Interview with Guitarist Andy Scott of the Legendary Sweet (UK)

By Mick Michaels

Cosmick View: Hello, Andy! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to speak with us. It's greatly appreciated.

CV: With Sweet's new single, "Everything (2021)," do you see the possibility of re-recording other older tracks in the band's back catalog? Is it something you would entertain for future releases?"
Andy Scott: When we went into lockdown in the U.K. we were in the process of starting work on a new album of original material but we realized early on that this project was going to be shelved. No contact meant lots of Zoom calls and it gave me time to think. Around August/September 2020 some of the isolation rules were relaxed and I had been busy scouring my recording archive, now digitized thankfully, which yielded a pile of great drum tracks that were never used on masters. I now had about a dozen songs to work on. Then that light bulb moment happened, most of these tracks were on the US version of our 1975 album - Desolation Boulevard. A “new” title - Isolation Boulevard 2020 was born. I am still surprised how well received and successful this record has been…most people have treated it like a new album then gone back to find the original DB which is great. I am proud of the band and the record and it seems to have injected new life into Sweet and to answer the question, I wouldn’t rule out more obscure covers in the future.

CV: You were recently quoted saying that the overall production of "Everything (2021)" is far superior to that of the original 2002 version.  What do you feel makes this track better? Is it a matter of recording techniques and standards or something more having to do with the band's current lineup that's making such a big difference in your opinion?

AS: The new recording is all on the computer whereas the 2002 recording was a mix of tape and digital hard drive recorder plus midi dedicated stuff. I guess what I was trying to say was, the band is at its best and the recording technique has never been better…digital recording is so forgiving these days and will help you not fight you, with the added bonus of mixing on the fly. Mixing sessions can be relatively quick and less stressful.

CV: How difficult is it for a classic band such as Sweet, with so many iconic songs, to work newer material into its live set? Are there certain expectations from the fans to keep those songs in the set making it harder for newer tracks to see the light of day?

AS: There are many songs that we have to perform, that is written in stone. We would never fill a set with new songs at a festival or a multi-bill with other bands from our era, new songs would be premiered on tours that appear due to a new album release and as the audience at those gigs would be a dedicated fan-base, we would probably play 3-4 new songs in a row as a showcase. Anyway, given that we play for 60 minutes at festivals which means we couldn’t play all our hits in that time slot, so new songs really aren’t what the audience want to hear.

CV: Does having such a track record of memorable albums and singles ever create a source of stress for you when writing new music? Do you find yourself trying to outdo what you did before?

AS: I am not a prolific songwriter at the moment. I kind of write when we need material. That is not to say that I don’t get ideas, I jot words and sayings down all the time. I have quite realistic dreams and when I wake up if a song is still in my head, I jot it down. The words to songs such as “Love is Like Oxygen” came in a similar way. My main problem is editing myself and I suppose I don’t pursue ideas that I feel won’t go the distance.

CV: Because of Sweet's prior successes, do you ever feel tied to the past as a songwriter?

AS: We have always tried to progress and look forward but the past is what brings the audience into the venues. I hope the Sweet from the 70s which got pigeon-holed as a glam band in the U.K. is now firmly in the past. The success of the recent singles should indicate that the future looks good. Bring on 2022!

CV: Sweet influenced so many bands: KISSDef LeppardMotley Crue and some would even argue Queen. Was there ever a thought that the music you would create would have such an impact on future generations of artists?

AS: When we were having our initial success in the early 70s we were just concentrating on seeing how far up the greasy pole we could get. Every day brought new challenges and mountains to climb so thinking about the future was more reactive than planned. However, looking back, Sweet we’re influenced by our idols - The Shadows, Beatles, Beach Boys, Yardbirds, Zeppelin, Purple, etc., so it makes sense that bands and musicians breaking through after us had their inspiration too…so why not Sweet. Obviously as time goes by here we are 50 odd years on and musicians still come up to me and say without you and your band I would not have picked up a guitar, etc. It creates a warm feeling of pride that we did that.

CV: With live music starting to come back around the world since the start of the pandemic, what was one thing you may have now come to appreciate more than before with performing?
AS: We have only performed at a couple of festivals this year and apart from the recording studio the physical buzz of having the guitar around my neck, was something I hadn’t felt for more than 50 years. We all felt the apprehension before taking to the stage but once we were out there with the audience singing along, everything was normal again.

CV: As a musician and being in a band, is it ever a case of fearing the unknown when it comes to releasing new material, especially in the new, modern-day music industry that now claims there are over 60K new uploads daily?

AS: There is a Beach Boys song from Pet Sounds - “I just wasn’t made for these times” - this kind of sums up my thoughts on the modern music industry. I think if you are internet savvy and a marketing genius you can manipulate or influence what is considered success. A lot of it doesn’t seem real. Sweet will never break the charts in U.K. because of the above. We do pretty well with record sales not racing against time and we still have albums that chart in other countries especially Europe but making sense of what used to be a chart for record sales baffles me. Please don’t get me started on streaming!

CV: In addition to the new singles release and the upcoming UK tour, what more can fans expect to see coming from Sweet?

AS: Well there is still life in the old dog yet. There will be a new album with new material next year. We are already some way into it and the beginning of 2022 will see us putting things to bed. I would also like to thank all the fans who are coming to the U.K. shows and just to be safe wear masks if necessary, get vaccinated and be aware. Let common sense prevail. We as a band have seen other tours get cancelled half way through because of COVID and we are determined to see this through. We will have strict protocols backstage and travelling so that this tour will be as successful and stress fee as possible with happy smiling faces. We look forward to seeing you all somewhere on the road.

CV: Thanks again Andy for taking the time to share with our readers. We wish you all the best and continued success.

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The Cosmick Voice
Music, Talk & Nothing But Business

My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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  1. hey mick , thans for that GREAT interview with Andy from my all time favourite band !!! You reald picked some very very INTERESTING questions .....i realize you are a musician as well , because the kind of questions YOU asked are way way DIFFERENT from the questions that an ordinary music journalist would ask ! Billiant ....keep up the great work ....and i wish you all the success in the world for your own band !!!

    best wishes from Thomas from GERMANY


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