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Rocking is still a Sweet pursuit

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011

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British rockers the Sweet were together for three years before scoring their first hit, “Funny Funny,” in 1971. But guitarist Steve Priest says the hooky, melodic single, one of the first fruits of an association with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, was considerably different from what the Sweet had been doing to that time.

“We were doing stuff like (the Byrds’) ‘Eight Miles High’ and pretty good West Coast stuff,” recalls Priest, 63, who resides in Los Angeles. “We always loved the West Coast type of music, surfing stuff — the Beach Boys and the Shadows, who were like the English version of surf music.

“But when ‘Funny Funny’ came along, I had a kid and we weren’t earning very much. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so we did it. And that changed a lot of things.”

“Funny Funny” led to even bigger hits such as “Little Willy,” “The Ballroom Blitz” and, later, “Fox on the Run” and “Love is Like Oxygen.” These days there are two Sweets — one led in North America by Priest, the other operating in Europe by bassist Andy Scott. “We don’t talk,” Priest notes. But he’s very happy with his band and hopes to make some fresh music with it in the near future.

“I’ve got ideas rumbling around in my head, and eventually we’ll have a new CD,” Priest says. “But at the moment, people want to hear what they know. I understand that. I know I want to have the album first before I heard somebody playing it. So whatever we do, I want to have the stuff out there. Then we’ll rehearse it up and play it. That’s the right way, I think.”

The Sweet performs at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at the Stars & Stripes Festival in downtown Mount Clemens. Admission is free. Call 586-493-4344 or visit www.startsandstripesfest.com.

Web Site: www.starsandstripesfest.com

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