What happens when you mix carrots, beets and apples?
You'll have to ask
Palm Beach County, Florida, is known for wealth, sun, fun, and it’s beaches. However, you may not be aware that Palm Beach County has also been home to several hard rockers; Jason Newsted (former bassist for Metallica), Dan Spitz (former guitarist for Anthrax), Jett Beres, bassist for Sister Hazel, Jason Bonham (no need to explain), Nicko McBrain (drummer for Iron Maiden), Kid Rock, Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Rod Stewart and even The Boss (Bruce Springsteen). Well, there’s another group of guys from Palm Beach County who are making waves and hoping to become household names like all these other guys.They call themselves ‘Sweet Blood’.
A few weeks back, the founder/guitarist of Sweet Blood, Kris Gainer, invited me to a private concert at their Boca Raton studio/private venue and it didn’t disappoint. Just ask the other 100 or so fans who attended. This band is definitely ready to make some serious waves.
I caught up to Kris recently to ask him about the band what he feels the future holds for Sweet Blood.
TRR: Hi Kris.Great concert a few weeks back.
KG: Thanks.And, thanks for coming.I apologize for not giving Tru Rock a shout out at the show, there was so much happening and I totally forgot but I’m giving you a shout out now.
TRR: No worries.It was a great show. My only complaint, I was standing right in front of the stage the entire time and forgot to bring ear plugs. Well, it’s not really a complaint because you guys sounded great.But, the music definitely lingered in my ears for a few days.
KG: Yeah, I’m sure it did.
TRR: Let’s start this off with something that some of your fans may know but I’m sure the new ones will be interested in learning. What is the origin of your band’s name?Is this the original name or have you changed it before?
KG: We Have only been Sweet Blood. Back in 2014, weeks before our first show, the band was throwing around ideas for a name. I walked into an organic juice bar in Boca Raton and ordered a drink made of carrots, apples and beets. It Looked like blood and & tasted sweet, that was the inception of Sweet Blood. When I saw the name down on paper for the first time, it had that Black Sabbath feel. When people hear the name Sweet Blood, I can see many thoughts go through their mind. I like that...
TRR: I’m sure.It has a very dark, spiritual and gothic feel to it and your private venue in Boca with the dark lighting and candelabras, carries that.Was that an intentional design to keep with the Sweet Blood name?
KG: We were going for more of an “old French Theater” type of vibe.Hence, the French Empire sconces on the walls and the old French couch up in the balcony and the theater curtain. Old buildings and cities and just history has always fascinated me. There is no denying with all the candles and the smell of sage that the place has a spiritual, church like energy to it.
TRR: Tell me about the band.Who are all the guys?
KG: Paul McBride, the newest member of the band is on bass. Jason Dean Moshen is on lead guitar and vocals. Mark Ellis on drums, Sal Rodriguez Lead vocals and myself on rhythm guitar.
TRR: How did all of you meet?I’ve heard some crazy stories over the years.Anything interesting?
KG: Well, the band really naturally formed through the music scene and not in any odd circumstances. Mark and I were in a band together prior to Sweet Blood. Sal Was the third member to join the band after being brought in by a well-known bass player, Dave Robinowitz.
TRR: Dave is also a tattoo artist if I recall correctly.
KG: Yep.That’s the guy.Mark was playing drums for Yngwie Malmsteen and in another band with Yngwie's keyboard player. Jason was playing bass in that band when he was asked to join Sweet Blood. With Chris Risola's departure on lead guitar, Jason who was originally on bass took his position. Last but definitely not least, Mark brought in a bitchin' bass player and cool MOFO, Paul McBride.
TRR: You guys definitely have some kick ass musicianship going on with the band.How would you classify your music? (rock, hard rock, metal, post grunge, etc.)
KG: I think Sweet Blood is a combination of almost all those Genres except for southern rock, even though we dig Skynyrd & the Allman Brothers. Mark says we're not metal, we're Hard Rock. Haha! We are definitely Influenced by 70's Rock and Grunge.
TRR: I can definitely hear that.Let me ask you this question.If you weren’t in a band, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
KG: We all have jobs & careers as we speak. Jason is the only full-time Musician and God knows what that dude would be doing If he wasn't playing music. (laughing) I don't think that kid was born to do anything but play music.
TRR: Who are some of your musical influences? Personally, I hear a lot of Alice in Chains, Sabbath, Soundgarden.
KG: Most definitely.I think the influences you hear on "Initiation" are Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Slayer, Pantera, Soundgarden, Metallica, etc. The band definitely has a wide range of influences. You hear in Mark's drum playing The Rush & Porcupine Tree influence. Jason has definitely been influenced by Dio And Rob Halford with his vocal Style. When you see Paul on stage, you can't help think of Cliff Burton.
TRR: Who are definitely not, your musical influences?
KG: (laughing) Most definitely Drake & Nickelback.
TRR: What do you think makes your band stand out from others?
KG: Sweet Blood has an energy of its own. You hear all the influences, but there is a certain magic that encompasses the band. On initiation you have the heavier up-tempo riffs with a "sleazy" melodic vocal. The vocal is in no hurry, "going nowhere slow".
TRR: What other bands would you like to tour with?
KG: We would love to tour with the heavy hitters like Slipknot and Lamb of God. I think we would be the perfect band to open up for Metallica one day. A realistic tour for us at the moment would be, Sweet Blood, Corrosion of Conformity, with Black Label Society headlining.
TRR: Cool lineup that would be. How do you write your songs? Is it collaborative?
KG: With "Initiation", it was mainly a bunch of riffs and lyrics that I had put together over the years. The vocal melodies were definitely a collaboration between Jason, Sal, & the engineer/producer Jeremy Staska. Mark organized the songs and made them very strong & flow with his percussion style. Jason, who's first instrument is lead guitar, wrote some very intricate and catchy bass lines throughout the whole record. The lead guitar you hear on the record was written and played by "the dragon slayer", Chris Risola, who was the lead guitar player at the time while "Initiation" was being recorded.
TRR: You guys have been together since 2014 now. There has to be one memorable show that really stands out.Tell me about that.
KG: We built our own venue In Boca Raton that we call the Sangre Lounge. I think it was the most memorable one where we felt a real sense of pride knowing we built this incredible Intimate theater and hosted our own show where the magic was very present. It was Mark's birthday and after the show we just hung out till wee hours of the morning, enjoying what we have accomplished.
TRR: It’s definitely a cool place.What has been your craziest fan interaction?
KG: It wasn't with any of us five band members but with the "Good Witch" of the band. My girlfriend at the time, now fiancé, Ashley has been heavily involved In the band from Saging the Stage before the shows, marketing/merch., the goddess in the video for "DANCE". She has definitely gained Her own status with the evolution of Sweet Blood. It happened multiple times with the same fan where this girl seemed to be Starstruck or just drunk. She kept putting her hands all over her face and pulling the earrings out of Ashley's ears. After the sixth or seventh time this happened….
TRR: Wait a second.6th or 7th time? She let it go that far?
KG: Ashley had to tell her please stop f****** putting your hands on my face and pulling out my earrings. She was overheard in a restaurant after a show at Propaganda in Lake Worth Calling Ashley a bitch and stuck up because she is now famous. We all thought it was hilarious!
TRR: You know, you can’t save the world. Sounds like that girl has some issues she has to deal with.
KG: Yeah, I think so.
TRR: Have you guys ever had a “Murphy’s Law” show?
KG: We haven’t. The closest call was when the Paul Castronovo Show showed up at American Rock Bar and Toast was getting ready to introduce the band. The venue had a switch on a column right in front of the stage where fans were leaning against.The switch controlled all the power on the stage and the PA.Needless to say, someone leaned against it and all the power went off. We were troubleshooting for a bit and thankfully we figured it out pretty quickly. That was a scare.American Rock Bar was packed.Toast came up and dropped about 15 F bombs got the crowd going and we had a great show.
TRR: What’s on the table for the rest of the year?
KG: We are just going to keep focusing on the live shows and playing as tight as possible. Our song “Acid Ritual” is going to radio very shortly and we will be making a video on the streets of Fort Lauderdale for the song. We have been recently hired to do a couple of "unplugged" shows at Coral Sky Amphitheatre for the VIPs at the Slayer /Lamb of God show and the Korn and Alice in Chains show. We are pretty stoked about that...
TRR: That’s on May 11th. That sounds like a cool time for all of you.
KG: Yeah, we’re really looking forward to that.
TRR: Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank you to?
KG: I really never get the opportunity to thank Jeremy Staska, The engineer and Producer of "Initiation". He has become a really good friend of ours over the years & really is the sixth member of Sweet Blood. Recently, we Have been endorsed by GHS Strings. Chris Chaos is a program director and also a really good friend. He really has had our back and has been getting the word out to people in the music business about the band. He has definitely given us a lot of guidance. Our videographer Brandon Epling from Wahtay Productions, who we are very grateful to have around. He filmed and edited the video for “Dance” and has been doing all of our ads on social media and filming our shows.He is definitely a talented person elevating the band.
TRR: Well Kris, I’m looking forward to more music by the band and seeing you guys out there. Another band from Palm Beach County making some big waves!Say hello to the rest of the guys and we’ll be in touch.
KG: Most definitely.
Tru Rock Revival Magazine