PRETTY BOY FLOYD was one of those bands who, back in the day, I played constantly. Admittedly I lost track of them when I wasn’t quite so active in the metal scene for a couple of years, but I got my brain back, and it’s great to know these guys never stopped rockin’ and roillin’, bringing their brand of sleazy glam rock to the masses. New album Public Enemies had just been released via Frontiers Music when I had the chance to chat by phone with none other than singer Steve Summers. We talked about that and several other things. We wound up on the phone for nearly an hour and this was definitely one of my favorite interviews, not only of 2017, but of all time. Check it:
Amps: First of all, how’s life for Steve Summers right now?
Steve: Everything’s real cool right now. I’m glad the record’s out and it’s getting some great reviews. We’re doing a listening party at the Rainbow tomorrow night. Everything’s great!
Amps: I know you get this all the time, but your speaking voice is soooo much lower than the high register you sing in. How?!?
Steve: (Laughs) that’s the million dollar question. My talking voice is a lot deeper. One of my best vocal teachers, the late Gloria Bennett was the best. She had Axl Rose and Vince Neil. She would always tell me, “Steve, you gotta learn how when you talk, or do anything, can you please breathe more? I notice it when you’re talking from your throat.” And to this day I still ask myself, “Did I take a breath lately?” Once I start singing and do things correctly, and breathe and use my diaphragm, it’s a completely different monster.
Amps: Yeah, but listening to Public Enemies, then going back to Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz it sounds like you haven’t aged a Single. Fucking. Day. What’s the secret to THAT?!?
Steve: Well, thank you very much. I take care of my voice first of all. Let’s get that straight. I exercise, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. Sure, on the road I’ll have a drink or two, who the hell doesn’t? But I’m kind of a health freak. At one time I was even doing personal training, so I know my health stuff. I eat right, and I get my sleep, even if I work 100 hours a week. I always wanted to sing high so I always took that very seriously, even in my teens when I first took lessons.
One of my favorite singers is Steve Perry, so my teacher always told me, “Steve if you wanna keep that voice, at some point you gotta shut up, stop using it, and rest.” I’ve also never really had any vocal problems. I try to be smart with it and make sure I’m in the gym so I’m able to run around onstage for an hour and change, you know?
Amps: What are some of your favorite tracks on the record?
Steve: They’re pretty much all my favorites. Some of ’em go back many years, some were left off the first record, some were five years or fifteen years later, and some of them were more recent.
Just like with the debut, if they’re on that record or on this record, to us it’s 1992 or 1993 again. This is what we would have done. We like to take the best of all the bands we like and put it in a blender, whether it’s the best of KISS, or the best of MÖTLEY CRÜE and POISON. We take all of that and do it in a PRETTY BOY FLOYD fashion.
Amps: You’re talking to the right guy because KISS is my favorite band in the world!
Steve: They were my first concert. My brother’s a few years older than me and he said, “Come on, you’re not gonna believe this!”
Amps: “We Can’t Bring Back Yesterday” is very gorgeous and lush. Tell me about that one.
Steve: That’s your teenage anthem of me thinking back to when I was a teenager and also reflecting on life and everything that’s happened with the band, what’s happened with me. Everyone can relate to that phrase “We can’t bring back yesterday.” We still got tomorrow” with all the ups and downs in this rollercoaster of life, but I think it’s a great rock anthem. Just a couple of days ago I was thinking, “Who’d play the young me in the video for this one?”
Amps: What do you do to relax and unwind outside of music?
Steve: Being a California kid I usually love to go to the beach on my days off. I can never beat going to the beach with my beautiful wife on my days off. There’s nothing more enjoyable than being around the ocean and enjoying that breeze. But of course, sometimes we don’t feel like dealing with the L.A. traffic to get there. We’re animal lovers, we only have one Dachshund right now, but my wife grew up in a family that basically had Noah’s Ark (laughs).
For us, sometimes just spending an evening at home with our dog, some great food and chilling, that’s a perfect night. It goes both ways. I’m also a sports fanatic. So if I have a chance to catch a game with my L.A. Rams, who I’ve been a fan of for years and years, they just happen to be doing really good this year, then I’m in front of my T.V. for kickoff on Sundays! I stayed with them even when they went to St. Louis, my fandom never wavered.
Amps: My Eagles QB Carson Wentz went down against your boys, sir. But your guys didn’t cause it. Was a great game, though!
Steve: Oh yeah, that was a freaky, flukey thing. And now you got Nick Foles in there who used to be a Ram. Case Keenum is killing it in Minnesota, he also used to be a Ram. It’s crazy!
Amps: What are you listening to in the car or at home these days?
Steve: My listening depends on my moods. Like yesterday at the gym I was cranking an old AVENGED SEVENFOLD record, and the other day I was getting ready to go out and I had FOREIGNER’S Complete Greatest Hits on.
Sometimes I get in the mood for a great SHANIA TWAIN song. Last night I was in a PANTERA and METALLICA mood. I’m all over the place musically.
Amps: Can I share a silly story with you?
Steve: Of course, man.
Amps: OK. In 1989 I was 16 years old, and one of my best friends Russell already had his license. I begged him to take me to Sam Goody so I could buy RUSH’S Presto album. But when I got there my hand went to PRETTY BOY FLOYD’S debut. I get back in the car and Russell flipped shit! “You were supposed to buy RUSH!” “You can’t tell me what to do!!” and so on. Then, every day after school, I would put the record on, grab my pair of drumsticks, and air drum/bed drum with them to “Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)” over and over!
Steve: That’s not silly, that’s awesome! I wish you worked for MTV then (laughs)! Thank you so much. I’m a huge RUSH fan, too. Easily one of my top bands of all time.
Amps: What would you like the fans to take away from this collection of songs?
Steve: Well, whether you’re a fan, or you missed the 80’s because you’re just coming up now, or whether you’re our age, and you miss the glory days of POISON, MÖTLEY CRÜE, KISS, and WHITESNAKE, there hasn’t been a very good sleaze rock record in a long time. This is 80’s Sunset Strip rock about havin’ a good time, and goin’ out looking for girls/guys. We stuck to what we do best, we didn’t turn all modern or into a bunch of guys with short hair. That’s not us. To a lot of people Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz is one of their favorite glam albums, even though it didn’t sell a ton of records, and this is a continuation of that.
Amps: Tell me what’s happening tour-wise.
Steve: There’s a ton of stuff in the works. We are doing Frontiers Music’s festival in Italy, we’re doing Rock and Skull in Illinois, we’ll be back at the Whisky in July, and there will be more announcements in 2018. We’ll definitely hit the east coast, too.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the PRETTY BOY FLOYD fans out there in the world?
Steve: I thank all of the fans. The new fans, the old fans, all of you. Take Public Enemies and crank it up! It’s a fun, sleazy record that speaks for itself. We’ll see you on the road next couple of years. Thank you so much, and to all the critics, and writers like you, Damian, thank you as well. We’re so happy everyone really likes it.
Talking to Steve Summers is as easy as talking to someone you’ve known for 20 years. He’s just a humble, easygoing guy who also happens to be a great singer and frontman. Be sure and pick up a copy of Public Enemies, and make sure you go see PRETTY BOY FLOYD live when they hit your town. Their next performance is March 30 at KISS Lounge down in Mexico (see below). It’s Steve’s birthday show, so all our friends South of the Border, come on out and rock with the boys, willya?