Competition / Join Hillbilly Vegas On Long Way Back UK Tour

With Britain embroiled in grim election fever and the Met Office forecasting that our summer weather will be a disappointment, one of the few bright spots on the horizon is another visit from Hillbilly Vegas. We all feel like it is high time for a good time, and the band’s Long Way Back Tour to the UK in July is a well-timed blessing.

Frontman Steve Harris joined MetalTalk for Episode 93 of MTTV, having been persuaded to take a break from hunting for his Air Miles frequent flyer card to catch up with all things Hillbilly Vegas. 

“You’re involved in election nonsense, too,” Steve smiles. “We’re running from it here, and I’m running into it there, I guess.” Harris and guitarist Stacy Thornburg flew into the UK this weekend with their wives for a holiday before the rest of the band arrives.

Hillbilly Vegas - O2 Academy, Islington - 31 January 2024.
Steve Harris – Hillbilly Vegas – O2 Academy, Islington – 31 January 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Having been diagnosed with cancer, we asked how Rob Edwards was doing. “He’s doing good, Steve says. “He’s not with us anymore. We felt like his health was not something that we could chance. He has recovered, but being on the road and the rigours of the road is not something to do. So, Todd Ronning from Bad Company is now with us full-time.

“We had Todd on the last tour, and he is a great fit. That’s who our guy is now as far as touring, and all that goes. Rob is recovered, but that kind of cancer and the rigours of his health, the diet requirements and the things that he has to do on a daily basis, it doesn’t make travel something that he can do.”

I’m sure everyone sends their best wishes to Rob Edwards.

Enter our competition for a chance to win tickets and meet-and-greet passes! Plus this hip flask!
Enter our competition for a chance to win tickets and meet-and-greet passes! Plus this hip flask!

Since the first acoustic shows at the Troubadour in November 2022, the UK has really taken Hillbilly Vegas. They have been back and forth a few times since then. Do they consider the UK their second musical home?

Join Hillbilly Vegas on Tour This July

“As a matter of fact, we do,” Steve says. “We’ve made so many great friends and met so many wonderful people at all the shows. It just feels with the connections that we’ve made, we feel right at home in the UK. We love being over there.

“We love the way the fans react and the way the music is so appreciated. I hear so many people in the UK saying it’s not like it used to be. Well, come over here. Come here and be in this meat grinder of a music business that America is, and you’ll really appreciate what you have in the UK. Very, very, very, home for us and very comfortable for us.”

The reception for the band in the UK has always been fantastic, even on the Luke Morley tour. Was that a success in reaching a wider audience?

“We did half of the shows with Luke, and then we headlined the rest of them ourselves. It was wonderful being out with Luke. The guys in Luke’s band were so wonderful, and we made friends with all of them. We’ve stayed in touch with Dean Howard quite a bit. Dean’s such a nice guy. We really enjoyed it, and Luke was great. They’re all good guys.”

Hillbilly Vegas - O2 Academy, Islington - 31 January 2024.
Hillbilly Vegas – O2 Academy, Islington – 31 January 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

MetalTalk are running a competition for the July tour. We have a pair of tickets for each show on the Long Way Back tour, which includes a meet and greet.

“I like talking to people,” Steve says. “I just look at it as part of the show itself. I’m not really a warm-up guy or a cool-down guy, but there’s a lot of work that goes into singing a 90-minute set. I have the meet and greet, the 30 minutes or so afterwards, as part of the set as well.

“But meeting people, that’s the best man. Because you make friends, and we like to make friends, not just fans, with the stories that everybody has. I love stories anyway because I like to tell stories. So, I mean, be careful when you tell me a story. I might use it someday.”

Hillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour - UK July 2024 Poster
Hillbilly Vegas – Long Way Back Tour – UK July 2024

There are some great venues on this tour. Hillbilly Vages play London’s 100 Club, a historic venue. “I’m very excited about it,” Steve says. “To be honest with you, I don’t know much about it. Reading about it and what they’ve told us is that it’s just one of the great places to play, and I’m very excited about it. We’ve played in London acoustic and then two electric performances, and all three times, it was great. The people were wonderful. But the 100 Club seems a little special, so I’m looking forward to that now.”

Steve was talking from the band’s rehearsal space. “We’re just finishing a week of rehearsals with the guys,” he says. “Everything was great. Right now, we have three or four more songs to finish for a new album. That’s what we’re working on right now.

“We would like to get all the tracking done before we leave in July, then have a couple of fixes to do in August, and then hopefully, we can have it out by October. That’s what you do when you have some time off. You fix the things around your house that always break when you’re on the road.

“My wife always calls me when I’m on the road and says, hey, the water pipe burst here or something broke here. Never happens when I’m at home. So we’re trying to fix a bunch of that stuff, write new songs, get recorded, and do everything before we take off again. Because when we get home, we go out again in America for the fall and then back to the UK in November.”

Steve says the band will play one new song from the new album that they have never played live on this tour. “We’re adding something from the Great Southern Hustle that we didn’t play on the last tour,” he says, “and maybe a different encore cover song this time.”

The new album is, as of now, untitled. “But we have a couple of tentative titles,” Steve teases. “The biggest thing is that The Great Southern Hustle was a compilation of three albums that we had out in America that hadn’t been released overseas. So you just pick your best stuff. You have your whole career, as they say, to write that one.

“We’ve had a shorter time writing the second album, but we kind of feel better about what we’re doing and not trying to please too many masters, as they say in America. We’ve been miss-genred many times. Nashville loved us until they didn’t. The rock world kind of likes us sometimes and sometimes we’re too country. I don’t know.

“We’re just finding our identity and just continue to do what we want to do and hopefully it comes out. The biggest thing is to let your personality through, and as long as your personality comes through, you can sing any kind of song.

“Look at old Van Halen. They can go from, Could This Be Magic? to Tora! Tora! and still get away with it because you knew it was them. That’s kind of what we’re trying to achieve.”

The excitement for the tour has been building, especially on social media. “I love it,” Steve says. “I’m always shocked when I see people saying they’re booking their tickets for every show that we’re doing and are going to follow us. My God, that’s exciting. We saw it a little bit here sometimes at bike rallies. But the fandom in the UK is on a different level, and that’s a good thing.”

The message from Hillbilly Vegas is clear. “Come along and be a part,” Steve says. “Be our sixth men, as they say. Just be the other guy, the other part of the band. Every show is unique because of who’s in the audience, and as long as the audience does their part, we’ll all have a good time.

“Like you said, high time for a good time. I don’t know what your weather looks like, but our weather has already started for summer. I looked it up today. So our average temperature over here is about 35 to 40 °C. So we’re probably gonna be a little cooler there. We’re really looking forward to that.”

I didn’t have the heart to suggest that Hillbilly Vegas umbrella merch might be a good seller.

MetalTalk has one pair of tickets for every Hillbilly Vegas Tour show, which also includes a meet and greet. One lucky winner will also win a High Time For A Good Time hip flask.

To enter, please state clearly which show you would like to see and tell us which US State Hillbilly Vegas originates from. Answer via email to comp@MetalTalk.net. Closing date is Friday 12 July at 5PM BST.

The competition prize does not include travel. Tour Tickets and more information is available from hillbilly-vegas.com/tour.

July

17jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | HullThe Adelphi

18jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | NewcastleTrillians

19jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | CrumlinThe Patriot

21jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | WolverhamptonKK's Steel Mill

23jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | SouthamptonThe 1865

24jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | LondonThe 100 Club

25jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | HastingsThe Carlisle

27jul7:00 pmHillbilly Vegas - Long Way Back Tour | SittingbourneThe Appleyard

Sleeve Notes

Sign up for the MetalTalk Newsletter, an occasional roundup of the best Heavy Metal News, features and pictures curated by our global MetalTalk team.

More in Heavy Metal

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Search MetalTalk

MetalTalk Venues

MetalTalk Venues - The Devil's Dog Digbeth
MetalTalk Venues – The Green Rooms Live Music and Rehearsal
The Patriot, Crumlin - The Home Of Rock
Interview: Christian Kimmett, the man responsible for getting the bands in at Bannerman's Bar
Cart & Horses, London. Birthplace Of Iron Maiden
The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton

New Metal News