HOTSHOT

Country USA

Style Hard Rock

In 1983, Mike Pont started on a journey that for the ten years to follow would take him thru highs, lows, women, booze, and drugs. Partying was part of the job, and Mike worked with some of the best.The party started in the summer of ‘83 when Mike joined friends Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger), Steve West (Danger Danger), Joey Sykes (Coward), and Bobby Guy (Soul Solution – Grammy nominated remixer), to form the New Wave cover band Hotshot.

For the next two years Hotshot performed 5 nights a week in nightclubs and colleges throughout the tri-state area. Their sets consisted of hits by Duran Duran, U2, Billy Idol, The Romantics, etc., and a few originals (“I Can’t Wait”). The band’s roadie/lightman at the time was a then unknown Kelly Nickels (L.A. Guns). It was during this period that Mike and Kelly made their first, and fateful, trip to Los Angeles. The pair quickly found their way onto Sunset Boulevard’s seedy fast lane, diving head first into endless one-night stands, and private parties at Larry Flynt’s Hustler mansion. The trip left a big impression on Mike, to say the least.

In 1985, with his head caught up in the LA metal scene (Motley Crue, Ratt, etc.), Mike returned to New York and left Hotshot. He soon formed the short-lived heavy metal guitar band “Trouble” (“Shooting For The Thrills”). Trouble seemed the perfect name, as the band found itself a favorite of local motorcycle gangs, in turn, surrounded by liquor, drugs, bar-room brawls and plenty of strip clubs.

1986 brought “The Mike Pont Band” (“Feels Like The First Time”, “Hold On”, ”Love Makes You Blind”,”I Can’t Turn Back”,”Heartache Of Love”,” Wildside”). The band featured guitarist Tony “Rey” Bruno (Saraya, Danger Danger, Enrique Iglesias), drummer Chuck Bonafonte (Saraya) and keyboardists Al Greenwood (Foreigner) and Gary Bivona (Marcello). The group performed numerous showcases at clubs throughout Manhattan (China Club, Nirvana)

In 1987, Mike rejoined former Hotshot band mates Bruno and Steve, along with guitarist Al Pitrelli and keyboardist Kasey Smith, in the newly formed Danger Danger. After performing only a handfull of shows, Mike and the band parted ways. … it was time for change.

In Late ‘87, Mike loaded up his car and headed out on a 5-day drive to Hollywood, CA, moving in with good friend Kelly Nickels, who was now a member of L.A. Guns. He soon joined guitarist, and good friend of Guns’ lead singer Phil Lewis, Gary Shaw, to form “The Gangsters Of Love”. The Gangsters performed songs by both The Mike Pont Band, and Shaw penned tunes, on numerous dates opening for L.A. Guns in Los Angeles and Arizona.

In 1988, a phone call from Al Pitrelli, who had just left Danger Danger, prompted Mike to move back east. Al and Mike recruited bassist Teddy “TC” Cook and drummer Kurt “Krucken” Fairchild, and using Mike’s former band name, re-formed Hotshot. For the next year or so, Hotshot recorded the songs “Love Don’t Come Easy,” “Sweet Little Lucy”, “Bring on the night”, and “Love by the numbers”, and performed throughout NYC at clubs such as, L’amour, The Cat Club, The Limelight, etc.

Just as Hotshot was attracting major label interest, along with tons of press (Metal Edge, Rip, Rock Scene, etc.), Al received a call from Alice Cooper, who was looking for a new lead guitarist. Before Al had even decided what he would do, Teddy got a call from Ronnie James Dio, who was in need of a bassist. Things were starting to fall apart for Mike. In early 1990, with Al and TC gone, Mike quickly enlisted Spike Francis to fill the guitar slot, and Timmy Starace to play bass. Hotshot didn’t miss a beat.

They continued to record (“Always In My Heart”, “In The Groove”) and perform in NY. It was also at this time the band made it’s first trip LA, performing 5 shows in 6 days at some of Hollywood’s most famous clubs (The Roxy, Coconut Teaser, English Acid, etc). Later that year Mike received a call from Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx (“Intro”). Nikki had received a Hotshot demo from mutual friend and Crue road manager, Mike Amato. He was interested in producing the band with his partner, Crue drummer, Tommy Lee.

Once again, Hotshot was off to LA, this time to do a private showcase for Nikki and Tommy, as well as perform at Hollywood hotspots, Spice and FM Station. In an interview with KNAC that week, Tommy spoke of his intentions to produce Hotshot. The buzz was out. Spice was packed! Hotshot rocked!! Nikki and Tommy loved the band and in the days following, Nikki talked with Mike about management, lawyers, etc. Hotshot was finally on their way? Or were they? As always… shit happens. This time, it was trouble in the Motley Crue camp. In the weeks to follow, Nikki and the Crue made the decision to kick Vince Neil, Motley’s lead singer, out of the band. This left Nikki and Tommy with problems of their own… and Hotshot, out in the cold.

Unfortunately, this was a blow from which Hotshot would never recover. After fourteen years and much urging from friends and fellow musicians, Mike has put together this collection of his favorite Hotshot and Mike Pont Band songs. Thus leaving us all wanting more, and wondering, what might have been?

– The Bomb [2005]

 

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