Aftershock ready to rock the sevens

Glam rockers are 'staging' a comeback

MATT STEWART
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
aftershock
CAM BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
MOCKINGLY METAL: Glam rock heavyweights Aftershock (top to bottom) Jono Haimes aka Tommy Thunderstorm (drums), Craig Mildenhall aka Willie ‘‘Wah Wah’’ Willis (lead guitar/backing vocals), Ratanak Koy aka Smitty Valentine (bass), Jenna Mein aka Stevie Dixx (keytar), and Michael Grace aka Ric Ravenous (lead singer) are staging a hometown comeback at this weekend’s Sevens.
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After a decade in the musical wilderness Kiwi hair metal legends Aftershock will stage a comeback at the Wellington Sevens.

Of course Aftershock is no more a real band than The Monkees or Spinal Tap, but Craig Mildenhall (aka lead guitarist Willie "Wah Wah" Willis) says the creation of an elaborate backstory is about taking the one-up-manship of sevens outfits to "the next level".

"We're going to start a whole new way to do costumes at the sevens - costumes will no longer just be about the clothes on your back," Mildenhall says.

The emergence of Aftershock goes like this: after forming in the capital during the pink metal boom of the 1980s it went on to multi-platinum, arena-straddling success - and is still "massive in Latvia". But after its peak the band battled the all too familiar pitfalls of fame - addiction, break-up, scandal, imprisonment and creative paralysis.

Although the 35,000-capacity Westpac Stadium is smaller than the US and European arenas the band played in its heyday the revitalised line-up has promised to belt out its 1980s hits as well as debut material from new album Shaved Pedestrian in a sevens show billed as "one night only . . . both nights" of the two-day event.

Appropriately the actually Latvian secretary of their fake Latvian fan club will also join their entourage.

In reality Aftershock is a group of Thorndon flatmates with distinctly un-rock 'n' roll jobs in the city.

Inspired by mock metallers Steel Panther and the spoof rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, lead singer Michael Grace (aka Ric Ravenous) says although none of the group can sing or play instruments they plan to stay true to their persona over the weekend and have compiled a list of one-liners and songs to perform should other sevens fans wish to be wowed.

"Wellington is where we started out and we want to give something back to the city," he says.

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