Sergeant Steel

Sergeant Steel, one the bad ass hard rock bands of Europe, are back with their new and third in a row full-length release. I’ve never hidden my favor towards this band as they always have a way to totally please me with their wonderful melodies and their smart lyrics. Read below what the vocalist Phil Vanderkill told me about the new album and why Sergeant Steel should not to be regarded as the European answer to Steel Panther…
Sergeant Steel band pic

Hey Phil… nice to talk to your dude after all this time. Congrats on your new album “Riders of the Worm”! The album really rocks!
P: Hello Thanos, thank you very much!
Third’s a charm, they say… what do you think?
P: Well, I hope there will be even more charming music from Sergeant Steel in the future. But yes, we are very proud of our three little babies.
Which are the differences between “Riders of the Worm” and “Men on a Mission”?
P: In many ways “Riders of the Worm” is the perfecting of a concept we pursue since day one of our career. It’s a further step forward.
What was your vision when you started working on “Riders of the Worm”? What did you have in mind to achieve initially?
P: There was no doubt that we wanted to work with Michael Wagener for a second time. We also knew that we had written extremely strong material. And we were dead certain that the whole project would lead us to our limits.
Hence, who are the “Riders of the Worm”?! How did you come up with that title?
P: The idea was born while I watched a bio pic of The Doors by Oliver Stone. I thought “Riders on the Storm” is a cool title, but “Riders of the Worm” would be really wicked! The Riders are Amazons from outer space, which are looking for sex slaves. Obviously the slaves have to play in a great hard rock band like Sergeant Steel too.
I kinda fancy the whole artwork and especially the blonde girl who rides the ‘head” of the worm… it’s a pity that it’s “inappropriate” for people to see it right away. Then again, those who will buy the actual CD will be rewarded! How did you come up with that idea for the cover artwork?
P: The concept for that artwork came to mind in the second I thought about the title. Later we hired Birgit Glocker, a professional artist from Vienna, to finalize my ideas.
Describe each track with just a couple of words…
P: “Happy Time (Love on Demand)”: A mighty opening track, with big riffs, a massive groove, crazy solo work and irresistible melodies.
“Dirty Habits”: It’s a driving boogie rock song. Reminds me on AC/DC, Krokus and early Def Leppard. You can also hear some Queen influences, if you think of “Hammer to Fall” and “One Vision”.
“Silver Spoon”: This is our AOR gem. A driving keyboard riff, euphoric melodies and an incredible guitar solo by Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper).
“Where My Heart Is”: A classic power ballad. It’s a positive song about the power of love.
“Young and Hungry”: A big groove song, which reminds me both on Ratt and Southern Rock heroes like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot. Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) did a great job in the studio. He sang his co-lead vocals first take.
“Only Good Girls (Love a Rock ‘n’ Roll Boy)”: Highspeed R ‘n’ R is one of Sergeant Steel’s strengths. So here we go.
“Hot Widow”: This one contains everything we love about melodic rock music. It’s like early Bon Jovi, unmasked Kiss and 80s-era Alice Cooper doing a polonaise.
“Mr. Right”: At least one song with shuffle rhythms is an obligation on a Sergeant Steel record. Aerosmith say hello to Sergeant Steel.
“Can’t Take My Hands”: I love it’s “ethno-touch” and it’s massive groove. The melodies are catchy though.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway”: Really one of my favorites. When I listen to it, I think of Judas Priest’s “Turbo” album. It’s guitar driven, but it also has a massive pop appeal.
“Samsara”: A very special piece of music. It’s not only an instrumental interlude. You can feel a lot of erotic and spiritual energy. It’s the perfect intro for the following song.
“Promised Land”: You also have to write ballads you can play while sitting around a bonfire. Again it’s a very positive love song.
“Trouble Maker”: We love Motley Crue’s self-titled album with John Corabi on lead vocals. “Trouble Maker” is some kind of homage and a perfect bouncer.
Once again, you decided to work with one of the best rock producers of all time, the famous Michael Wagener (Metallica, Ozzy, Skid Row, Janet Jackson, Dokken, Extreme, White Lion, etc.). You seem to have built a good relation with Michael since your previous album, right? How important was Michael’s help in general?
P: Michael has become a real friend. He is not only a producer legend, but also a caring and humorous person. We had a lot of good times and conversations with him. His life is totally dedicated to studio work. He loves what he is doing.
The tracks 11 and 12 were mixed by Florian Satter and “Dirty Habits” (Bling-Bling-ReMIX) was mixed and mastered by Jack Power. Why’s that?
P: The mentioned songs have no typical hard rock instrumentation. We did the mix/mastering in Austria, so we had more time to work with Michael on the classic Sergeant Steel stuff.
How did the guest appearances by Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper), Nadine Fambach, Jörg Brunnbauer, Roland Höfner & Gerhard Höfner occur?
P: Michael Wagener helped us to contact our boyhood idols Mark and Kane. The others are members of the local upper-Austrian music scene, and good friends of us.
Cosy Coxx is back on the band again but as a drummer this time. What’s the story behind it?
P: Cosy has two vices: Women and gambling. He had been very busy to cheat the gallows for many years. Now he found his big love and spends most of his time as a househusband. That allowed him to join the band again. By the way, he always has been a very talented drummer. When Kenny King left the band, we knew whom to ask.
Do you believe that hard rock music always needs a funny/sexy portion in order to sound more enjoyable?
P: Absolutely. Good rock music always has been about fun and enjoying life. Can you imagine Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis without lyrics about sex and having a good time?
What do you wish to achieve with “Riders of the Worm” at long term?
P: Universal peace and a wedding proposal by Jack Power.
Is there any chance to sign to another (bigger) label at some point or do you prefer to be independent?
P: Indie rules, but if the offer’s good, we will see.
Sergeant Steel band pic
Time for our “weird questions”!!! What do you think of the “free downloading & the free streaming issue” of our time? Will that help music generally or not?
P: I really don’t know if it helps. If CD/download sales increase because of streaming, I think it’s good.
Can we say that Sergeant Steel is the European answer to Steel Panther? (You both have the word “Steel” in your name! – but you do have a kinda “serious side” too). I do think that a tour with both Steel Panther and Sergeant Steel would be awesome!
P: Oh my god, no! We don’t share their anti-women kind of humor. Of course we are self-ironic but we ain’t a joke band. Anyway I prefer Spinal Tap instead of Steel Panther.
Which is your biggest unfulfilled dream?
P: Playing an arena show.
Top 3 sci-fi movies of any era?
P: Terminator, Interstellar, Back to the Future…
Fill in the phrase… “Hard rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
P: …America!
Which do you consider to be the best vocalist in rock history?
P: Freddie Mercury
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
P: Justin Bieber’s mother. I could prevent his birth. (i.n.: Hehehe… his or her?!!)
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
P: I would go to the 1950s. That’s the time rock was born. I would try to be a contemporary witness of all the great artists back then.
What’s the worst thing one can say right after sex?
P: Did you come?
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of our time and why?
P: Well, I think Nadine Fambach is pretty sexy. She looks great and did a magnificent job singing the background vocals on “Riders of the Worm”.
Which are those 3 rock ladies that are even hotter & sexier than any Porn Star out there?
P: Jack Power, Ben Bateman and Chuck Boom.

Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
P: I don’t know anything about that series. I prefer “Breaking Bad”.
Which of the Seven Deadly Sins do you reckon is the one, that’s more likely to send you straight to Hell, in the afterlife?
P: Wrath…
“Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll” or “Views, Tweets & Likes”?!! Which one do you prefer and why?
P: Come on, are you serious about that question? (i.n.: Damn! Am I?!! cheeky)
It was a pleasure having you on Grande Rock Phil. Close this interview in your own way. Thx for the music and keep on rockin’ us no matter what! Take care!
P: Thank you Thanos for your long time support.