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Sonny Smith of Sonny & the Sunsets Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, November 11, 2009 01:57pm | Post a Comment
San Francisco's own Sonny & the Sunsets are releasing an album of confident, cool rock songs that have an easy, loose vibe to them called Tomorrow is Alright on Secret Seven/Soft Abuse Records! [Secret Seven is the same label that put out (with Empty Cellar) The Two Sides of Tim Cohen, and is soon to release The Sandwitches 12"...] It comes out November 17th as a vinyl only, limited release of 500 copies and will be available at Amoeba. The album features a wallop of guest appearances by San Francisco stalwarts Kelley Stoltz, Tim Cohen from The Fresh and Onlys, Tahlia Harbour of The Dry Spells and Heidi Alexander from The Sandwitches, among others. Sonny, whose musical endeavors have taken him through the years from piano bar gigs in Colorado to Marin's Headlands for an artist's retreat, chatted with me about his past, present and future.

tomorrow is alright sonny and the sunsets


MIss Ess: So you grew up here in San Francisco? How did you start playing music? Who helped you get going and what a
sonny and the sunsetsrtists influenced you as a kid?

Sonny Smith: I learned when I was a kid. I was given a guitar. Van Halen.

ME: Eventually you moved to Colorado. Whose music were you playing at your piano gigs out there?

SS: I met a woman that played Jackson Browne songs and Eagles songs and stuff like that on flute at a bar for pay. She gave me her gig. That was my first gig. Playing piano instead of her.

ME: What sparked the first song you ever wrote?
marin headlands
SS: I don't know. Lust, probably. Loneliness. One of those, probably.

ME: Was there anything in particular you were aiming to capture with the recording of the
record?


SS: I can't relax.

ME: How was your artist's residency in The Headlands? What was it like to have nothing to do but create? Was it freeing? Paralyzing?

SS: Well, it's a very amazing place. Very inspiring. Can you imagine living like that all the time?

ME: I would love to live like that! The Headlands have been an extremely special place to me since I was very, very small. Sounds like this album has been cooking for a while, and even though it has just been released, have ysonny and the sunsetsou already written more new songs for your next album?

SS: Yes, lots of stuff being made all the time. Only some of it gets heard by others.

ME: Who makes up your band currently when you play gigs?

SS: Ryan Browne, Tahlia Harbour, Kelley Stoltz and me.

ME: What musician inspires you the most?

SS: The minute I hear something good I am kinda inspired.

ME: How do you feel about the music scene in the Bay Area currently? Any particular favorite local band, aside from your own?

SS: I don't know about the music scene. I'm out of it. I stay in. I only go out to play. It looks good from where I'm standing. What do I know? I don't know anything. The Sandwitches are good.

ME: What have you been listening to lately?sonny and the sunsets

SS: I was liking Donovan Quinn and the 13th Month lately. I had it in my car for a while.

ME: What is your most treasured piece of musical gear?

SS: My guitar.

ME: What's next for you? Tour?

SS: I am in Alaska on tour doing this e-mail from a internet cafe. $2 per 15 minutes. Thank you.

ME: Thanks for your (apparently expensive!) time.



Relevant Tags

Interview (251), Secret Seven Records (10), Sonny Smith (5), Sonny And The Sunsets (3), Tim Cohen (12), Dry Spells (2), Sandwitches (15)