Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Steve Pearson interview

Steve Pearson was the voice and main songwriter behind The Heaters, also known due to legal issues as The Heats. The Heat[er]s were active in the Seattle music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s (and have done some reunion shows in more recent years). They had a tremendous amount of success (see the photo below of them playing in a packed arena!) and released some great, great music that you should check out.

I was able to do an email interview with Steve Pearson about his time in The Heats and what's going on with him currently.

The Heats live in a setting that amply demonstrates their level of success!

1. As someone who has been around the Seattle music scene for quite sometime, what can you tell folks about powerpop in the area back in the early 1980s when The Heaters were first active?

In the late 70's early 80's Seattle was like you imagined "Swinging London" to be like. Everyone was looking for and finding their own unique and creative sound. There was an amazing amount of great music that came out in a very short time. Also there was a very cool sense of camaraderie between all the musicians - we knew we were involved in something special. The audiences knew this as well and supported us more than we could have hoped for.

In those days people did not think of themselves as "Power Pop", rather we felt we were anti-Kansas, Styx, Foreigner, etc. I Don't know about others, but I hated the generic, coporate rock of the 70's. I longed for the intense, simple stuff of the 60's. In a way all of us from that era were just re-creating the 60's. We had missed out by being too young.

2. Who were your favorite Seattle powerpop bands back then, and do you have any local favorites now?

The Cowboys, The Allies, The Girls, HIFI, No Cheese Please, The Pins, The Moberlys, Moving Parts and many more were our friends in those days. Many of these people are still dear friends. I loved what they were doing because it was original. Seattle had not seen an original band in a long time.

The only local band I've seen in forever is The Ones (Seattle). They are great but not Power Pop. More like Ramones on speed. I don't really follow any sort of modern music. I just think about my own stuff.

3. I've noticed you've created a myspace page recently. Have you found many of the current generation of powerpop bands reaching out to you either via myspace or in general?

Yes. This is a very recent thing. It's flattering and odd at the same time. It's hard to imagine that after all this time "The Heats" have become some sort of cult band. Obviously I like it.

4. What are your feelings about the current state of pop music in the Northwest and Seattle in particular?

At this point I have no opinion, but the times could be a-changin'.

5. Battles and Ballads garnered a lot of positive feedback in 2003. Is there a follow up to that record on the way, or is your focus primarily on British Racing Green (which looks to have a record out in 2007, right?)?

The new record will be a follow-up to "Battles & Ballads". The main difference being the songs are almost all just-written in the last year. The last record were songs from over ten years that had never been recorded or with "Count On Me' I wanted another try at it.

The new record will not have so many friends as guest artists. It will mostly be me and "British Racing Green". I hate naming bands after myself, but probably it will be "Steve Pearson and British Racing Green". The record will hopefully be out this year. BRG is Lucette Pearson, Tim Moore and Tony Contratto.

6. Over the past few decades making music that is generally in the powerpop vein, what's the most interesting thing that has happened to you?

"The Heats" virtual overnight success is still amazing to me. It absolutely came from nowhere. We thought we were good but didn't expect so many people to agree.

7. What is something that people don't know about you?

I'm very much an old-fashioned, blue collar type guy. I think dark and esoteric thoughts but try to live like "The Andy Griffith Show"


Unknown said...

Thanks for the short interview. Battles and Ballads is such a nice slab of power pop. I have one comment though. Why do bands like the Shins get labeled as power pop? It's just indie rock. The label just keeps losing meaning. Here's to hoping Steve gets the recognition he deserves and I am waiting anxiously for another set of songs from the the NW's finest.

Seattle Powerpop said...

I don't know if The Shins *do* get labeled powerpop. I assume you mean because I posted the Shins performance video.

While I've always been loosey goosey with my definition, I'm not sure the term had *that* much of a narrow meaning to begin with. But, I've said since day one I didn't plan to be strict with my definition.

I focus primarily on powerpop groups. But, The Shins play guitars and are poppy and melodic. That's always been good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

You're probably already aware that the Heats' Have an Idea LP was mostly reissued in 1998 on the domestic Smoke CD. It's also been more recently reissued in full as a Japanese import.

Check out Cueburn for some Seattle power-pop rarities.

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Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

so speaking of No Cheese Please...has anyone else out there been date raped by their drummer MICHAE KIDDER?