The Sweet: On The Run In The City Of Angels
The Sweet made their way to the Los Angeles area, unveiling shows at both The Canyon Club and The Rose to a multi-generational legion of fans. Opening with the raging refrains of Action from their Give Us A Wink magnum opus, the legendary glam rocking collective would perform their timeless hits such as Little Willy, Love Is Like Oxygen, AC/DC, and of course Ballroom Blitz. Just prior to their taking the stage at The Rose in Pasadena, Highwire Daze Online caught up with founding member/bassist Steve Priest for an exclusive interview to discuss the past, present, and glorious future of the almighty Sweet. Read on…
In 2008, I think it was at an Eric Clapton show, you decided it was time to reform The Sweet. What did Eric Clapton do to inspire you?
Steve Priest: He played on stage and he’s older than me [laughs], and I was sitting there watching him going, “Hold on a minute, I should be up there.” So, that’s what happened…and he’s as good as ever.
The first time you went back as The Sweet. Where was the first show, and how did that feel?
Steve Priest: We played The Whisky. Yeah, it was very good actually, it was…we had a few problems, but it went very well considering it was the first show. We have got better since then.
Your guitarist Mitch Perry has worked with everyone from Edgar Winter to Cher. How did he wind up in The Sweet?
Steve Priest: I don’t know, how did that happen?
Richie Onori: Well, there were two other guitarists that were in there. And then I just went up to him and asked if he was interested in picking up the gig. And, low and behold, he was available and he wanted to do it, yeah.
And then you have Joe Retta as the lead vocalist. How did Joe become involved?
Richie Onori: Actually, we were looking for a vocalist and we went to The Canyon Club, where we played last night, and we checked him out. He was in a Queen tribute band, and he was frickin’ phenomenal and we go, “Ok, we want him” so we approached him as well.
I wanted to discuss Sweet albums that I hadn’t read a lot about in interviews. First, in retrospect, what do you think about the Water’s Edge album?
Steve Priest: Well, I think it was a very good album, it was very underrated and the record company wasn’t interested in it, so that was the end of that really.
Identity Crisis. Tell me a little bit about that album.
Steve Priest: Well that was towards the end. Brian had already left. That was another one that we had to do it contractually for the record company and we gave it to ’em, and we might as well not have recorded it.
So not many fond memories of that album then.
Steve Priest: Well, I like the album. It was a waste of time.
Fox On The Run is getting a new run thanks to that new movie Guardians of the Galaxy II. How do you feel about that song coming back to a whole new generation of fans?
Steve Priest: It sounds wonderful, I’m amazed. It stands up very well to the test of time, in my opinion.
Would you ever want to perform with Andy Scott again?
Steve Priest: If the timing was right I would, yeah. But, I don’t know how that would happen because we’d have to have two guitarists because I ain’t playing without Mitch.
Mitch is phenomenal.
Steve Priest: Yes he is.
He’s one of the most underrated guitarists out there.
Steve Priest: Yeah, he’s gorgeous. Gorgeous? He’s very good.
Richie Onori: He’s lovely.
Have you heard any covers of The Sweet that you like?
Steve Priest: Yes, Set Me Free by Saxon and Action by Def Leppard.
Did you ever get back to them and tell them, I like your cover?
Steve Priest: Well, Def Leppard I’ve met and told them exactly that.
Is there any chance of any new recordings with The Sweet? Is that something you’d like to do?
Steve Priest: It will happen, but the time has got to be excellent and so do the songs.
You did a solo recording a few years ago. What was that?
Steve Priest: Priest’s Precious Poems. That was just a load of songs that a friend of mine put together as a CD. They’re outtakes, things that weren’t released, and general fun I suppose.
Do you think there will be a part two to that one day?
Steve Priest: Maybe, if you find enough stuff.
Do you still enjoy playing these old songs and touring, meeting the fans after all this time?
Steve Priest: Yeah, it’s amazing how there’s so many new fans, and old ones. There are a lot of new ones and that’s encouraging.
Do you have any messages for Sweet fans who may be reading this right now?
Steve Priest: Yeah, come…come and watch us and you’ll hear one of the best bands in the world.
You have quite a lineup.
Steve Priest: Yes, I agree. I’m very lucky.
Steve Priest: Um, don’t know yet. Gonna take it as it comes.
The Sweet is:
Steve Priest – Bass & vocals
Stevie Stewart – Keyboards
Richie Onori – Drums
Joe Retta – Vocals
Mitch Perry – Guitars
(Interview and Band Photo by Ken Morton – Band Photo Edit by Joe Schaeffer – Live Photos from The Canyon Club by Jack Lue)
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