A Music Evangelist Special by Keavin Wiggins
Best Kept Secret!
that is a bold statement. But in the case of the Szuters it is appropriate.
I first discovered their unique sound a couple of years ago. A friend from
Japan sent me a copy of their debut album stating "You gotta check these
guys out!" It is safe to say that the Szuters have remained in heavy rotation
in my cd player ever since. In fact The Szuters were one of the reasons
that Rock n World was created. We wanted to give great under rated bands
more exposure. Part of the way we do that is with the Artist of the Month
Special, if any band has earned that title it is the Szuters.
by brothers Mike and CJ Szuter in Cleveland Ohio, the Szuters captured
the best of the midwestern pop sound and combined it with a 90's alternative
edge. The Szuters have achieved one of the hardest feats in music,
creating a sound all their own. Struggling to come up with a band to compare
them to is an exercise in futility. The bands singer and guitarist Mike
Szuter has an exceptionally unique voice and guitar sound. C.J. fills out
the guitar sound as other half of the Szuters duel lead guitar team. The
bottom end is aided by one the hardest hitting drummers since John Bonham,
John Fedevich. Craig Martini the bands bassist lends his exceptional skill
to filling out the bands overall sound with his great chops. All members
of the band take up the task of backing vocals resulting in the Szuters
powerful harmonies. Once exposed to The Szuters it only takes hearing
a couple bars of any of their songs for the listener to easily identify
its source as the Szuters.
was this unique sound that caught the ears of Paul Gilbert, who happened
upon a demo from the band. The former guitarist for Mr. Big was so impressed
he dialed the number on the inside of the cassette case and offered the
Szuters a recording contract on the JVC label in Japan.
Gilbert helped the Szuters produce one the finest debut albums of the 90's.
And the band quickly captured an audience in the land of the rising sun.
With tracks like Friend's like these, Mr. Norton, and If I can't
have you, the Szuters created a modern day master piece. Being eternal
workaholics the band didn't rest on their laurels, they quickly released
a follow up album called American Pop. The draw back of having a
dynamic debut album is accomplishing the task of toping yourself. The Szuter
did that with ease, American Pop picked up where the debut left
off. American Pop contained exceptional harmonies and melodies on
tracks like Life Goes on, Cigarette, Isabella, and She
tells everybody, not to mention the hard driving yet melodic guitars.
The Szuters easily captured our nod for best independent Pop album for
the Japanese fans got a taste of the Szuters, fans state side were stuck
special ordering their CD's as imports. In walks Steve Rainz president
of Decompression Records. Steve fell witness to the same magic that captivated
Paul Gilbert and in turn signed the Szuters to his label. The result was
the bands US debut - Last Band Standing.
album is a cross section of the best elements of the Szuter sound, from
the college radio alternative hit Cigarette, to the harmony rich Farther
Band Standing is a great example of the evolution of the Szuters, with
each new release the band appears to be expanding their musical reach.
This album is already a top contender for the best pop album of 1999 here
at Rock n World.
Just a Studio Band!
the unique pleasure of catching up with the band at a recent show at the
Coconut Teaser in Hollywood. Having only been exposed to their music on
CD, I was interested to see if they could reproduce their sound live. I
was not disappointed, despite the handicap of a terrible PA ( it might
have just been the sound man), the band pulled off a great 45 minute set
of mostly newer material. The show opener Antichrist Theme set the
ball rolling as the band captivated the audience with songs like Annika,
High School Varsity Superstar, Farther Falling Star, Dim the Lights,
and old favorite If I can't have you, and closed with a cover of
the show I discussed many topics with Mike Szuter ranging from his trip
in April to Japan to play bass on the Paul Gilbert Tour to the bands plans
for the future. The Szuters will be back in the studio in May to record
a new album for JVC. Mike was kind enough to play me a demo of a couple
of the new tracks, all that can be said is it is their best music yet.
Being a prolific song writer Mike says he writes music almost every time
he picks up his guitar, and if he remembers the song the next day he takes
it to the band. While most bands run out of fresh material by their third
of forth album The Szuters keep cranking out great new music which should
keep their fans happy for years to come.
the Music Stupid!
thing has to be said about this band, while many musicians are in the game
for the money, sex or fame, The Szuters are in it for their love of music.
You can hear it in every note the band plays. While at this point super
stardom eludes them, The band keeps making the music they love. It is the
authors hope that success does find this band, they truly deserve it. Indeed,
The Szuters are America's Best Kept Secret, all you have to do is listen
to any of their albums to understand this. Now it is up to you, we have
let you in on the secret. All you have to do is get all three of their
albums and discover their magic for yourself, then do like we have, spread
the secret to everyone you know. What good are secrets if you can't tell
people about them?
Audio Courtesy of Decompression Records
tracks are from Last
Band Standing Available on Decompression
Stats on the Szuter's
Szuter - Vocals, Guitar
Szuter - Guitar, Vocals
Fedevich - Drums
Martini - Bass
Szuters 1996 JVC/VICTOR (Japan)
Pop 1998 JVC/VICTOR (Japan) Review
Band Standing - 1998 Decompression Records (US)
Japanese CD's online
CD, and other Merch Click Here
Feature for the Szuters.
at Decompression Records