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Hell Is For Heroes' Justin Schlosberg talks The Neon Handshake, reunions and the future ahead of their Birmingham show

By Rebecca Stanley | Entertainment | Published:

Hell Is For Heroes head to Birmingham's O2 Academy tonight as part of their their eagerly-anticipated headline tour.

Hell Is For Heroes

The London quintet formed in 2000, releasing three full-length studio albums, touring across the world, and winning legions of fans in the process.

The band are excited to return to Birmingham, promising a loud and rocking show.

"Crowds in Birmingham can expect a raw, dirty, rock'n'roll show from us," said vocalist Justin Schlosberg.

"The people of Birmingham were always good to us, a tour is not a tour without them!"

The shows celebrate fifteen years since the release of their hit debut album, The Neon Handshake.

The record was released in 2003, and contained hit tracks such as Five Kids go, Night Vision, You Drove Me to It, and I Can Climb Mountains.

The Neon Handshake was received well by fans, and was voted the 58th best British rock album ever, by the readers of Kerrang! magazine.

Hell Is For Heroes - I Can Climb Mountains

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Justin puts the album's success down to its lyrical content, and the band's no-nonsense approach to it's creation.

"It was a big record in every sense, except maybe record sales, but we were never really ones for sticking fake records in frames up on the wall anyway," Justin told us.

"The songs were pure and honest, and we didn't compromise in making the album what we wanted it to be.

"I think that's maybe why people still care about it after all these years."

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Despite their love of the album, is there anything that the band would do differently, if they recorded it now? Maybe one thing.

"If we were to do one thing differently, maybe we wouldn't blow so much money on having a good time in LA," Justin said.

"Actually no, we'd probably still do that as well."

Following the release of their eponymous third studio album in 2007, Hell Is For Heroes announced their indefinite hiatus in 2008.

In 2012 the band surprised fans by exploding back onto the music scene, announcing that they were set to play three shows alongside Hundred Reasons and Cable.

But what was it that made the group return?

"Were we made an offer we couldn't refuse? Did we get tired of saying no? Were we having a mid-life crisis? Did we fancy some good times with old friends? Were we genuinely touched and surprised that people still cared about our music?

"The answer? It was all of the above," Justin said.

Hell Is For Heroes - Night Vision

Following these shows, Hell Is For Heroes played Download Festival in 2015, alongside such names as of Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Black Stone Cherry, Limp Bizkit, and Alice In Chains.

"Download was awesome," Justin said. "We opened with slow song and got bottled, but by the end of the set they were begging for more. that's what I call a good rock show!

"We're playing 2000 Trees in July with At the Drive In and some other bands we love, and we can't wait."

As well as being excited for their upcoming festival appearance this summer, the band are also excited to be joined on their headline tour by A and Vex Red.

A formed in 1993, and are famed for songs such as Nothing, Took It Away, Something's Going On and The Distance.

Shortly after releasing their fourth album, Teen Dance Ordinance in 2005, the band announced they would be going on hiatus.

They reunited for a one-off show in 2007, and have been touring sporadically every since, including an appearance at Download Festival alongside Hell Is For Heroes in 2015.

Aldershot quintet Vex Red released their first single in 14 years, Burn This Place, in 2016.

The track was their first release since their 2002 album Start with a Strong and Persistent Desire.

Hell Is For Heroes - Retreat

"We played Brixton Academy with A once and it was great," Justin told us.

"We're really excited to play with them again, and to play alongside Vex Red."

Its official: Hell Is For Heroes are back, and they're already planning for the future.

"We hope to do an arena tour in the next ten years!" Justin said.

"We've written a song or two, but there are no plans to record or release as yet. But, you never know.

Hell Is For Heroes, A and Vex Red head to Birmingham's O2 Academy 3 tonight.

For more information, click here

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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