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Sweet N Evil – ’90s Rock Band

The Greatest Band the World Never Saw!

A Little History

Sweet N Evil Rock Band - Tracey & Jeff Saltzgiver

Sweet N Evil – Tracey & Salty

Sweet N Evil blitzed the music clubs in the tri-state area throughout the ’90s. In the days of grunge, we were giving a complete performance for both the eyes, and the ears. Led by bombastic singer Tracey Lepore, all of those that wee lucky enough to witness our onslaught, would never forget it.

Tracey and I began putting the ideas together for the band in 1990. We knew we didn’t want to be “just another band”, we wanted to be bigger than that. With her charisma and stage presence, I knew that with what we were planning, she was just the one that would be able to pull it off.

We developed the concept of having a “show” with each song. In fact, when most bands just showed up at the club with their guitars, we were carrying around a 5-man crew/actors, tons of props, a bunch of lights, a follow spot, pyrotechnics and a sound man. Most nights it cost the band members money out of their pockets to pay the crew. Oh yea, I almost forgot, we also carried around another member of Sweet N Evil… Alice, an 8-foot boa constrictor. She was quite the performer!

Tracey (occasionally with my help) choreographed all the action. I built all the scenery, props, and initially, all the explosives. We could do things in those days you couldn’t even think of getting away with today. Since I was the only one that could actually put the band on stage, I also drove the truck and roadied. It was a small price to pay to make sure everything went off without a hitch.

Sweet N Evil Rock Band - Tracey

Sweet N Evil – Tracey

Long before we put Sweet N Evil (Tracey came up with the name) together, we began writing songs. The first one we ever wrote was Empty Love, and that song would be our show closer for the entire run of the band. Although we went through numerous guitar players and drummers, Tracey and I were always the core. We believed in what we were doing.

We placed ads in the local music papaer called The Aquarian Weekly, looking for a guitar player and drummer. After talking to a number of people, we met with a couple of guys who answered the ad together. The drummer’s name was Johnny K, and the guitarist was Steve “Something”. Although we weren’t blown away by Steve, we really liked what Johnny brought to the game. We were anxious to get going, so we took them both.

We rehearsed for months, and finally did our first show at Studio One in Newark, NJ on August 25, 1990. It was a huge rock club that had some of the bigger name bands performing there. On August 26, after talking to Johnny, I fired Steve. He wasn’t the right guy for us.

We subsequently auditioned dozens of guitar players. We knew exactly what we wanted, as well as exactly what we didn’t want. The guy we chose was named Jim Neil. He had recently graduated fro Berkeley School of Music in Boston, so he knew what he was doing, plus he understood and embraced what we were planning.

Sweet N Evil Rock Band - Jeff "Salty" Saltzgiver

Sweet N Evil – Jeff “Salty” Saltzgiver

As soon as Jim joined, we went into the studio to record our first demo. Things really began to happen after that. I was handling all the bookings and had us working 4-5 nights a week. The band was really getting tight.

This was the best period of Sweet N Evil. Everyone was on the same page, and focused on pushing the band in a forward direction. Jim took over the marketing campaign and created a risque’ ad campaign that was very well “anticipated” every week in The Aquarian. Even if someone hadn’t seen us, they knew who we were, just from our ads.

In 1991, we decided to put on an Industry Showcase for the major record labels. On Halloween we attacked every record company in New York City. Johnny and I were dressed in Grim Reaper costumes and we accompanied Tracey into each company. Once inside, she would try to work her way into an A&R Reps office to hand them a small black coffin which contained our demo tape, a VHS copy of the above trailer and an invitation to S.I.R. Studios on West 52nd Street, for the Showcase.

Record companies will not even talk to you if you are “unsolicited”, nut we managed to get reps from Columbia, Polygram and Arista down to see us. Tracey even managed to get friendly with the rep from Columbia, but he didn’t believe he could sell us at that time – early ’90s, grunge, and all.

Jim lasted for a few years, and then he moved on. I hated to see him go… but, the show must go on.

Sweet N Evil Rock Band

Sweet N Evil

Next up… Tracey’s brother Jeffrey. He went by the name Sandy Michaels, and he was a true, flashy, ’80s guitar slinger. He brought a powerful burst of energy to the band, so we didn’t miss a beat. While the most productive version of the band was with Jim, this was the best.

Opportunities came and went, and we kept pushing forward. Johnny left to get married and we went through a couple drummers before settling on a real “heavy hitter” named Mark Celi. When his girlfriends weren’t trying to kill him, or burn his house down, he was really a great drummer. With the addition of him, the band got a bit heavier.

Not too long after Mark joined, Sandy quit, and we replaced him with a guitar player named Tommy Rich. We had come full circle. Just as we had with Steve, we settled. Not that he wasn’t a decent guitar player, he was, but he had no clue of what were really about. He wife got pregnant, and in true Rock N Roll style (sarcasm), he quit.

At that point, I just couldn’t audition another player and teach them the songs, so i decided to take a break. There’s not a day that I don’t miss it, and there’s not a day that I don’t think about how incredible it was. Tracey and I were always on the same page. We didn’t go for a ride, we drove it, and drove it hard. We did it our way. We had fans, not just in the tri-state area, but all over the world. While we never got the break that we were shooting for, we still gave 1000% every night, and I wouldn’t trade one sngle minute of it. It was the best time of my life!

Jeffrey “Salty” Saltzgiver
If you’d like to get a copy of Lives of My Day – The Sweet N Evil Story in either hard copy or .pdf
follow this link: Lives Of My Day – The Sweet N Evil Story

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Sweet N Evil Demos are available right here: Sweet N Evil Demos

Sweet N Evil Merch

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