Don’t touch that dial

Red Hot Radio

Red Hot Radio is, from left, CJ Hillstead, Kevin and Aidan O’Connell and (not pictured) Emily Sully.

Red Hot Radio is, from left, CJ Hillstead, Kevin and Aidan O’Connell and (not pictured) Emily Sully.

Photo By David Robert

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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.