A band of USF students models its sound after rock icons

By Amelio Nazarko, Staff Writer
On February 24, 2019

The band, Sick Hot, were put together by their eventual manager and are influenced by the sounds of groups like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. PHOTO COURTESY OF SICK HOT

Sick Hot, a rock trio from Tampa that has boasted a “70s classic rock vibe” across several major venues like the State Theatre and The Orpheum, is soon to release their debut extended play (EP) record titled, “House of Delight.”

Two of the members, Cory Bernardi and Chris Erickson, are working to balance being full-time USF students and full-time musicians.

After months of refining, the band is primed to showcase their first cohesive musical story at their album release party, hosted at The Crowbar in Tampa on March 1 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

With Bernardi on drums, Nik Wilson on the guitar/vocals and Erickson on Bass, the band says their style resembles the likes of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.

The band formed when Wilson was introduced to Bernardi by Jim Chambers, their manager, who used to give Bernardi drum lessons.

Erickson, who was a high school friend of Bernardi’s, joined the band later when the other members decided they needed a strong bass player.

“I put them in a room to form a band,” said Chambers, knowing they would function well together.

As for the band’s name, how does it mesh with their chosen rocker aesthetic?

Wilson says the name Sick Hot came from a conversation with Chambers who suggested they cover a song, saying it would be “sick hot” of them to do so.

Not before poking fun at Chambers, they decided to embrace the odd expression as the band’s name. It is a representation of the “why not?” attitude and effortless cool persona they admire as rock enthusiasts.

The three band members now feel lucky to have formed a group of like-minded individuals who not only share the same passion but the same affinity for intricate music and a robust sound.

“We bounce off each other with ideas,” said Bernardi about the band’s musical chemistry. “It works like magic.”

Bernardi and Wilson say the rock genre is experiencing a revival in recent years, and they pride themselves in being part of its recent reemergence.

But their existence as a band did not come without a set of struggles.

Not having connections is one of the biggest challenges they’ve faced, both Wilson and Bernardi said.

They worried they would be unable to find someone to record, master and produce the music, and they feared people may not come to their shows.

Now, with Chamber’s direction, the trio is ready to take strides toward a serious music career.

“Sick Hot has evolved into a [bona fide] rock band from the growth [of] these fine three gents,” said Chambers.

As the band’s potential grew, they had to rethink the goals they set for themselves in their infancy.

“Originally, we just wanted to play as many live shows as we could,” Bernardi said.

Since then, they have shifted their focus to include recording and releasing original material, though they still prioritize performing live.

Their excitement about playing for a crowd is enough to stifle any fear and remind them of how much they love getting to live out their passions, Bernardi said.

Next in their line of sight is releasing their debut EP. The band has solicited the help of producer Shawn Kyle, who Bernardi and Wilson said took their songs “to the next level.”

The band is proud to say they accomplished this without sacrificing other responsibilities, such as their course loads.

“It’s all in scheduling and time management,” said Bernardi.

The trio is excited to see where they land next. What they’ve accomplished thus far is impressive and their entire team is proud of how far the band has come.

“I knew we could make something ‘sick hot,’” said Chambers.

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