The Return of Adam Streicher
After a hiatus of over two years, Adam Streicher, former Molotov Cocktails leader, is back, with a whole new band! And they started things up right with a Thursday night show at Maxwell’s. Nothing less than a triumphant return, Streicher brought a crowd who carried as much drive and enthusiasm as him.
The stage was shared on this lovely night between them and Waking Heroes, The Tonight’s Life, and Lion of Ido. Familiar faces popped up as I walked into the venue, stepping back into my old Molotov Cocktails boots three years later. Little did I know that Streicher’s set would not only bring me back, but that it would get me enthralled for what is to come. I hadn’t forgotten Adam Streicher’s famous sense of humor, nor his incredible vocal range. On the right, bass player Steve Mariani, is still the battery of the band, fueling its rhythm with melodic bass lines and contagious dance moves. On the left, new guitarist Matt Russo sports a glittery red guitar adding a touch of glam rock to the band, with a perfect set.
Let me jump ahead into the band’s seventh song, mid-set, as front-man Adam Streicher is standing at the bar. He motions to the bartender for a beer while his band and the crowd lend gang vocals and look on in amazement. (He later explains that he froze when asked and randomly selected a Heineken – a beer he never drinks). This “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality was felt from the very first song and set the mood for the remainder of the set: unpredictable and fun, wacky and consistent, blending classic rock and blues with a touch of indie alternative noise. A solid rhythm section and the personal flair and eccentricities of Streicher made for an exciting performance.
I got a chance to interview our star pre-show, and here is what he had to say about his come-back:
So, Adam, you are back on guitars and vocals with former Molotov Cocktails member Steve Mariani on bass; you have two new members playing with you now, Matt Russo on guitar and John Russo on drums. How do you feel about this new lineup?
I love playing with Steve. Steve and I developed a musical rapport while playing in The Molotov Cocktails. In addition to us being close friends, he knows how I write, so he is quick to pick up new songs and write great bass parts for them. As for the Russo twins, I go back with them a few years. They are great players, and they’re familiar with the Cocktails stuff, which is good since we are playing a few old Cocktails tunes in our set. They are also big Beatles guys, like me. I remember seeing them play Beatles tunes at a battle of the bands when they were, like, 12 years old. I love what they do. That being said, this Maxwell’s show is our first show, the four of us playing together, so I’m pretty excited about it. We have one more date booked at Nick’s Bar in Newark on November 18th, and then we’re going to start working on getting some recordings done with Brian Popeck of ro3 Audio.
Tell me what else has changed since The Molotov Cocktails, and what has remained similar? I know you are incorporating some songs you recorded with your former band. Any new stuff?
Yeah, we are indeed playing a few of the old Cocktails songs: If You Think This Song is About You, 8AM, Do You Think You Can Save Me and It’s a Trap. I still like a lot of the songs we used to play, so I’d like to keep some of that stuff in the set for now. Particularly Do You Think You Can Save Me and It’s a Trap. They’re probably up their with some of the stronger material I’ve written. As far as new stuff goes, I have two songs in our current set that are totally new: When You Lie to Me and Nearer to Nothing. The latter of which you can check out on our Facebook. I have about two albums’ worth of material that I’ve yet to record, which I’d like to trim down to about 12 tunes. We’ll be working this stuff into the set over the next couple of months, in addition to figuring out which ones we’d like to record. I’m always asking people “which songs are your favorites? which songs should we play at shows? which songs should I record next?” It’s great to get another appreciator of music to give me their perspective on something I’ve written.
I never stop being a musician in the same way that I never stop being human. You know? You never stop loving what you truly love. Since The Cocktails disbanded, I’ve been in and out of some bands with varying degrees of success, but it never reached the point that The Cocktails got to. Until now, though, it was primarily because the necessary leg work in regards to promotion, and really getting the music out there, wasn’t done. Currently, I’m concerned with how I can really build this thing up, make the best music I can possibly make, and get it to people who want to give a shit about it. Obviously social networking is huge. I’ve been building my base up on Twitter and Facebook, in addition to working with my buddy Todd Giannattasio of Tresnic Media increasing my web presence.
Are you guys just playing and having fun or do you have any serious recording plans right now or in the near future? An E.P., maybe? An album, even?
I love recording. We will definitely be going into the studio to at least record a few songs to put up on our Facebook and our website, which is currently under construction. I would love to have an EP or even a full-length to put out this summer, but at the very least, a handful of songs for people to download and throw on their iPods will become a reality sooner than later.
Are you expecting your old audience with The Molotov Cocktails to be back or is this a new venture? Or a mix of both worlds?
In a perfect world, there would be a mix of old Cocktails fans and new fans. The sound, the approach, and the execution of our set will be different, if only because it’s a four-piece band as opposed to a three-, but even the songwriting has grown a little, lyrically and melodically. I think the structure and the dynamics of the new songs are different from what we did in The Cocktails. I’ll let you and the Maxwell’s audience be the judges of that, though. From my perspective, I see the current sound of this band somewhere in the realm of Butch Walker and Weezer, whereas The Molotov Cocktails wound up in that My Chem, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects, power/pop neighborhood. I don’t want to lose the aggressiveness that went along with that. We’re still speaking the pop/rock language; we’re under that umbrella, within that lexicon, but perhaps being spoken in a different dialect. Does that make any sense?
What do you think will be the main challenge in coming back to the scene and getting back to the exposure and notoriety that you used to have?
I think the biggest challenge, and it’s one that I welcome, is spreading the word, letting everyone know we exist, making people want to invest their attention in our music. There is so much instant gratification available to everyone that as artists and musicians, we need to be creative in sustaining the audience’s interest. There’s so much great music out there, and there are so many things to occupy your time on your laptop or your smart phone, that I have to give you a reason to want to listen to my music, come to our show, follow me on Twitter. I need to be catchy, I need to be fun, I need to be memorable. I need to bury my art in your brain. That’s the challenge. To make the music, the band, the “product” something that you want to give a shit about, and something that is going to stick with you.
Finally, is the band going to remain under your name, Adam Streicher?
This Maxwell’s show was essentially booked as Steve and I were putting this project together, even though the concept of it has existed for a few months. Therefore, this Maxwell’s show was booked under my name, without any sort of band monicker. Moving forward our band name is Adam Streicher & The Amphetamines, much in the spirit of Butch Walker & The Black Widows, Joe Wilson & The Loose Ends, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Bern & The Brights, etc. Whether it’s because I’ve always loved the old school Bill Haley & His Comets or Buddy Holly & The Crickets type names, or simply because I’m an egomaniac, I like the sound of it and the energy it suggests.
So, stay tuned for some exciting things ahead with Adam Streicher & The Amphetamines!