music morsels
March 2008


Sex & Patriotism
BAND NAME: Chris Steele - Vocalist of Sex & Patriotism
BIRTHPLACE: Hillsdale, Michigan
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Lansing, Michigan
FAN BASE: Several 1,000

MM: Tell us a bit about the band’s formation.

CS: I had a girlfriend who complained about me not doing anything with my talents. (laughs) So she threatened me and said I had to get a band going or at least try by nine o’clock that night. So I went to a nearby music store and said who I was, what I could do, and asked the clerk if he knew anybody who wanted to get a band going. He said, “Yeah, me!” That was A.J. Bramen who became my lead guitarist and chief songwriting partner for “To Die For.” That is how it all started.

MM: Did everyone's styles mesh right away?

CS: Oh yeah. We all had our own take on it, but we wanted to bring back the music that we loved. We got tired of all the screaming and negativity in music, and we just wanted to have a good time.

MM: I hear influences of party rock, hard rock and classic rock in your music. Do you feel more bands are going back to these roots now?

CS: I think that it has started coming back as of late. If you take East Lansing here which is a college town and you go into the record stores, the head shops and places like that to see what they are carrying, they carry reissued Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses and music like that. It is as if that music never went away. I think the game “Guitar Hero” has helped, too. Exposing a whole younger generation to music that is more substantial than what they have been fed by the mainstream market lately.

MM: What were some of the things you did just to make people aware of the band in the early days?

Well we started by coming up with a band name that people would notice (laughs) and not forget real soon. Myspace has been a great tool, but going and playing everywhere we possibly could was the way we really got our name out there.

MM: Is that how you were noticed by your label Blast Zone Records?

Actually, Mike Wilkerson from Blast Zone interviewed me about eighteen months ago for the Blast Zone web zine. He became a fan of the band and when he started Blast Zone Records, we were a natural choice for them. We’ve been really happy with Blast Zone and they have these great “can-do, will-do” attitudes. It is really cool to have major distribution, but still maintain most of the control over my art.

MM: Do you implement grass roots methods in connecting with your fans to ensure their loyalty?

Yes. Of course there is myspace, and in some ways I hate it because it almost takes over my life. (laughs) On the other hand, I couldn’t possibly connect to that many people in a day or an hour driving around or something. We have over seven thousand friends on there and I am proud of our numbers and our rankings because I know they are legit. It took lots of work, but we did it the right way, the best way by staying in contact with them. And of course at our shows we hang out and party with all the fans; otherwise, I don’t know why we would do this. 

MM: What reaction do you get from people who see your live show?

When we went on this tour opening for L.A. Guns in Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina, it was amazing. The promoter said he never saw a band come through there that was totally unheard of and get that kind or reaction before.

MM: How did you get on the L.A. Guns tour leg?

The people we are working with and their connections. I let our manager handle those types of things so I can concentrate on what I want to do.

MM: Do you think that it is important for a band to get a team to help you handle things like bookings and publicity so you can concentrate more on your musical craft?

It is essentially important, I think. I am a bit of a micro-manager and I do have to have my hand in a bit of everything and know what is going on all the time. I still make the decisions of yes or no, but there are too many man hours to get everything done yourself that you need to do. If you find someone who is working hard for you, really believes in you and that you can trust, that is a rare thing to find in this world. We are really lucky and fortunate to be working with the people we are, but I believe what you put out in the universe comes back to you.

MM: What else do you have coming up to help spread the word about the band further?

We have several print and radio interviews coming up. Of course more myspace, I can’t have enough of that. Then we have some more tours coming up which we can’t wait to get back on. We have a tour starting on May 1st in Cincinnati with Confederacy Horsepower and Gods of Kansas. We’re opening for Britny Fox and Hollywood Allstarz in April. I just want to get out and play as much as we can, and work together with our team as hard as we can to get as many interviews, blogs, pictures and bulletins as we possibly can.

MM: Do you feel that Sex & Patriotism is on their way to success, and what will it take to get there?

CS: I would love to be able to be what I am and do what I do and be happy. Ultimately, I want to be an artist. Money and fame and all of that is really great, but I don’t think it can necessarily make you happy. I mean look at Britney Spears and countless others before her. I think it is important if you go after this kind of goal to not have any delusions about it. To achieve this, we just need to keep doing what we have been doing. With the path I have chosen, there are no real rules or for that matter, no real path. It pretty much takes everything you have all the time to do this. That is totally fine with me because that is what I am. We believe that we can be successful, or else we wouldn’t be doing this.

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