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History of Hitman HoneyResearch Paper

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Hitman Honey

The author of this report will be doing a summary and assessment of the band that is known as Hitman Honey. The items and subjects that will be covered in this report includes their history, their style, their influences, their future plans and the personal comments from the author of this report that come from the same. The band has its own website and take on its career and current status. However, alternate and outside perspectives will also be consulted and summarized. While the band is certainly not a household name in all parts of the country, let alone the world, the band is doing quite well for itself overall and this is especially true in the San Diego music scene.

As described and summarized on the Hitman Honey website, the group is a retro rock and dance group. The decades that they pull music from include the 1950's, the 1970's and the 1980's, as noted on their own website. They are a band with a good following in the San Diego scene. They are highly revered and regarded in San Diego as at least one organization deemed them to be the best local band of 2016. The band has actually not been around as its own entity all that long. Indeed, they were formed in 2012 but they are quick to note that they are made up of a veritable list of all-stars from other bands in the area. Those all-stars are basically three in number. The lead vocalist and also one of the guitarists would be Meliesa McDonell. She started her career as a singer on the Hollywood Sunset Strip when she was still a teenager. She took some time off on a hiatus during the 1990's. She moved to San Diego and majored in Vocal Music in college. Her voice range is a rather wide range of over four octaves. After getting her college education done, she ventured out as a solo singer and guitarist. She authored a solo CD and quickly became an in-demand session singer and voice teacher. After joining Hitman Honey in 2012, she started to sing to some of the biggest rooms in San Diego. She uses her adept voice to emulate and copy the original artists whose songs she sings as a tribute with Hitman Honey (Hitman Honey).

The other main force in Hitman Honey is sort of the opposite to McDonell. While McDonell is the main vocalist and provides backup guitars, John Naylor does the opposite. He adds in backing vocals and is the primary guitarist for the group. He has played guitar since the age of eight and this has led him to a style that is self-described via the band's website as being aggressive and melodic. While he is not the primary vocalist in the band, he is no slouch in this regard as the band is collectively able to provide a three-tier harmony system while performing their music. John's project prior to Hitman Honey include work as a manager, band leader and guitarist for The Amanda Waggener Band, also in San Diego. In 2011, he was part of a music competition with the band. Over the one hundred acts involved in the show, his group placed second. This occurred at the Ultimate Music Challenge, which was held at the Viejas Casino in San Diego. The purse for that price was a cool $10,000. His stated and unapologetic goal as part of Hitman Honey is to have the audience, down to every person, to feel that the band was the best cover/tribute band that they had ever seen (Hitman Honey).

The drummer for the band is Mikey Pannone. He has toured across all of the United States as well as Europe over the course of his career. He grew up in Rhode Island but later relocated to San Diego and this is how he eventually became involved in Hitman Honey. He has recorded songs with Ryan Greene, who is a platinum and gold record winner. He has also done a lot of session drumming for bands and groups in both San Diego and Los Angeles. His drumming style is an expansive blend of jazz, funk, blues and pop music in addition to the normal rock music style (Hitman Honey). Another asset to the band is Ryan Brewer. Brewer pays bass guitar and also does backup vocals. All four people in the group have cover band history and are very much a combination of some of the best cover band assets seen in years prior to their formation in the music scene of San Diego and the surrounding area (SDR, 2016). Beyond being in the band, both McDonell and Naylor work together in a company that is called Xspanse (Temecula Rocks).

The events for the band in 2016 are not all that numerous. The did a show at the Casino Pauma in April. On July 4th of 2016, they did a show at the NBPL Freedom Festival. This was held at the Naval Base Point Loma. In November, the group will be doing a show at Nicky Rotten's. At the end of the year in December, they will be playing a wedding reception. A few of the sample tracks offered on the Hitman Honey website include Barracuda, Don't Stop Believing and Carry On Wayward Son. Those songs are by Heart, Journey and Kansas, respectively. They openly and gladly cater to weddings and events in particular. Their stated specialties are retro rock and dance music. However, they also are glad to include modern rock and pop music if requested (Hitman Honey).

Their past dates include a number of different locations throughout California. Indeed, they performed at the House of Blues in San Diego on two different occasions in 2013, once in February 2013 and the other in August 2013. After taking 2014 off for the most part, they performed at the Navajo Live venue in San Diego in August 2015. About a week after that show, they performed twice at the V Lounge in Alpine, California on back to back nights. They did a Pour House performance in Oceanside, California in September 2015. Later in September 2015, they performed at the Red Parrot Lounge at Casino Pauma in Pauma Valley, California. They followed up that show with another in the same venue in October, 2015 (Bands in Town).

As far as perceptions and opinions about the band, precisely this can be seen on the Gig Masters website. There are nineteen reviews on that website that relate to Hitman Honey and the prevailing rating is five stars. They hold a total of thirty verified bookings per that site and they are willing to travel up to 3,000 miles per the booking information given. Their fee is anywhere from five hundred to eight thousand dollars per event. They use a combination of their live sets and performances and a music DJ that keeps the flow of the show going between the live numbers done by the band. The band touts themselves to be a group that is operated by veterans and they assert that they will gladly give discounts for both active military members as well as veterans that are done with their service. The services that they are verified to have offered or actually performed include that of a cover band, a dance band, a variety band, a concert band, a wedding band, a disco band, an oldies band, a 70's band, an 80's band, a rock band, a classic rock band and a show band. The aforementioned wedding reception that was mentioned and shown on the Hitman Honey website is also present on the Gig Masters site (Gig Masters).

One heartwarming story relating to the band can be drawn from the prior-mentioned show that occurred at the Naval Base Point Loma in 2016. Just a few years before, the festival was cancelled due budget spats in Washington DC. However, the festival came back in a forceful way in 2016 and Hitman Honey was a part of that. One of the main people behind this resurgence was Captain Howard Warner. Indeed, he tweaked and changed a few things for the festival so as to make it more inviting for the people that attended the show. He enlisted the help of his own second-in-command, who so happens to be none other than John Naylor, the guitarist for Hitman Honey. The show was tailored for veterans, to state the obvious. For example, there was a VIP area near the stage that was cordoned off for Wounded Warriors and their families. In total about two to three dozen Wounded Warriors were present to take in the show. Despite the fact that the show costs about $90,000, the show went off well and was mostly funded by the MWR program that is in place with the United States Navy. There were rides for the kids, a fireworks show and the music show from Hitman Honey (Stone).

The influences and backstory of the members goes… [END OF PREVIEW]

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