Longwave | No Secrets

longwave_sm.jpgI am proud of all of the records, but this one is the strongest whole effort.

 

 

Let’s face it: Longwave isn’t a household name. If you’ve been in the world of indie music, you’ve probably heard their name, if not a few of their songs. Their first RCA debut The Strangest Things spawned the singles "Wake Me When It’s Over," "Everywhere You Turn" and "Tidal Wave," classics all. Yet despite two records with a major label, the band managed to stay generally under the radar. A little money, a little tour support, some new gear—and then it was back to square one.

Thankfully for us, Longwave embraced square one v. 2.0 with renewed vigor. Not only were the individual members now better musicians, singers and songwriters, but they had the benefit of experience. Their rebound was higher than their entire back catalog; these guys not only still have it, but they’ve jumped it and made themselves kings.

Longwave mastermind Steve Schlitz, singer/songwriter, spent a little e-time with us, answering PLAYBACK:stl’s questions for the second time in five years—and we’re pleased to report that he’s just as charming and well spoken as ever.

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Let’s talk about your RCA years. What were the best things you got out of that experience? The worst?

The best things that happened to our band at that time were we got two records out, and we made some money. We were able to live and work for a couple of years on this money, and we were able to buy gear that we still have and use, studio gear and instruments and amps.

There weren’t a lot of negative things about the experience, considering we had had friends that had been through pretty bad major label deals. We knew bands that had their records shelved, or they weren’t given enough money to really try and make it work. It was tough at the end to restart after losing our deal, but we figured it out.

Were your years as a touring guitarist with Albert Hammond, Jr. and Teddy Thompson any of the following?

(a) cathartic

(b) a refuge

(c) einvigorating

(d)  way to rediscover your love of music/the music industry

(e) merely a way to make money

(f) other: _______________________

Circle as many as apply; discuss/explain.

Sure, all of them, depending on what day you asked me. Teddy was great; my job was basically to play solos resembling what his dad had played on his records. I say "resembling" because his dad is an amazing guitar player. Albert was wonderful in a different way; I got back into playing loud noisy guitar and it was really good for me. There were times when I felt like I remembered what I wanted when I was 10, which is just to stand in front of a big guitar amp on stage and hit a chord and feel your pantlegs move.

Plus they were both good people, I was always treated well.

Compare the band’s current lineup to its initial one. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

Hmm. I suppose by initial you mean the lineup that recorded the first RCA record? Which was our second drummer, Mike. The band then had more fire, with less focus. Young, dumb and full of, etc. Mike hit the drums so hard sometimes I could feel air from the crash cymbal across the stage. We would beat our instruments up, drop amps and generally try to get attention and make noise.

Now things are a little different. I play a louder amp to get attention. Jason is a more sensitive drummer, and Morgan is the best bassist we have ever had. Shannon and I are more focused, and I can sing better.

Longwave turns ten this year. Has the last decade been everything you expected of a career in music? In what ways has/hasn’t it?

Sure, it is going great. I never expected to reach a level of popularity like U2, for instance. That would have been nice but it seemed so out of touch with my reality. My reality was/is making records, putting them out, and playing shows with my friends. Seeing far off places that my parents will never see. These are things that all continue to happen.

If you could give some advice to the Steve Schlitz of 1999, what would it be?

Don’t worry, have fun.

Prior to this release you were on what was termed a self-imposed three-year hiatus. Is that anything you can talk about?

Sure, it is not a sore subject. The band had lost our deal; we were not sure if we wanted to make another record, or if anyone would care. We needed money again, so we took jobs, mine being a touring guitar player. When we were all home we would get together and write songs.

Finally I was in Los Angeles once, and Shannon happened to be there, too. We went to meet our friend Kenny MacPherson at Chrysalis Publishing and he offered us a deal to make a new record. The very same day, we met with our old friend Chris Davies, who offered to manage the group. We had had some bad management experiences recently there. So it seemed like everything was looking up. We just needed time to work it out.

Secrets Are Sinister has been called the best album of your career. What went into this album that didn’t go into prior ones? What do you feel makes it stand apart from your previous releases? From other artists/releases?

We are better at making records now. We know much more about recording than we did in the past: how to record guitars, what to do with arrangements and how to sing. It is hard to explain; we have just have more experience at this point. We recorded most of it ourselves, including the drums. Peter Katis was a huge help, and he showed us so much.

It is the first record where I feel there are no missing pieces, or pieces that shouldn’t be there. I am proud of all of the records, but this one is the strongest whole effort.

Which of your influences would surprise people the most?

Oh, I don’t know. I had some bad metal years when I was first learning to play guitar. But you want to play "Master of Puppets" when you are 14; you don’t want to hear about "Everybody Hurts" or John Lennon’s "Woman."

Our drummer Jason is the only guy that always liked cool stuff. I knew him when he was much younger and he was already into the Catherine Wheel, Teardrop Explodes, Jesus and Mary Chain. Being in Rochester, N.Y., I was like, wow. You’re an alien. | Laura Hamlett

Longwave on tour

03.06 | TLA, Philadelphia*
03.07 | Recher Theatre, Baltimore*
03.08 | Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn*
03.10 | Toad’s Place, New Haven, Conn.*
03.11 | Pearl St., Northampton, Mass.*
03.13 | Port City Music Hall, Portland, Me.*
03.19 | House of Blues, Boston#
03.22 | 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.#
03.24 | Terminal 5, New York#
03.25 | Terminal 5, New York#
03.28 | Aragon Ballroom, Chicago#
03.30 | First Avenue, Minneapolis#
03.31 | The Pageant, St. Louis#
04.22 | Jannus Landing, Tampa@
04.23 | House of Blues, Orlando@
04.24 | House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, S.C.@
04.25 | Amos’s, Charlotte@
05.02 | Lupo’s, Providence, R.I.@
05.06 | Gravity Nightclub, Cheswick, Penn.@

* w/OK Go
# w/Bloc Party
@ w/Blue October

 

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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