We met Foxie & Ronnie, a real tattooed rock‘n’roll couple playing dangerous music with The Hots. And they stole our hearts…
Australian born, The Hots, are a rock duo and real-life married couple, made up of singer Foxie Kelly and guitarist Ronnie Simmons.
The Hots released their debut single “Before You” last November; and this came out before their new EP “The Hots”, which was produced by Mark Orpitz (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo etc), a labour of love proving that hard rock is alive and well and here to stay.
Now they proudly return with their brand new video “Please Me” (see below) and we took the chance to speak to them both about ink, music, tattoo art, Yakuza and endless love.
Hey ho, let’s go!
Ronnie, how did tattoo art come into your life? You played with Australian legends Rose Tattoo so I guess that you were “the chosen one” for this kind of art…
Since I was a kid I wanted to get tattooed, I used to draw on my arms with permanent marker and use liquid paper to colour them. My mother is an artist and photographer so I pretty much learned to walk in art galleries. I was always surrounded by and made art myself, to me it’s a logical progression that I wanted to put it on my skin and take it everywhere I went for the rest of my life.
I’ve fought very hard standing up for tattoo art as a legitimate and respected art form, especially in the company of esteemed “artists” or teachers who haven’t agreed with me.
Foxie, were you already tattooed before meeting Ronnie or was it your love for him that led you into tattoo art territory?
I was tattooed long before I met Ronnie – both my parents are heavily tattooed and I have many fond memories as a child of watching them get tattooed all over the world from Ireland to New Zealand and even Tahiti. My mom took me to get my first tattoo at 16, we got matching Om Symbols. Tattoos have always been a big part of my life with a “family” element to them, which is why Ronnie and I have been able to connect with our love for body art. Although I am nowhere near as covered as I would like to be, I am slowly getting there.
My dad made me promise him I would be very thoughtful when it came to choosing my tattoos.
Ronnie, you have Blues Brothers portraits (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi) tattooed on both hands. Is the 1980 John Landis masterpiece your favourite movie ever?
Yes, great tattoo artist Karl Kaufmann did my Blues Brothers tattoos, they’re probably my favourite, if I had to pick, and they same goes for the film. I relate to their characters as the outsiders who just wanted to make music and perform for people, yet somehow were always surrounded by chaos. Their lives weren’t glamorous but they never gave up, they lived for the music and culture, had a great sense of humour, and always made it somehow work and look cool.
Foxie, could you tell me about the matching tattoo that Ronnie and you did to celebrate your strong relationship?
Ronnie and I both have each others initials tattooed on your ring fingers in place of a traditional wedding ring. We got the tattoos in “Kings Cross”, Sydney about a year before we were actually married – we were very certain from the beginning that we would be bound for life.
I hope to get many more tattoos together as we travel the world and cross more milestones in our relationship and career.
Ronnie, who are your favourite tattoo artists you’ve met so far?
I always come back to Mattoo and Karl Kaufmann, I’ve been all around the world many times and people can never believe how bright they’ve managed to get the color in the work they’ve done. We’re such good mates that getting tattooed by them has become a ritual we have where we talk about everything and anything – “King Street Tattoo” & “Broadway Tattoo” in Sydney. I will say that I was very proud when I got a photo with the Yakuza after a big night of drinking, smoking and singing AC/DC karaoke in Tokyo when I was on tour with Richie Ramone in 2016.
Is the full back Ramones tattooed logo a sort of a tribute for having joined Richie Ramone’s touring band?
The Ramones were my favourite band as a teen. I got that tattoo done in a friend’s living room back when I was 18. We drank a case of beer watching Ramones and Sex Pistols DVDs, outlined the whole thing, and coloured half of it – so punk rock and stupid! Then, years later, Mattoo fixed it up for me and brought it to life how it looks today.
Three 12-hour sessions in the front window at “Bondi Ink” whilst tourists stared at me and took photos.
Last question: would you like to play at some famous international tattoo conventions?
We would love to play international tattoo conventions, anything tattoo, muscle car or motorcycle related and we’ll be there. So if anyone reading this is interested in having or seeing us, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. In the meantime, stay tuned for when we let the cat out of the bag with our new video “Please Me”! (see below, ed.)
A more complete and comprehensive The Hots interview will be featured in a forthcoming Tattoo Life magazine issue. Check it out!