Steve Priest, bassist by Tom Semioli
Seminal Sides: Just about a any Sweet Greatest Hits compilation will do….
Artists/Bands: The Sweet
Are you ready Steve?
He anchored the “Godfathers of Glam” – however The Sweet were much more than a passing pop trend. Pub rockers with a rhythm and blues background and strong vocal harmonies which set them apart from their loud and proud peers, the classic quartet of Brian Connolly, Andy Scott, Mick Tucker, and bassist Steve Priest initially made their commercial bones with bubble-gum tunes composed by Mike Chapmen and Nicky Chinn.
Yet the lads could also pen hits and album tracks that rocked hard akin to their competition– Thin Lizzy, Mott The Hoople, and T. Rex – hence the contradiction which plagued their career and legacy: were they substance or sizzle?
You be the judge. They certainly inspired the LA metal scene (Quiet Riot) and second wave of British metal (Def Leppard) of the 1980s, and indie-rockers of the 90s who worked in the pop spectrum cited them as a touchstone despite their tinsel trappings.
Akin to many players of his generation, Priest was drawn to the instrument by way of Jet Harris, and the harder edge aesthetic of the Rolling Stones and The Who. He toiled in various beat groups in the 1960s, The Countdown and The Army wherein he worked with legendary producer Joe Meek.
A singer / composer Priest was among rock’s consummate song players – working the pocket with occasional rhythmic and harmonic flourishes as the situation warranted.
Following The Sweet, Priest migrated to Los Angeles and formed The Allies which failed to reach a wide audience. In 2006 he waxed a solo slab Priest’s Private Poems. In 2008, after years away from the biz, Priest led his own version of The Sweet, and penned an autobiography Are You Ready Steve? in 1994 to tell his side of the Sweet story.
Among Priest’s weapons of choice included Fender and Rickenbacker basses.
Steve Priest Sound & Vision
“Fox On The Run” https://youtu.be/qBdFA6sI6-8
“Love Is Like Oxygen” https://youtu.be/zRgWvvkSvfk
“Talk to Me” from Priest’s Private Poems https://youtu.be/sUZxfMUSThE
Steve Priest’s The Sweet live in 2019 https://youtu.be/qCgIW8ZjleE