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Cherry Bombs Founder Alicia Dove Interview

8 February 2019 No Comment

Aliicia Dove CoverThe Cherry Bombs are making huge waves in the rock and metal scene with their intense and dynamic performances on tours with Stone Sour, Steel Panther, Buckcherry and events like Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager At Sea. Here is Cherry Bombs founder Alicia Dove on cheerleading for the NFL, bringing danger back to rocknroll and what makes the Cherry Bombs tick.

We here at HMM are huge football fans. What is it like actually being on the field of a packed stadium and performing? What is the fondest memory of that time and what was your most important lesson?  And currently what’s your favorite team?

Being a football fan myself, there is very little that compares to the rush you get when you set foot on the field in front of 80,000 screaming fans. My love for performing, coupled with my fanaticism for the sport itself, made cheerleading a dream job for me. My fondest memory from that time was the charity events I had the opportunity to be a part of, along with traveling around the world to perform for troops who were serving our country overseas. Getting to know them, hear their stories, and hopefully bring some sort of piece of home to them was extremely fulfilling. Being a cheerleader for an NFL organization demands that you are self-sufficient. While I have always regarded myself as such, I really noticed it when I realized no one at that level is there to hold your hand through things. This instilled in me the importance of figuring things out for yourself, so that you don’t have to rely on anyone – something that would absolutely come in handy later! Being from Seattle originally, the Seahawks are my hometown team, but obviously the Atlanta Falcons will always hold a special place in my heart, so I root for both. When they play each other, it’s weird, but I kind of feel like I win no matter what!

When did the idea for Cherry Bombs first spark? From there how did you go about assembling the Cherry Bombs crew?

The idea for Cherry Bombs came to me when I knew it was time to leave the NFL, but I didn’t want to stop performing. I have always been super passionate about rock and metal music, and I wanted to create a group that reflected that – strictly rock or metal and the genres within, but no bullshit. Luckily, I had fellow cheerleaders that retired at the same time I did, who trusted in this idea, and came together to perform with this new dream of mine. Our very first gig was at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally where we shot the reality TV show “Full Throttle Saloon” on TruTV – it was bananas. Sorry to say, my wonderful cheerleader friends weren’t into it, AT ALL. I thanked them for their time (we laugh about it today) and decided I needed to find professional dancers who were more familiar with the grind and hustle of the industry. So I held a formal audition to find new members, which worked. Some of those ladies are still with me today.

How do you describe Cherry Bombs and your performance to someone who has never heard of such a thing? And how do you want Cherry Bombs to be perceived?

The best way I can describe Cherry Bombs to someone who has never heard of us is – “take a little bit of the Pussycat Dolls, mix it with a little bit of Cirque du Soleil, and throw in a ton of rocknroll.” It’s sexy, yes, but talent has always been at the forefront. I want us to be a force of strong women who are fearless, not just on stage, but in life. These are women who can hang from almost 30 feet in the air effortlessly, laugh in the face of danger, and be the example of what it means to be a member of a “Girl Gang,” which has kind of become our philosophical belief system – to fiercely encourage others in the pursuit of their own happiness, and to do no harm, but take no shit.

What does it take for someone to be a Cherry Bomb?

When looking at potential members, I obviously go for skill. We are all performers with a foundation in dance, because dance is what makes up the majority of our show. From there, I see what other acts they have mastered or can offer the company. I also interview each prospect to see if they have the personality to fit within our crew, and if they have a passion for rock and/or metal music.

You’re a strong woman in the male dominated rock n roll business. What are some of the hurdles and prejudices you face in your work?

How many pages does this interview get??? Kidding. Kinda. Being a woman in a male-dominated environment is tricky, depending on what kind of person I’m dealing with. I would say about 50% of the time I get what I like to call, “Little Missy’d,” which basically just means that I’m told “no,” in regards to the skills we are experts in because they would “know better” than I, or we are regarded as “just a bunch of half-naked girls shaking their ass”, so then I’m not taken seriously – another issue in itself. It is not uncommon for me to advance a show where I request rigging points for our aerialists, to be told there is no such thing/not happening/it’s not “safe” – no if’s, and’s, or butt’s about it – only to show up to said venue and find a perfectly good rigging point that has the ratings required for our aerialists, no problem. We also get treated much differently than bands – on one recent gig the stage manager asked if we would perform with a couch and chairs on the stage because they “had to get to the next act quickly” and they were “running late”. When asked if they would ask any other band on the bill to do the same, they responded with a, “well, no.” And there you have it – we are on the bill just like every other act and we deserve the same amount of respect: Move the goddamn furniture. However, the flipside to this is a situation will happen where the Regional Production Manager for a very well-known national production company will show up to see what all the fuss is about, check our rigging, and then congratulate us on having such knowledge. When you’re in a position where people are rooting for you to fail, you have to be more than prepared, educated, and informed so that you can effectively do your job and do it damn well, leaving them in the dust, feeling stupid, and hopefully, thinking twice before they judge someone they deem “less than” because they’re a female or because of what they wear.

Cherry Bombs have performed with some of the biggest names in rock and metal. What are a few of your favorite memories? Any real clunker moments that you laugh about now?

My favorite memories are definitely on the road. Waking up in a new city with the opportunity to give a new audience a show every night is such an amazing feeling. Seeing all your hard work come to fruition on a big stage is so rewarding, I feel like a proud mama as I watch the ladies perform their hearts out. All the stress, time, sweat, struggle… it’s all worth it for the time on stage.

I have had my share of embarrassing moments, but one that sticks out to me right now is the time my hair extension got pulled out on stage. I had to finish the show with this giant ball of bright red hair just… sitting there… in the middle of the stage for everyone to stare at. To add salt to the wound, after the show was over, I had to walk back out there and pick it up, kind of awkwardly wave to everyone as I left the stage with a giant hairball in my hands.

Cherry Bombs performances are very dynamic and obviously dangerous. What have been some of the worst bumps and injuries you and your crew have suffered? 

edit alicia1We take our training very seriously, so whenever you see a death-defying act on stage, you know it’s been rehearsed so many times that it becomes second nature to the performer. Of course, there is always a risk, but we have been VERY lucky that nothing serious has ever happened to us. The worst thing I can think of is when I sprained my ankle during a show during a dance routine. I landed from a jump in a way that my heel slipped and caused my ankle to roll out. It was at the beginning of the set, so I had to finish the entire show with that injury. I immediately knew something was very wrong, but I figured out a way to wiggle my foot so I knew it wasn’t broken, and figured I’d deal with it after the show. We are coming out with a docuseries soon, and in a weird coincidence, our film crew happened to catch this incident. It’s crazy to see how much my ankle swelled up – like a football!

What’s your process on creating the choreography? How often do you practice the routines with the whole CB team?

The choreography is definitely a group effort by many different people. This prevents the show from all looking the same, and gives other members a chance to contribute their talents in a different way. If one of my members has an idea for a piece, she brings it to me, we bounce song ideas back and forth, and agree on what that piece should look like. There are times when I’m very specific in what I want to create, and I let the song do the driving for the movement. I love to play with hard hitting beats and lots of texture in a song, so this is what I look for when choosing music. We rehearse as needed, so there can be weeks when we don’t see each other, but if we have a gig coming up, I’ll set rehearsal for the week before or the few days leading up so we can work out the details. I also send them videos of the choreography so they can refresh and learn at home.

What is your own personal workout routine like? What are some of your fave tunes to listen to during your workouts?

I love to lift weights – heavy weights, but I won’t shy away from a good run. I tend to listen to super aggressive music or something with a good beat when I work out. Lately I’ve been blasting Architects, The Prodigy, Refused, Gojira, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, and The Ramones.

We heard you’re working with our buddy Shawn Barusch and his company Music Gallery International. How did that all come about?  What is his management style like?

Up until this point, I acted as the agent, manager, tour manager, driver, merch person, producer… the list goes on and on. I certainly feel that I have taken this group as far as I personally can with what skills I have, but I can feel myself starting to burn out. My boyfriend, Corey, saw this and said, “you desperately need a manager, or someone to help you.” He was right. We went through a hellacious time trying to find the perfect person – someone that was a visionary who can see the potential this group has, and the experience to help take it to the next level. We needed someone who was fearless in taking on a project like this and travel into uncharted territory with us. After names being thrown out here and there, and a god awful experience where one guy stood us up on a gig we did (this situation is shown in our docuseries as well) as a showcase, Corey said, “wait a minute – I’ve got the perfect guy. His name is Shawn Barusch. Let’s see if he’s interested.” And that was that.

We are still fresh, but so far my impression of Shawn’s management style is that he’s no-frills, a straight-shooter, and encouraging. He listens to me, raises important questions, but the thing I have noticed the most is that he and I are almost always on the same page and thinking the same thing, which is a really good sign.

Your set includes aerials and fire what other types of activities are you thinking about adding and what enhancements will you make to your current act?

Aha! I can’t give away ALL my secrets before I produce them, can I? I’ll say this: I engineered our fire cube straight out of my brain. There has never been anything like it done before, and it’s a huge hit where we are able to use it. I got together with welders and other respected fire artists in the community and made sure what image I had in my head was realistic and obtainable. I’m going to continue to do the very same thing with new pieces in our show. I have these wild ideas that incorporate some of what we already do, and some entirely new elements. But again – it’s all in my head at this point. Soon I’ll be making sketches, showing them to experts in their respective fields, and seeing what we can/can’t do realistically. Thank God my girls trust me – they are so brave beyond measure. My first question is: “Okay, we got this idea… can you do it in heels?” and if they’re like, “Sure, yeah,” then I’m all, “Cool. Can we set it on fire/hang it in the air/make ___ shoot out of it?” at which point I’ll get a sigh and an eye roll, but shortly after – if it DOES work – will come a chuckle and a “let’s try!” I’m a very, very lucky woman to have a team of such fearless and devoted women who are willing to push against the grain and step out of their comfort zones.

What would your dream stage set up look like? And what would your dream tour be? And what is that one huge goal that drives you forward that you haven’t achieved yet?

My dream stage set up… wow… ugh I would KILL to have an entire venue all to myself, where I could change sets out, visuals, themes… we could make some shows immersive and others as pop up acts that would keep you guessing as to what was coming next and from what location in the venue… my ideas are endless. It would be like this Cherry Bombs RocknRoll Saloon with kickass bands and incredible acts done by the girls themselves that was ever-changing. Then, we would take this “Cherry Bombs experience” on the road with us – bring the Saloon to everyone across the world. Set each venue up to look like ours, give people the chance to experience the incredible atmosphere that could only be provided by the Cherry Bombs and their show. I also want to continue to tour with rock bands, because I feel what we give audiences is something so unique and special, it’s an incredibly fun way to enjoy music that’s completely unexpected. Everyone assumes we’re a band, and then they’re like, “Oh shit! It’s these women blowing things up and setting fire to everything!” I hope to tour with Avatar some day, because I really love what they do visually and I feel like it would be a great pairing. I’d also love Korn, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, and female-fronted acts like New Year’s Day, Butcher Babies, and Baby Metal.

My huge goal, if not the venue idea I mentioned earlier, would be to leave our own lasting mark on the rock music industry, to kind of trailblaze this new movement where rock and metal fans can look forward to an act like Cherry Bombs on tours and at their favorite venues because they KNOW they’re going to get a kickass show. I want to change the way people can experience concerts – to bring something different to the table. I know I’m not the first of my kind, but I want to be the first to break through the live music industry and be worldwide.

What can everyone expect from Cherry Bombs in 2019?

CT and friendsI am currently regrouping, creating new material for an entirely new show for 2019. Not to sound like every other person when they’re coming out with something new, but we truly are working on the biggest show we have ever done. I’m focusing on production, and changing up the style and flow of the show to something we have never done before – so I’m really excited to share this new concept with our fans and new audiences. New show, new wardrobe, new acts, new members. It’s going to be insane once it’s completed. Until then, we are doing a few gigs here and there, like the one on February 20that the Roxy with Corey Taylor and Friends.

We are in the process of putting together the final touches on our docuseries called, “Girl Gang”, which depicts how Cherry Bombs started, where it is today, and where we are going in the future. I’m really excited about this one because it will give viewers an inside look as to how we operate and all the ins and outs of what makes this group so special.

I am also holding auditions in Las Vegas in March to find new members. I’ll be on the hunt for dancers, aerialists, fire artists, pole artists, singers, musicians, contortionists, hoopers… basically if you have a skill that could be marketed in a crazy fucked up but totally intriguing and badass circus, then I want you. Ha!

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Cover Pic of Alicia Dove by Radiant Inc. www.RadiantInc.net

 

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