It’s 2009, and Sweet Water are back with a great new record, “Clear the Tarmac “ (Golden City) and a welcome return to the stage. But, to best understand the return of Sweet Water, and the commitment they put into “Clear the Tarmac” you must understand their past.
Rising from the ashes of 80s Seattle punk bands SGM, Skank Puppies, and The Experience, Sweet Water (Adam, Cole, Paul, and Credo) shot to near-stardom in the early 90s Seattle explosion. Propelled by keen pop-punk sensibilities, spacey glam songwriting, and fueled by a roaring wall of guitar, Sweet Water delivered on the promises of rock and roll.
Sweet Water's live performances back then were hot, sweaty, screaming, smoky, passionate, substance-fueled affairs that permanently burned memories into their fans’ brains.
Singer Adam Czeisler shined like the bastard child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger – a real frontman in an era of shoegazers.
Bassist Cole Peterson looked as if he could have stepped onstage with The Who, The Beatles, Wings or Queen.
Drummer Paul Uhlir (aka “The Jeweler”), was truly the hardest-working man on the stage. Paul became known as the man who not only drove the music, but the band itself. Without Paul, there would be no Sweet Water.
Rich Credo's guitar playing was then, and still is without a doubt the bleeding and beating rock and roll heart of Sweet Water. Credo builds the bricks for Sweet Water's wall of sound – for what is rock and roll without a guitar hero?
Sweet Water's raw rock and roll power was tempered by an earnest effort to write well-crafted and meaningful songs. At times elegant, sometimes full of anger, angst and pain, and often before their time – Sweet Water's songs are a rosetta stone for rock and roll in the modern era. Rock and roll, glam, punk, pop, metal, garage, lo-fi - all the influences are there – but none strong enough to weaken the integrity of the whole.
Sweet Water's four albums outline the trajectory of a band searching to define itself. Their 1990 debut, “Ter” (New Rage, re-released on Golden City) has all the youthful energy and enthusiasm of a young band riding a wave of popularity and loving it.
Sweet Water's second album, the self-titled major label debut on Atlantic caught the band at a crossroads, at times staying true to their glam punk roots - at other times veering into arena rock territory – but it all works, as evidenced by the hit “Everything Will be Just Fine.” The self-titled album showcased the strength of Adam Czeisler’s vocals and gave the boys their first chance at the big time.
Then there was 1995's “Superfriends” (East/West - Elektra), a classic of the alternative era. Produced by rock legend Dave Jerden, “Superfriends” is a collection of driving guitar gems like “Cake and Strychnine”, radio ready pop-punk anthems such as “Superstar” and “Feed Yourself”, and more introspective pieces like “Self Hater.” The album is Sweet Water at their young, wild and free best.
Recorded in 1997 as a follow-up to “Superfriends” and released in 1999, “Suicide” (Good-Ink) was fueled by cynicism for the recording industry, and driven by a love for all things rock, “Suicide” was the band's attempt to kill itself in a blaze of rock and roll glory.
It's impossible to talk about Sweet Water without making mention of the Parc Boys record (Will, 1998). Just for a bit, the boys were able to get free of the record company weasels and create a side project album that turned out to be way ahead of its time. Parc Boys is a new wave gem, chock full of Gary Numan keyboards and robot voices. Parc Boys proved to be highly influential, quirky and full of the attention to songwriting that made Sweet Water so special.
But, here we are, it’s 2009 and Sweet Water is still alive and stronger than ever, it seems.
Hot on the heels of a successful return to the stage this past summer, Sweet Water will release "Clear the Tarmac" on Jan 20th, 2009 on Seattle indie label, Golden City.
“Clear the Tarmac” is the band’s first record in nine years, and fifth full-length overall. A collection of ten new songs, Sweet Water proves they haven't slowed down or lost their ability to play loud and hard, all while showcasing their growth and diversity. Creating a record that is as much guitar-rock as it is psychedelic, Brit-pop, and power-pop influenced: think big hooks, charged melodies, plenty of rock momentum, and a wiser, more emotional lyrical bite.
Armed with a sound tempered by years of ups and downs in the music business, the new record is stripped down and focused.
As seasoned veterans, the band was able to write and record great songs for the pure enjoyment and rush of the creation. The self-produced new record realizes the power of a Sweet Water show more fully than any of their previously recorded material.
It is chock full of the songwriting that made Sweet Water so irresistible in the 90s, and also shows the personality and charm of the band in a more intense way than ever before.
"This record is the best thing we have ever put out," Bassist Cole Peterson says without hesitation. "I think rock is one-hundred percent bulletproof. Sweet Water is a monster that lives on new songs, so things are good right now.”
Now that "Clear the Tarmac" is done and set for release in early 2009, the band looks forward to getting the record out and hearing both critics and fans' reactions, as well as playing as much as possible, including an appearance at 2009's SxSW Music Festival.
It's been nine long years since the release of Suicide. The boys in the band have been all over the place in that time.
Adam became a father, started and destroyed a new band (The March Lions) and wrote the code for MSN Messenger.
Credo famously quit all music and devoted his life to being a father to his two sons. But all guitar heroes must rise again.
Cole continued to hone his songwriting craft, leaking tapes out to the world under at least a dozen assumed names.
And, drummer Paul? He kept the dream alive, playing in a host of bands, waiting for the dust to settle, and the wounds to heal. Patiently marking time until the next show and the next record; and that time is now.