Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: August 2011
Brian Rademacher: Hello Stefano and Welcome to RockEyez
Stefano Gottardi: Hi Brian!
Brian Rademacher: I’ve been a fan of your Italy-based label Street Symphonies for awhile because you guys focus on pure 80’s arena rock and some glam and many of the artists we review and interview are in that genre. How did the label actually start?
Stefano Gottardi: In 2007 Oscar, now the president of Street Symphonies Records sent me an e-mail to put himself up as writer for my webzine Roxx Zone. Things didn’t go through but our encounter brought us to begin a new experience. We met at a concert and we found out that we live quite near to each other and that we probably are the only two lovers of sleaze/glam music in all of our area… that’s why it was so natural, the decision to set up our own label to produce the JOHNNY BURNING debut album. We didn’t want to miss such a good opportunity.
Brian Rademacher: If a band wanted to get signed by Street Symphonies what do you look for and what do they have to do?
Stefano Gottardi: They simply have to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com containing a short bio and a link to their website where it’s possible to listen to some pieces of their music. We are looking for people wishing to propose their music and to work hard, with us by their side, to let people (to get to) know their music. Those who are thinking about signing a contract and rest while waiting for the fortune to come could probably do without our help.
Brian Rademacher: What is the connection with logic(il)logic to Street Symphonies?
Stefano Gottardi: It’s simply the "sister" label created to give a good opportunity to those bands who play rock and metal and that can’t suit Street Symphonies criteria; as it’s a glam/80’s hard rock label.
My main focus with this interview is to bring to light an upcoming release called "Reborn In Sleaze: A Tribute To Dave Lepard" which is due for release on 1 October 2011. It’s a collection of songs that were released by CRASHDÏET and covered by other artists.
Brian Rademacher: Why did you decide to do this release?
Stefano Gottardi: We consider "Rest In Sleaze", besides a fantastic album, a real cornerstone of the new millennium of hard rock music. This work played a fundamental role for the rebirth of glam rock and led the new Scandinavian sleaze wave. On the wake of R.I.S., actually, a lot of glam bands started to come out proposing a kind of music that seemed to have disappeared. A great part of the merit is due to Dave Lepard, a great musician gone too soon. After funding a glam label, it was natural for us to pay homage to him. We exist also thanks to him and his music.
Brian Rademacher: What does Street Symphonies have to do to use a song by another band like CRASHDÏET ?
Stefano Gottardi: We have to pay the royalties to the Italian society which is entitled to safeguard the artists.
Did you contact any members of CRASHDÏET and ask if any of them were interested in working on the project "Reborn In Sleaze" ?
Stefano Gottardi: We contacted Peter London who gave us his and CRASHDÏET ‘s management support for the making of the cd. He promised that he would take part in the realization of the tribute and he personally confirmed it at a concert in Bologna, but unfortunately he couldn’t keep his promise. Anyway, I’d like to thank him and CRASHDÏET for giving their approval to our project. It was an important incentive that helped us to start in the right way.
Brian Rademacher: Did you contact Dave’s Mother Mrs. Liz Hellman and ask her thoughts?
Stefano Gottardi: Yes, Lisbeth was the first person I contacted when we began thinking about the project. She gave her support from the beginning with great enthusiasm and we constantly kept her informed about how things were going on. She came out to be a fantastic woman and I often thought about how Dave was lucky having such a mother. I’m sure he must be proud of her, wherever he is now.
Brian Rademacher: How did you go about picking the songs that were going to be recorded?
Stefano Gottardi: We were given some songs already done by the bands; other ones were registered by Oscar at his recording studio, Atomic Stuff, in Isorella, Brescia, Italy.
Brian Rademacher: I read that you contacted some higher profile artists and they neglected to respond (example HARDCORE SUPERSTAR). Is that true? And who were the other bands?
First, I must say that we are a small independent label and our means are limited. When the project started, in January 2010, Myspace still ruled and we tried to contact some artists by the network or e-mail. We knew that those bands who had a longer career than CRASHDÏET ’s probably would decline our offer, but we tried all the same. We contacted some well-known artists that had some contacts with Dave, often suggested by Lisbeth, but none of them accepted, on the contrary many didn’t even answer. I prefer to avoid citing their names. In case they regret having lost the occasion to pay homage to Dave, they will face their own conscience.
Brian Rademacher: I also heard that there were many bands that wanted to participate but the project was already being worked on, is that true? Can you tell us some of the other bands?
Stefano Gottardi: I can’t remember any of them noteworthy or that I particularly regret for not being on the CD.
Brian Rademacher: Is it true SISTER pulled out of the project and if so do you know why?
Stefano Gottardi: Yes, it’s true. At a certain point the guys told us that they had signed a contract and that the new label was not excited about the idea of their collaboration in the tribute; they also had to work on their debut album and they hadn’t much time to spend on the making of our project. They were not the only ones. Unfortunately we started this project guided by our passion and not by the mentality of a discographer, believing that those bands that really wanted to show the world how great Dave was, would have participated with enthusiasm to our project and would never turn their back on us. Unfortunately after some time we realized that we were wrong; our faith in the artists made us believe that it wasn’t necessary to ask the bands to sign a written contract.
Brian Rademacher: Now getting to "Reborn In Sleaze: A Tribute To Dave Lepard". I heard most of the sample teaser tracks on YouTube and many of those songs are killer. The one that stands out in my mind is PEEP SHOW. That track blows me away and I get images of Dave so vividly. But let’s go artist by artist ...
With all the great music and the songs they covered this should be a great release. But I do love when I see quotes by people who saw the two released teasers on YouTube saying it don’t sound like Dave.
- MIDNITE SUN - Knokk 'Em Down
(Can’t say I was happy with this one)
- SPEED STROKE - Riot In Everyone
(Don’t know much about these guy but they smoked on the song)
- SKULL DAZE - Queen Obscene / 69 Shots
(Kicked it up, my second favorite rendition) Amazing!
- PEEP SHOW - Breakin' The Chainz
(The best and actually I got Goosebumps listening)
- SUPERHORRORFUCK - Needle In Your Eye
(I like these boys. A little harsher vocals but cool)
- RAGDOLLS - Tikket
(Didn’t hear the track yet)
- CYANIDE 4 - Out Of Line
(Did a kick ass job keeping to the same mold as Dave but with their own touch)
- DNR - It's A Miracle
(Did a good job with a different flare of their own)
- HELL IN THE CLUB - Straight Outta Hell
(They put their own spin on the tune and I like it)
- SHINING LINE - Back On Trakk
(Didn’t get to hear the track)
- BLACKRAIN - Lost Horizons (bonus track)
(BLACK RAIN kinda went in their own direction but sounds good)
Stefano Gottardi: Our goal was and is to pay homage to Dave, obviously each band has its own view of others’ music so we thought it was better to give them freedom of expression. As I already said, what we wanted was to collect 11 bands that paid homage to Dave Lepard, not 11 bands playing his songs better than him.
Brian Rademacher: One band I would have liked to hear on the CD is JOHNNY BURNING. Are they working on a new release? Killer band…
Stefano Gottardi: After the beginning of the making of the tribute, the two guitarists of JOHNNY BURNING, Niko and D.B., left the band and founded SPEED STROKE, who played the song they had promised us to perform when they were still part of JOHNNY BURNING, "Riot In Everyone". For what concerns JOHNNY BURNING, they have been looking for the missing players since April 2010. I know that they are still doing some auditions I was given the opportunity to listen to a couple of new songs they recorded on their own. They really have a high quality. I hope they will soon come back on stage and give light to a great album.
Brian Rademacher: For me this release is just a stepping stone in keeping the legend Dave Lepard’s memory alive and I hope fans support this release.
Stefano Gottardi: We hope so. We will print only 200 numbered copies and they will be sell just on our website www.streetsymphonies.com and at the Lepard Store in Uppsala, Sweden, by Lisbeth Hellman. A part of the income will be given to the Dave Lepard Memorial Fund, the association dedicated in the name of Dave, to the young musicians. We could have decided to print more copies, but our hope was not making money, on the contrary we simply wanted to pay homage to Dave. Because of illegal download of music, we decided to print a small amount of copies, just for the real fans of Dave; the ones who really want an original copy of this tribute album and we are sure that there are at least 200 people wishing to buy a copy. If so they have to be fast and they will have a unique object as a reward.
Brian Rademacher: Before ending Stefano I would like you to tell me what Dave Lepard meant to you?
Stefano Gottardi: He showed a great faith in his capabilities and he managed to bring back a lost genre; my favourite one. I feel a true affection and respect for him. I regret not having known him personally but every time that I listen to one of his songs I feel his presence.
Brian Rademacher: Does Street Symphonies having any upcoming releases that you would like to mention before we go.
Stefano Gottardi: Soon we will release for the first time on CD the debut album of a cult Italian band named JOLLY POWER "Like an Empty Bottle… Again! " which will contain the album "Like an empty bottle" and some other songs and videos previously unreleased. For logic(il)logic there will be the release of ABSYNTH AURA, the band of Giorgio "JT" Terenziani and Michele "DR.Viossy" Vioni, two popular musicians known in Italy for their collaboration with Michele Luppi (ex singer of VISION DIVINE) and for the band KILLING TOUCH. We will also produce the double solo album by Dr.Freak and Mr. Four of SUPERHORRORFUCK, named "Rock N Roll Brotherood". We are working on other projects and we are interested in some bands and we will inform you as soon as possible.
Brian Rademacher: Would you like to say anything in closing?
Stefano Gottardi: I would like to say to young people to support independent and underground music and to buy some CD’s. You can buy a CD at a cost of a couple of beers, support an artist and bring home something that you will have forever. I would like to thank you Brian for this interview and for your collaboration in the tribute. We need more people with your enthusiasm.
I contacted each band that was represented on the release. Some gave quotes below:
Liz Hellman (Dave’s Mom)
I am so damn proud of what Dave did, not counting that last stupid decision...you know what I mean...But he would be proud of this!! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sound like the original (but that is not the point) but just seeing Dave on the CD cover, having people covering his stuff makes me happy for my poor little stupid boy ;)
I wish he can see how much all these people still loves him and his voice.
I think this is such a great big thing that "Street Symphonies" is making this CD, I am forever grateful of this, Thank you all who's involved in this, Hugz
Chris Laney, Friend and producer of CRASHDÏET ’ "Rest In Sleaze"
I had the honor to "find" CRASHDÏET , or did they "Find" me??? Dunno....
Our first meeting was at the McDonalds at the Stockholm Central... I had to buy them a coffee and a cheeseburgers since none of them (except Martin) seemed to have a nickel to spare... So anyways, we ended up with a hand shake that I would give em a production that could land them a deal... my only problem was that I hooked them up with a drum studio and couldn’t be there for the actual recording... anyways, we rehearsed good...or not.... (In my ZAN CLAN’s rehearsing room)... they were drunk outta control.
When we finally got to MY studio we made...... magic???!!! We thought so!!! We drank and laughed and made plans... seriously... I didn’t expect it to come true, pr didn’t wanna make them believe... but Dave, He was dead on serious!!! And guess what, he was right!
When we finally made the album, I quit 2 times, we had fights (the record company made him call me and apologize to come back a couple of time, band mates cried , I cried), but we made it! This album was true "Drugs, Sweat and drinks"...
I think that is why people like it, I love it, I hate it! It has so many good sides in my memory, but too many Bad at the same time, like a drug!
Cheers to my old partner in crime Dave (and of coz, Sweet, London & Young)... You got what you wanted brother, I'll give you that! Bring on the beers in about 50 years, you know you owe me ;)
Lottsa luv /
Johnny Gunn: PEEP SHOW
"We are very honored to have played our part in the 'Reborn in Sleaze' album. Dave Lepard was a unique and talented singer/song writer and to pay tribute to him with our recording of 'Breaking The Chainz' has been a great opportunity. We know the album will do very well and all the proceeds collected for the RIS foundation will continue to support and contribute to the funding for up-and-coming musicians.
In the words of Mr Lepard "All is right, cos we're breaking the chainz!"
DNR (DREAMS NOT REALITY)
"When Stefano from Street Symphonies called us asking if we could be interested in workin' with 'em for a Dave Lepard tribute album, we accepted with no hesitation!!! Bein' part of this project was a real honor for us... we all love CRASHDÏET , most of all their early works with Dave... "Rest in Sleaze" will be forever a masterpiece in the new wave of Swedish sleaze metal story. We loved to perform such a cool track like "It's a Miracle" ...that song and its mood were just perfect for us. Hope you'll all enjoy and like our own version of this amazing CRASHDÏET hit... all in the name of... Dave Lepard! R.I.P. man!"
Thanx once again to Street Symphonies Records for givin' us the opportunity to be part of it and to Rockeyez for the support!!!
HELL IN THE CLUB
"..It’s not easy to pay tribute to an artist like Dave Lepard. We discussed the matter pretty much when they asked us to participate in the compilation. We love CRASHDÏET and we respect Dave's work on "Rest in Sleaze" so much that it wasn't easy to just say, "ok let's do it..who cares!". So, we decided to enter the studio, lay down the tracks of the song they asked us to do and see if the result was good enough to our ears and not just a cheap version of a classic "Straight Outta Hell". It may not be the most representative song both for Dave and the band but I think it has great strength and power and this is what we tried to give to our version...in the vein of HELL IN THE CLUB's songs like "No Appreciation" for example. The result was great and it was awesome to be able to do it and be part of this cd. Thanx to Stefano for the effort and the opportunity! Rock'n'roll!!"
"I'm not really into this new swedish rock bands,but when they asked us to join this tribute,i though it would be a cool thing to be part of it"
Johnny Rainbow SKULL DAZE
"It's a true honor for the SHINING LINE team in having this chance to pay homage to one of the most underrated rock artists of the latest years: Dave Lepard.
When "Rest In Sleaze" was released back in 2005, I've been simply blown away by the incredible energy spreaded by this great "new" (at that time) band called CRASHDÏET . It was clear from the first moment that they had all the numbers to become one of the new sensations in the sleaze rock scene, especially for their powerful approach which found in Dave Lepard the perfect leader: his unquestionable attitude for the genre was the real key behind the huge music and artistical value of "Rest In Sleaze", and his invaluable loss has represented one of the saddest moments in the music world of the new millennium.
RIP (and RIS), Dave."
We're glad to be a part of it!! it has to do with the rawness and madness that has been brought up by Dave's distribution to CRASHDÏET 's music that influenced us in a way as a band
It’s a pleasure for BLACKRAIN to be part of that tribute CD! We’ve been recording "Lost Horizons" cuz we loved the demo version.
"Lost Horizons" was a song CRASHDÏET suggested to include into "Rest in Sleaze" album, unfortunately their label refused the song!
We really had the feeling it was a kind of waste not to use that song in a real album, that’s why we asked CRASHDÏET members n Dave' s mum if that would be okay to make a cover...
Since the answers were positive we did the recording n have actually two different versions of the track.
We have to mention that we didn’t t really know how to use the song n the fact that Street Symphonies had the project to make a tribute cd was the perfect opportunity for us to release that cover!! It’s a great idea to support one of the best sleaze album of all time,
A great tribute to one of the best composer of our generation...!