From Rockin’ Recipes to The Hard Rock: Interview with Kenny Wilkerson of Nova Rex
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
*Originally Published in Sin City Presents Magazine September 15th, 2018
Kenny Wilkerson and Nova Rex have so many amazing things in the works! The band is now connected with the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, where a Nova Rex jacket is on display indefinitely, and they will be performing there on September 28th. Kenny is also in the final stages of his Rockin’ Recipes for Autism book, which will be available for pre-order by the end of the month. It was great to have a chance to talk to Kenny and learn more about everything he has going on!
Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen: For anyone just learning about the band, can you give us a brief overview of the band’s history and what you’ve released to date?
Kenny Wilkerson: Sure, the band has been together since 1985. In the early days, we had a deal with MCA Records. We have released seven albums, the newest being “Rock Star Roadshow,” a documentary “Nova Rex: Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy” that has been seen on the DOC Channel and Netflix, and we were featured in another movie called “Hair I Go Again.” We are always on tour playing such events as Rocklahoma, Rockin the Rivers, and 80s in the Park.
Metal Babe: That’s quite an impressive resume! I was really happy to see the Nova Rex jacket on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, and now you’re playing there at the end of the month. How did this all come about?
Kenny: It’s a great honor to be on permanent display in my backyard at the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. Corporate took that jacket back in December of 2011 after our documentary was released and it is very exciting that it ended up there. Performing there was a just a natural progression of my display.
Metal Babe: That is exciting! You’re playing at the Hard Rock on Friday, Sept. 28 outside on the Avalon Terrace with Pretty Boy Floyd, and you are bringing back the ‘original voice of Nova Rex,’ Kevin Tetz as special guest performer after 25 years! How did you connect/reconnect to set up this reunion performance?
Kenny: Kevin contacted me after he saw that the jacket was on display and we were reminiscing about the good old days, when he fronted the band from 1985 to 1992. I was like “Hey man, you wanna come down to Daytona and jump on stage,?” and to my surprise, he said yes. Be careful what you ask for…(LAUGHS)
Metal Babe: Oh wow. That’s a great story! That’s going to be a really busy weekend for Nova Rex! You are heading to Palm Bay to play 80s In The Park right after your show at the Hard Rock with Kix, Firehouse, Ron Keel, and more. This is the 6th year of 80s In the Park. Have you played every year?
Kenny: No we missed the first year, but this will be our fifth year in a row. They are like family to us at this point and we are kind of a staple there.
Metal Babe: Definitely. I saw Nova Rex perform at the last 80s In the Park and the band is all about giving 110% in its live performance! What do you think the secret of a great live show is?
Kenny: We come from that old school of rock n’ roll. If we don’t break something or blow something up, we aren’t doing it right (LAUGHS).
Kenny: My son has a form of autism and I have a couple of musician buddies that we exchanged recipes with. I thought what a great idea to do a cookbook, something that hasn’t been done before, to raise awareness. I reached out to my rock n’ roll buddies and after a couple of years, I have over 70 recipes. You would be amazed how many of these guys are actually good cooks, but you will have to buy the cookbook to see.
Metal Babe: What has the process of putting together your first book been like?
Kenny: A lot of work. I’ve done albums, videos, and movies but I have never done a book. The process is completely different and very time-consuming, but probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
Metal Babe: That’s great. Tell me about some of the main contributors you have. I know you mentioned that you have recipes from some really big names, including members of Ozzy, Twisted Sister, Billy Idol, Poison, Warrant, and Quiet Riot! Did you personally contribute a recipe to the book? What is it?
Kenny: I just reached out to the rock n’ roll community and was very honored to receive these recipes. Again some of them are really good people, great cooks… And some have connections to autism. Of course I contributed. You will have to get the book to find out what it is. Hint: It’s not Jello shots.
Metal Babe: What final words would you like to say to your fans?
Kenny: Thank you for supporting Nova Rex and rock n’ roll. Buy a T-shirt, buy the book, and come see a show!
Metal Babe: Thank you so much for your time Kenny! It’s been a pleasure! I hope the shows are amazing, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of your book!
Kenny: Metal Babe, it’s always a pleasure. I love your swag and I wear it on stage a lot. Thanks for doing what you do. See ya on the road!
Metal Babe: You are welcome Kenny. Thank you for all your support!
Pre-order your copy of Rockin’ Recipes for Autism at https://www.rockinrecipesforautism.com/