Jan 172013

Sweet-N-EvilSweet-N-Evil blitzed the music clubs in the tri-state area throughout the 1990s. In the days of grunge, we were giving a complete performance for both the eyes, and the ears. Led by bombastic singer Tracey Lepore, all those that were lucky enough to witness our onslaught, would never forget it.

Tracey and I began putting ideas together for the band in early 1990. We knew we didn’t want to be “just another band”, we wanted to be bigger than that. With her charisma and stage presence, I knew that with what we were planning, she was just the one to be able to pull it off.

We developed the concept of having a show with each song. In fact, when most bands just showed up at the club with their guitars, we were carrying around a 5 man crew/actors, tons of props, a bunch of lights, a follow spot, pyrotechnics and a sound man. Most nights it cost the band members money out of their pockets to pay the crew. Oh yea, I almost forgot… we also carried around another member of Sweet-N-Evil… Alice, an 8-foot boa constrictor. She was quite the performer!
Buy The Sweet-N-Evil Story – Limited Edition – Coffee Table Book

Tracey (sometimes with my help) choreographed all the action. I built all the scenery, props and initially, all the explosives. We could do things in those days, you couldn’t even think of getting away with today. Since I was the only one that could actually put the band on stage, I also drove the truck and roadied. It was a small price to pay to make sure everything went off without a hitch.

Long before we put Sweet-N-Evil (Tracey came up with the name) together, we began writing songs. The first one we ever wrote was Empty Love, and that song would be our show closer for the entire run of the band. Although we went through numerous guitar players and drummers, Tracey and I were always the core. We believed in what we were doing.

We placed ads in the local music paper called The Aquarian Weekly, looking for a guitar player and drummer. After talking to a number of people, we met with a couple guys who answered the ad together. The drummer’s name was Johnny K and the guitarist was Steve “Something”. Although we weren’t blown away be Steve, we really liked what Johnny brought to the game. We were anxious to get moving, so we took them both.We rehearsed for months and did our first show at Studio One in Newark, NJ on August 25, 1990. It was a huge rock club that booked some of the bigger name bands of the time. On August 26, after talking to Johnny, I fired Steve. He wasn’t the right guy for us.

We subsequently auditioned dozens of guitar players. We knew exactly what we wanted, as well as exactly what we didn’t want. The guy we chose was named Jim Neil. He had recently graduated from Berkeley School of Music in Boston, so he knew his way around a guitar, plus he understood and embraced what we were planning.

As soon as Jim joined, we went into the studio to record our first demo. Things really began to happen after that. I was handling all the bookings, and had us working 4-5 nights a week. The band was really getting tight.

This was the best period of Sweet-N-Evil. Everyone was on the same page and focusing on pushing the band in a forward direction. Jim took over the marketing and created a risque’ ad campaign that was very well “anticipated” each week in The Aquarian. Even if someone hadn’t seen us, they knew who we were, just from our ads. Many of those ads are in this volume.

In 1991, we decided that we would put on an Industry Showcase for the major record labels. On Halloween we attacked every record company in New York City. Johnny and I were dressed in grim reaper robes and we accompanied Tracey into each company, where she tried to work her way into an A&R rep’s office and hand them a small black coffin that contained our demo tape, a video trailer and an invitation to S.I.R. Studios on West 52nd Street, for the showcase. Jim drove the getaway car.

Record companies will not even talk to you in you are unsolicited, but we manged to get reps from Columbia, Polygram and Arista down to see us. Tracey even managed to get friendly with the rep from Columbia, but he didn’t think he could sell us, at that time.

Jim lasted for a few years and then retired from music. I hated to see him go… but, the show must go on.

Next up… Tracey’s brother Jeffrey. He went by the name of Sandy Michaels and he was a true flashy , 80s guitar-slinger. He brought a powerful burst of energy to the band, so we didn’t miss a beat. While the most productive version of the band was with Jim, but musically, this was the best.

Opportunities came and went and we kept pushing. Johnny left to get married and we went through a couple drummers, until we settled on a real heavy-hitter named Mark Celli. When his girlfriends weren’t trying to kill him or burn his house down, he was quite a good drummer. At this point, the band got a bit heavier.

Not too long after Mark joined Sandy quit and we replaced him with Tommy Rich. We had come full circle. Just as we had with Steve, we settled. Not that Tommy wasn’t a decent guitar player; he was, but he had no clue of what we were really about. His wife got pregnant, and that was the end of him.

I just couldn’t audition another player and teach them the songs, so I decided to take a break. There’s not a day that I don’t miss it, and not a day that I don’t think about how incredible it was. Tracey and I were always on the exact same page. We didn’t go for a ride, we drove it, and drove it hard. We did it our way. We had fans, not just in the tri-state area, but all over the world. While we never got the big break that we were shooting for, we still gave 1000% every night, and I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it. It was the best time of my life!

Available for the first time; the complete history of Sweet-N-Evil in a beautiful LIMITED EDITION, 12 X 12 coffee table book.

Buy The Sweet-N-Evil Story – Limited Edition – Coffee Table Book

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