The Small Jackets came to life in 2000, when powerhouse drummer Danny Savanas joined forces with leather-lunged vocalist and rhythm guitarist Lu Silver. The duo was brought together by the sheer will to carry the torch of authentic rock and roll in the new millennium.
In March 2004, “Play at High Level”, the band’s thundering debut album, became the first instalment of the Small Jackets saga. Featuring David Piatto on lead guitar, it received rave reviews from widely-known zines such as Rumore, Mucchio Selvaggio, Rocksound, All Music, Rockstar, Music Lava, Stonerrock. Having replaced David Piatto with his own young hotshot disciple Eddy Current and with Rob “Nobody” Tini’s addition on bass, the Small Jackets embarked on a series of live shows, characterized by energetic performances. The foursome shared the stage with mainstays of the international rock’n’roll circuit such as The Lords of Altamont, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Hardcore Superstars, Dollhouse, Division of Laura Lee, Adolescent, White Flag, Imperial State Electric, and, perhaps most importantly, the Hellacopters, a band that will become inextricably linked to the Small Jackets.
Hot on the heels of “Play at High Level”, in 2006 the band proceeded to release “Walking the Boogie”, an album that tellingly featured guest appearances by both Nick "Royale" Anderson and the late great Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist (The Hellacopters). The Swedish pair traded solos on the stand-out track “Forever night”. Three years of intense live dates followed, including an appearance at the Rock in Idro Fest in September 2006, during which the band shared the bill with legendary names such as The Damned and the Stooges (at the time featuring the late Asheton brothers alongside Iggy Pop).
In March 2009 “Cheap Tequila”, owning its title to an old Johnny Winter song, saw the light of day. The band’s third release on Go Down Records, “Cheap Tequila” was marked by the first appearance of Mark Oak on bass and co-lead vocals. Recorded at Music-A-Matic Studios in Gothenburg (Sweden), it also marked the first time that renowned producers Chips Kiesbye and Henryk Lipp (The Hellacopters, The Nomads, Sator, Millencolin), worked on an album by an Italian band. Walt Lafty of Silvertide fame contributed a song to the record (“We Got a Problem”), which he also sung and played guitar on. The ensuing tour was kickstarted in April. Two shows with Thunder Express, Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist’s then-current band, further cemented the friendship and mutual respect between the Swedish legend and the band. The explosive live performances with Lu Silver and Mark Oak sharing vocal duties drew favorable comparisons by the fans with Mark IV-era Deep Purple.
In 2013, the band split up with founding member Lu Silver, due to musical differences. Mark Oak took over as main lead vocalist, a spot he has comfortably occupied ever since. While the breakup was admittedly bitter at the time, these days it is not uncommon to see Lu Silver share the stage with the Small Jackets for impromptu encores… all in the name of rock and roll!
A revamped line-up featuring scene veteran Matt West as second lead guitarist released “IV” through Swedish label Transubstans Records in June 2013, to widespread acclaim. The fanbase fully embraced the evolution of the band, now veering toward a harder-edged sound that further widened the scope of the band’s rock and roll arsenal, as perfectly exemplified by new live staples such as “Ball ’N Chain”, “Black Beauty”, “Trouble Blues” and “What We Feel”.
In spite of a July 2014 triumphant gig with the Quireboys at Clusone Rock Fest, the strenuous relationship with Matt West came to an abrupt end in August. Still, the band managed to pull another ace from the deck of local talents with the addition of new co-lead guitarist Phil Baychans. The incarnation, consisting of Danny Savanas, Eddy Current, Mark Oak, and Phil Baychans has since become the longest-serving line-up and has just entered its eighth year of continuous existence.
While relentless shows - including a high-profile gig at Live Music Club Milano opening for Danko Jones in 2017 - remained a constant, actual releases were limited to a digital single/video clip (“Get Out of My Way”, 2017) and a charity Bandcamp release (Kiss classic “I Stole Your Love”, 2019)…
…but the wait is almost over, because on December 17, 2021 “Just Like This!”, the band’s long-awaited fifth full-length, will hit digital and physical stores! In the band’s own words, “be prepared for the biggest ear-f**k of your life”!
Now save the date and make sure to grab the vinyl edition!