Swilly is a half Canadian, half American rock
band, with members from Nanaimo and Kitimat British Columbia, Toronto, Ontario,
and Centennial, Colorado. Fronted by singer/songwriter Steven Williams, a
rocker with a bawdy sense of humour, the band takes its name from his nickname
and channel down and dirty, classic roots rock. Rounded out by the no-nonsense
lead and rhythm guitar of Kevin Campbell, bassist Doug Adair, drummer Carl
Holz, keyboard player Jason Long, and supported by lyricist Tammy Throneberry,
Swilly has a swaggering appetite for a good time and an in-your-face attitude
that is sorely lacking in modern music.
influenced by ZZ Top, The Cult, Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman, Swilly
first burst onto the scene with the release of their 2017 album, Play It Loud. With song titles like “Canadian Beer,” “Breaking Some
Glass,” and “You’re A Dick,” their unapologetic sound won them praise from
fans and critics alike. Eclectic Music
the album as “a little slice of rock’n’roll heaven, accompanied by tasty
riffs and shredding guitars.”
How'd you get started in music?
Steve Williams (a.k.a. Swilly): I started in Jazz band in grade 5. It was a mandatory
class for all students. I fell in love with playing the blues side of jazz and
quickly moved into rock.
Carl Holz: I played in a band in high school over in Holland, and
that was it. I was hooked.
Doug Adair: I was learning the ukulele in high school and took it home
to play my parents a song or two and then my dad said, “Let’s get him a real
guitar.” Hahaha, true story!
I always had a piano or organ at home as a kid and would figure out and play my
favourite songs. I carried on through school with some sort of music including
jazz band on keys, but am mostly self-taught.
Kevin Armstrong: I started in elementary school in Jazz band and met Steve
there. We used to jam AC/DC when we were supposed to be in Math class. LOL Around
1983, I think, I played in my first band as a bass player in grade 7 and
fell in love with playing in band from there. Later on, I ended up in a band with
Steve when my cousin invited me to play in his band. We’ve been playing
music together ever since.
Who are your inspirations or
Steve: I was heavily influenced by a lot of 70’s and 80’s music.
Artists like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, ZZ Top, BTO, Bryan Adams, Fleetwood Mac,
Motley Crew, Slaughter, etc.
Carl: My first major drum influences were Ginger Baker, Mitch
Mitchell, and John Bonham but my music influences are all over the place.
Doug: Chuck Berry, Neil
Young, Randy Bachman, and Jethro Tull.
Jason: I tend to lean
towards keyboard-heavy music, but my influences are quite varied. I would
include the usual classics like Pink Floyd and The Beatles, lots of prog rock
including Keith Emerson, Yes, Triumvirate, Deep Purple, Dream Theatre, early
Alice Cooper, and heavier stuff like King Diamond, Nine Inch Nails, and even
some more eclectic stuff. I could go on for quite some time on this!
Kevin: My music influences
are first, BB King, who made me want to bend my strings to make my guitar sing
as his did, followed by Eddie Van Halen, who for me changed soloing and used
high gain guitars. AC/DC also had a large influence on me with their high
energy blues-based rock. Then, hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan really got me excited
about exploring everything a guitar could do. He truly inspired me to do
What advice would offer aspiring performers?
Steve: No matter what level you are at, play like a rock star and find the love in it. Then practicing will feel like a concert. The other component would be to find people who you love being around to play with; it’s way more important to gel as a band than to possess pure talent.
Carl: I would tell young players to first, learn and understand
all the basic fundamentals and mechanics of their own instrument, then listen
to everyone and everything they can. And, to me, above all, respect your craft.
Doug: Play your heart out on whatever
instruments you play and don’t let anyone tell you differently but get a trade
or some profession that will keep the roof over your head and feed you.
Jason: Protect your ears
with a good set of plugs. You only get two ears if you’re lucky and that’s all
you get. Rockin’ out with everything at 11 or watching others do the same is a
blast for sure, but you’ll thank me years down the road when you can still
hear. Besides, with the right plugs it’s *perfectly* enjoyable - and more
importantly - clearer.
say, “dance like no one is watching.” Well, when you’re young or getting
started, you should, “play like no one is watching.” Life’s too short to be
nervous, we all only get “80 years with luck or even less.” Once you’re more
comfortable you can start to enjoy the rush that comes with a great crowd.
Still, it’s better to be booed off stage than get no response - at least you
connected with them somehow!
Kevin: My advice to young
guitar players is not to get hung up on learning every scale but learn to play
from the heart.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
Steve: Being ourselves. We don’t feel better than anyone. We’re happy to be who we are, and we don’t apologize for it. We love playing rock and if you like it awesome, if not all good, see ya in hell.
Kevin: We don’t follow trends. We have always done our own thing.
We do it because we love it, nothing else.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?
Steve: Covid destroyed any plans for touring this year, although we are looking forward to playing throughout Europe and the US in 2021. Our first single from our new album will be released on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
Where can we find the band on social media?
best place to find us is on our website at myswilly.com as all of our social media links are there.