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.