking the walk without pretense. The handclaps add a nice touch.

These boys not only know their rock ’n’ roll history, they could very well be rewriting it.
- Montclair Times



The Real Heroes

Fri., Aug. 6

The Real Heroes are, in fact, true martyrs to rock 'n' roll. Just consider how two members—frontman Benjamin Hotchkiss and guitar/synth player Kyle Crusham—are speaking from their jobs at Austin, TX's Tequila Mockingbird studios, home to plenty of sad alt-country acts. ("No comment," says Kyle.) Greetings from Russia is an impressive sophomore record from a band that's clearly dreaming of Los Angeles gutter rock. To their credit, The Real Heroes' East Coast fixations lean more toward the Long Island environs of Blue Oyster Cult. That's why they won't sound nearly so tired while playing Pete's Candy Store this Friday.

This is really a bad time to record a strong rock album with traces of glam, punk and new wave.

Ben: You mean because there's a lot of that sort of thing going around? Yeah, there is, but it's kind of hard to turn back from what we've been doing all this time. We didn't know there would be any kind of an explosion.

Kyle: The Austin scene is still geared toward singer/songwriter types. There's a bit of a mafia going on. That's where the money is here, too. I imagine once we head out, we'll start running into more people like ourselves. In Austin, we're still kind of an oddity.

I've never understood why a band would want to be part of a scene, anyway.

Kyle: There is no scene where we are. I know about the rock 'n' roll hipster scene in New York, but I have no interest in all that. All of our favorite bands were never part of any scene. They were making the trends. We'd hate to end up labeled as being part of that scene where it's all about making sure that your songs have enough shouts of "Yeah!"

The only authentic pose for a band like the Real Heroes is resignation.

Ben: I used to be one of those smart, intellectual types a long time ago. It's easy to get lost in that world and overthink everything. I had to take a break to even remember why I liked music. Now we're definitely operating in that vein. You just have to hope for the best.

Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. (betw. Frost & Richardson Sts.), Williamsburg, 718-302-3770, 9, free.


"Critics Pick"

Friday 6

The Real Heroes + Milo Jones
FREE Pete's Candy Store. 9pm.

The jumpy mid-'70's Bowie-style rock on the Real Heroes' new Greetings from Russia (Rec Center) lends itself to jerky-limb dance moves, so watch out you don't elbow anybody in this tiny club. Milo Jones is a character to watch - and possibly watch out for. What else to say about a guy who poses nude (full frontal) inside his CD and yet whose music is so special.
- Time Out New York

"Voice Choices"

Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St, Bklyn, 718.302.3770

Handsome Austin boys seemingly jumping on the Strokes-Stellastarr*-Franz Ferdinand-Killers dance-orientated-powerpop bandwagon, though they claim to draw on old garage, glam, and even disco. Which all those other bands do too, of course. One song has a neat "Western Union" - style telegraph-organ intro. With Milo Jones and Ponies in the Surf. At 9. Free EDDY
- Village Voice

"New York buzz TV spot"

click on 'play' under 'watch the video' at - News8

"Greetings from Russia - album review"

You almost have to feel sorry for the Real Heroes. The Austin fivepiece has spent the past three years trying to shake the "joke band" tag hung on them (albeit perhaps unfairly) by 2000's undeniably smirky The Real Heroes. Now, Greetings From Russia comes out at exactly the same time that the hottest thing in rock is the Darkness' mock-ironic, over-the-top pomp-metal.

Though both bands drink deep from the wellspring of Seventies AOR, especially Queen, the Darkness is attempting to take over the world via catsuits and Flying V guitars, whereas the Real Heroes just want to slip Bowie's Station to Station on the vintage basement hi-fi and get their freak on.

They shouldn't have any problems, because Greetings is one of the sexiest, and most sexual, rock albums since the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Orange. When singer Benjamin Hotchkiss isn't instructing his female listeners to "pleasure yourselves" on the Lou Reed-like "Move That Strut," he's offering his services as an intoxicant on "Me Is the Drug" and crooning, "I love the way you touch me," on "The French Song."

His bandmates likewise have their blood up, furthering the Heroes' panty-removal pursuits through eye-batting guitar solos, ribald rhythms, alluring basslines, and steamy cymbal work.

Taken together, that amounts to 10 tight, riffy, combustibly catchy rock songs, most at least as radio-ready as "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." And that's no joke.


- Austin Chronicle - Feb 2004

"Greetings from Russia - album review"

Let’s be frank. What you won’t find on Greetings from Russia, the second audio postcard from Austin rockers the Real Heroes, is much in the way of originality. Thirty years ago, the likes of David Bowie and Roxy Music could pass themselves off as rather daring and avant-garde, but no matter how cleverly you mix and match their old glam rags to dress up new tunes in 2004, you’re still wearing hand-me-downs.

That said, the Real Heroes make it work for them in a way that’s often damn near better than the real thing. From the jittery opener “Elise, Elise” to the snarling, five-star centerpiece “Animal, Animal, Animal” - on which singer Benjamin Hotchkiss’ uncanny Bowie nod is outdone only by a Godzilla-sized guitar solo by Paul English evoking, yes, prime Blue Oyster Cult - Greetings from Russia bristles with infectious conviction.

When Hotchkiss tells you to “Move That Strut” over a crashing bed of handclaps and surely the world’s greatest lost T-Rex riff, you move it! Let me put it this way: it’s been a really long time since I really loved any rock ‘n’ roll album without a Ray Davies credit on it. But “Greetings from Russia” slapped me out of my stupor, kicked me to the curb and beat the sleeping air guitarist in me awake again.

Now suddenly all those Bowie, Mott the Hoople, B.O.C. and Cheap Trick records gathering dust on the shelf are calling to me 24/7. and I’d play the hell out of them all over again if not for the fact that the Real Heroes deliver the kick of the whole lot of them in the no-nonsense span of 10 tracks in 38 minutes, like a single-serving rock ‘n’ roll multi-vitamin.

If a better rock record than this one is destined to come out of Texas this year, then let the kids eat their hearts out. Me, I’m spoken for.

- Richard Skanse - Texas Music Magazine - March 2004

"Real Heroes Live"

The Real Heroes brought me back to when rock and roll was rock and roll. Their sound emanated excellent influences like The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and Beck. These guys are definitely a well-put together band with quite a following. 710 remained packed and many on the bar side migrated to the music side to check out the band.

This band sounds great and their stage presence was equally so. The singer crooned and sang his fabulously coordinated heart out. His dancing ability was astounding, I mean this guy shook his ass like Mick Jagger and broke it down like James Brown.

I was severely impressed by both sound and stage performance of Real Heroes. With heavy funky bass lines and bluesy pop rock riffs, Real Heroes pulled out all the stops. Fluid drumming and well-controlled bottom end is what makes this band superb. The grooving yet progressive sound had many fans dancing along.

Their song styles ranged from slow and edgy to smoothly rocking with blues undertones. I enjoyed this show immensely and they wrapped it all up by covering “Hot Legs” by Rod Stewart. Great shit in my book. Everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I suspect they’ll be back for more.

-Erin Muscato - Rank and Revue - Nov 2003

"Greetings from Russia - album review"

It must be hard to come up with greasy anthems in a city as easy on the eyes as Austin. But the Real Heroes have found a way to overlook the heart-warming community spirit and Frisbee golf players of the Capitol City to dredge up enough jubilant sleaze to overflow an East Village urinal. Some might jump to label the Real Heroes long-haired Ziggy Stardust wannabes, but the rollicking celebration of classic rock on Greetings from Russia provides more fun than twenty post-post-punk snooze-fests combined.

With generous handclaps and Rolling Stones swagger galore, Greetings from Russia oozes New York cool without coming off as cold and detached like the Strokes. The first word of the album - “Go!” - sets off and energy bomb that hardly flags, even when the speed slows on songs like “Adjust Your Nightmare”, in which lead vocalist Benjamin Hotchkiss effectively Robert Plants it up over thrashing psychedelic melodies.

Despite all their feisty posturing, the Real Heroes catch the listener by surprise with a tenderly crooned line or sweet guitar melody here and there. But for glam junkies, songs like the guitar solo-packed “Me Is The Drug” and the sing-a-long closer “All Made Up Friends” will get you high faster than a pair of sequined 8-inch platforms. (A-)

Adina Efron - INsite Magazine - March 2004

"'Greetings from Russia' Top 10 Album of 2004"

AMP Awards 2004-Austin American Statesman XLent
Austin Album of the Year
7. 'Greetings From Russia' Real Heroes

Austin Chronicle writers-2004 Texas Top 10 Albums
Raoul Hernandez
9. 'Greetings from Russia' Real Heroes
Darcie Stevens
7. 'Greetings from Russia' Real Heroes
Chris Gray
9. 'Greetings from Russia' Real Heroes
- Austin American Statesman & Austin Chronicle


The Real Heroes - "The Real Heroes" debut LP
The Real Heroes - "Early Clues to the New Direction" EP
The Real Heroes - "Greetings from Russia" 2nd LP


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Skinny on the Real Heroes …

Recent news: 'Greetings from Russia' accolades

Rolling Stone magazine online Critics 2004 National Top 10 Albums
Richard Skanse
8. The Real Heroes, Greetings From Russia (Rec. Center): Proof that prime Bowie and Cheap Trick go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Austin's Real Heroes are the best rock band in America you haven't heard of. Yet.

“If a better rock record than this one [Greetings From Russia] is destined to come out of Texas this year, then let the kids eat their hearts out. Me, I’m spoken for.”
- Richard Skanse, Texas Music Magazine

“Greetings From Russia … brims with invention — subtly subversive melodies, guitar parts that create unexpected tension, vocals that sound like they came from a ‘70s glam band one minute and an avant garde musical the next.” - Michael Corcoran, Austin American-Statesman

“Greetings is one of the sexiest, and most sexual, rock albums since the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Orange.” - Chris Gray, Austin Chronicle

“I’m a New York bitch!” — The Real Heroes

There are, at last count, too many damn bands in Austin, TX — self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” — to even bother counting. But sift through all the singer-songwriter types, hardcore honky-tonkers and rootsy, Willie-worshipping rabble rousers (god bless ‘em), and the actual number of bona fide rock ‘n’ roll bands that call the home of SXSW “home” is far more manageable. Still, when it gets right down to it, there’s really only one such rock band that really matters here, and it is with much pride and no small amount of fear that we’re putting them on a plane and sending them your way. New York City, prepare yourself for the imminent arrival of The Real Heroes.

Why fear, you ask? Could it be a Texas-sized insecurity that the best we’ve got — the band whose sophomore outing, Greetings From Russia, was recently hailed by Texas Music magazine as a “single-serving rock ‘n’ roll multi-vitamin” — might not measure up to NYC standards? Not on y’all’s life. We have supreme confidence that our Real Heroes — by name, singer/guitarist/frontman extraordinaire Benjamin Hotchkiss, guitarist Paul English, guitarist/keyboardist Kyle Crusham, bassist Kenneth Dowling and drummer Joey Spivey — have the goods to more than hold their own on the jaded streets of Manhattan and hipster Williamsburg turf.

Yeah yeah yeah … we know you think you’ve heard and seen it all before. We know you’re swimming in so much great rock ‘n’ roll up there, you probably take the stuff for granted. And we’re pretty sure you’ve heard plenty of bands that evoke the majesty of T-Rex, the artful swagger of Ian Hunter and prime Bowie, the thrill of Television, the pop-metal panache of Cheap Trick and even (of so they’ ve been told) the arena-sized, triple-guitar roar of vintage Blue Oyster Cult. But all at once? And all wrapped up in songs as good as Russia’s “Move That Strut,” “The French Song” and “Elise, Elise,” not to mention oldie-but-goodie (from the band’s self-titled 2000 debut), “Stop Breakin’”? And delivered by a five-piece band of seasoned (long story) but unspoiled veterans that truly knows the difference between putting on an honest-to-goodness rock ‘n’ roll show worth remembering and just “playing a gig” … and always goes the show road?

Didn’t think so.

So no, we’re not afraid you won’t like our Real Heroes. In fact, we’re pretty sure you’ll love them. We’re just afraid you’ll try and keep them. Worse, we’re afraid that they’ll fit in on your storied rock ‘n’ roll streets so much better than they do here in Austin that they’ll want to stay. Hell, Hotchkiss, who passed through your town a few times back in his days touring with an arty little troupe called The Duckhills, keeps dropping hints about how much he “really, really loves” that NYC “vibe” and says the whole band hopes to “keep hitting New York over and over again to see if we can’t make it as much of a home base as Austin is now.” Call it jealous paranoia, but let’s just say we’re not getting much sleep at night.

So please, NYC, have a heart. Please don’t take our favorite rock ‘n’roll band even though you can. By all means, do yourself a favor and savor the Real Heroes when they grace your fair city. The laws of Southern hospitality dictate that we share them with you, and if you love ‘em as much as we do, you’re welcome to borrow ‘em whenever you need a lift. But please send them home to Austin when you’re done. You see, you may think you want our Real Heroes, but we need them.
Because even deep in the heart of Texas, man can’t live on Willie alone.

For media kits, interviews, live on air performances, color and black and white photos and guest lists call the girls at Propaganda, ph. 512.268.3048
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