Nova Rex offers a free screening of documentaries


They made a name for themselves during the height of the “hair metal” era of 80s and 90s rock.

Although music has changed dramatically since the days of big hair and big guitars, for Whiteland native Kenny Wilkerson and the other members of Nova Rex, one thing has persevered – nerdy.

Now the band is back with a new documentary – “Nova Rex: Ain’t Easy Staying Cheesy”. The film recalls their story, from riffs in the late 1980s, before crashing into a wall of early 90s grunge. Viewers can also walk through the constant chaos of being in a headband in the 21st century .

Local residents have a chance to see the film for free when it premieres on the red carpet at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 30 at the Historic Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin. A meet and greet with the band will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Greek’s Pizzeria and Tapp Room, 18 E. Jefferson St., Franklin.

Wilkerson graduated from Whiteland Community High School in 1985. Music at this time left behind the new wave and post-punk sounds that dominated the start of the decade, giving way to something more fun and carefree – Wilkerson was hooked .

Nova Rex spent much of the mid-1980s and 1990s at the heart of the hair metal scene that spawned Mötley Crüe, LA Guns and Guns N’ Roses.

They had supporters in Florida and Los Angeles – two epicenters of the movement – ​​but became local celebrities after returning to Indianapolis.

Their second gig upon returning to Indiana was with Cheap Trick downtown, playing in front of 20,000 people. They played sold-out shows at their home base, the Vogue Theater in Broad Ripple, and drew tens of thousands to concerts across the city. They played at the old Indiana Fun Park and downtown Busch Stadium, but one of their favorite venues was Bentley’s Live.

With the resurgence of 80s and 90s pop culture, including the party sounds of hair metal, Nova Rex experienced a revival. They were featured in a documentary, “It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy,” which premiered on Netflix. The group was included in the “Top 50 Greatest Hair Bands of the 80s” program on VH-1.

Their memorabilia are in the collections of the Smithsonian, Hard Rock Cafes and the Johnson County Museum of History.

In recent years, Nova Rex has increased their touring schedule, playing gigs all over the country, including Indiana. “Ain’t Easy Staying Cheesy” picks up where the original documentary left off, showing the highs and lows of preserving the tradition of hair metal.

Complementary tickets are available at historicartcrafttheatre.org.

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