Sergeant Steel

Sergeant Steel may be newcomers but they do what they do with love and passion. Their 80s hard rock music has been influenced by the giants of the 80s era and it’s delivered by the new hard rock generation wonderfully. With bands like Sergeant Steel we feel that this kind of music has a certain continuation and that’s very encouraging. The band’s vocalist, Phil Vanderkill, talked to Grande Rock about everything… so read for more below…
Sergeant Steel band pic 2013

Hey Phil… “Men on a Mission” is an exceptional piece of (80s) hard rock music… Way to go dude!
P: Hi Thanos. Thank you very much for your critical acclaim!
Tell us about Sergeant Steel in brief… especially for those who haven’t heard of the band before.
P: Sergeant Steel is a hard rock six-piece from Austria. The band was founded in by Jack Power, Cosy Coxx and me. We’ve done several live shows in Austria and Germany, including a support-show for Deep Purple in summer 2013. We’ve done two studio records so far.
How did you come up with the name Sergeant Steel and what does it represent?
P: Well, we came up with that name, after we had seen our ex-bass player Cosy Coxx one morning: Standing at attention like a sergeant and hard as steel if you know what I mean. (i.n.: Hehehe…)
Since 2007 that you started out, you have released a debut full-length album in 2010 and worldwide in 2011 by Refused records. How did that release change things for the band? Did it give you a bigger push?
P: To be honest: No! That company was just a fantasy of one guy, nothing serious. Unfortunately he still owes money to us. (i.n.: Ohh shit, I didn’t know about it. Glad you made things clear…)
Your second album is out by your own label, Boyz Tyme records. Hence, how are things different for the band now?
P: Boyz Tyme Records is the band’s own label. We can rely on ourselves. We put the album on Amazon worldwide, and we have worldwide mailorder distribution. It’s a serious chance to earn money.
What’s the best way to describe the band’s sound?
P: A thrilling mixture of 70s pomp rock, and ass-kickin’ 80s sleaze metal. If you are into well-done melodic hard rock, have a listen to Sergeant Steel! Fans of Aerosmith, Rainbow, Guns ‘n Roses and Kiss get their money’s worth.
Before we talk about the songs, do tell us… who are that men and what’s that mission they are on? Does it have to do with the numerous chicks that we see on the cover artwork?
P: The title-track is about living you dreams, instead of dreaming your life! You only live once, and so every day could be the last one. Your mission starts now!
Now please tell us a few things about each one of the tracks…
P: “Gods of Love”: This one shows the self-understanding of the band. We set stages on fire, and the girls obviously like that! The song shows our passion for 70s classic rock bands, like Rainbow and Deep Purple.
“Mama Horny”: A song about the so-called MILFs. On an old(er) bike, you learn how to ride! Very groove oriented material.
“Sweet 16”: A young chick, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Actually she gets off with a slap on the wrist. The songwriting reminds me on bands like (early) Kiss and The Sweet.
“Don’t Give It Up”: Classic love song lyrics. The girls like that stuff. I think David Coverdale would kill for that track.
“Man on a Mission”: A true call to arms. Live your life to the full, before it’s too late! There are lots of synthy effects and a pounding groove in there.
“Cry Out Your Heart, Baby!”: A heavy, yet melodic song. A massive synthesizer riff drives it. The lyrics are about being jealous.
“Born to Lose (Live to Win)”: I love lyrics about gambling. For example “Blackjack” by Tygers of Pan Tang, and the notorious “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead. “Born to Lose (Live to Win)” is my personal version of that gambler theme.
“Wannabe Outlaw”: It’s a favorite of the critics. Maybe because of its uncompromising message: Only dead fish swim with the stream. Musically it’s more heavy metal than any other song on the album.
“Some Girls are Ladies”: It reminds me on some early Ratt stuff. There’s a lot of pop appeal in it, without being anything like an ordinary mainstream tune.
“Taker of My Heart”: “Taker …” is typical high- octane euro hard rock. Musically and lyrically it is very Whitesnake affine.
“Give Me a Call”/“Give Me a Call (Reprise)”: Great melodies and very dynamic songwriting conclude “Men on a Mission”. If Guns ‘n Roses would team-up with a gospel choir, it could end up like this.
How did you take the decision to cooperate with the renowned producer Michael Wagener (Metallica, Ozzy, Skid Row, Janet Jackson, Dokken, Extreme, White Lion, Warrant, etc.)? Do you believe that this thing updated your sound in general?
P: We’ve been long-time fans of his work. In our opinion Michael is one of the most renowned producers and mixers in the history of hard rock. When he mixed the album he put the sound in more European direction than we initially thought of. But damn, he was right with that approach! (i.n.: I guess it’s hard to go wrong with Michael…)
You have released one video for “Cry Out Your Heart, Baby!” & another for “Mama Horny”. Are you planning to shoot another video in the near future? Probably a video for “Give Me a Call” would be great, huh?
P: We’ve also been thinking about that idea. Let’s see what the future holds for us.
Well, does hard work pay back in the end and what are your expectations from this album?
P: Hard work is the requirement for getting paid back, but man… there’s no warranty for it in the music biz. Let’s blow up as much dust as possible, and we will see what happens.
Are there any plans for a tour or some live shows anytime soon?
P: The goals for 2014 are to repeat, and even to top this year’s successes: Deep Purple support show, lots of shows in big club venues (capacity 2500 +).
I’ve written: “…if a bunch of the [above-mentioned] tracks were released during the 80s then this album would have gone big by the numbers…”. What’s your say?
P: Thank you for that big amount of appreciation! Maybe we could have been Austria’s version of Germany’s Scorpions and Switzerland’s Krokus in that era. We still wait for Dr. Emmett L. “Doc” Brown and his DeLorean to get back in time! (i.n.: Cool idea! By the way DeLorean kix azz!!!)
Sergeant Steel band pic

How are things concerning hard rock music in Europe in general? Do you think people are still interested and supportive towards this kind of music today?
P: During the release of “Men on a Mission” we’ve gotten in touch with so many likeable and anxious zine-writers and fans. In my opinion the hard rock scene has the best fans in the world! But like everywhere else: Music business is monkey business.
Are you willing to give some songs or probably the whole album to the fans for free in the near future as some bands did… or you are not so much into this downloading notion? What shall an artist/band do in order to avoid losing money and time?
P: The magic word is distribution. Common people don’t want to steal music. They want to pay for it, if they can get it convenient for a fair price. Free downloads and streaming can be a useful marketing tool.
And some weird Questions now!!! If you could be a member of another band… which one would it be and why?
P: I wanted to be Justin Bieber, because I always wanted to know how it is to be a girl. (i.n.: Hehehe… devil)
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
P: Men on a Mission” (Jack Power wrote it), because it’s the fucking best hard rock album for 2013!
Which is the most overrated band/artist today?
P: Too many to mention. But like I said: Music business is monkey business.
Which music kind can’t you bear to hear at all?
P: Austrian “Schlager” and folk music.
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
P: There almost no visionaries on executive chairs.
Which is the strangest thing you’ve ever done?
P: Wearing not - breathable vinyl pants at every Sergeant Steel - show.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
P: If the extraterrestrials would be hostile, I gave them an album of DJ Ötzi (Austrian “Schlager” artist). Believe me, they would immediately leave our planet!
Which is that band/artist that has influenced most of the bands & musicians since rock music begun…?
P: Probably Elvis Presley.
You need to create a romantic atmosphere so as to seduce a lady. Which 3 songs would you choose to play in a row as soon as she comes in and why?
P: Of course, it would be “Mama Horny” for three times. Guess why? (i.n.: I think it’d be ideal for a juicy MILF…)
Why is rock (any kind) music better than sex… if it is… cheeky
P: Well, it is not… smiley
You have the opportunity to sleep with the porn-star/movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
P: The ladies from “Golden Girls” (“Mama Horny”!!!)...
What do you think of Charlie’s quote: Beers, Pizza, Hookers? Which one is the most tasteful of all?
P: I love beer.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? wink
P: If it’s a cock-ring… OK!
Thank you very much for this interview Phil… Please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
P: Check out our website and you will immediately fall in love with our music and every single band member!