Remember in 2009 when a Colorado man named Richard Heene reported that his six-year-old son had accidentally been carried off in his homemade air balloon, but it was deemed a hoax?
Well, the boy, Falcon Heene, is now nine and says he doesn't really remember the incident. Nowadays, life is all about the heavy metal band he (as the singer) has started with his brothers Ryo (12, drums) and Bradford (13, lead guitar). The Heene Boyz are billed as "the world's youngest metal band." They live in Spring Hill, Florida (near Tampa) and have been playing all over the state since their first gig at a cafe/hookah bar in May.
Our feature this week is all about the family and what they've been up to. Here's a transcript of our first telephone interview with them. (We ended up meeting them later in person.)
Note: They were together and on speakerphone, so it was hard to distinguish which of them was talking.
How do you guys like Florida?
Bradford: There's a bunch of forests, and animals, we like it.
Whose idea was it to start a band?
Bradford: My mom was playing guitar, I was like "Whoooooaaaa, I wanna play that. So I started learning stuff off YouTube. I got a mini Squier guitar, then an Ibanez [tells brother to shut up]. It has a lightning strike on it. It's cool.
What bands do you listen to?
Boys: Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses, Skid Row.
Falcon: When I came out of my mom's womb, I screamed like a falcon.
Dad: Let me explain -- The day before he was born, I had thought of the name Falcon, and instead of crying, he had this high-pitched scream when he came out.
Tell me about your songwriting process.
Falcon: We come up with something that happens in our life and start writing a song about it.
Ryo?: Like a video game; we have a song, "World of Warcraft."
Bradford: We have song, "Burnin' to Play." Some kids have to spend six hours in school. They wanna get out of there.
Falcon: Do you want to hear it? You might want to get out your pen and paper. [[Bursts into a rap that begins with "My brothers and me..."]]
So you guys are home schooled? How is that?
Falcon: Home school is faster. My mom gives us schoolwork. We do math, science, reading...
Do you like bands closer to your age? Like, what do you think of Justin Bieber?
Bradford: Who's Justin Bieber?
Seriously, you don;t know who Justin Bieber is?
Boys: [[dead serious]] No.
Have you ever heard of the Jonas Brothers?
Boys: [[blankly]] No, Uh-uh.
Who makes your videos?
Falcon?: My mom and dad help us. They do the video and we're always the actors. For "World of Warcraft," we used a green screen and we're like characters in the game.
Wow, you guys filmed it on a green screen?
Boys: We made it. It's in our house. Our dad made it out of --
Boys: Linoleum and green paint.
How did you start playing out?
Bradford: We started at this one coffee place, Euphoria Emporium. Then we played Pegasus Lounge Battle of the Bands, the Deland Music Festival, our backyard... We kept learning from our mom and dad, and YouTube. We took some lessons. When we make a song, we all go in our room. Falcon sings some lyrics, I mostly create the guitar parts, and Ryo creates the drums.
Who is the girl in all your videos?
Boys: This chick Michelle, she works at Euphoria Emporium.
Do you get stage fright?
Bradford: No!!! On stage, it's not scary at all! You hear the crowd cheering you, you feel the cool breeze blow, you feel the crowd's energy, you walk up there and play the first note and -- [imitates guitar riff] DDRRRRGGGGEEEEEEEHEHEHHH !! Chicks in the front jump up and down with their boobies jiggling. We shout, 'Are you ready to rock?" [[imitates drums]] ch-ch-dum-dum [[They launch into another rap-rock about "hangin' in the park"]
Do you get paid?
Bradford: We got paid once, at this place Gasoline Alley. Some guy passed around a beer mug as a tip jar. We made $30.
What's the biggest crowd you've played to?
Bradford: The Abbey in Daytona. Probably 50 to 100 people.
Falcon: [[launches into screamo]] Yaaay-eaaaaaaaaaaah.
So you guys stay up all night and play out late?
Ryo?: We stayed up until 3:00 one time. After playing, we stayed to dance and cheer on the other bands. And we sign autographs. Two girls asked us to sign their iPhones.
So what's next?
Ryo: We wanna play music for the rest of our lives.
Falcon: We wanna go to Sunfest.
Bradford: I want to play in a movie, play guitar, and do real estate, too.
Bradford: Yeah, fix up houses and sell them. My dad teaches us how to do drywall, electrical work, tiling, plumb, roofing, concrete.
Wow. And you have another album coming out?
Bradford: Our next album is called American Chili -- It's Metallica, plus Heart with a little bit of Guns N Roses and Iron Maiden.
Why is it called American Chili?
Bradford: My dad wrote a movie script, and that was the name of the movie. It's gonna be a theme album and sound like Metallica. There's a desert like a 100-mile radius around Las Vegas, and in the middle there's one gas station, where you can get chili. In the movie, he drinks peyote water and hallucinates and a monster comes out of a hole.
I have to ask you about that incident from a few years ago, when the whole world thought Falcon flew away in a homemade hot air balloon.
Falcon: I don't remember it.
Ryo: That was along time ago.
Bradford: That was when we were little kids.
Falcon: We went on Wife Swap.
The Heene Boyz's next scheduled concert is at a Holiday Matsuri Convention at an Embassy Suites in Kissimmee in December. http://www.heeneboyz.com/events.cfm?calyear=2012&calmonth=12&caltype=full
Here are a few of their videos and their descriptions of the songs: NOTE -- They had improved a LOT by last week, when I saw them in person.
"Burnin' to Play": "All boys like to play, but not as much as us. We don't want to work for "the Man". We would rather earn money playin' our instruments."
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"Latte Vampiress": This song is about an annoying girl who used to get us in trouble. We think it's because she drank too much coffee. We tried to avoid her, and even ran from her; however, she kept following us for hours on end. She threw rocks at us because we would not play with her. She totally sucked our time dry. She is Latte Vampiress.
There's more on their website, heeneboyz.com. http://www.heeneboyz.com/home.cfm