A talented guitarist known for his work with Queens Of The Stone Age and A Perfect Circle, Troy Van Leeuwen is ready to add a new chapter to his existence with Sweethead. As the musician told us, they’re a band that’s all about experimenting and using their strong chemistry to make rad music.
How did you come up with the name Sweethead?
Band names are silly. We decided “why not use the title of a Bowie B-side from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust that was banned for naughty lyrics?”. Makes sense to me.
If Sweethead was a physical being, what would it be and what type of personality would it have?
Sweethead would be a gypsy monkey wearing lots of gold jewelry and would have a mouth full of diamond piranha teeth. It would also have a gangster attitude but would still have a weakness for kittens.
When did you first get involved in music?
Music has always been a powerful presence in my life. My mom said that when I was young, I wouldn’t talk for days but I would make rhythmic sounds with my teeth and I would just hum. I guess you’d call that autism today.
How did the band first come about?
Serrina and I have been writing songs for a while but it wasn’t until I had a break from Queens Of The Stone Age that we decided to record these songs with my friends Norm and Eddie. During that process the band developed it’s chemistry and the music just started flowing through us.
Which artists influence you the most?
I like artists who reinvent themselves: Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Tom Waits and George Clinton.
The Kinks or Them Crooked Vultures?
Even Them Crooked Vultures would say The Kinks.
How would you describe your music?
In what way would you say your band’s music is different from other associated acts like Queens Of The Stone Age and A Perfect Circle?
Like with any band, the sound should reflect the chemistry between individuals. This chemistry set that we call Sweethead is really charged by the X chromosome.
It seems as if rock has been lacking a rugged yet sophisticated frontwoman for quite some time now. Do you think Serrina Sims fills that void?
With conflicting schedules from the other acts you guys are in, is there a new release date for your next record?
The North American edition of the Sweethead debut record comes out on May 11. It’s different from the debut we released overseas. There’s a new song on the album called “City Of Dirt” which we just shot a video for. Also there’s a few B-sides that we finished along with some remixes.
We are not aiming for a particular sound. We’re a band that is constantly writing and experimenting. Playing live is part of that process and since we spent most of the last year touring in the U.K. and Europe, we plan on spending some time touring in the U.S. and Canada this summer, so look out for us.
What’s one unique thing you bring to the table that other bands don’t?
We smell terrific.
What’s been your favourite show that you’ve played and why?
We had the pleasure of opening for Them Crooked Vultures at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. There’s something about playing that venue in front of a full house that makes you feel electric.
What’s missing from today’s music scene and what does it need less of?
I’d like to see more booty shaking and less belly aching.
What does music mean to you?
Music is the fabric of my universe. Without it I’d be naked and lost in a void. If that happened, I would just have to focus on my other job as a male stripper at Party Boys.
[What do you think of Sweethead?]