Producer Dave Jerden heard a lot of Mott in Seattle’s Sweet Water



Sweet Water singer Adam Czeisler and guitarist Rich Credo go way back—and I don’t mean just to high school or anything. When they were seven years old, the future rock mates met on a bus coming back from a YMCA summer camp in the San Juan Islands.

“He asked me if my girlfriend was number one,” recalls Czeisler (pronounced “size-ler”), on the line from his Emerald City abode. “I didn’t really know what he meant by that, but I said, ‘Oh yeah, of course.’ So we started talking about soccer and girls.”

With their mutual interest in chasing balls and pretty tykes, Czeisler and Credo became fast friends, and by the time they were high-school seniors, they had hooked up with current Sweet Water bassist Cole Peterson and drummer Paul K. Uhlir. After a late-’80s introduction to the music biz as the punk-metal band SGM—which scored a cult hit with the party fave “Tap the Keg”—the young rockers took a second shot at success as Sweet Water, garnering high-profile gigs with the likes of Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Candlebox, and recording an indie CD before being picked up by Atlantic Records. Now signed to the EastWest Records America division of Atlantic, the band has just released its second major-label disc, the aptly titled Superfriends, and will be appearing at the Town Pump on Thursday (August 24).

“We’ve made it through a lot,” says Czeisler. “I just can’t believe that I’m playing music with these same people I’ve known for so long.”

Nowadays the longtime pals in Sweet Water spend their time cranking out robust power pop with a tongue-in-cheek tinge, as exemplified by new tunes such as “Big Rock Show”, “Superstar”, and “Cake and Strychnine”. Superfriends is given a spirited sheen by Seattle producer Dave Jerden, whose credits include Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains.

“It’s easy to get lost in the studio, but [Jerden’s] got this incredible ability to keep sight of the final target,” notes Czeisler. “And it really amazed me, because when he came down and saw us he said, ‘I hear a lot of Mott the Hoople in your music,’ which I had never thought of and no one had ever said before. So what he wanted to do was make a record that sounded a little bit reminiscent of ’72 Mott the Hoople with a ’90s thing.”

There is a trace of the grand old ’oople in Czeisler’s cutting lyrics and no-frills singing style, but musically his band owes more to the Ramones, thanks to the gutsy guitarisms of Credo, whose real last name is Albrecht. He picked up the nickname some years ago after a gig in Tacoma.

“We had just played,” recalls Czeisler, “and then some people asked us if we would go out to some farm and play again. We were like, ‘Forget it, we don’t want to cart all the gear,’ but Rick said, ‘We have to go; my credo is to rock all the time.’ ”

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