Interview with STEVE PRIEST (SWEET)

November 2009



Visuals aside, the glam rock era didn’t project its acts into the future music-wise. Most of the artists who rose to fame at the time lacked an edge – but SWEET were sharp. Poised between pop sensibilities and heavy leanings, they still seemed to have gone into the past, especially with the band’s singer’s passing and the guitarist leading his own incarnation of the ensemble to nowhere, while their songs entered the pantheon of all-time anthems.

But in 2008, on-stage came another line-up, full of energy, led by bassist Steve Priest who came out of retirement to blast again. It’s with him that we had a short Q&A session in the wake of the brilliant "Live! In America" album’s release.

– Steve, was it worth waiting for such a long time to return with a bang now?

I hope so

– This version of the band play hard rock. Did you want to be heavier from the beginning?

Listen to our B-sides: we always were heavier!

– Was working with Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman a blessing or a curse, then?

It was needed as we had to pay the rent like everybody else

– You still wear some make-up. You’ve come to cherish glam over the years?

No, I need it because I am ancient.

– How did you gather all the musicians who are SWEET now?

...and then

…and then

I already knew most of them and the rest knew the others.

– There’s a lot of vitality in your live album. Is there a chance for a studio one?

We are all writing, so there will be a diverse album, believe me, with many influences.

– What each of the new players brings to the SWEET table?

Talent and energy!

– To many, it’s hard to accept the band without Brian Connolly in it. Wasn’t it difficult for you to call this ensemble SWEET and find a new singer?

How do bring Brian back… unless you know something I don’t. Joe has an amazing voice and sings with a relish Brian would have been proud of

– Where did the rumor of Ronnie James Dio being discussed as Connolly’s replacement come from?

No idea! It never was true.

– Some SWEET’s songs have been covered over the years. Are there any versions you like?

Hey, if Englebert Humperdinck did one I would be happy.

SWEET 2009: Stevie Stewart, Richie Onori, Joe Retta, Stuart Smith, Steve Priest

SWEET 2009:
Stevie Stewart, Richie Onori, Joe Retta,
Stuart Smith, Steve Priest

– There are many bands claiming to have been influenced by SWEET. Is there one you particularly like? Perhaps, HARLOW who you recorded with?

Well, it has taken thirty years for people to own up to the fact SWEET influenced them. By the way, I have no Idea who HARLOW are but I wish them well.

– You’re 61 now. Did the age bring new perspective to the old songs?

No, they sound the same now and get the same reaction from the fans.

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