Nessa's Night Out - from Magazine Pages to Televison
Vanesa Heart talks about her love of punk rock and what inspired her to write music articles and eventually move into hosting her own TV show.
When I first started writing articles for Varla Magazine I was only 19 years old. I was completely enthralled with the original punk rock bands from the 1970s. Musicians that at the time were trendsetters, musical pioneers and were so unique they paved the way for generations to come. Music with spirit, a attitude (bad or not) such as The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Ziggy Stardust, Blondie and Generation X.
It was my love for the history of punk rock that peaked my interest in modern bands which had an ability to captivate an ambience I can only imagine could have been felt with those original legends. It was during this time period when I came to Varla Magazine with a request… “I wanna write about music”.
I had been a Varla Girl since the day I turned 18 and the magazine had always felt like home to me. They nurtured my artistic endeavors whether it was writing or scouting for upcoming Varla models. So, when I came forward with an interest in writing, I was told to submit an article.
I was friends with a local musician named Fixx Fatale, and when I asked if I could interview him, he was happy to oblige. I submitted my article to Varla Magazine and to my utter amazement, not only did they like it… they offered me my own music column in the magazine called, “Nessa’s Night Out”.
My first article was about an amazing band which whom through the years I actually became good friends with - The Mansfields. Of course their name was a derivative of the famous 1950s starlet, Jayne Mansfield. Their musical style encompassed many aspects of the music I loved - all the way from elements of The Ramones, Billy Idol and the Stray Cats with a little Motley Crew in the mix.
Several months later, always on the hunt for a band to truly capture my attention with their phenomenal stage presence, I caught a Hemi Cuda show. Man, these chicks were like nothing else! Giant KISS style platform boots, vinyl mini-skirts and matching neon purple wigs! I knew it the moment I laid my eyes upon their shiny glittery selves that my next article would be born.
Anika and Karen treated me like the sweet innocent little sister they wanted to get drunk and turn bad. They took me under their wing, fed me shots, and showed me how to party like a "Rockstar". I have nothing but love for these gals!
It was soon after my second published article when I realized I would never be able to really explain (nor would I be able to adequately express) the complete and under shenanigans and drunken obnoxiousness that goes on behind the scenes at punk shows and when partying with bands.
So...I had heard that Mania TV was looking for a music video host (Video Jockey) and I went in for an audition… well, apparently no audition was needed. They had read my music articles and seen my impressive modeling resume and already decided that my audition would be a live on-air 4 hour hosting position on the spot.
I walked in and was like… “Uh…. What?”. Starry eyed and camera struck they threw me in front of the camera with no script and no explanation on how anything worked. I just talked and talked … probably about 90% out of my ass too. I was lucky cause the first half hour music show was all punk rock music videos. I discovered then that I was able to spout out random facts about bands I knew on the road. I remember saying something about how “Lars Frederickson and the Bastards” were currently touring, after they played a “Rancid” music video, then I mumbled something about visit their website for more information.
I think the execs at Mania TV had some sick fascination with watching me squirm. Honestly, by the end of the on-the-spot hosting and left all alone with nothing but the producer and the television controller, I just got frustrated. They had me hosting rap music videos and Brittany Spears. I remembered telling myself “Fuck it” and just behaving really obnoxious… mispronouncing rappers names, dancing around and slapping my ass saying, “You just watched some booty shaking, tit poppin’ music video by…” and of course mispronouncing the name like 6 times and then saying… “by whoever”. I mean, I had aimed to offend.
To my complete and utter shock, I received a call several days later from Mania TVs Vice President asking me to come in for a meeting. Completely unsure why, I was slightly worried that they had invited me down for any of the dozen offensive things I had said and acted out. Well, miracles do happen… and they told me that they absolutely loved me on TV.....and they offered me my own TV show!
At this point, the VP turns to me and says if you could have any show what would it be? Of course, being the little button pusher I can be at times, I thought to myself, I can be professional right now or I can name off the most ridiculous idea possible and see what happens. Of course I chose the latter and stated, that I would want a show where I could go around and drink shots, interview bands and get tattooed. They exclaimed, “We love it!”.
“What the fuck?”, I thought. “ I must be in an episode of the Twilight Zone”. After pinching myself and realizing, this really was happening, I got insanely excited and we began running over possible segments on my show. I wanted to do “Tattoo Stories”, where I would essentially bar hop and chat with various interesting punk rockers, greasers and folks of the underground music scene and sort of go into what inspired their tattoos.
Was their tattoo a drunken night gone array? Was it due to a broken heart? Was it due to a great joy or a great loss? The concept was a great one - sort of like Ray Bradbury's " The Illustrated Man".
My main show was actually based around music. What's better then to have a few drinks and interview bands? My first on-air interview was in the studio with Total Chaos. I've known them for years and they were always a fun group to hang out with. In true punk rock party fashion, when their tour van came through town I had them swing by my place and I jumped in and off we went on our way to the studio… bottle in hand.
Once we arrived at the studio they had a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 waiting for us and some beers. It was just enough to get us in a fun and rowdy mood and excited for the interview. On the TV set, we chatted about a variety of topics and to be honest, Rob Chaos threw me for a bit of a loop when I made some joke about the apocalypse and he began to go in-depth about politics.
The experience left me with a lot more insight to who Rob really was and what Total Chaos stood for. Honestly, I walked away with a lot more respect then I had previously since I've always known them as a bunch of my guy friends with whom I arm wrestle (poorly), drink with and cause general mischief.
Mania TV was a fun experience and given the chance I would love to do band interviews once more. Sadly, I never received a copy of any of my work from Mania TV… including my interview with KMFDM, consequently I only have my fond memories to look back upon. Luckily though I do have photos from my Varla Articles from “Nessa’s Night Out”and a few other random party photos for you all to enjoy.