Brian Ripple | Wednesday Nov. 1st, 2023
The hamlet of Billings was nicknamed the “Magic City” because of the rapid growth from its founding as a railroad town in March 1882. It’s the largest city in the state of Montana and the 282nd largest city in the United States, with a population estimated at 119,706 as of 2022.
Billings is also called the “City Beneath the Rimrocks.” The Rimrocks, also known as the “Rims,” are a 300- to 800-foot sandstone formation.
Billings is actually named for Frederick H. Billings, a former president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, who was said to be from Woodstock, Vermont. An earlier name for the area was Clark’s Fork Bottom.
With eight microbreweries in the metropolitan area, Billings has more breweries than any community in Montana. There is a chance that in one of those breweries you might come across The Hellroaring, a Billings band which has been a mainstay in the music scene there for approaching seven years. I recently had the opportunity to ask Nick Kozub from The Hellroaring a few questions about the band ahead of their first Filling Station show on December 1st, where they are co-headlining with Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown.
Brian Ripple: Hello Nick, how are you doing? So, when did The Hellroaring form?
Nick Kozub: Doing good, thanks. We formed back in 2017, played for a couple of years, and called it quits in 2020 for various reasons—like the pandemic, for instance. We decided to bring it back last year in 2022, and added a few new members.
BR: So it has been a little while. Can you tell us a little about your current lineup?
NK: The current lineup is myself, Nick Kozub on lead vocals, Erik Olson on keyboard and backing vocals, Parker Brown on lead guitar, Mike Leslie on bass guitar, and Pat Epley on drums.
Parker and Erik have been playing around Billings and the region for at least two decades, so they are staples in the scene there.
Mike Leslie is originally from Billings, but spent the last 30 years in New York City playing a varying array of gigs. He moved back during COVID and has been a huge part of the Billings scene recently.
Pat Epley has spent the last 10 years gigging around Austin, TX. Before that he was in bands around Billings, and spent time on the road touring.
Nick has been playing in various bands and doing solo gigs for the last ten years all around Montana.
BR: Cool. I’m guessing you have recorded some tunes by now. Is there someplace where people can listen to your music online?
NK: Yeah, we self-released an EP in July of this year. You can find it on all the streaming services, or come to the Filling Station on December 1st and buy a CD at our show!
BR: I highly recommend that people do that. I am looking forward to checking out your Filler debut. What do you think is the best part of playing live music with your band?
NK: The energy is the best. To be able to get a crowd to let loose, dance and forget about everything else.
BR: Who are a few of your favorite contemporary/modern artists?
NK: We all dig artists like Brent Cobb, Turnpike Troubadours, and Blackberry Smoke. Which is kind of a combination of all our different interests. We also love the Bakersfield sound and the country stuff that came out of Austin in the 70s. It’s a mixed bag of interests within the band, which makes it really fun to bring everyone’s different influences together.
BR: Great list of musicians. So, the show at the Filler with Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown on December 1st …can you tell us why you want people to come see this particular show?
NK: We’re really excited to share the night with Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown. We are good friends with Al Sandvold, their drummer, and over the years we’ve gotten to know Matt, as well. They’re a great band and a great group of guys. It’ll be a night to listen to some of the coolest variety of high energy rockin’ country music around!
BR: Yessir. So, after that is over, does The Hellroaring have any plans, or anything else you would like to share with our readers heading into 2024?
NK: We plan on continuing to write more songs. We are planning to record a full-length album, and will hopefully have enough content to get that done in early 2024! And, just get out there and support live music.
BR: Exactly. Go see a show. Thanks for talking to me today, Nick. I am looking forward to The Hellroaring’s Filling Station debut.
Tickets are on sale now (and moving fast) for The Hellroaring and Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown’s show at the Filling Station. You can purchase tickets by using your phone to scan the QR code to the right or by heading online to www.sellout.io and browsing the events for their show.