XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Stephen: Our latest band news is that we have a record coming out on Vanishing Point. A really cool Japanese label – maybe the best label in Japan. We also have a record release party at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn on October 27th! Everyone should try to come!
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Stephen: This incarnation of Swilson has been together about 2 years. But Swilson has been an entity in one form or another since 2011.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Stephen: The easy answer is the drugs, the sex, the financial independence. The more difficult answer is to satisfy an existential longing for some kind of relief from life’s eternal questions.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Stephen: Very shallow. It’s always punk. I’ve felt that Swilson is Darby Crash meets Donovan. But the band likes progressive rock as much as it enjoys bubblegum. Do the kids still care about bubblegum?
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Stephen: Again back to existential ideas…. We convey an image of youthful exuberance but at the same time stone cold indifference…. that’s entertainment.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Stephen: To play music. Music is the end in and of itself. If there was other opportunities we would certainly make them a priority. Please let us know!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Stephen: For me it’s writing and recording. You can always play live and it’s fun but at the end of the day all you have left is what’s been recorded. I like to write songs and would love to be able to record all the time. Too bad life gets in the way of all that.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Stephen: Uhh…it’s about the horror of the mundane life we all live. Also the joy of it. Life is hilarious. So specifically: vampires, cro-magnon man, demons, the art of seduction, witchcraft, ghosts, the inevitable apocalypse, beer, existential longing, vague innuendo, Rock ‘n Roll, and the tricks we all play day to day to survive.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Stephen: The strangest request was to help a girl out with her boyfriend who was getting into black magick. She was worried he was going to be able to control her fate by summoning demons who would hurt her. I think I was able to settle her mind, but honestly, I wasn’t qualified to help. Swilson is more about personal demons than actual demons that feed on human energy from another dimension.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Stephen: I think each member of the band could safely say that our collective family is supportive us playing in this band. Swilson is a family band first and foremost. If communes weren’t so passé we would all live on one. I’m sure of it.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Stephen: Monkey Brain and Born In Year Zero.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Stephen: All the bands that inspire everyone to perform. The bands that didn’t inspire us to perform are Steely Dan, Chicago and The Grateful Dead because it’s too hard to play like those guys and Steely Dan’s lyrics are amazing. Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart are way too brilliant….there would be too much pressure if we were inspired by them.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Stephen: Zig-Zags, Wurst Nurse, Wyldlife and than Swilson….oh and maybe Hawkwind, the Nik Turner version or the Dave Brock version….
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Stephen: The new Swilson record. It’s amazing.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Stephen: I would be teaching film to high school students in Jersey City, New Jersey.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Stephen: In New York City you can’t be too picky. It’s important to just accept the backline unless you want to make your life difficult. At home we like Vox amps and Japanese guitars.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Stephen: It’s the same as it was 20 years ago. Nothing has changed except that everybody in the audience is 20 years older.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Stephen: That even though my sun sign is Libra, I’m a Sagittarius rising. And that aspect of my sign rules my daily decision making process.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Stephen: Occult pub rock with a hint of acid punk.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Stephen: That even though it’s always party time we are actually serious about the music. As much we can be serious about anything, even when we are not being serious, we are serious about that. And the record is really is good. Y’all should check it out.
Stephen – Guitars & Vox
Squeaky Dave – Stun Guitar
Dean Rispler – Bass
Chris Orlando – Drums
Seth Meisterman -Minister Of Propaganda