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10 Questions With Backbeat

EV: We haven’t interviewed you guys since Dec in 06’ (not because we didn’t want to, just because we try to find room for all the great bands before we repeat). However we felt it was high time we get in touch and find out what’s new with the band. How have things been going?

BB: (Jake and Zack) Things have been going steady. Stevie took a two year break to get himself and his family in order and he’s back now able to play with us pretty often. We didn’t like losing him at the time but the break really helped us grow on our own as musicians. Because of our dad’s sickness the past year, he wasn’t able to play with us either. So we really had no choice but to get better. Sonically speaking, we are probably the best we have ever been right now.
We have gained a lot of popularity in Spain and France (interestingly enough) and we even recorded a radio jingle for a French pop music broadcast in 2007.
Another interesting event came about last year. Geoff Emerick called us up and asked us to fly out to Los Angeles to do a movie sound track for the movie “Black Water Transit.” That was really great. We got to play with Mick Jones from the Clash and a ton of other neat people. It looks like a lack of funds has delayed the movie’s release but we keep in touch with Tony Kaye (the director) and hopefully the movie will be out soon. Regardless of the release date it was a great learning experience for us.

EV: For those who don’t know, introduce the band and explain a little bit of how you guys got started as musicians and as BackBeat.

BB: BackBeat is made up of three and a half brothers, and a whole lot of supportive friends.

Stevie: I’m Stevie Snyder, and I am the bass player. I’m the only one without a beard. (Ha, Ha for the readers, he is the one with the beard)

Jake: I’m Jake Snyder, and I handle lead guitar for the group. My taste for fine caviar sets me apart from the pack.

Zack: I’m Zack, rhythm guitar, and I’m the one with the careless curls.

Tick: I’m Tick, and I hit drums. I like to racially profile people.

BB: We got started pretending to be the Beatles, then we pretended to be Led Zeppelin, then we actually learned how to play, and started to become our own group. Our dad taught us 90% of what we know, and we filled in the rest over the years. We got started at a very early age, and I think that has a lot to do with the tightness of our sound. We grew up together, watched the same movies, read the same books, ate the same food (for a while we starved together also), we just did everything together. So that really comes through when we play...

EV: There are many good bands in the Cincy area, even a few great ones. One thing unique to BackBeat is the fact that the members switch instruments with one another so often throughout the show. How did you all learn to play so many instruments with such versatility?

BB: We all just had a love for music and all kinds of instruments. We first started teaching ourselves to play other stuff because we just wanted to but there were times when we had to learn things out of necessity also. It really adds a lot to our sound because it makes us more than a four-piece band. We have a whole orchestra of sounds at our disposal, ready when necessary. We’re really thankful that we are able to switch around like that.

EV: When we heard about the Riverstar show we knew we needed more than a “Blurb” about it. Give us the run down on this special event.

BB: This is a special memorial concert for our father, Steven Snyder Sr., who passed away March 27 from liver failure.
The event will be held on July 18, 2009 from 5 in the
evening until 2 a.m. or later. The featured bands will be: BackBeat,
Noisewater, Right Turn Clyde, The Uncle Charlie Band, Dakota, Iolite and of course there will be special guests, and other bands also.
Geoff Emerick has been invited and will hopefully be able to fit the event into his busy schedule.
We will also be honored to have many of our father’s band mates from his band days and that is going to be really neat.

EV: We caught the show at Latitudes and man... you guys tore those Led Zeppelin covers to shreds (with a f#ck!n three piece even). We have never even seen a 5 piece Zeppelin tribute band play it that well. Have you always covered as much Zeppelin or are your set lists evolving to incorporate more awesome classics like “Kashmir”?

BB: Thank you for the compliment! To be honest, I think we used to actually do more Zeppelin in the past than we do now. But the ones we do perform now have been really refined over the years and so they sound exceptionally well. Our song list is a strange thing. Our dad always yelled at us because we hated making song lists... and we kind of fell back into not making them again and so between every song there is a mad scramble to read the crowd and then get everyone into agreement on what we’re doing next. But it seems to work out for us so far, so that’s our tactic for now.

EV: What direction is BackBeat moving into now? Do you plan to release another original work follow up to “Story” (Back Beats ‘05 original work release)?

BB: Actually, we released a second album in 2007 called Eye-Dentity. It’s completely different from Story, and there was a lot going on behind the scenes that really shaped the songs and their sound. We’ll get you a copy if you’d like! There’s some really really good work on there.

EV: We’re Über-excited about the Riverstar show, any chance fans can see BackBeat on more big stages like this in the upcoming future?

BB: There’s nothing planned as of yet, but anything could come up at anytime...

EV: We consider BackBeat one of the most talented bands in the area, but we want to know what local bands do you guys dig?

BB: Thank you! We love Fathead Davis...he was the one who first got us booked in the early bar days. Right Turn Clyde is another one of our favorites. We love playing with them. And the guys from Noisewater have always been good friends of ours.
EV: It’s rare to see such young musicians play the classic 60’s era music with such familiarity and enthusiasm. What music do you listen to around the house?

BB: We mostly listen to all the bands we play. We don’t like any popular new music. There are okay songs here and there every couple of years, but we think that music has really become very poor recently. Quality-wise, production-wise, lyric-wise, every aspect of modern music is pretty much garbage written to please the masses.
Anything good out there is all stuff the music industry would never release. We think there needs to be some kind of major turn around soon, or else the entire industry will collapse. But, what do we know?

EV: What is the next chapter in the Back Beat story?

BB: Well, we’re just trying to survive right now. Pretty much doing what we’ve always done. Just continue existing and see what happens. Stevie has done some side work with a man named Dennis McCorkle, who has used his knowledge of music to decipher musical notation written into the Biblical Book of Psalms, and of course we’re continually recording ideas and tunes on our own... So, we don’t really know what’s going to happen but something always does and that’s what we’re waiting for right now.
We’re really thankful for all our friends, family and fans that have really stepped up to help us from the beginning and especially since our father died. The band would just like to say thank you to everyone, including Eastside Vibe, the best place to hear about what’s going on in local music!

Everyone at EV would like to offer the Snyder family our deepest condolences over the loss of your father. His legacy lives on loud & proud in the music his sons make & create. For all the readers out there who love a great rock show you had best be at the 7/18 Riverstar show!



“Just let me hear some of that rock n roll music any old way you choose it, its got a backbeat you can’t lose it, any old time you use it, got to be rock n roll music if you wanna dance with me”. Chuck Berry coined that song but the Beatles made it famous back in 1964.
When the Beatles heard a great sound they recognized it...and today Backbeat is carrying on that same tradition. The boys of Backbeat, three brothers Stevie, Jack and Zack Snyder and Patrick Helwig are collectively billed as Backbeat.
Back in England in the 60’s there was the “mods” and the “rockers” the Beatles were a little of both yet a whole lot of neither. One could say that Backbeat is a little Beatles a little Rolling Stones yet still their own thing.
Talented to say the least, this band is youth blossoming into a culmination of real music played by real musicians. Playing awesome songs from the 60’s greats, Backbeat has a musical wisdom far beyond their years. In fact, when they play the Beatles you get the feeling they were born with a rubber soul. They seem destined to be the rockers they are today. How many families have this much talent in even one member...let alone three! These boys know how to rock a gig. If they had been playing back in the day of the Partridge family they would certainly have kicked their ass and stole their daughters.
They play the past like they invented it and they even have that same jovial, whimsical, impromptu humor the Beatles are so famous for. It’s eerie! One thing is for sure, they're attracting attention just like their namesake. In fact, Geoff Emerick, ex music producer for the Beatles has made several trips to Cincy to see the band and he is as impressed as I am. These kids must have graduated from from the “home school” of rock stars program because they have the look, feel and sound of a pro player. They can switch instruments with ease and play everything perfectly, you would think think they had been on the road for decades.
Many many bands cover songs...but Backbeat brings them to life right before your eyes (and ears). They capture the essence of that mystical era in which all rock n roll since was formed in.
It’s not just playing the songs perfectly, it’s a feeling, a permeating ambience, a sticky residue that is so strong it’s like the smoke from a bonfire that gets in your clothes... it’s all around them.
Growing up with that kind of influence and talent must make these boys reel in horror at the pseudo-musicians making the grade today. After all, Backbeat takes their schooling from the rock n roll renaissannce masters and that’s their standard!
Don’t think for a minute this is a tribute band. This is a homage and these guys are stone cold creative musicians in their own right. They put together an original album titled “Story”, it’s great and it gives you the feeling another is on the way. With this kind of talent it’s inevitable. Backbeat will be coming out with more original albums soon and I’m sure the big wigs will seize upon it like a cop to a doughnut.
If it’s not broke don’t fix it...that’s how the saying goes. Backbeats got that down pat and yet they are still improving on the music.
Backbeat is a refreshing breath of clean air compared to the cover crap most bands feel compelled to play. You can catch them just about anywhere. They stay booked solid and you better get out to see them while they are still local...I smell a “Magical Mystery Tour” of their own on the way.