Seatbelt Incidents

An interview with the band The Hollywood Kills
by Po, Editor-in-Chief

You know that feeling when you’re thirsty so you grab a half-full bottle of water from your fridge and take a swig and it turns out to be vodka? No? Just me? Well, imagine it.

[The Hollywood Kills. From left: Jonathan Jircitano, Brent Powelson, Brandon Jenkins and Preston Jackson]

Two weeks ago my friends Aaron and Chaya and I went to see The Pretty Reckless play in Chicago. I wanted live rock music, a sweaty girl in no pants, a crowd screaming itself hoarse. And I got that – Taylor Momsen, the band’s frontwoman, was thin and greasy and everything you’d expect her to be; they played two of my favorite of their songs and we met Momsen’s assistant and dog (tiny, white, fluffy) after the show – but I got more than just that. I got the vodka in the water bottle.

I had never heard of The Hollywood Kills, the band opening for The Pretty Reckless on their “Medicine Tour,” until I actually heard them that night. And you guys – you have got to hear them live.

[My super-poor-quality BlackBerry photos of Jon + Preston during the show.]

Jon, Brent, Brandon and Preston are childhood friends from Nashville who’ve been working towards this kind of exposure for years now, “going through every rock’n’roll stereotype in the book.” Today, right now as I write this, they’re somewhere between Boston and Philly, probably doing indie pop-rock things like hand-making their merch (some sick logo tees and EXCELLENT guitar-pick necklaces), stealthily eating pita chips, cuddling with puppies, and frantically scribbling set lists on random scraps of paper.

[maybe something like this?]

That’s just a guess, though.

What sets The Hollywood Kills apart from the rest of the indie rock crowd is the guys themselves, the band’s chemistry. The fucking energy. Brandon says, “We want to be a huge band-” “Obviously,” I interject, “-but we don’t want to change who we are.” And, well, obviously. But however cliche that may be, I truly believe it. These guys are all about their fans. I’ve been to shows similar to the Hollywood Kills’ sound who are notoriously into their fans – Paramore comes to mind immediately – but not like this. The Hollywood Kills experience is making eye contact with the band throughout the show. The Hollywood Kills experience is cheering for yourselves, not the band. Their Facebook page is full of photos of fans – not just smiling with them post-show, but actually in the crowd during the show. “SMILE!” they roared at the Chicago show when Brandon whipped out his iPhone, and everyone threw up their hands. “Go online and TAG YOURSELVES!” Nicest guys on Earth.

“We’re nerds,” they say, when I ask them about any bad habits on the road. The most they’ll admit to is that like any band on tour, the day-to-day life of completely living in the present is stressful, and that it’s hard to keep a relationship going. And when I ask them what the worst experience they’ve had so far is, Jon slumps on the table and goes, “Nothing compares to ex-girlfriends.”

I keep trying to pry dark secrets out of them but these guys are way cleaner than their hair suggests. When we play word association, I ask them what the word ART brings to mind; Brandon and Preston say music, as expected, but Brent says “life” and – wait for it – Jon says “mom.” See? SEE? NICEST GUYS ON EARTH.

[This is what the nicest guys on Earth look like. Half confused, half pretty damn smug.]

The longest the band has been apart for the past two years is 9 days, when Preston couldn’t get into Canada on tour. What detained him? “Umm…” he says, “ah…” (I’m thinking drugs, DUI?) “…a seatbelt incident.”


– – –

Find out more about The Hollywood Kills on their Facebook page here.
Pledge to donate to their Kickstarter HERE! Only 23 more days to go! (Also the video is actually hilarious. Who doesn’t want to see Preston get water thrown in his face by a five year old??)



  1. They are amazing! This is a great article about them!!!

  2. Patricia says:

    I agree 100%. I had a similar experience.
    They’re my favourite band, pretty much, and I’ve never had one before :) I have a maaajor crush on Brent and I was sure to find some way my friends would know the band. They deserve fame.

    • pass on the message! i don’t think they’re looking for fame – just to be able to spread their music and connect with as many people as possible.

Leave a Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
%d bloggers like this: