THE INTERVIEW: Christy Hemme
Christy Hemme has been many things: a model, a Juggy Dancer on The Man Show, a Playboy Playmate, a wrestling Diva in the WWE and a Knockout in TNA and she even makes time to visit the troops in Afghanistan. Now you can add musician into the mix as her band Hemme recently dropped their first EP Where Are You and has a full length album coming out next year. I had the chance to sit down and talk to Christy about her recent wrestling neck injury, music, and more.
First off, how is your neck doing and how did the injury happen exactly?
Neck is feeling great. I haven’t wrestled since November and I just got back in the ring a few weeks ago and I don’t feel it at all. No numbness in the arms, nothing. It was just an accumulation over time. I was just running myself too hard. I honestly felt it and I was getting numbness in my arms four months before I actually got my MRI. They told me, no, you cannot wrestle right now, so I already knew what was going on.
Are you planning on returning to the ring after it heals?
Well I go get my second MRI this week and I go into TNA at the end of this month to start talking about things.
Of all the Diva’s and Knockouts in the WWE and TNA, who have you enjoyed working with the most and why?
Definitely Gail Kim and Tracie Brooks. The three of us toured a lot together and they really took me under their wings and they’re so knowledgeable of the business and just wrestling in general. They really helped me a lot and we formed a really great bond. There’s nothing like being in the ring with someone you have chemistry with.
Were you sad to see Gail Kim go back to the WWE?
Yes I was really sad but am really happy for her. I’m sad because selfishly I want her to be near me but she deserves everything. I would have to say that she is my number one female wrestler of all time.
What’s the biggest difference you’ve found between working in the WWE and TNA?
The biggest difference is the people you’re working around and the synergy between them. In WWE everyone is pretty much an independent contractor. Everybody is really working for that spot and the company really pushes people to be afraid of losing their spot and to push for that spot which means you have to stab people in the back along the way. In TNA there’s really no difference between office and crew and wrestlers. Everybody is synergistically working together for a common goal and that’s to make the company bigger and better. There’s not a huge turnover in TNA. A lot of people have been there since the beginning. It’s just a good company to work for.
If you could work with anyone in the wrestling industry next, who would it be and why?
I would like to face Awesome Kong again. My last match with her was my favorite match of my career and getting back in the ring and working with her again would be cool, even though it really hurts. I just liked it. There was that big man little man thing going on and it’s just cool. Like you can tell that the audience was so into it.
Let’s talk about music. When did you decide that you wanted to make an album and how did it turn into a reality?
Well, it wasn’t even something that I just decided one day. Almost five years ago I started waking up in the middle of the night having dreams about songs. Lyrics, melodies and everything and I just started writing it down every time I’d wake up or hum it into my answering machine and I was like what the hell is going on? I love to write and I love to write poetry, so it was coming out very poetically. When I was younger, being in front of people was a huge fear of mine. When I was in school, my doctor wrote me a note so I could be in the back of the class because I would get heavy panic attacks. I couldn’t handle people looking at me. It would freak me out and I don’t know what was so fearful but I couldn’t stand it, so instantly, the first thing I started attacking as I got into a career was being looked at because I had to get over this fear. I got into modeling and it was hard at first. Then I got into dancing and performing for people and at the end of our thing we’d have to say our name onstage and I finally got ok with being seen and doing things in front of people but actually speaking in front of people was the next horrible thing I had to overcome. So then when I got into wrestling I started doing more and more promo type stuff and more and more hosting type stuff and finally getting comfortable speaking in front of people. But singing in front of people, that was totally the scariest thing I could possibly think of doing.
Do you play any instruments?
I write on the guitar and the keyboard. I don’t play very well but I’m going to keep practicing. I write a lot. If I want to conquer something or do something I do it. I finish everything I decide I’m gonna do. I knew this was my biggest fear, doing music, and once the dream stuff started happening I was like, damn, it’s staring me right in the face, so I gave into it and I just took more lessons, like I spent all the money I made from wrestling on music. My band and I moved from California to Florida into a house together. We were all living together so we could focus our energy on the chemistry of our band: jamming every day, writing every day, learning every day. And they’re so amazing and to me it’s like I’m a baby in what we’re doing, like 4-5 years in music is not long enough to be good. People start when they’re kids, but I surrounded myself with people who are just phenomenal and every day I grow with them.
Are there any songs that have a personal meaning for you on your new EP “Where Are You”?
Well, they’re all super personal. The cool thing about Where Are You is that it’s a very selfish EP for me. It’s something that I get to listen to right now that inspires me to keep going because I have spent all my time and all my money on it. I wanted to make something that was in its rawest form, because I started everything acoustically with my co writer and I’m a rock chick and a go getter and I wanted something that just sounded like it came out really naturally and the EP is really a stripped down version of where Hemme is going and it’s definitely going to get more aggressive and heavier and more fun but the ideas in Where Are You are a big reminder in what I believe in, where the music came from for me, how inspired I am to keep going, and just how much of a passion it is and how real it is. It’s so natural and the most organic thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’ve never been so passionate about something.
When is the album going to come out?
Well, we’ve been writing and demoing out these songs like every day and we have a pretty big collection right now and our plan is, my co writer Eric Friedman, he is going out on the road with Creed, he is going to be their second guitarist on their reunion tour, so right when he gets back from that, we’re going to get right back into the studio and my guess is that the album will be out next February or March.
Do you have a title for the album?
We have a couple of working titles but the album itself is based on dreams because all the songs in it have come from my dreams. It has a little bit of concept in it because all of the dreams connect and I don’t know if you know anything about what people do when they dream, but in one night’s sleep, you dream four and seven times and they’re kind of connections of each other. In my dreams I will have really epic dreams and I’ll want to remember it while I’m sleeping and I will actually pass one on to my next dream and write it down and pass it to the next. It’s really weird. The whole idea of the album is that it’s one night’s sleep. It’s a collection of dreams.
The music on the EP was not what I expected to hear when I think of Christy Hemme the wrestler, Playmate, and Juggy. “Enough” and “I Am” were really quiet pretty songs that showed off your voice while “Footprints” and “Don’t Give Up” rocked. What has the response from your fans been so far?
So far, I just did Comicon in Detroit and a lot of them were just really happy about it and the songs were really well received and people really like it so it’s definitely a gratifying feeling.
Are there any similarities in putting together a song and wrestling a match?
I never really thought of it but absolutely. A wrestling match is the same thing. You’re telling a story. It’s a little mini-story every wrestling match you watch. With music it’s the same exact thing. That’s really cool. I never thought about that. It’s like your trying to keep the listener or the viewer on the edge of their seat and wanting more, hopefully!
You just returned from the Middle East visiting the troops. What was that experience like and how is the morale over there?
It was such an amazing experience for me. Before I went over, I didn’t know what I wanted to get out of that trip. I don’t have a very big political view and I didn’t know if I really supported or didn’t support being over there but by the time I got over there and saw everything and was part of it and said hello and realized how many nations were actually over there helping, I realized that whether we support it or not, we’re there, so how can you not support something that is. I felt really good about being there and the morale, every time they would see us they were just so happy to see somebody come say hello and be part of it and have a little bit of an escape, like we do with wrestling or music or anything of that nature, so it actually inspired me so much that that is going to be the first tour we do as a band. We’re going to go over to Afghanistan and do a tour over there. You’re taking something on by going over there. We had to wear bullet proof vests and we were traveling around in black hawks and a lot of the places we visited had just been shot at or attacked a couple of days before we got there so you have to be ok with being in danger, and of course I’m Ok with that. I went to my band mates about going over there and they were like black hawks? Hell yeah!
What can people expect from Christy Hemme in the not too distant future?
Well, getting back to TNA and this album. That’s where my focus is right now. The album should be out next year and I’m going in to talk to TNA this month so that’s definitely where my focus is right now.