Rock Spotlight on Nikki Misery of New Years Day If you don’t know now you know. Being of fan of all things fashion, music, and awesome related, I could not think of anything or anyone better nor more appropriate to feature on this spotlight. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all types and delights, I present to you in all of his glory, Nikki Misery. Who you may ask? For those who are of the uninformed, I can only say one of the most badass, charismatic, and down to earth people I have ever had the pleasure of sharing company. Plus he puts on one of the most amazing stage performances while rocking out on his Schecter 7 string ATX. But first let’s start from the beginning shall we? It all began needing a lighter.
The only person in the room who looked as if they may have actually had one was a tall skinny dark haired kid wearing more make-up than anyone else in the room. I could not quite tell if it was eyeliner, a little bit of lipstick, or just the overall dead look that was so naturally done, but I wondered how he got through the interview process this decorated. We shared a cigarette and the next decade was pretty amazing being able to watch this destined to be future rocker blossom and shred stages. Although he would probably prefer that to be phrased whither, die and get hacked to pieces with a Jason Voorheese sized machete. Over the course of our cigarette break, Nikki and myself found common ground and interest in any and all music tastes, at which point I was not surprised to find out he played a multitude of instruments, and had invited me over to jam with him at some point. But before all that could happen it was tattoo day, so a pit stop was going to have to be made as some serious ink was about to be laid down.
Not knowing anybody in the Southern California area I headed over to the tattoo shop out in Orange where Mr. Misery was getting some swirly eyeball vortexes smack in the middle of his arms where I had always assumed a heroin addict would blast into a good sized vein at. I had to ask him straight up if that was where the dope goes, not wanting to go over to some junkies house with needles and stuff all over, but making light of it all. He looked at me crazy like what the hell are you thinking, and responded with “To hypnotize people with.” and he waved them in the air as if we were to fall under his tune like a piper was playing a flute. Looking back on that day of first meeting Nikki I see that they did indeed end up working, and that fortunetelling did come to bear fruit, as millions have fallen under his spell and have been mesmerized by his music and antics. And it was me who was wrong, for not wanting more swirly eyeball tattoo things all over my body, as they did exactly as intended.
Kicking Ass and Chewing Bubble Gum But All Out of Gum Small fish in a big pond? How about zombie fish eating the brains of the other fish? Trying to think of some appropriate metaphor, or is it a simile? I cannot recall 8th grade English at this point, but whatever kind of fish you want to call it, the pond was about to get a lot more glitter in it. Nikki Misery moved onto the world renowned Musicians Institute graduating fully with a degree after many years of working his ass off and holding down a job the entire time, paying expensive as hell rent in Hollywood, and still keeping in touch and making time for all of the people around him that were important. I am sure it was a big change, as dismantling the haunted house like ride we had built that could not be re constructed in the smaller confines of L.A. living. Lets not leave that just yet, it was not excitably a ride in the normal sense of the word, but then again what really is in Nikki’s magically macabre lifestyle. It was more of a boogie board that as ridden down a flight of stairs, usually while heavily intoxicated, as small miniature plastic animatronics came to life, lit up, and made Halloween sounds as you flew past on those three furious seconds. The stairway was lined with various pictures and scenes of graveyards, portraits of corpses, bats, spiders, and all haunted house themed fun. I think at even one point there were those fake cobwebs dangling down for you to toboggan through as you crashed into the couch pillows below. This was year round good summer time fun. It was sad to see it all go, but there were was much more fun and destruction to be had, and Nikki had to move on for the sake of his progression. The next time I caught up with him he treated me to a concert of The Nekormantix and Rob Zombie at the Palladium in Hollywood. He was finishing up his schooling and his playing was just in another league. More exciting though was a new interest in his music world by the name of Ashley Costello, whom he just met a local goth club and ended up trying out for this band called New Years Day.
The Kid’s Got Chops Hearing Nikki Misery play guitar for the first time was a pretty moving experience. Having a little background in the arts myself, I came quickly to appreciate the raw talent and sound he could produce. There was no structure there at first, it should not have made sense, but it just sounded so godamn good. Sitting in his room with vintage horror flicks playing in the background, there were no double octave scales or augmented sevenths.. Nikki’s approach at the time was not methodical and planned out. This was not a science project. It was jam after jam from the early morning and long into the night while the neighbors were all asleep. These were some very thin walls at which he would give his neighbors quite the experience. I do not think once he ever got a noise complaint, even though you could hear him going at it from your car pulling up. It was just raw natural talent.
He could play for 12 hours straight; and usually he did. I would often find him passed out exhausted from work and self taught practice, guitar still in hand, Bella Lugosi black and white movie humming in the background begging to be retired as well. Without any formal lessons or training, or ability to read music, Nikki would just play and play and play whatever he heard, as he heard it. It was fascinating at how quick he picked things up just from listening. Even on some rare occasions a blues session would spontaneously erupt, and it was a pleasure to listen to. You knew greatness was in the making. There was never going to be anything else. There could never be anything else. It was rock or die. It was glitter and guns from day one.
Even though he could play other instruments to varying degrees, the guitar was always the first love. He was not going to be complacent with bass, or sit behind a drum set. You could see the juggernaut inside and it was going to be unstoppable. Piecing together other musicians is never easy. The strong opinions, different directions, and lack of work ethic sometimes, but none of this ever seemed to pay Nikki any mind. You were either on board or not. He was going to cross the finish line even if it killed him. But he made for a fun and enjoyable ride for all. Appreciative is the word that I would use in his approach to all of those that took the time to embark on this journey with him. Either that or those swirly hypnotizing tattoo’s are working after all and we are indeed under his spell. -Joshua Deats The Indie Mag