It's been over a decade since I stumbled across an e-mail from Kenny Wilkerson, longtime bassist for 80s hair band Nova Rex, a band that formed in Canada but became a dominant player here in the U.S. and especially in my own hometown of Indianapolis where it was as if the band became adopted hometowners.
At the time, Wilkerson was promoting Nova Rex: Ain't Easy Being Cheesy!, a delightfully cheesey low-budget doc capturing the band's history and resurgence in what amounted to being a sort of millenial mini-wave of metal that saw the band grab the spotlight once again much to the delight of anyone who knew them or knew of them.
Wilkerson and I have stayed in touch over the past decade, occasional e-mails and updates serving to remind one another that despite getting a few years older we're both still going strong.
So, you can imagine my delight when yet another e-mail crossed my desk again announcing a follow-up to that original doc giving us more history, more antics, more cheese, and more of just about everything that made us and makes us love the band Nova Rex. Nova Rex: Ain't Easy Staying Cheesy! debuts with new real-life exploits of Nova Rex as they continue rock-n-roll life in this more transparent, funnier, and I'd dare say more ambitious documentary that recalls the hair band riffing through the 1980s hair band scene before crashing into that Nirvana-fueled wall of early '90s grunge along with the ups and downs and constant mayhm of being in an 80s hair band in the 21st century.
Welcome back, Nova Rex.
Wilkerson, who is also the author of "Rockin' Recipes for Autism" featuring recipes from such familiar artists as Quiet Riot, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Whitesnake, Skid Row, Poison, and others, is delightfully back in the cinematic saddle alongside bandmates John Bisaha (formerly of The Babys), Jp Cervoni, and Adrian Adonis along with others throughout the band's chaotic yet classic history.
For 38 years, Nova Rex has been a fan favorite. Named by VH-1 as one of the "Top 50 Greates Hair Bands of the 1980's," Nova Rex is out with a new song, "Time Is Up For You," a tune featured in Ain't Easy Staying Cheesy! and a song that features all the pizzazz and attitude and cheese that we've come to know and love from Nova Rex.
This time around, Tara Yeager is in the director's chair and Yeager infuses Ain't Easy Staying Cheesy! with not only the fun and frolic of Dean Robinson's first film but also an obvious affection for this glorious band and their rock n' roll life. While the band's connection to Indy was featured in Ain't Easy Being Cheesy!, it seems to feature much more dominantly in this follow-up and lifelong Indy folks, myself included, are bound to recognize several of the places and people featured in the film.
There's so much to love about Ain't Easy Staying Cheesy!, yet another low-budget journey through hair metal history with equal parts hair, heart, and an abundance of talent.
Nova Rex: Ain't Easy Staying Cheesy! is a warm hair metal hug of a film.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic