Nova Rex at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 7/1/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

Around this same time last year, local rockers Nova Rex brought the thunder to the Amway Center for pre-game and halftime sets during an Orlando Predators home game. This past Friday, July 1, the band rocked the house again, this time with The Babys singer John Bisha behind the mic.

I’ve caught the band live several times over the years, but this was my first time seeing them with Bisha on vocals. The band – which is still rounded out by founder/bassist Kenny Wilkerson, Britny Fox guitarist Greg Polcari, and drummer Shawn Lowery – seemed as rejuvenated as ever on this particular night.

As usual, Rewind It Magazine arrived fashionably late thanks to I4 traffic and rain hit along the way. So by the time we did make it, the band was already well into their pre-game set with the hard-hitting “Break Away.” Shortly after the guys launched into the ’80s-esque power ballad “Alone Tonight,” one of my personal favorites of theirs that I don’t recall ever hearing them perform live any of the prior times I saw them. They rounded out their first set with the anthem “Turn it up Loud” before turning things over to the Orlando Predators to host the Jacksonville Sharks in their final home game of the season.

Rewind It photographer Brooke Striewski with the Prowlers dancers prior to the Orlando Predators/Jacksonville Sharks game on 7/1/22.

Things did not look too bad for the Preds as they went into halftime down by just two points 21-19, and Nova Rex took over the stage once again. This time they brought the big guns, launching into “Bring the House Down Tonight” and new track “Time Is Up For You,” complete with plenty of bangs and pyro explosions finish the night.

The Predators did not fare as well however, ultimately losing to the Sharks 37-34. But the action was far from over, as former F.L.Y. (Fast Life Yungstaz) singer Vee Fly, who now goes by 4MULA9, ended the night with some hip hop, including his most well known hit, “Swag Surfin’.” It was a fitting end to an already eventful night, one that will surely be remembered for a long time to come.

Vee Fly (a.k.a. 4MULA9) performing after the game on Friday night.

Interview with Nova Rex Vocalist John Bisaha and Bassist Kenny Wilkerson By Jesse Striewski

Local rockers Nova Rex are far from strangers to Rewind It Magazine; not only have we photographed a concert or two of theirs over the years, I’ve interviewed bassist and founder Kenny Wilkerson (who has become as much of a personal acquaintance as he has been a supporter/feature of our little publication) more than any other musician I can recall at this point.

Now, Kenny and the guys are back, kicking off 2022 with the recent announcement that John Bisaha, longtime frontman for British rock act The Babys, who also briefly sang with Nova Rex back in 2012, has replaced (now former) lead singer Adrian Adonis. Once again, Kenny and I – along with said newcomer Bisaha – recently caught up to discuss all things Nova Rex.

One of the first things I wanted to know was what exactly was the catalyst that finally brought Bisha and Nova Rex together again. John explained; “Kenny finally nailed what I want in my rider for shows – Good & Plenty candy! It’s my favorite, and he said he will keep me stocked! (Laughs). Seriously though – we are all looking to get out there and jam. This pandemic has kicked the crap out of everyone. Life is short. Gigs are fun. Let’s jam!”

I was also curious what the first order of business will be for Nova Rex now with John at the forefront, and Kenny stated; “Buying more eyeliner/tighter pants and recording new music.” Of course I also wanted to know how splitting with (said former frontman) Adonis went, and if he and the band were on good terms or not now. Kenny informed me; “It went as good as it could go, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Another thing I wondered was how well acquainted John was with the other two current members of Nova Rex, guitarist Greg Polcari (formerly of Britny Fox) and Shawn Lowery, prior to joining the band. He stated; “Greg and I had some communication last year with a couple of tunes – get the feel for some tracks. Now Shawn – is a different story – we go WAAAAAAY back. To last week…” (Laughs).

I also wanted to know from John how being a member of Nova Rex compares so far to fronting The Babys. He noted; “You’ll have to ask me after the first gig! It’s been a while since performing Nova Rex tunes; I did two shows many moons ago – and the only constant member is that bass player guy. Fronting Nova Rex is a way different gig than The Babys – a little more out of control, a LOT more cheese!”

And lastly, I asked if the upcoming Bike Week shows the band have set beginning Mar. 5th at The Legendary Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, will be the first to officially feature John on stage with them again. Kenny stated; “Yes, it’s a perfect place to showcase him at a hometown show and we are adding new songs, new dates, new look, and more mayhem as we speak!”

John Bisha (left) and Kenny Wilkerson on stage with Nova Rex in 2012.

Interview with Nova Rex Bassist Kenny Wilkerson (Part 2) By Jesse Striewski

Kenny 2 - Edited

Kenny Wilkerson truly needs no introduction around here, and “Bassist for Nova Rex” just barely scratches the surface of the many hats he wears. Aside from keeping the flames of his central FL-based outfit Nova Rex lit since the mid-’80s, he’s also the co-host on a nightly radio talk show (Real Talk with G-Love, weekdays from 7-8pm est on Florida Man Radio 660 AM/105.5 FM), and his cookbook, Rockin’ Recipes For Autism, has finally seen the light of day after much love and labor. He even has a new track out for a project he did with John Bisaha, lead singer of the band The Babys. I was recently able to catch up with Kenny (who I first met back in 2016 after being assigned to write about Nova Rex for the magazine I was working for at the time),  who was as enthusiastic as ever to tell me about all of the events he has going on at the moment.

The first thing I wanted know was how he was feeling about his cookbook to finally seeing the light of day, which he tells me; “I’m very excited! This has been a large, hard, and expensive process, but definitely worth it to bring Rockin Recipes… to the table, and one of the coolest things I have ever done.” The cookbook has already caused quite a stir since its release, having been featured on rachaelraymag.com, among others.

I also asked how his latest project, Wilkerson/Bisaha, in which Kenny covered the Donnie Iris song “Ah Leah” with The Babys frontman John Bisaha, came about. Kenny says; “It was a song we had on the table for awhile for Nova Rex that just didn’t happen, but it was exciting enough that my good friend John (Bisaha) sang it, and I decided to put a video around it with some of the guys in the cookbook as another promotion tool for it. John was the perfect guy to sing it, plus I was excited to have Barry Rubinow direct it.”

Of course I had to inquire how Nova Rex were adjusting to these strange days where live shows and events are nowhere to be found. Kenny tells me; “Just like all of the other musicians around, we have lost a lot of live shows, but we’re using the downtime to rework our stage show with new things from Sawbladehead Designs, as well as a new single we’re working on.”

He concludes; “These are crazy times, but make sure to support local musicians by buying t-shirts, merch…anything you can while we’re all stuck at home.” In the meantime, don’t forget to listen to Kenny weeknights on his previously-mentioned radio show, and definitely be sure to pick up your copy of Kenny’s brand new book at http://www.rockinrecipesforautism.com (which Rewind It Magazine will surely review as well!).

Interview with Nova Rex Bassist Kenny Wilkerson By Jesse Striewski

Kenny Nova Rex

Since 1985, Kenny Wilkerson has been keeping the flames lit for Florida-based hard rockers Nova Rex. And for the first time since 1992, original vocalist Kevin Tetz will be joining the band onstage later this month, right here in good old Daytona Beach at the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday, Sept. 28.

I recently spoke with Wilkerson about all of the current endeavors he has going on both in, and out of Nova Rex. Regarding Tetzs’ return, he says, “I just told him, why don’t you just come on down, split the time with (current Nova Rex singer) Adrian [Adonis], and see how it goes?! And sure enough, he was cool with it.” Current Nova Rex guitarist Greg Polcari, and newcomer Shawn “Sawbladehead” Lowery (drums) will be on board for the party as well.

Many of you may actually recognize Tetz from his work on such shows as Spike TV’s Trucks. And while it’s doubtful he will be sporting the same spandex pants he did for the band’s 1987 video “Turn It Up Loud,” you can be sure to hear such songs as that, as well as many other well-known numbers from the band’s early catalog like “Bring the House Down” and “Think of Me.”

Fellow ‘80s rockers Pretty Boy Floyd – perhaps best remembered for their hits “I Wanna Be With You” and “Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)” (both off their 1989 debut Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz) – will be kicking off the sure to be wild evening.

Directly following the Hard Rock Hotel show, Nova Rex will be playing the 6th Annual ‘80s in the Park show the following day at the Space Coast Harley-Davidson in Palm Bay. The band will go on at approximately 5pm on Sat., the 29th, and as Kenny explains, “It’s sure to be a long weekend for us!”

As if that wasn’t enough, Wilkerson also wrote a soon-to-be-released cookbook. He explains; “It’s called Rockin’ Recipes for Autism, Vol. 1, and I have over seventy rockers lending their own recipes for it, including Rikki Rockett from Poison, and Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot (just to name a few). I’ve been working on it for about 3 years off and on, and the money from the book is going to go to a charity called We Rock For Autism. I’m sure as soon as the book comes out I’ll end up somewhere on the Food Channel (Laughs)!”

Be sure to catch Kenny and the guys from Nova Rex at one (or both) of the previously mentioned shows, as well as check out his upcoming cookbook…all of which are sure to have you banging your head, one way or another!

Nova Rex Flyer