Interview: Smash Fashion – Roger Deering revives rock with a cheshire grin

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 5:19 PM (PST)


I’ve never considered us strictly a “glam”band… or a retro band for that matter. We are in a modern rock band in every sense of the word. By modern, what I mean is that we have absorbed four generations of rock music and let those influences out in what we do. At this point it’s all been done before. Bands that use synthesizers or electronica ,they’re just as retro as a band that uses guitars… Kraftwerk and Eno..they already did all that in the 70s. – Roger Deering

God forbid rock n roll still be fun AND good. What happened to songwriting? It’s all gimmick after gimmick or bands more concerned with a niche crowd. Smash Fashion are a true remedy for those seeking real deal rock that stomps, shines AND has great guitar solos. Real world stories? Check. Moments of escapism? Sure. One listen to “Marionette” from their Big Cat Love LP (reviewed HERE) and you’ll seem like a nazi if your feet refuse to tap. This is a band that go beyond hipster arms crossed snobbery and aim to engage, thrill and make you shake it. Get your head out of your ass. Smash Fashion light it up! Whether you like The Dirty Pearls, Velvet Revolver, The Compulsions, classic Sweet or any combination of catchy hard or “glam” influenced rock, Smash Fashion have something for you. This band tears it up in the spirit of rock’s sparkling past but with an eye on modern love.

Read more with vocalist Deering BELOW. A real interesting read.



How was your most recent tour and what were the highlights?

Thanks for asking! The tour went as well as expected. The shows were good and the band played well. We had a lot of fun…which is the most important part of all. It’s always great to be in New York City. Although I must say, as far as crowds go, Philly was tops. Very salt of the earth people there with no pretense. Quite enjoyed our time there. The best part of the trip was having Scarlet play with us. There was a natural chemistry and we had a blast playing and hanging out with him. So much so that he is now a full-time member!

Glam and attitude have been in the news lately from the death of Kim Fowley to the censorship wars raging again. Maybe it will mean people will listen to more Runaways again or have healthy debate, but the best rock ‘n roll is often in these environments… what do you plan on writing next?

Rest in peace Kim Fowley. I actually got to meet Kim in the early 90s as he was interested in a band I had back then.Fowley was a true rock ‘n roll
character, the likes of which are disappearing. I thought the Runaways movie brought them back into the limelight also. It was done quite well and one of the better rock ‘n roll movies out there. For sure the Runaways, much like the Stooges, MC5, Velvets and so on, are more popular now then when they were around. I’m old enough to remember that admitting that if you like any of these bands , it would surely get you thrown out of the party. And called a weirdo or a freak…Funny how time changes everything.

As far as what is going on with us writing wise, we are in the process of demoing and running through a group of about 30 songs I’ve written in the last year. Plus there’s a group of leftover songs from the Big Cat Love sessions …outtakes and such. We are very excited as the material is very strong and quite varied. Some very hard edge stuff, some psychedelic stuff and of course a lot of melodic power pop things also. We definitely have enough songs for a double LP! Some of my favorite all-time records were double LPs….The Damned Black Album…Led Zepplin Physical graffiti…for example… Who knows, we shall see!


You should! A West Coast band I love Die So Fluid just put out a killer grunge pop double record The Opposites Of Light. They still have merit. Or maybe two related records. That’s cool too! Moving on… I love that your band is colorful and personality and visuals on the record. I love edgy bands like the New York Dolls or even something like the diehards Rose Tattoo, where the record art doesn’t always have to be evil and black to convey tone or how you ought to interpret the record. The band Deafheaven just got a lot of shit for having a pink album cover.

Thanks for the compliment! It’s refreshing to hear that our band comes off as having a lot of personality. I feel there’s a lot of it missing intoday’s
rock music scene. The reason that bands like the New York Dolls or Rose Tattoo transcend is because they have vibe and vision. It doesn’t matter what you do, without those two essential ingredients it will come off as flat and forgettable. Both those bands rock in their identifiable way. As far as record covers go ,that first New York dolls LP… the cover is mesmerizing.

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What is “evil”anyway? Are you referring to the guy with the goathead and the horns? The cool looking dude with the goat feet? To me that’s all a bit silly isn’t it? If you want my definition of evil, it would be something like war…. Or weapons of mass destruction… Or corporate greed…etc. The Rolling Stones doing “midnight rambler” is more evil than a dozen death metal bands to me! Don’t get me wrong, good rock music should touch on the Darkside periodically, but those who flirt too long usually pay the price…And get boring. I’ve always liked bands that cover the whole
spectrum…The dark, the light, the sad, the joy, the sex, the love, the hate, the drugs, the laughter, and the tears. But hey ,those death metal bands
are more popular than ever…So what the hell do I know?!


 I hear you. I can listen to really heavy stuff but I’ve gotta have variety. I couldn’t live without some Stones or Whitney Houston or Royal Trux sometimes. Do you think star power means as much as it used to? It seems idols burn faster these days.

Ummmmm…. Good question… Let me put it this way, I don’t think it does honestly. There is no Jimi Hendrix or Freddie Mercurys out there today. Now those were real stars… And it depends on what your definition of burning faster is. Look at how many incredible stars left us to early .. Hendrix, Brian Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Keith Moon, Sid vicious, Phil Lynott, Willy DeVille,Freddy…and on and on. But if you’re talking about today’s music world of short attention span then maybe we do live in age of stars burning faster. It’s a different world, there’s no more mystery and it’s hard to keep the public’s attention with the constant bombardment of distractions. The music industry itself is completely different . Labels don’t have the money to nurture talent and let it develop into the point were they can become full fledged stars by working on their craft for years before they become stars . Now you can become an overnight sensation by singing on a reality singing show on TV by winning a contest. It’s just a whole different game now …Andy Warhol was right… 15 minutes of fame then your times up then it’s onto the next one…

 Do you think people still miss out on some great rock ‘n roll because they can’t handle glam make up or even mascara in heavy metal? Let alone
corpse paint?

Lol… Well, for sure… Look how many years it took people to realize just how ass kicking and rocking bands like the dolls and stooges were…or Sweet and T-Rex…Make-up equals theatrics in rock,so many view it with a suspicious eye…but why can’t good rock be theatrical? Alice Cooper for instance…I’m sure if he didn’t don the grease paint he would be taken more serious as a songwriter…in my humble opinion he’s a great lyricist
…those early Alice Cooper songs were full of social satire and comment…and they rocked…

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It feels like we are very much into a “macho ” phase in music and society in general. Every rock band has a beard, tough guy stuff. It’s
like all the jocks invaded heavy metal and rock ‘n roll but that stuff comes and goes. The beauty of rock ‘n roll is that the 98 pound weakling
can plug in his guitar and sound like a monster! Good rock music will transcend all the fads. It’s funny, as there’s no doubt that we owe a lot to the forerunners such as Bowie, Queen, Mott, Sweet, Kiss,etc…. we are just as influenced as bands like the Damned, Boomtown Rats, Buzz cocks, and Sex Pistols. I’ve never considered us a “glam”band… or a retro band for that matter. We are in a modern rock band in every sense of the word. By modern, what I mean is that we have absorbed four generations of rock music and let those influences out in what we do. At this point it’s all been done before. Bands that use synthesizers or electronica ,they’re just as retro as a band that uses guitars… Kraftwerk and Eno..they already did all that in the 70s… That huge Black Keys LP El Camino to me sounds just like a 70s glitter rock record which is probably why I loved it… It’s really all about how you take your influences and interpret them in your own way. Do I think that some people have ignored us or not taking us seriously because of the glam tag? Of course…but ultimately ,I can’t be bothered by that. We are gonna do what we do…we are not chasing a carrot!…

“You love to suffer” is a great anthem for getting people to look outside them selves, hopefully. Do people get too much in their own way by getting
wrapped up in depression? Obviously sometimes it’s a chemical thing, but …

“Love to suffer”, like many of my songs ,is about many different people…Maybe even myself included. I’ve lost a band mate to suicide and I have known many people that are afflicted with depression or addiction and alcohol issues. I am in no way judging them as I’ve been there myself. But I guess the song is a call to give things a chance.. To look at the cup is half full instead of half empty. As painful as life can be , you have to find a way to just keep pushing on. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people that can’t see the light …they are too deep in it. Speaking for myself, I’ve been in those dark places… I don’t know why I came out on the other end but I do know there are things I do now, to keep me from going back there. There are a lot of people that like to glamorize their misery and that’s kind of what the songs about. But it’s open to any interpretation however anybody wants it… I hope everybody lives long and prosperous!

Y’know, with the Bowery live arts series by Scarlet and the connection to John Varvatos, I like that you can see the value in his involvement with CBGB’s building. It could have been bought up by someone with no interest and rock ‘n roll and made into a pharmacy. Your band should have a limited poster art series. get it going on Instagram! big cat love has such fantastic bright art… and his awesome Cheap Trick poster (see it HERE).

Scarlet is a very multi dimensional talented man.. Yes he actually came up with the cover of the LP before he was in the band. And I’m really looking forward to what he can bring visually to us in the future. He has excellent taste and has always dug what we were doing musically and conceptually as a band so it’s a really good fit.. On so many levels. He has an excellent body of graphic artwork already which everyone should check out at http://www.scarletrowe.com


When writing the brilliantly balanced blend of melody and harmony in the band, do you look back to production or remove set on albums you adored?

Very good question… Although sometimes you can’t help it, generally I try not to. I found it to be a distraction to my creative process when writing. I tend to go down a rabbit hole when I try to measure up to something else that I’ve heard or like. I’ve learned the hard way. When we were recording the Big Cat Love LP Stuart and I would sometimes but heads, as he would say “I need a reference, I need something to listen to”. And I would say “fuck that ,let’s create our own bubble”. Of course for him he needed something catchable to help him get sounds and dial-in tones and such so I fully understand it. Fortunately we would compromise enough to where we achieved what we are after. I’m thinking this time around, we will have a better understanding of what each of us is looking for sonically. Of course there were landmark LPs that everyone in a band wishes they could replicate sound wise… But in my opinion, you are chasing something that’s uncatchable. If you’re lucky enough to have a vibe and are playing with guys it all can bring it to the table try to capture that the best you can …forge your own Road.

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