An Interview With “Left Of The Slash” Singer Stephen Reid Nemeroff

We recently caught up with “Left Of The Slash” rock band lead singer and writer Stephen Reid Nemeroff about their new album “Won” — as well as some interesting stories about his introduction into the music industry. Left Of The Slash recently performed in the “Global Green Presents” Music for the Planet concert, which featured some legendary artists including Lisa Loeb and Taylor Dayne. Here is what Stephen had to share with us:

Hey guys! First all, congrats on the new album “Won”. Tell us about that and the inspiration behind it?

Thank you Amber. For the post part, this album has been in the works for close to 20 years. What you are hearing is a great portion of my life’s work (Stephen Reid Nemeroff speaking) coming together after much procrastination and then being recorded in the midst of a global pandemic.

When did you realize you wanted to get into music and who were some of your influences growing up?

Well, my father got me into music very early. I got my first guitar when I was around 7 years old. My first concert was Page and Plant with Rusted Root opening for them at Brendan Byrne arena at the Meadowlands. I was 9, my brother Mike was 7 and that’s when I realized I want to do what they were doing on stage. Fast forward a couple of years, when I was 13 and I met Dave Mason backstage at the Talkhouse in Amagansett, NY. I went up to him and asked what advice he had for a young guitarist starting out. He didn’t hesitate with the answer when he said “Listen kid, anyone can learn how to play guitar but what will separate you from everyone else is your ability to write music.” In my opinion, it’s the best advice you can give someone in music.

I took a moment to think to myself about what he said and then who was saying it. Well fuck this is the dude who wrote “Feelin’ Alright,” and was in Traffic with Steve Winwood. When he speaks, you listen kinda thing happened there! From then on, my father, Andy, would take me to every concert with him. We always got questionable looks because of how young I was. Thanks Pops. Also, need to shoutout to my brother James, he’d kill me if I didn’t mention him.

What have you learned the most about yourselves as an artist over the years?

Persistence is the first thing that comes to mind. I’ve been writing songs since I can remember but never recorded them professionally. The road to get to the point when the album was done was a long one to say the least, and that’s a real long fucking story for another time. I don’t know if there’s enough time in this interview. I really did learn that if you focus on anything you can do it. Listening to the album now it really inspires me to make more music and to play that music live as well as we can.

What has been one of your most memorable moments of your career so far?

When I was about 20 years old, we played at The Talkhouse for a benefit concert Christy Turlington was throwing. I’m not really a name dropper, but Ed Burn’s band opened for us — the whole thing was very funny. The crowd was as random as it gets. Chris Martin, John Starks, Herb Williams, Heather Mills (right as she was getting divorced from Paul) and then there is the original Left Of The Slash setting up a Mesa Boogie triple rec with a 4x12 cabinet. It was so loud in there that no one could hear themselves talk and we were asked to cut our set short. We probably never should have been there from the start. We are in the middle of a song and my dad comes up to the stage with his arm around John Starks to say hello. I should mention I’m a massive Knicks fan so I didn’t really know what to do but laugh at the situation. One of those things you’d have to be there to truly understand how weird the whole thing was.

What was the definition behind the name “Left Of The Slash”?

I grew up a massive Seinfeld fan. I remember watching the episode when Kramer takes the test drive to “uncharted waters” and he is determined to go “farther left of the slash than anyone has ever gone.” Right after I heard that line, I knew that was the band name. So, what does it mean? I’ve always interpreted Left Of The Slash to be a play on persistence and resiliency. The first thing people think of when they are running out of gas is that they aren’t going to make it. To me, it means that you still are alive and have gas left in the tank — just use it wisely and you will get through those challenging times. From there, I visualized the logo and then it all came to life.

You recently performed on Global Green Presents “Music for the Planet”. Tell us about that?

We got invited to play from an inquiry on social media which was really cool because we are just starting to use those platforms for marketing. You have to remember, I met my first drummer on Craigslist. Now the only time you will use craigslist is if you want to buy fake tickets or sell a 20 year old couch. Anyway, because of COVID restrictions, they were limiting the number of artists that were performing their songs live from The Troubadour, so we had to submit a video from offsite. My man, Steve Ornest of Total Access Recordings (where we also recorded 6/10 songs off of “WON,”) really came through last minute. We recorded “Nothing To Show” there and Ben Whalen of Acme Productions flipped around the video in a couple hours. It was pretty epic being on a bill with some of the musicians, but Lisa Loeb really put it over the top for me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a thing for her in the 90’s. I think most people could also admit that. Thank you, Amber, for putting it all together.

What is your best piece of advice to other musicians out there trying to get into the music business as well?

My path has been a little different than most musicians given the fact that I actually gave it up for the better half of 10 years when I was living in NYC. It was eating away at me that life kept getting in the way of making music and I was tired of making excuses. My wife and I moved out to LA about 3 years ago and that’s when it all started to come together. My point is, if you get something in your head, it won’t get out of your system until you do it. No matter what happens in your life, it doesn’t matter until it’s done. Push yourself and make it happen versus watching on the sidelines like I did. There is no better feeling than putting your life into something and having people appreciate it. All of the struggles you’ve had until that point make it even sweeter to feel what I felt. I want other people to experience that feeling.

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