You don’t hear many young groups these days that sound like the great classic rock bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s; bands that capture the spirit and emotion of great rock and roll pioneers like The Who, Led Zeppelin, or Deep Purple, yet also manage to sound current and modern. Social Hero has managed to do that, and they will revive your faith in the fact that real rock music has a future.

The group actually has a rock and roll pedigree that lends itself to that sound, although when you watch them you can immediately tell it comes from within them, as opposed to being something that was foisted upon them. Drummer Derek Schildkraut, aka D-Pain, is the son of the legendary drummer Alan Childs, who toured with David Bowie, John Waite, and Julian Lennon, among others. Vocalist David Lloyd’s father, Ian, was the singer of Stories, who had the chart-topping hit “Brother Louie,” which you can still hear on classic rock and oldies stations. He also sang backup with Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Yes, and Billy Joel along the way. In fact, Ian sings backup to his son in Social Hero.

They are joined in the band by brothers Brandon and Griffin Lotti, who are veterans of the New York music scene. Together, they have graced stages not only around the local area, but as far as they can get. We have played the small stage, we have played the big stage, we have played on a barge, and we have played the hole in the wall,” says David. “You can find us in New York City, as well as along the eastern seaboard from New Hampshire and Vermont all the way down to Virginia Beach, and as far west as we have friends with couches for us to sleep on. Columbus, Detroit, Chicago. Soon, we will hit the Pacific. Lewis and Clark and Social Hero. And Sacagawea.”

Musically, David has a unique way in which to describe the sound of the band. “Hard rocking, groove inspirational and progressively far out at times, with a constant emphasis on melody and harmony,” he relates. “Like a Cadillac El Dorado, big enough to fit all your friends in for a party, long enough to use as a beer pong table, heavy enough to take down a building in a fireball explosion, and luxurious enough to shift itself. Because it’s a luxury car, not a shifter car. And the AC blows cool all day long across the Arizona desert.”

As far as the classic rock sound that emanates from the group, they count many classic bands among their influences, although they include a little bit of everything into the mix. “Social Hero begins with the critical musical elements from the periodic table of rock, the hard guitar riffs of Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, the big sounds of The Who and Queen, and the melodic and dashing sensibilities of The Beatles,” David explains. “From there, we’ve got a pretty wide variety of musical influences spanning genres, classical stuff, rock and roll from every decade since inception, and even some jazz and funk leanings. A bit of ELO, a dash of Soundgarden, equal parts Aerosmith and Alice In Chains, and some Spacehog for good measure, then you got a real stew cookin’. The sauce is the boss, as they say! Also, we’ve made some incredible friends with several of our peers, and we regularly steal influence from them; Isle Of Rhodes, Polarizer, Vinyette, Roman Traffic and The Snow Droppers to name a few.”

The songwriting process is somewhat complicated, with a definite pattern that they follow religiously. Social Hero describe the process as follows: Step 1: Pick up guitar/bass/drums/sousaphone; Step 2: Drink a six pack of frosty cold micro brews; Step 3: Go crazy while red light is on; Step 4: Playback, critical listening, reading comprehension, document-based question; Step 5: Floor opens for debate and rebuttals; Step 6: Pass both House and Senate; Step 7: Track signed into law, honorary pens distributed to all; Step 8: Two fingers scotch, aged no less than 15 years, poured for all, neat, no back.

That painstaking method of collaboration has led to songs which have become fan favorites, such as “Gone” and “On My Own” from their first release, and new songs that will be coming out this summer on their new album, such as “Don’t Call Me On Saturday” and “(Fear Of An) Edgebot Planet.”

The name of the band comes from their goal to help people escape for a little while from their daily grind. “In times of strife, people look for things to help them get by; whether it’s great writing, great art, or great music,” David says. “Our agenda is pure; forget your troubles, forget your bills, let’s have a good time and enjoy some kickass rock and roll while we do. Cold ones all around!”

That also aligns with their goals for the band, as expounded upon by David. “Our goal is to rock as hard as humanly possible, and to create killer music that makes people feel awesome and have a great time,” he says. “You only live once, so let’s make it a party that never stops. Because if it never stops, you never have to deal with the epic hangover!”

You can sample some of the music, and check out upcoming Social Hero tour dates, at socialhero.com, reverbnation.com/socialhero, and machinedreamrecords.com.

18 Responses

  1. James Robianetti

    Yeah I saw these guys play at Stanhope House and they were definitely the real deal. One of the best shows I have seen in a small venue. Rock on

    Reply
  2. Candeezy

    SOCIAL HERO!!! THEY’VE BEEN ROCKIN MY BRAINS SINCE 2008!!! The only band I’d drive over an hour to see…

    Reply
  3. Lauren Stockner

    Social Hero is by far the best local rock band and one of the best live shows you will ever see!!

    Reply
  4. PhilMC5

    I’ve seen these guys play a few times from Knitting Factory to a dive Irish pub in BK and they rock these places like an arena. A heavy sound that recalls the best of classic hard rock, early grunge, and even good prog rock. I’d say a local gem. Keep a look out.

    Reply
  5. Pookie

    I just checked out Social Hero on their website at http://www.socialhero.com. Wow–Selzer is right when he says that their sounds are as “big as The Who and Queen”. I can’t wait till their next concert in NYC–I’ll definitely be adding them to my list of top bands to check out live. ;)

    Reply
  6. MarkW

    I’ve only seen Social Hero perform twice, but I can confidently say that after much experience with live music in NYC that they rock harder than any other band out there right now. Super tight and heavy guitar riffs intertwined with epic 90’s style melodies and harmonies on top of superb musicianship make for a uniquely fun live experience for spectators of nearly any musical preference. Their influences are super far ranging from The Beatles to Queens of the Stone Age, Muse, and the Strokes. They also play with such enthusiasm and vigor that it’s impossible not to have a great time. Two HUGE thumbs up for this band. They’re going places!!!

    Reply
  7. Phil

    Any band that can incorporate a megaphone into their show and make it seem like a natural musical instrument is worthy of your time and presence. Having seen them in person a handful of times, I cannot recommend them highly enough. When they turn Griffin loose to shred, you get lost in the majesty of it all.

    Reply
  8. Johnny Mari

    Saw these guys when they played at Stanhope House. Holy S!@# these guys blew the roof off the place!!!!!!

    Reply
  9. Kai k

    These are the real deal! They are awesome. Been a fan for many years!!!
    -kai

    Reply
  10. Erin

    These guys have been rocking my socks off since (about) 2000. Bout time the world caught up.

    Reply
  11. Darrel Stassen

    It’s so rare to see a band that is so powerful. Not only are they super tight musically but they are also good genuine dudes. Do yourself a favor and go see them live. You won’t regret it. After seeing and hearing this band my faith is restored in rock and roll.

    Reply
  12. Martin

    The world needs more relentlessly kick ass bands like Social Hero to show all the deadbeat posers what true rock music is all about.

    And the songwriting process is hilarious. I want an honorary pen and two fingers of scotch, damn it!

    Great article!! So glad these dudes are getting some much deserved recognition.

    Reply
  13. Filthy tonez

    These guys absutely blew me away when I saw them! You just know they are knocking on the door step of bringing us back to a sane world filled with nasty rock n roll

    Reply

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