SILVER STEFF INTERVIEW:
June 30, 2006
When you think of countries that are a hotbed for churning out rock bands, Switzerland hardly rolls off the tongue. But new Swiss rockers Silver Dirt (www.silverdirt.com) take an old sound and make it their own. Having recently released their debut album, Sonic Boom, and appearing on Hollywood Hairspray Vol. 5, vocalist Silver Steff talked to interviewer Sarah about taking his band to the top.
SR: How long has Silver Dirt been performing as a band? And what is the history of the band?
SS: Alright, at the beginning, I joined the band in January 2004, they were then as a Led Zeppelin cover band named Zoso, then since we had the same influences and more important a great feeling together, I pushed the guys to start composing original material, it was in November 2004. By January 2005 we had 10 songs ready and started to gig.
SR: Is there a special meaning being the bands name?
SS: Yes it does, the Silver side is the melodic, glammy side and the Dirt side is the punkier and raunchier side, so I thought it fitted perfectly for the kind of music we do…
SR: I didn’t think of it like that, I thought it had something to do with names and not the types of music.
SS: You’re right, that’s another thing too, our own tribute to the Ramones.
SR: The album “Sonic Boom” is an amazing album. How long did it take you to put together the album?
SS: As I said, we started to compose in November 2004 and I think the last song was done in October 2005, and we went in studio in November, recorded in one week of very long nights and many beers and JD, sounds cliche but it’s true. But there some songs that didn’t made it on the album, maybe on the next one…
SR: Speaking of the next album, are there plans for another album and if so, do you have a release date planned?
SS: Thank you, we wanted to do it the old fashion way, we were lucky to have Jean Cataldo record it, he is a specialist in Garage Rock. He was a friend of the late Johnny Thunder of the New York Dolls, so he knows how to make a rock band sound…About the next album, we plan end of the year recording at the moment, but since we’re self produced, it depends if we find a label and if they want to work some more on ‘Sonic Boom’ but we already have 5 new songs…
SR: When you were starting out and decided to put together a band, what was the deciding factor for starting and bringing us Silver Dirt?
SS: To share feelings with people I like to spend time with and create music that we love to play without any compromise to sound cool or in fashion, no goatee, no fashion clothes, we’re doing it our way and we know that there are people out there that are into the same things as us.
SR: As a band, who are your biggest influences?
SS: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, The Who, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, The Hellacopters and on and on. Personally, the singers that influenced me are David Lee Roth, John Corabi, Steven Tyler, Marilyn Manson, Ozzy, Robert Plant…
SR: What are your goals as musicians and artists part of Silver Dirt?
SS: To be respected as musicians, that people will understand that under the make up and flashy clothes are real musicians with lots of experience and feeling. We hope to tour enough to show rock fans that we are a very energetic and kick ass live band and maybe show the world that Krokus is not the only good rock band of Switzerland, even if they were big 20 years ago.
SR: I wish more bands could have the same goal, there is more than just the flashy makeup and such to a musician, there are very talented musicians that are performing the music that they enjoy.
SS: Thank you, I believe that you feel when a band is real instead of only here for the money…we all need money, but honesty come first to me, musically talking.
SR: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
SS: Highlights. For the band it was opening for Brides Of Destruction and Gilby Clarke here in Switzerland. Both guys, Gilby and Tracii (Guns), were so cool, no rock star bullshit, very friendly. And of course seeing our albums in record shops. The thing is that as rock fans, we use to see them in music magazines when we were teens, and now we share a beer with them, it was very exciting, I felt a teen again for a while… but it was a musician to musician relationship, and they liked that, we didn’t bother them with questions about the 80’s or Guns N’ Roses…
SR: If you had to pick one song off Sonic Boom as your favorite, which one would it be and why?
SS: Mmmh, that’s a though one…Maybe Go! She Said, because it’s the first one we did together. It was chosen for the Hollywood Hairspray 5 compilation and it opens the record. But I like all of our songs. I write the lyrics so every song has its special story, like a book of novels if you want…
SR: Where can fans get your album and your music?
SS: In Switzerland we have a proper distribution in record shops, for the US and the rest of the world go to www.perrisrecords.com and you can order it. We’re finalizing a deal for France, but we hope to get a license deal with a proper worldwide distribution by the end of 2006, so we can hit the road. We’d love to come and play in the US, it’s a dream for us, so I hope it’ll happen.
SR: Is there a tour planned, and if so, any US dates scheduled?
SS: Not yet, we don’t want to go blindly and fall flat on our asses. We have to find a serious booking agency and do things the right way. But I don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll happen. We have to be patient, since we only had good worldwide reviews, like 20 of them, something has to happen. I believe 2007 will be our year, and we won’t forget people like you who supported us from the start… What I like in people from Webzines is that they (you) are music fans, and not paid journalist who are doing this as a job. That’s why it matters way more to me.
SR: How important is the roll of your fans in your performance?
SS: Important, but even if we play in a place where no one knows about us, we won’t play different. It’s always 200%, 10 or 1000 people, it’s the same. We’re so happy to be onstage that it’s always a celebration for us, and that’s what it should be for every band to me. And we always end up with more fans when we leave the stage, and that’s something that talks for itself. To be honest, we always sell some CDs at shows. I don’t know if it’s usual in the US, but here in Switzerland, when you’ve sold 10 CDs with an attendance of 60-100 people, it’s a lot, and that’s what we do…
SR: Speaking of performances, how would you describe your stage show to those of us who have yet to see it?
SS: Very energetic, I can’t stand still. Dirty Seb, our bass player too, our guitarist Dirty Lyo, is more of an Ace Frehley/Keith Richards combination and Silver Gregg a good mix between Keith Moon (The Who) and Tommy Lee. We’re popular because of our live shows, very American influenced. Here bands are more quiet on stage, looks like rehearsal sometimes, boring. We also like to destroy our material at the end of the shows, my mikes and mike stands are suffering hell with me but I can’t help it. With us it’s not a concert it’s a show, but we care about playing well too ha ha ha!!!
SR: And your music, how would you describe your sound?
SS: Very 70’s, more European than American. I think that’s a reason why we stand out of the Hollywood Hairspray 5 compilation too. Lots of bands in there have the same guitar sound, Lyo plays on vintage equipment, Marshall’s and Gibson’s LesPaul only, and on the album we kept the live feeling, very near to our live sound. For the record, the mixing table is from 1978.
SR: Anything else you’d like to say to your fans and supporters?
SS: For our fans thanks to your endless support. For the people that don’t know us, go to our website www.silverdirt.com and if you like what you hear and see, you can register yourself on our mailing list and know what’s going on with us. And I want specially thank you Sarah, I was very happy talking to you, and wish you all the best. I hope we can chat sometime again.
Thanks to Silver Steff and interviewer Sarah