A couple of months ago we featured San Fran rockers Sir Lord Von Raven’s track – The Age of Machines as our Record of the Day (HERE). After securing a vinyl copy of their 22-song double album, it quickly became a staple on my soundtrack of the summer of 2015 playlist. Yep, 22 songs.
Eric Johnson initially started SLVR as a solo project in 2009 with a group of musicians and producer Greg Ashley (Gris Gris, the Mirrors). They released the full-length – Please Throw Me Back In the Ocean, and everyone involved was so into the result they decided to take things to the next level and stay together as a band.
Their second – The Age of Machines, is as pure of a rock and roll record as it gets these days. Taking influences from at least the past seven decades of rock and roll, SLVR mix it all together to create a solid classic rock vibe, while still managing to make things sound fresh and contemporary. Just think doo-wop, 60s garage, 70s glam, Faces, Mott the Hoople, Stones, you know, only some of the greatest rock and roll ever, except they’ve shined up the old brown shoes and put on a brand new shirt. SLVR is a veritable musical polymath.
We hooked up with Eric “Sir Lord Von Raven” Johnson for a few questions.
Eric- guitar, lead vocals
Greg Ashley- Lead guitar
Josh Miller- bass, backing vocals
Chris Johnson- Drums
People say we sound like….
The Rolling Stones ( a friend of mine even said he thought we sounded like the 70’s Stones doing the 60’s Stones)?, a shittier Idle Race, Johnny Thunders meets 999, Guided by Voices ??
How did you become Sir Lord Von Raven?
By hanging out together, drinking and listening to records. Greg used to live in the same apartment as I did and he humored me by recording a few songs that I had written at the time. Then our buddy Jay Bronzini (RIP) stepped in on drums and then we asked Josh if he wanted in on bass.
After the tragedy with Jay’s death it took us a while to get back on our feet, but then an old friend, Tony “the Mongoose” Leal blew into town and we went back to work. Although that was short-lived when he left us to tour with a band called Part Time. So back to the drawing board we went until one night a in a local bar I saw a friend, Chris Johnson, who is an amazing drummer, said that he would be interested in trying out. So it worked out and he agreed to do it as long as I drive him to and fro each practice. We are in the current lineup today.
Your voice is very distinctive but it sounds like a strange mix of Mick Jagger, Nick Cash (999) and Ian Hunter. Whose voice knocks your socks off?
There have always been countless good singers , but just to name a few that I like are Tina Turner, Noddy Holder, Kermit the Frog, Ray Charles, Bowie, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Self, …….
What music has had an influence on your sound?
All the bad ass Rock and Roll that has ever existed through the 20th century!!!!!!! Mostly stuff from 1920 to 1984
Tell us about your live show… It’s live
What do you make of the music industry right now in the Age of Machines?
I feel like there is no middle road. You’re either bigtime or you’re not. Gauging success is not realistic since stars are usually made by the people controlling the industry. They spoon feed all the people what to like and a lot of people have no idea that there is so much good music out in plain view that they will never hear in their lifetime. I kinda hope the internet will crush the industry completely……
Why did you decide to release a 22 song album?
Well, when he had enough material for an album it still didn’t seem complete so we kept recording and we actually cut some songs to fit the current 22. We then talked to Guitar and Bongos and asked, “Hey do you wanna put out our double lp”? and Eran said, “Sure, Why not”?
Then I ran back home, made the album artwork and delivered it to him within the week so he wouldn’t change his mind!
And double records are just so rare and nostalgic! I know we could be shooting ourselves in foot by pushing people to buy a double album, but if they don’t get it fuck them
Growing up, at home I listened to…..
My dad’s music, which consisted of mostly classic rock (Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Grand Funk, etc) and my mom’s music, which was mostly soul (“I’m your puppet”, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, etc).
I also really got in top The Cure in middle school and then moved on to The Misfits and onto 60’s stuff like The Kinks and the MC5 and so on and so on… I kept looking further into the past, then forward and then back again. Apparently no one has to make any music anymore since you can always listen back to the limitless amount of music previously recorded in history.
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…
I just heard Ariel Pink’s latest album, “Pom Pom” and it blew my lid , man!! I was never a hardcore fan, but if he makes more albums this good I’m a lifer. Also, this happens to be a double album as well, ha ha!!
Lately in the stack is Dale Hawkins, Alice Cooper’s Greatest hits, Protex, Buddy Knox, OMD, The Move “a Message to Country”, and some other shit……
If you could only bring ONE record (you can all answer if you like) in the tour van/bus/plane what would it be?
I guess I’d bring Ariel Pink’s “Pom Pom” and even though I haven’t heard it yet maybe I would bring The Go’s “Fiesta” , and since it’s a double album as well it would also work well for the long ride
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Making furniture, making books, making laboratory equipment and making dinner…. For real!
What’s up for 2015/2016?
A quadruple album?