The Sweet: Glam rock and roll legends to invade the Southland
British rock band The Sweet rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s as a prominent glam rock act. Their musical style followed a marked progression from their pop hits to the Who-influenced hard rock style. The band achieved notable success with numerous hits including Blockbuster, Love Is Like Oxygen, Little Willy, Hell Raiser, Ballroom Blitz, Action, Teenage Rampage, ACDC, and Fox On the Run.
The Sweet is experiencing a resurgence with the use of two of their biggest hits being featured in conjunction with two blockbuster movies, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 and Suicide Squad. The Sweet’s hit, Ballroom Blitz was in the international trailer for Suicide Squad and received 13 million downloads. Fox On The Run is featured in both the soundtrack and the movie of “Guardians Of The Galaxy 2” due in theatres May 2017.
The Sweet’s current lineup is founding member Steve Priest on bass and vocals, Joe Retta on lead vocals, Richie Onori on drums, Stevie Stewart on keyboards and Mitch Perry on lead guitar.
We had a short chat with founding member Steve Priest recently about these upcoming shows…
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming Southern California shows?
As a long time resident, I am so looking forward to playing for the LA fans with these two gigs in Agoura Hills and Pasadena.
What is your most memorable show you have played here in Southern California?
LA holds a special place in my heart. Our first US show was at the Santa Monica Civic in 1975. Our most recent LA area show was the Canyon Club a couple of years ago.
Our 1976 show at the Santa Monica Civic was another memorable show. The Back Street Crawlers were supposed to be the opening act, but Paul Kossof died a couple of days before the gig. Richie Blackmoore joined us on stage for a tribute to him. Sammy Hagar was added as the opening act and I found out years later that the Van Halen brothers were in the audience.
How did you become involved with The Sweet and how did you meet Steve Priest?
Stuart Smith saw me perform with another band and he brought Steve Priest out to see me. And they asked me right there to join the group. So I did – and we did a Sweet Live in America CD – we still have a bunch of copies floating around. Then we worked a lot for a few years.
Do you remember your first show with The Sweet – and what was the first show like?
Oh I do remember very much. It was at The Whisky A Go Go. It was as blast! I was like a kid in a candy store singing songs I grew up with on the radio. So to be performing songs that I heard on the radio when I was growing up was pretty wild. I was very excited. I still love doing them.
What are you looking forward to the most about the two upcoming Sweet shows here in Los Angeles?
They’re going to be pretty close to home. The Canyon Club is like down the street – only a few miles away. I know the place very well and it will feel the home. I know all the employees and the owner – so it will be fun and comfortable. The Rose is a brand new venue by the same owner – my friends have played there and said it was great – so I am sure that will be great too.
What are your first memories of The Sweet? When was the first time you had heard of them?
Being in a car when I was 12 or 14 – or younger – and Fox On The Run was on the radio. They had 8 Top Ten hits in the US – Little Willy, Ballroom Blitz, Fox On The Run, Action – they were all in the radio. In Upstate New York where I grew up, there were very hip DJ’s that played a lot of English stuff – a lot of Mott The Hopple, a lot of Bowie – I was lucky to grow up there because I was exposed to a lot more music there than I would have been anywhere else.
Do you have any messages for L.A. fans of The Sweet who are reading this now?
Come on out and see the show! Also I’m also with Dio Disciples on May 7th at Los Encinos Park. It’s a benefit for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. So come out to that as well!
For more information on The Sweet, please go to www.thesweetband.com
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