The writers here at Waffles are Las Vegas local music fans, and have been for many years. One of the most iconic figures in the Las Vegas music scene the past few years is London Mace from the band Heavy Honey. We were able to corner London for a series of questions about the band, the Vegas music scene, and some of his more memorable stories.
WAN: When did Heavy Honey Form, and what does the name mean?
LM: I starting using the name for my music around 2005 and played a lot of acoustic gigs in coffee houses etc. I didn’t want to be ” Singer, London Mace” I wanted to be a band name like, KISS! Then the full band came to life on Jan 10, 2008 on the Matt McClure Show in Hollywood CA.
The name is kind of an ode to Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, Guns n Roses, Black Sabbath and all the great bands that have that HEAVY and SWEET side to their name. Jimmy Page said he liked the name Led Zeppelin because it allowed the band to sometimes be, soft and light like a zeppelin and other times, hard and heavy like lead. I love the idea of 2 sides to make balance. Like night and day, black and white, etc.
WAN: Who would you say are your biggest influences?
LM: Life and all within it. Art, people, family, music, movies and so on and so on.
WAN: How do you typically write your songs? Lyrics or music first? Do you usually write at home and bring it into practice, or are the songs written while with other players?
LM: I usually write the music first. Almost always. I do tend to write down names for possible song titles all the time and then match them up to music that seems to fit the theme. Sometimes the music has it’s own images it conjures and you just have to follow it and let it come to life.
I almost always write the music at home by myself. There have been a few times here and there that a song has started in a band practice. But then I’ve taken it back to the home studio and worked it all out and developed it to it’s finish. I don’t mind writing with others but Heavy Honey began as a way for me to get all the songs in my head out and to the world.
WAN: What have been some of the band’s most notable highlights?
LM: For me, personally, there have been a few live performances that really connected to the audience and just felt brilliant. Usually in a venue that we didn’t ever expect, like a really small bar with really crappy sound and like 30 people. I have always loved watching the people I play with do their thing. It’s awesome! The fans have been amazing and for the most part the shows and the other bands we’ve opened for and played with have been too.
I’ve had the honor of singing on some great stages with amazing musical history, with great musicians that have inspired me to be what I’ve always wanted to be, an entertainer. Singing with Vince Neal was pretty cool. I was floored to just be on the same stage with legendary singer, Otis Day let alone sing SHOUT with him. I even had the chance to sing with my mother, Anna Black on stage, who is in my opinion the greatest living female blues singer on the planet!
WAN: How has your sound changed since the band’s inception?
LM: I’ve gotten better. Thats been a good change. : )
The band’s sound has always been one of heavy, dark, sexy rock and it’s only really moved left or right based on the band members playing it. But, overall it’s been steady-as-she-goes goodness.
WAN: Can you talk for a moment about the music scene in Las Vegas? How would you describe it now and how has it changed in recent years?
LM: Like any scene, it’s hard. New venues open up and then close rather fast in Vegas. I don’t know if that’s normal for any given city but it’s pretty normal here. There’s a ton of talent in this town and a lot of bands that are down right scary good. Some new and some that have been around a while, just a lot of great stuff. There’s a lot of diversity as well. I mean, yes, the bands tend to play in their own musical click but we’ve played gigs where all the bands (and it could be as many as 8 bands in one night) were all different styles.
The biggest hardship is the biz side of it. The venues are here to make money and they want every band to bring in a hundreds of people every time they play and that’s just a hard thing to do. Especially when you’re new and trying to build up a fan base. So, when you don’t bring in a lot of people, you don’t really get called back. Then, it’s back to shittier venues that treat you like crap, and by crap I mean, no respect, no communication, no money, no advertising support, no care for your fans and when they might be able to PLAN on seeing you (ex. what time you go on. They have no care for your time and when you will play in any given gig. You’re bounced around and pushed back in the line up to all hours of the night. There’s no care for how long you will be able to play (“Oh sorry, we’ve added more bands so now you get 15-20 minutes to play”), not to mention the crappy stage and sound, and zero overall support as a band/talent or even as a person. It’s hard but it’s the biz, I guess.
But, there are a some venues here and there that treat people well. A very small few. You know who you are!
WAN: Every musician dreams of “making it” in music, but that definition varies from person to person. What is your definition of “making it” in music?
LM: Being able to make a good living from creating, producing, selling, and performing ones own music. I don’t have to be the next GNR but to have a good following / fan base around the world, to be able to tour the world, see other cultures and countries and hopefully entertain people and make life a little better, the same way that music made my life better.
I feel like I’m a rock star no matter what, just because I have been given a talent for music making and appreciation, it would just be nice to be able to live music day in and day out as my day job. To make doing what I love to do my living. To be able to entertain and give joy to others the way it’s been given to me on a large scale. Oh, and to create and play music with my musical heroes, would be pretty brilliant too.
WAN: It has been said that Vegas rock bands rarely last more than 2 years. In many cases this seems to be true. Why do you think that is, and why has Heavy Honey bucked this trend?
LM: Music is my spice and the spice must flow. I’m gonna ride this mule till I’m sore.
WAN: Tell us one of your craziest band moments.
LM: It’s sad that most of the crazy moments we’ve had have been weird and/or negative ones.
Like having a promoter book a gig for us only to find when we got there it was an open mic night at a family restaurant. We didn’t know until the host got mad at us for going over the 3 song limit (that we didn’t know about) and told us to get off stage. That was a low point. But funny, afterward.
Then there’s Jani Lane of Warrant fame (God bless you Jani) drunk as all hell, falling off stage several times, asking people in the audience to sing his songs while he held their drink for them…then drinking them, asking the sound guy in the back of the house where the back room was while his band played and nobody could find him, leaving in the middle of his set to go gamble at a casino. Heavy Honey was then asked to come to the stage for emergency band playing. It was awesome!
Opening for The Addicts and having my good friend Lez Warner (drummer for the Cult) invite us to meet the band only to have them look at us and say no (right in front of us). HAHAHAHAH!
Opening for Ice T and watching his people throw (and I do mean throw) another bands gear (amps and all) off stage because “Ice-berg” wanted to play…NOW!
Watching a total dink of a promoter start a “wet t-shirt” contest without telling the band and then proceeding to pour water all over my guitar pedals and gear! Arrrrggggg! We played one song and left!
Singing onstage with my eyes closed during a ballad and being tackled HARD by a dude from the audience.
Seeing Jake E Lee shred an amazing guitar solo (we had just opened for his band that night) then hold up his whittled down, half gone guitar pick, which he then gave to me, only to have some dude take it out of my hand, which Jake then took back from this guy, hand back to me and say to the audience, “I gave this pick to Linda!” (Jake makes fun of my name London.)
Oh, there’s a lot and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of cool stories but thats what I got for now.
Little moments I guess. Things that might not mean a lot to others but have special meaning to me.
WAN: What’s next for Heavy Honey?
LM: The world!
We’d like to thank London for taking the time to answer our questions. He is a true ambassador for the Las Vegas music scene, and we wish him continued, well-deserved success.