By Rock N Write
(SugarBuzz Las Vegas)

Band Shots by Dan Michael Krisher

SugarBuzz Magazine

NAMM…what did that equal for me this year? Well, it was new for me. Yes, my nouveau entrance into the music and madness convention (aka NAMM 2010) was like a virgin entering the mouth of the lion’s den to be sacrificed in order to please the gods…well, almost.

It was awesome seeing musicians that I have interviewed for SugarBuzz, networking, meeting friends of friends. But the corner of Katella and Harbor proved to be my diamond in the rough. We, the masses stood on that corner waiting for the light to switch over to “You can move now”, each of us exhausted for our own reasons. In her anticipation to “un-bore” the rest of us while we’re waiting for the goddamn light to finally switch over in our favor, my friend started making conversation with a guy that was wearing a black t-shirt with the very bold statement “FUCK CANCER”. My first thoughts? Wow, someone was thinking ahead and making exceptional use of the day…good for him! Then he proceeded to give my friend a cd of his band’s music. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe this is a good time to snag one from him too; a potential band review right there for SugarBuzz Magazine. He kindly introduced himself as Nick and graciously handed me his demo cd that ended up on heavy rotation in my car from the moment I inserted it into the cd player.

With all things novel that NAMM weekend, NEO GEO fit right into the theme of everything I was experiencing on those four days. Inventive, different, exciting…simply put, new. Sounds like Paramour, may remind you of No Doubt, with a touch of Evanescence and lots of edge and drive, NEO GEO is certainly energizing to listen to and without question as fresh as the meaning behind their name. I was completely impressed with the cd Nick calls a demo, produced by Eric Klein.. Minus the fact that it contains only four songs, it is mixed and engineered with such high quality. My speakers were blasting with full punch and pristine sound. I can only imagine what will become of their debut full-length album…and I wait in anticipation.

NEO GEO’s Nick and Rainy give SugarBuzz an exclusive glimpse into the life and times of Fullerton’s innovative four.

Rainy – Vocals
Andy – Bass
Ryan – Keys
Nick - Drums

What does Neo Geo mean?

Rainy: Neo Geo means New Earth. We wanted to create something new and special, something groundbreaking and different. All of us coming from different backgrounds, you can hear the influences in the music of the different genres that we come from. We also wanted to incorporate an electronic vibe, so we thought NEO GEO was very fitting in all aspects.

Where are you located?

Nick: We’re all in the Orange County area, but our studio and “homebase” is Fullerton.

Did the band come together organically or was there a formula to putting Neo Geo together?

Rainy: The band formed organically. I found Ryan, who was looking for a singer at the time, and I was looking for guitarist or keyboardist. I played him a song I had written on the piano, and it’s all history from there. We wrote songs for 6 months, and then started auditioning people to be in the band.

Give us a glimpse into the upcoming album.

Nick: Well it’s our first full-length album, and we were fortunate enough to work with such an amazing well-known producer, Cameron Webb. He’s worked with everyone from KELLY CLARKSON to MOTORHEAD, not to mention everyone in between. He is amazing!

Rainy: I think he was the perfect producer for us, and our first album. Its great to have someone with the experience that he does and also have a producer work with you to find your true sound as opposed to just telling you what to play. There’s a lot of freedom in this record that we’re really lucky to have.

Have you titled the album?

Rainy: We haven’t decided as of yet, what we want to name the album. We’ve been busy with the recording process, there’s nothing that’s been decided upon yet.

When do plan to complete the album?

Nick: We hope to have a finished product within a few months.

Who manages you?

Nick: We are managed by Ken Seaton of “HARDLINE ENT.” and Fletcher Dragge of PENNYWISE.

Are you on a label?

Nick: At the moment we have label interests. But we are taking our time to make sure we find the right home for NEO GEO.

You opened for DEAD BY SUNRISE at the Roxy. What was that like for you? What was the highlight of that evening?

Rainy: Yes we did. That was very exciting for us. We had never played at the Roxy, and opening up for DEAD BY SUNRISE for the first time you play there, was a dream come true. When the curtain opened and there was all this excitement in the audience, there was no other place I would have rather been in the world than there in that moment. The highlight was seeing people’s reactions and how much they enjoyed us. Our demos were all gone and we had to turn people away. To all those people, next time we’ll bring more.

Any future shows with Dead By Sunrise?

Rainy: As of now no, but who knows what the future will bring.

You're slated to play at Vans 2010 Warped Tour. How did that come about?

Nick: Through our management team, Ken Seaton and Fletcher Dragge.

Who's playing this year?

Rainy: ALL AMERICAN REJECTS, SUM 41 and CHASE LONG BEACH (who’s also on Hardline Ent.) to name a few.

Nick: There are so many bands playing this year that it would take up this whole interview. But you can get the 411 on WARPEDTOUR.COM

Any particular band you're looking forward to seeing perform on that tour as well?

Nick: Well for me there are so many bands I’m buddies with. So, I can’t wait to see a lot of my tour friends. But there are a lot of new bands on the tour that I’m not familiar with. So, I would have to say the new up and coming artists.

Rainy: I agree. I’m excited to see the new artists and new music that’s coming out.

What else on the agenda in the coming months for you?

Nick: Well, our main goal is to put out an amazing product and go push it. Playing as many shows as we can.

What would you say sets you apart from other rising artists?

Rainy: I think our music speaks for itself. It’s very unique and different but people can still relate to it as well. I think a lot of people can recognize the passion when they hear our music and relate to what I’m writing about. Subjects that even I surprise myself I’m writing about.

What other bands have each of you been in?

Nick: That’s a good question. I grew up with all the AVENGED SEVENFOLD guys. So when I was younger, M. Shadows and I had a band called SUCCESSFUL FAILURE that I drummed for. Also that my uncle is Byron from PENNYWISE, I have been fortunate enough to fill in for STRUNG OUT and PENNYWISE a few shows. Not to mention kick it with all my idols.

Rainy: I’ve been in 2 other bands before this. I really learned who I was as an artist in those bands, and the experience of playing and writing all the time really taught me a lot. I wouldn’t be where I am today, without them.

Nick, it seems like you've been surrounded by music all your life. But also, you’re surrounded by people that have made their mark in the music business. Does that give NEO GEO any leverage?

Nick: I don’t know if leverage would be the right word for it, but a definite foot in the door as far as knowing the right people to make things happen.

Rainy, what challenges do you face being a female artist? What's your take on female artists in the rock scene?

Rainy: I think being in the music business itself is challenging. There’s always a lot of judgment and criticism to all musicians weather your male or female. There’s a lot of female artists I grew up listening to and yearning to be like. Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Debra Harry, Shirley Manson, Gwen Stefani. I think these strong female artists, made it that much more easy to be a women and respected in this business. I also think its very important to be able, to really deliver what you record, live. I think that’s is a huge advantage I have.

Which musicians/bands are all of you influenced by?

Nick: NEO GEO is kind of a melting pot when it comes to influences and styles. I think that’s what makes our sound so unique. I grew up on a lot of punk rock and hip hop. Which is so opposite from what our sound is.

Rainy: I started singing opera and musical theatre at the age of 6. I had a voice teacher at the age of 9, and started learning theory and sight singing. I was lucky to really have an amazing mom, who nurtured my talent. I did singing competitions and performed in musicals for a long time, till I grew older and really wanted to branch out and write my own things I would sing. I was very influenced by Tori Amos. I had a vast knowledge of music and loved listening to all different things, no matter what genre. I loved Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Rock: Debra Harry, Pat Benatar to Classical: Renee Flemming, Cecilia Bartoli. Hip Hop: Tupac and Biggie or Trip Hop: Sneaker Pimps and Portishead. All these artists have inspired me in different ways.

Nick, I have to comment on the t-shirt you were wearing when I met you during NAMM weekend stating "FUCK CANCER". If there is a statement for our day and age, I'd have to say that's the one. But I'd love to know why you wore that particular shirt on that particular day?

Nick: I’m really glad you brought that up. FUCK CANCER is a benefit foundation started by my good friend Brandon McGuiness who sadly lost his battle with cancer at the age of 26. I also lost my grandfather to cancer, so I have a passion for getting the message out. The FC CANCER FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization with proceeds going to cancer research and helping victims and their families deal with this on-going epidemic. You can get more information and represent by going to WWW.FCCANCERFOUNDATION.COM.

I think it’s noble to make a such a bold statement and to promote an organization for the greater good as you have. With that said, let’s end on the following note. Put your own spin on this age old Benjamin Franklin quote: Early to bed, early to rise...


Thank you Rainy and Nick for this interview. You can find all the info you need about Neo Geo at or the band website at

SugarBuzz Magazine