Interview: Caz and Becki Hill, #Revenge10 Organisers

Caz and Becki Hill are, in their own words, “Mum & daughter MCR fans from the UK who have clocked up 55 gigs between them. They’re also mad about Friends, Dexter, & Golden Retrievers!!” Caz has been involved with MCRmy meet ups for several years, her most recent being the #revenge10 event at the Barfly in Camden, London, on 7th June 2014. All responses are from her unless stated.

When and how did you become an MCR fan?

Eldest daughters’ boyfriend was a fan very early, but I didn’t take much notice (face palm) and as such didn’t like Bullets on first hearing… how I wish I’d gotten into them then *sigh*, so much missed time.

However, the ‘Queen’ buzz around Parade got my attention, and the bug implanted big time! I’d had a huge touring life with Queen, seeing them over 200 times. But in my mid-40’s I wasn’t looking to take up touring again… then I saw them! My first show was March 25th 2007, Gerard clambered off the gurney, ripped off his gown and I was blown away and hooked. I saw them 22 times in 6 different countries. That will never be enough. I hope they reform when their solo projects are successful and concluded!!

Your daughters are also fans. It seems pretty rare to have families who are all heavily into MCR – what’s the story behind it and what’s that like? They can answer this too!

Caz: Eldest daughter is a huge music fan, but doesn’t attach herself to any one band in particular. But Becki fell completely in love with their music and message. I would never have gone to the first show if she hadn’t got tickets. At our next show in Sheffield we were lucky to be taken backstage by a friend in the music industry who knows Ray. They were exceptionally sweet and friendly. We realised how genuine they were, nice people, not just amazing musicians. Next we flew out to New York for their Madison Sq Garden show. As we all know the wait after that was long and painful. I promised Becki when they came back we would do every date on the next UK/Europe tour, and that was what we did on the 2010 Danger Days run. Probably the most favourite time of my life.

I guess we enjoyed travelling together- she might tell a different story, but I loved sharing MCR with her and her MCRmy friends. The excitement and pure joy we experienced was priceless and precious. We miss it so bad.

It brought memories of all the touring I’d done worldwide with Queen and other bands in my youth.

I think my music-life showed her there were no boundaries where you went to see your favourite band- if you wanted it enough you simply found a way to pay for it. As such she left uni, got a fulltime job and paid her way back to the States and around Australia for the Big Day Out shows.

Becki: I love that my mum is as obsessed with MCR as I am! Sure, at first I thought it was a little weird.. But ultimately, sharing the same passion and love for a band has brought us so much closer. None of my friends at school were ever into MCR so the only person I could really talk to about them was my mum. (It wasn’t long before she knew more about them than I did!) She always understood and encouraged my obsession, because she knows what’s it like to dedicate your life to a band – she did it with Queen. She taught me that there should be no limits when it comes to your passion, which is why I have seen MCR 33 times, in 8 different countries. I’m sure it would have been a lot less without her support (emotional and financial!) and I wouldnt have had half of the amazing experiences I have had if she wasn’t just as invested in the band as me. So yeah, I count myself pretty damn lucky!

I had no idea you were involved with the now-infamous Marble Arch protest against the Mail in 2008 until I read Tom’s book. What prompted the involvement?

Oh man, now we’re going back! At the time (2008) I was heavily involved on their Buzznet community.

We were all devastated by the suicide of Hannah Bond, and angered by the Daily Mail blaming the band, and branding us a ‘cult who promoted self-harm’. That was totally untrue and such an insult. I wanted to do something to help the younger fans have a voice on behalf of the band and the MCRmy.

A lovely girl called Annie announced the idea for a protest march, I contacted her about organising the Buzznet contingent, then became the point of contact for fans on the Buzz boards and (as many were young teens, like Becki) I had to sort out chaperones by working out the adult to child ratio in order to satisfy police requirements!

So much happened in the run up to that day. It was a complete nightmare for many weeks. At one point we had around 200 fans from BN coming, but menacing influences infiltrated our plans and many parents decided it was too dangerous for their kids to attend. The overall numbers were significantly affected on the day but we still successfully got our point across.

Caz and Becki Hill with MCR. Photograph property of Caz.

Caz and Becki Hill with MCR. Photograph property of Caz.

Meet ups and conventions are becoming increasingly common amongst fans of bands, books and more. What do you think is their appeal? Have they altered the fan-band paradigm?

I was always involved in the Queen conventions, I’d love to have organised an entire weekend away for MCR fans. The atmosphere at some meet-ups can be gig-like, fans are so happy to have the opportunity to get together, listen to music and chat about the band in the full knowledge that everyone will understand their feelings. Its a happy, validating bonding experience.

When the band become involved, like the MCR guys, it means so much more to fans. The mutual bond and respect is heightened immensely. The fans feel closer to their band, and the band are proud of the fans. Double win!

You’ve organised several meet ups over the years. Which was your favourite and why have you decided to stop after #revenge10?

Ummm, the Bullets 10 year anniversary picnic by the Thames was my favourite. But I also very much loved the Edinburgh meetup and the recent one at The Barfly. There were several meetups that I didn’t organise but attended to do the charity raffle, bringing signed items and merch from the band.

Seeing as the band stopped for a break I thought I would too! I doubt they’ll be back before I’m in my 60’s, and I already feel too old to be credible! People have definitely had enough of me banging on about charities. I feel younger fans will bring something new and exciting to the table.

What was your favourite part about the #revenge10 event?

Seeing so many fans turn up and having Tom Bryant there.

What’s the most challenging part of organising a meet up?

Oh wow, there’s so much to consider. You have to get police permission to hold an outdoor gathering of more than 25 people in London, and also the Parks Commission has to agree if its in a London Park, such as Jubilee Gardens. You need permission to hold a raffle, and collect for charity. Then you have to get the word out to your audience… advertising was a major concern a few years ago, after having the protest hijacked by a malicious group I was always wary of announcing a meetup in advance. In fact, I didn’t press anything before the Bullets event because of this.

MCR always drew some crazies who wanted to cause trouble for the MCRmy. I worried about disturbances as the last thing I ever wanted was to draw bad publicity in the name of the band. Never wanted to give the Daily fuckin’ Mail a new derogatory MCR headline.

Then there’s the weather if its an outdoor meetup, and the fact this may affect attendance.

Last but not least, the months of pestering WBR, band management and band members in a continual countdown to the day, so that everything is shipped in time. 🙂

What’s the most rewarding aspect it?

Seeing the fans have a fabulous time together.

Making loads of money for the charity.

There are plans for a worldwide convention of MCR fans in California in 2019 (CA2019:KilljoyCon). Do you have any advice for organisers?

I’ve heard about it… is there a team of organisers, or is the word out in general for fans to turn up on a specific day? Just make you adhere to the State laws, and have enough security to make sure you’re all safe.

If you could change one thing about the MCRmy, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything about the MCRmy, they’re a gloriously passionate bunch of delicious weirdos!

I love them but I couldn’t eat a whole one!

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