INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN SWEET OF CRASHDÏET, SWEET CREATURE AND SISTER
Date: May 19, 2016
Interviewer: Joe Morris
Back in late 2005, I came across a CD review for ‘Rest In Sleaze’ by a band I had never heard of before from Sweden called Crashdïet. I bought a copy and as soon as I put it in my stereo and heard the first few notes, I knew this band was special and ‘Rest In Sleaze’ was one of the best albums I had heard in the last 15-20 years. Unfortunately, a few months later I read the sad news that Dave Lepard had passed away and I thought that one of the most amazing bands I had ever heard was over before they even had a chance to get started. To my surprise, Martin Sweet, Peter London and Eric Young decided to continue and to carry on the legacy they started with Dave Lepard and they took the band to new heights with three more albums released over the next eight years with Oliver Twisted on vocals for ‘The Unattractive Revolution’ and then Simon Cruz taking over on ‘Generation Wild’ and ‘The Savage Playground’ before unexpectedly quitting in February 2015 during a tour in Japan.
There wasn’t much news heard from the Crashdïet camp in more then a year but over the last couple of months Martin Sweet has been very busy again putting his own side project Sweet Creature together with his brother Michael from ToxicRose on drums, Tin Star from Gemini Five on bass and Linus Nirbrant from The Ending on guitar. Martin is not only playing guitar but handling lead vocals and just released his first single “Not Like Others” and has already recorded a full album with Sweet Creature that he is currently shopping to labels. He has also joined Sister as their new bass player and is recording a new album with them to be released later this year. Crashdïet are taking a much needed break after 10 years of mayhem per a statement from Martin on the Sweet Creature site but will be back at a later date after they find a new singer and record their next album. Martin has made it clear that Crashdïet will always be his main band but for now he has both Sweet Creature and Sister to keep him going and to allow him to be back on stage again doing what he loves most.
I have personally known Martin for over 10 years now and have seen Crashdïet versions 2 and 3 play live in Sweden and the US and also had the chance to hang out with him, Peter and Eric on multiple occasions. I have been around music all my life and they are definitely one of my all time favorite bands. I couldn’t be happier for them and glad they will be back again one day to pick up where they left off. Martin was nice enough to take the time to sit down with me and do his first interview for Sleaze Roxx so that everyone will finally get to hear what he has been up to recently.
Directed by: Jimmy Johansson / Super Lino Puro Productions Official Website: http://www.sweetcreature.org Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/55mTRBKFOHRYhxMfFByd8G iTunes: https://itun.es/se/b4Q6bb SWEET CREATURE is: Martin Sweet (CRASHDÏET) Lead vocals, lead guitar Linus Nirbrant (This Ending) Vocals, rhythm guitar Michael Txr (ToxicRose) Drums Tin Star (Gemini Five) Bass Join our mailing list and get a free download of this song: https://show.co/UihDRXP
Sleaze Roxx: Hello Martin, welcome to Sleaze Roxx and thanks for taking the time to do your first interview with us. I see you have been very busy recently with your new side project Sweet Creature. You also recently joined Sister as the new bass player replacing Rikki Riot while your main band Crashdïet is currently on an extended break. Tell me about your idea behind Sweet Creature and how it came about?
Martin Sweet: I’ve always felt that I need to get more music released than just 10 songs every second or third year. So this was an attempt to do so. But now that I think about it, it’s been three years since “Savage” was release [laughs] so maybe it’s impossible?
Sleaze Roxx: You have your brother Michael from ToxicRose playing drums, Tin Star from Gemini Five on bass and your song writing partner Linus Nirbrant from The Ending on guitar and you’re handling lead vocals and guitar. Was it easy putting the band together?
Martin Sweet: Yes. It was very easy because I know their skills by heart since I’ve played with all of them before. Peter London does play bass on two songs on the album. This was in the very beginning though.
Sleaze Roxx: Is this the first time you have played in a band with your brother Michael? It must be a blast to finally be able to play and record together. How does he feel about being a part of Sweet Creature?
Martin Sweet: Michael and I have played together a bunch of times at family parties and stuff like that, but he did in fact stand in for Eric Young after he broke his right fist out on the road. I think there was three or four shows left on that tour. We were about to cancel when I called him up from Switzerland and asked him if he could fly in the next day and take over the drums. He did it flawlessly! Michael loves being in the band. We’re like the Van Halen brothers [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: Not too many people know that you have been doing the lead vocals on a lot of your own demos and Crashdïet’s pre-production songs the past 10 years so how do you feel about handling the lead vocals for Sweet Creature?
Martin Sweet: Well, I’m used to singing on demos but not live so well see how that goes [laughs]. It’s not like I’ve always wanted to be a frontman. It’s just necessary for this project since we’re playing some of those old demos on the new album. I do however have a vision of all four of us singing lead in the future, kind of like KISS in the ’70s.
Sleaze Roxx: The new song “Not Like Others” sounds excellent and it’s nice to finally hear some new music from you. How would you describe the rest of the full length album and do you have a release date scheduled?
Martin Sweet: The single is probably the most modern sounding on the album. The rest is more retro sounding in terms of arrangements and feel. I’ve been trying to figure out the genre or style of the songs for months now, but it just feels pathetic to label your own music before anyone has heard it. It’s up to the public to describe the music. For me, it’s just rock n´roll… and I like it! My goal is to put out the album this year. I did, however, want to start a little “buzz” online, before I reach out to labels and stuff like that. I’m also considering crowdfunding as a possibility.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you plan on taking the band out on the road to play some live shows together?
Martin Sweet: We’ll see what happens. Sweet Creature was mainly put together for releasing albums, but it would be amazing to perform with these guys. I have a feeling it could be fun!
Sleaze Roxx: I know you have been involved with the band Sister from the beginning and have recorded and produced their albums. What led to Rikky Riot leaving and you joining the band as the new bass player?
Martin Sweet: You’d have to ask Rikky for the true reason of why he left. I know very little about it, except that he probably was a bit sick of the biz. I don’t blame him [laughs]. It’s very tough to stay passionate in this business. We’re still friends and all that, so there’s no bad blood there.
I was already doing demos/pre-production with Sister for the upcoming album and quite surprisingly they asked me to join the band. I wasn’t expecting it at all actually. They gave me a month or so to think about it, cuz they knew I had a solo project in the making. But I figured life is too short to not jump into a situation where an album is being made and tours are being booked. I mean I love these guys and it can’t go wrong. And it’s two strings less to think about [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: You have always handled all the guitar duties in Crashdïet but I remember seeing a few videos back in the early days with Dave Lepard where you and Peter London switched instruments and you were playing bass at some live shows. How do you feel about being a bass player now?
Martin Sweet: Well, that show in particular was actually a sing-back show so only live vocals. So we were just kind of fucking around with the whole idea of having to “play” a show that way. The instruments aren’t even plugged in. So we just switched them after the first song. I know the bass by heart so it isn’t a problem. It’s actually a lot of fun! It feels more like your part of the engine in the band when you play live.
Sleaze Roxx: I know you are in the process of recording a new album with Sister to be released later this year. Will you still be handling the mixing and production? Are you also involved in the songwriting?
Martin Sweet: This time, I’m taking a step back to just be a bass player. I am involved in some of the songwriting but there is a new producer in town that will be revealed in the next few weeks I suspect. But I can tell you that the new songs are on a whole new level. They sound awesome!
Sleaze Roxx: I know you have already been playing live shows with Sister since you joined a few months ago. How does it feel being back up on stage and playing live again?
Martin Sweet: I know now why I’ve had a hole in my soul for so long. I get depressed and very restless when I’m off stage for so long. I need it to function properly.
Sleaze Roxx: Is this just a temporary position until they find another bass player or are you a full fledged member of the band?
Martin Sweet: I’m a full fledged member until I’m not [laughs]. I believe that things will work themselves out. I can’t go around and think about decisions all my life, and if or whether this will take up all my time or not. When Crashdïet returns, I will be ready. The rest will figure itself out eventually.
Sleaze Roxx: On the Sweet Creature site, you said that Crashdïet is “currently sleeping and recovering from 10 years of mayhem” but I hope that after taking a much needed break, the band will be back and up and running again soon. There really hasn’t been much news for over a year now and I would like to hear from you what happened that lead to the extended hiatus?
Martin Sweet: Well, I’ve had some time now to reflect on what happened and I think the reason wasn’t just Simon leaving the band. I think it had to do with a lot of things. Our manager died and we were in debt when we came home from our last major tour in 2013. We raised some money through crowdfunding which helped us a great deal but there were still big holes in our economy. I think it all left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. We questioned ourselves why we were doing this. We’ve been through quite a lot during the past decade and I guess all bands reach a point in they’re career when they ask themselves, is it worth it?
We did start to record new material with Simon [Cruz], but it just didn’t fly.. And during this time around 2014, Simon started to change quite a bit. I don’t wanna go into details but he wasn’t in a good place emotionally.
Sleaze Roxx: Why did Simon suddenly quit the band in the middle of the Japenese tour in early 2015?
Martin Sweet: The Japanese tour was a big mess. Simon wasn’t acting rationally the weeks before. We thought about cancelling the shows, but he had already left for Tokyo, unannounced. So we figured we had no other option than to go. The plane tickets were already paid for by us so that was a dilemma too I guess. We wanted to go to Tokyo because it had been a dream of ours for so long, but we wanted to cancel for the sake of Simon’s state.
Anyway, we did the first of the two shows. The morning after, I got a text from Eric Young saying “Simon has checked out from the hotel.” We thought he was just fucking around with us and would turn up a minute or so before the show that night, but eventually, he didn’t. So, pissed off and humiliated, we still managed to pull off the second show as a three piece band. Luckily the Japanese fans are so loyal and lovely that it turned out quite okay. I do love that country.
When we came home from Tokyo, we had a meeting and it was obvious that this wasn’t working out any more. He wanted to move on with his life I guess… so that was pretty much it. Sad but true.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you still in touch with him or have you all moved on?
Martin Sweet: No, we don’t talk. I do however still respect Simon as a vocalist. He is one of the greatest. I wish him the best and I sincerely hope he is dealing with his demons. Maybe someday we can reunite. I don’t know.
Sleaze Roxx: I know you were in the process of recording the next Crashdïet album when this happened. Did Peter, Eric and you continue to record together after the split? How much of the album was completed when everything happened?
Martin Sweet: We had a couple of songs, maybe four or five. Simon demanded that we make the “departure” official right away so we did. We were angry and we wanted to get on with it. But It all kind of died out after that…
Sleaze Roxx: Did you start looking for a new singer and have you found someone to replace Simon or are you still searching and haven’t found the right person yet?
Martin Sweet: We didn’t even start the search. I think we just needed a break from it all. I mean, it’s only been like a bit more than a year since he left so I’m not worried. I think about Axl Rose and it calms me down [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: Last January was the 10 year anniversary of Dave Lepard’s passing. Can you tell me one of your favorite stories involving Dave and Crashdïet that you can share with us?
Martin Sweet: My favorite memories will always be when we created music together. It was always nice to hang out with him when we were both in a sober state with no distractions, no parties in the background. I always felt that all that shit came in the way of our relationship. It’s just unreal that he’s been gone for over 10 years.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you planning on releasing a live Crashdïet album with Dave or any other unreleased songs or videos? I know the band had Chris Laney produce and mix a live track of “Breaking The Chains” that only members of the Crashdïet website had access to that sounded amazing and I was hoping that you were planning on more surprises in the future. Is there anything else in the works?
Martin Sweet: Yes, we have a live album coming out from Dave Lepard era 2005. Chris Laney used his magic skills to make it sound awesome! Chris is sitting on a shit load of stuff from the studio that we might put out too. We will also continue the “illegal rarities” compilation series with more old revisited demos.
Sleaze Roxx: I came across this really excellent video of you playing a live festival in July of 2015 with an all star band. You were playing guitar and backing Cherie Curry the original lead singer from The Runaways on Cherry Bomb and two other Runaways songs. I have been a fan of The Runaways and saw the original band play back in 1976 with Cherie and then to see you playing with her was unbelievable. How did you get involved? It must have been a blast playing with her. Any future plans on playing or recording with her or was this a one time thing?
Martin Sweet: Oh, that was just one of those things that you are lucky to be a part of. I’ll have to thank my buddy Zinny Zan who was managing the Väsby Rock festival at the time. He was putting together an all star band and I was privileged to be asked to participate. Cherie is such a sweetheart. I really enjoyed playing with her.
Second video from my trip to Sweden and featuring former Runaways singer Cherie Currie.
Sleaze Roxx: Before we wrap this up, is there anything you would like to say to all your fans out there? Good luck and all the best with Sweet Creature, Sister and Crashdïet, and I hope to see you on tour here in the US again with all three bands. Thanks again Martin!
Martin Sweet: Thank you for reading this interview and supporting my bands. I can’t wait to get out on the road again and meet you all. It’s been too damn long! Thanks Joe, for having me. Talk to you soon!