Flashback to the 80s: Interview with the Lead Singer of the band “Hot Flash”

Flashback to the 80s: Interview with the Lead Singer of the band “Hot Flash”

Caroline Restrepo, Writer

Hot Flash is a new wave 80s and alternative 90s cover band that is slowly becoming more popular, with new shows coming up often. They performed at Cartersville’s Sixes Tavern recently on August 13 of this year. Because of their newer presence, especially online, no one has yet spoken to them about what goes on when not on stage. I recently had the opportunity to speak to their lead singer, Sean, and ask about what it’s like in a band for an exclusive audience.


What was behind your decision to start [working with] the band?

I was- geez- 30? 27? I was in my early 30s, I had been singing on and off for a long time, but not really anything organized. And I felt like I wanted to go and do something, y’know, a little out of character. Try and do something that I thought would be fun. So I put some feelers out on the internet, said “Hey,” looked around, and I actually found a guy who was looking to start a band. [And] that was the beginning of all Hot Flash, and everything. It’s like, I started with that band, then it became another band, then it became another band, and then it- and then we became Hot Flash.

Who was the person who started the band itself?

So, when Hot Flash [began], three of the four guys were in another band. And, uh, that band was kind of at the end. But, we had already tried out new material. So we said “Alright, let’s break off […]” The music we’re playing is more, I guess, venue friendly? The stuff [the band] was playing before was a little heavier. Some of the heavier 90s stuff, and it just wasn’t doing well at venues. It was hard to get people to go to the shows, so we tried, y’know, 80s stuff, gave it a whirl, and there we were! People wanted to go see the 80s stuff.

Were you involved with the idea for the name? I feel like it’s a pun.

It is. It’s absolutely a pun. It’s intentional as an attention grabber because the people who may be coming to our shows- it might be something important to them at some point, so- (At this point an uninvolved third party interjected with “Old people.”) No! Not old people! I didn’t say old people. Stop talking in my interview. So, it was intentional. It was intentional because it was designed to get the attention of the target audience. The ones who want to go to the shows, and remember what it was like in the 80s, and “Woo!” and stuff like that. That’s the point, y’know?

We don’t play original music. We play covers. And there’s a lot of bands who play covers of the 80s [music], so you try to differentiate yourself where you can. We do it with our name because it’s a little tongue-in-cheek, a little pun. Also, we do it with our music selection. We play stuff intentionally that other bands don’t play. It tends to get a good reaction from the audience because they hear the same stuff with a bunch of different bands, and then they come to us, and they hear the same bands- we’re covering the same bands, but we’re playing different music than everybody else is. We might be playing the same thing but a little bit differently. And so it gives them a different show. There are a lot of 80s bands as I’ve said, you see them or somebody else and it’s the same music, same music, same music. You’re like “Alright, they’re good, but it’s the same thing I’ve heard over and over.” So we try to differentiate ourselves from that by picking other music. That seems to go pretty well.

How long have you been involved in music, whether it’s the band or not?

I’d sing when I was a kid in choir and school, and I did that for a couple of years, but it wasn’t anything serious. […] I didn’t sing at all or anything through most of grade school and in high school because nobody- it wasn’t a thing. But then, my friend in high school… We did a play, and at the wrap-up party for the play, we were done with the play and everything, I was the smallest part in the play that you could have as a talking part. And my brother was the lead, and he was a senior and I was a freshman. He had to sing all the songs and stuff, but we went to the wrap-up after the show was over, and they played the soundtrack for the play, and I was singing along to the songs, and the director of the play- they came to the back like “When did Eric get here?” referring to my brother. I was like “No, that was me!” and they were like “Oh my God!” y’know. I was like “Too late I got a crap part and don’t want to do it anymore.”

So I didn’t do anything in high school, and then in college I did a little bit here and there, but nothing after college for years and years and years, and then I decided to just do something for me. So, here we are, 12 years later.

Does it interfere with other parts of your life often, or have you found a good balance?

I would say it doesn’t interfere with it, as long as I properly schedule things, right? All the family stuff comes first forever. But, if, I schedule something for the weekend, and I put it in the calendar, and something else comes up, then we make a decision on whether this is something I have to handle and I’ll reschedule the show, or is it something that [my wife] Jennifer can handle and she can take care of. For the most part, we schedule things far enough out that we’re able to schedule for other things like family activities and all that. But family always comes first. If there’s something going on we’ll cancel a show right out.

What do you like to do with your family?

What I like to do is get out of the house, get them off the tablets and computers and stuff, so we can go and do something where we have to talk to each other at least a little bit, y’know? We do. We talk a lot, but for me, I really love going out and sharing a meal. Just being face-to-face, goofing around, and just time that’s not electronically focused. We get some of that too. We’ll play games and things like that too, but it just can’t be the overwhelming portion of the time. But we get out, we’ve been to Pigeon Forge, we go to the beach every once in a while, but for me it’s any time we can spend time together that isn’t electronically based is fine for me. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, or a trip to wherever, yeah.

When you’re not practicing and having “me time,” what do you like to do?

I like to read, I like to play cards, and, let’s see… I’d like to say I work out, but I don’t. It’s something I should do, but I don’t as much as I should. I would say if I’m by myself, there are shows I like to watch. There are books. I like sci-fi stuff, so I’ll read sci-fi books or Star Wars books and stuff like that. […] I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to that stuff. I don’t race cars, I don’t have really expensive hobbies; I just like to hang out.

How well do you and the others get along?

We get along pretty well. I’d say everyone knows they have responsibilities, but everyone has strengths, and they use those for the benefit of the group. We have a guy who’s really good with digital media, and I’m not that guy. I do my best to support those things, but I don’t like to take time to do those things. I’ll help promote the band, and I’ll help do some of the other things because that’s what I’m willing to do, and that’s what I’m better at. But yeah, the cooperation is great, and we make decisions about songs where we’ll sit down and be like, “Oh that one’s going to be terrible” or “This one’s going to be great.” Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. The good thing is we’re willing to try just about anything, the bad news is that sometimes it goes over [badly.] That’s all part of the experience.

Did you know the members beforehand?

Before I started playing in bands, I didn’t know any of them. I met them in my time playing in bands along the way.

What other bands?

The first band was called “Up John’s Creek,” and it’s the stupidest name. And then, we changed to “Crash Channel,” and that was a cool band name, but it was a lot of heavier stuff no one wanted to listen to ‘cept us. Yeah, from there it was Crash Channel and then Hot Flash. I actually met all of [the members]- well, one of them was in Crash Channel with me. Then I met the other guys when I was filling in for another band, Process of Elimination. […] The bass player and drummer from that band are now the bass player and drummer for Hot Flash. It’s a long mishmash of, y’know, everyone playing for everybody else’s band. I guess if we were hard to work with we wouldn’t be in multiple bands, so…

What has been your favorite performance or place to perform so far?

Oh, that is a toss up. One of our first shows as Hot Flash was at 37 Main in John’s Creek, and that was a great thing. It was almost… think of a restaurant; it was the size of two restaurants. One side was the eating and drinking part, and the other side was the drinking and music part. There was a huge stage, great lighting, great sound, everything was set up for serious rock and roll shows. I mean, they had some big name talent that played there. That was our first show. That was just amazing; that was an awesome show.

Since then, we played in the city of Milton, couple of big stages, and just recently at Tucker Brewing [where the] stage was pretty good. For me, it’s the people at the show, the energy of the show, that’s fantastic. Getting to play on a big stage production; it makes you feel kind of like rock star style. So that’s cool to have.

What are your future plans for Hot Flash?

So, bands get paid not a lot, right? Cover bands- we don’t get paid a lot, but there are venues and there are shows that pay more. We’re actually in the process of trying to move into the next level where we would get more of the higher-paying shows. We wouldn’t be playing so many bars, but we’d be playing, y’know, corporate events, festivals, and when you see those signs for a big show and they got like three headliners and like a million different other bands playing, and then like two local bands? We’re trying to be the local band. Come out and warm everybody up for the heavy rockers that are going to come out. We’re trying to get into that, but it’s a little bit how we present ourselves online because that’s really the way people contact your band now. So, it’s the online presentation, working on our stage show, making it look more like a performance than just people playing music.