Mick Sweda former Bulletboys guitarist talks with Mayhem Music Magazine about his days in the band.

He also informs us about his new project Lies, Deceit, & Treachery as well as what’s going on with King Kobra. I first met Mick during the early days of the Bulletboys. It was great catching up with him and know what he’s now doing.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  Let’s start with the band that originally brought you notoriety, King Kobra. We know what an influential drummer Carmine Appice has been to the music world. How did it come about that you were chosen to be in this project?

Mick Sweda:  I was working in a record store and Carmine’s manager wondered if I played bass. I must have made an impression because when they needed a guitar player Carmine came in and asked me to audition. I’m sure all the years of practice helped me at that moment.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  What band were you in at the time and how did they take you leaving to join King Kobra?

Mick Sweda:  I was in a few bands, all of which were wallowing in the muck of Hollywood at the time. As a result, I was readying to whisk my way into oblivion by moving to Maryland to join a cover band. I just wanted to play out regularly and serendipity stepped in once again. I was making a record a few weeks later.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  You toured with King Kobra heavily for the first two albums. You hit the road with bands such as Kiss and Iron Maiden. The band and yourself were featured in every magazine from Metal Edge, RIP, Faces Rocks, and Hit Parader.  What was it like to be thrown into the spotlight to that degree so quickly and how did you handle it?

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Mick Sweda:  I reacted by de-maturing. I was a full grown man who began to behave as a youthful kook because I had worked so hard to get to that point and passed on a lot of the fun others were having. I figured I’d make up for the lost time. I certainly might have done a few things differently but I was having a hell of a good time so I’m content with the way I comported myself.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  During line up changes with King Kobra, future BulletBoys members Lonnie Vencent (bass) and Marc Torien (vocals) hand their time in the band as well.  When did you decide it was time to leave King Kobra and form your own project that would become the Bulletboys?

Mick Sweda:  I knew it was over when Carmine started attaching the band to other artists for songs and whatever notoriety we couldn’t manufacture ourselves. After the songs I presented were either ignored or besieged with lame ideas, I told Lonnie, Marq and Dave I was quitting and we should start a new band. They were very reluctant and I readied myself for a new direction when they finally saw the light. Dave rehearsed with us a few times and bowed out so it was on.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  I first met the band when I interviewed you during The BulletBoys tour for the debut album. You had strong radio airplay with “Smooth Up in Ya” & the O’Jays cover “For the Love of Money”. Did you expect the band to be as successful as it was right from the beginning?

Mick Sweda:  No, I thought our first record was a disaster. There were a lot of things I would have done differently. I gave the producer mix notes that were entirely ignored and the guitars feel like an afterthought in the mix but people enjoy it to this day so complain I shan’t.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  How did instant success effect the band and its members?

Mick Sweda:  Ha, that paradigm still exists? It wasn’t instant by any stretch of the imagination. Our record was over before it began and we breathed life into it by releasing our first single a second time. I’m not sure if that’s ever happened before. But to answer your question…negatively, the way it affects nearly everyone in our situation. We were all struggling to get by before our deal and when we got a little money and the chance to do what we’d rehearsed for our whole lives, the world became a different place. People are waiting for you everywhere, people do things for you for different reasons and doors open for you that would rarely open for anyone else. That has an effect and, if you aren’t grounded, it’s not good.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  You stayed on for the bands first three albums.  What made you walk away from a band that you originally formed?

Mick Sweda:  It was at a soundcheck in LA where one of the guys was particularly abusive, child-like and loathsome. I finished the check, asked to talk to the guys and told them I would finish my obligations, support the record and tour but after that I was done. They all tried to convince me to stay but I had seen more than my share of malevolent behavior and it was a very easy decision to make, in spite of how painful it was for me. Maybe it was like watching the baby you raised finally go off to jail. Sadly, you just need to get far away.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  Your tone and rock melodies were such an essential part of the bands sound. How did you feel about the band carrying on with the BulletBoys name without you being part of it?

Mick Sweda:  I was just happy to be away from it all. The name was so tainted with ill will and negative energy I felt lucky to have “escaped”. Was I devastated that the concept I had nurtured and performed countless life-saving surgeries on had died such an ignominious death? Yep.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  I know that you re-united with most of the original King Kobra line up (with the addition of former Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino) to record two additional albums. How did that come about after so many years?

Mick Sweda:  Dave made me feel comfortable contributing and, after a few chats, he sent me the tracks and I did my part in my studio, Redcake Digital. I love Dave and really only did it because he’s such a hard worker and a total professional in every way. He and I have a lot in common even if that comes off as brash.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  Do you prefer to be in the studio writing and recording or hitting the road touring?

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Mick Sweda:  I like being in the studio more but being on the road with nice, mature adults sounds like fun too. I haven’t known what that’s like for a long time. I think my wife would probably kick me out the door at this point but it would be very difficult for me to tour. I love my peeps.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  Why is that your preference?

Mick Sweda:  I like creating new material more than creating new energy in previously written material. I have fun playing the old tunes in Lies, Deceit and Treachery but my thing is writing and pushing my own envelope. My friend Kim Nielsen once described me as “musically restless” and, though I’ve never thought about it before that, she’s right. I get bored very easily and have to work hard to control my ADD.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  Let’s talk about the present.  I know you have a new project featuring former BulletBoys members Lonnie Vencent and Jimmy D’Anda and vocalist Shane Tassart. Fill us in on this band.

Mick Sweda:  In Lies, Deceit & Treachery, we’re playing the old BulletBoys tunes for fun and it may evolve into a show here and there…we’ll see. Shane is great and Lonnie, Jimmy and I have a chemistry that is practically intrinsic. Beyond that, we have a lot of fun before we even hit warm-ups so it’s possible more could come of that group.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  The band name sends a pretty strong message.  What made all of you decide on that one? (I have my ideas)

Mick Sweda:  It represents a lot of what should be better in life: how some people prefer to act, the business of music then and now, what a lot of us are being fed politically. It’s a very common theme, repulsive though it may be. Everybody in the band is in a very good place personally and if you can’t laugh about the nastiness in life, you’re going to have a tough time of it.

Mayhem Music Magazine:  What do you want the world to know about Mick Sweda?

Mick Sweda:  I would share that all I’ve ever wanted to be was a musician; “rock star” was never a part of my vocabulary. I think of the guitar as a tool that helps me to express myself in ways that, perhaps, I might not otherwise be able to. So, though I’ve practiced and dedicated most of my life to being as capable as possible, it’s really been about being able to perform and entertain others with myself being a close second insofar as being amused by what I do. More than anything I’ve done professionally though, being a Dad is the biggest and best achievement in my life. But you probably already know that.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Mick Sweda of Lies, Deceit, and Treachery (& former Bulletboys).  Be sure to check back for more music interviews.

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