"some music was meant to stay underground..."


An Interview With Snew's Singer Curtis Don Vito

The California-based classic hard rock act Snew has been riding a wave of success since the release of their debut album, "Snew You." They’ve been tearing up the music scene in Los Angeles, performing live at a multitude of clubs, and they have much bigger plans for this summer.

But it’s been far from breezy for the band, who opted not to go the traditional route of signing with a big music label. Instead, the band has developed Snew World Order, a combination fan club and promotion web site, and has relied heavily on the internet, independent radio and music stores, and fans to spread the word about Snew.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with singer Curtis Don Vito about Snew’s success thus far, their shows, and their upcoming plans.

Nichole Nash: Where is everyone from, and how did you guys meet?

Curtis Don Vito: Cat and Mark and myself are from Southern California and Andy is from Luxembourg. Andy and I met through a mutual friend. After one day of jamming our fate was sealed. Andy knew Cat and I knew Mark. Snew was born.

Nash: Your style has been compared to AC/DC, The Ramones and Jackyl. Do you think those are fair comparisons?

Don Vito: AC/DC definitely, Ramones, you bet. Jackyl? We hear that a lot but to be honest the only song I ever heard from those guys was that one with the chainsaw. Do we really sound like that?

Nash: What bands were your biggest influences?

Don Vito: We have to own up to AC/DC big time, they invented this whole sleaze rock type thing. But you already know that. Motorhead is always in our ears, The Ramones taught us how to be raw and edgy, Kiss showed us how to be bigger than life, Zeppelin taught us how to groove with the blues. Alice Cooper made us sick and twisted and Chuck Berry gave birth to us all.

Nash: Tell us a little about Snew World Order. What makes it different from any other fan club?

Don Vito: It's a place to meet everybody. Not just Snew but the whole wide world of rockers. The SWO is not just about us. We give out exclusive free stuff there but we mostly set it up to be a place to meet and exchange ideas. Talk rock, do whatever you want with the whole world.

Nash: You've relied solely on the net and word of mouth to promote yourselves. What have been the biggest challenges of marketing your own album?

Don Vito: Challenging.. sure. It's not easy being a four man record company, press agent, booking agent, recording artist, live act, three ring circus all in one. The hardest part is just finding the time to do all of those things. We can't claim all of the credit though. We've hooked up with people all over the world who are helping to get the word out. First we concentrated on recording an album we were proud of and our producer Bobby helped make that happen. He believes in us and worked his ass off to get us into various studios and pulled a lot of favors till we got it done. Then we manufactured the CD and started sending it out everywhere possible. From there we've gotten to know tons of radios stations who have DJs that play it as often as they can and even give it to other DJs they know who play it too. We sent it out to magazines and tons of them are excited to talk about us. Fans help spread the word, club owners, photographers, on and on. We've made so many friends out there. I think being totally independent means something to people. They know we are the real deal and not some product manufactured by some company with money to throw around.

The best part is how easy it is for bands and fans to talk to one another. We have the chance to actually become friends. In the old days if you wanted to talk to your favorite band you had to write a fan letter, put it in the mail and hope it actually got to them. Now... just send us an email. Awesome!

Nash: How successful do you think you’ve been?

Don Vito: How successful do we think we've been? I'm blown away at how it's been spreading. Every day there are new fans from all over the world. We love you guys, all you kick ass Snewheads out there. Thank you.

Nash: Where did you get the idea to use Camwithher for the "Got Love" video?

Don Vito: We got to know Isabella over there. She's awesome, she gave us some vids to play around with. Got Love was the perfect song to go with those amazing ladies. Since then we've done two others with them, "She's A Real Gunslinger" where all the girls are wearing Snew shirts and the latest one for "Head Trauma" featuring Gisele. We love em all.

Nash: Your latest track, a cover of "Highway Star," features Allan Holdsworth. How did that collaboration happen?

Don Vito: I've known Allan for a long time and we've talked over the years about doing something together. The only problem was what to do exactly. The band came up with the idea of doing Highway Star and I thought that would be something Allan could get creative with. I pitched him the idea and he loved it as long as he was able to do his own thing with it and not have to worry about sticking to what Purple did. I said "Hell yeah, that's the only reason to have you on this thing in the first place". Nobody plays like Allan, he's an alien from another planet. What he does on this song is positively unearthly.

Nash: So far you've done some live shows in California. Have you performed live elsewhere? What's been your favorite venue?

Don Vito: So far it's just been the L.A. area. We've played em all. We love em all. Where ever our fans are, that's our favorite place.

Nash: Any really bad shows or live catastrophes?

Don Vito: Bad shows, no. Catastrophes? All of em. (laughs)

Nash: Is it true that you're planning a US tour this summer? Are there any particular bands you'd like to tour with?

Don Vito: We are going to tour this summer. We'll be going all across the United States. We are really looking forward to it. It's going to be our first tour. We've had so many fans ask us to come out and play for them. It's been long overdue. Who'd we like to tour with? Hell, AC/DC, Motorhead are both out on tour now. We'd do shows with them any time, any place.

Nash: What's next for Snew?

Don Vito: Aside from the tour we are working on our next album. We've written a whole batch of new tunes and we can't wait to get them recorded. We've already played a lot of these songs at our shows here in LA and people dig em. This next album is gonna kick ass.

Nash: Any title ideas yet for the new album? Will it involve the word snew?

Don Vito: We've been bouncing around a few ideas for the album title but we haven't decided yet. Got any ideas?

Nash: Hmm, Snew Balls? Snew the Roses? It's a Snew World? (laughs) I think I'll stick to review writing. Any final words for our readers?

Don Vito: Write us, join the SnewWorldOrder.com, get a hold us anyway you can. We want to hear from you. See you on the road. Snew YOU!

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