As the son of a legendary rock songwriter-producer, Oliver Leiber has had some big shoes to fill.
But the guitarist-producer has done the job admirably, sitting behind the boards for such pop artists as Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Paula Abdul, The Corrs, BBMak, Beth Hart and Bif Naked.
Now Leiber, whose father Jerry teamed with Mike Stoller to create hits for Elvis Presley, the Drifters and Coasters (to name a few), is venturing into straightahead rock. His latest project is Silvertide, a young quintet from northeast Philadelphia.
Signed to Clive Davis’ J Records, Silvertide is tucked away in a studio with Leiber, working on its full-length studio album, due later this year.
Drummer Kevin Frank says he and band mates Walt Lafty (vocals), Nick Perri (lead guitar), Mark Melchiorre (rhythm guitar) and Brian Weaver (bass) love what Leiber brings to the table.
“He’s a pretty good guy,” Frank said. “He’s worked with artists like Paula Abdul, but his background totally comes from where we come from: rock ‘n’ roll. We have the same influences. He knows so much about rock. He’s a total rock guy, but he just hasn’t done this kind of rock before.”
Silvertide gave a glimpse of its brand of classic rock for the new century with its debut EP, “American Excess,” released on March 18.
“People have said a lot of nice things about the EP,” Frank said, “that we were bringing back rock ‘n’ roll. That’s not our intention; we just play what we play. This is all what we know; it comes out the way we play.
“Our foundation is classic rock from the ’60s and ’70s, but then everyone else in the band loves other things from today, from hip-hop to Blind Melon.”
Now it’s Leiber’s job to fine-tune Silvertide’s energetic live performances onto a full-length album.
“We’re mostly a live band, so we’re trying to capture that in the studio, making it sound as raw and natural as possible,” Frank said. “That’s not done much anymore today; stuff today is just so overproduced. But Oliver’s pushing all the right buttons; he knows what he’s doing.”
Silvertide, formed in January 2001, went from practicing in Perri’s basement to a steady gig at South Street Club. Word began to spread about the group’s fevered shows, and soon the record company reps were lining up.
“Before we got signed, we were only a band for like a year,” Frank said. “I was 17 and we didn’t know anything about the music business except for what our manager told us. We were playing our music and meeting all these label people.
“Our manager said Clive was a famous guy and we were cool with that. We met him, and he’s like the nicest guy in the world. He definitely agrees with us on a lot of stuff, what we want to do, the vision.
“Now we stand out on J’s priority list because we’re a young rock band, something they really don’t have. And we’re going to deliver for them.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “It was probably Live’s ‘Throwing Copper,’ when I was in fifth grade.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “Funny, I’m going to sound like a gigantic Live fan, because that was my first concert, at the Spectrum (in Philadelphia). It was the same year, when I was in fifth grade – in fact, about a week before I bought the album. I remember seeing the drummer and wanting to be up there like him.”
THE WORST JOB I’VE EVER HAD: “The only job I’ve ever had, besides the band, was I worked for Kmart for two months. I planned on working there a few more months at least, but one day I just didn’t want to work there anymore, so I left. My boss said, ‘Aren’t you going to give me your two-weeks notice?’ I said, ‘I’d rather not.’ ”
ORDER “AMERICAN EXCESS”: Click here.
ON THE WEB: www.silvertidemusic.com.