Sonseed: Back in the spotlight with a YouTube hit

Sunday 24th October 2010

Mike Rimmer speaks to Sal Polichetti of the New York band SONSEED

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The ska style of "Jesus Is A Friend Of Mine" is in complete contrast to the material on the rest of their album. Sal had been listening to a New York DJ who was playing English ska music at the time. He remembers, "For an hour he would play imports. I want to say Madness or maybe The Specials. I heard that up tempo and thought wow that's really cool. And it just stayed with me. Then maybe four or five months later when I got down to writing the song, that's the rhythm that kept striking me. It's funny now that people think Sonseed is a ska band or reggae band - we were not. Live we did a couple of arrangements in reggae but on the album that's the only ska influenced song."

Was the band aware at the time that they fitted into a much bigger movement of artists that were using contemporary music to communicate faith? "We knew other than Roman Catholicism there was a lot out there, like I said, the Imperials, we did a lot of Imperials stuff live."

In the decades since Sonseed, Sal was a school teacher for a while, then worked for a Brokerage House and for the last 20 years he's worked for Horizon which is a phone company. "I've always had a band, still do. Four old guys. We play rock and roll and we have a blast. We're called Some Kind Of Fun, named after a song from the '50s, and we play two or three times a month in local places. I do local plays and so does my wife and my kids are actually starting to do it now too."

I wondered after all this time and after the failure of his first marriage to the band keyboard player Patricia Costagliola whether faith was still an important part of his life? "Not as much as it once was," he responds honestly, "but it is important. We're church goers and we have a 13 year old daughter and a 16 year old son and we make sure that we go to church regularly and we try to use the values on the kids you know, don't be mean, be compassionate towards as many people as you can."

Does Sal still consider Jesus his friend? "Oh boy, I tell you, I hope he's got a sense of humour. I've been saying this for years, when my time comes for judgment the first thing I want to hear when I see him is, 'Okay, let me tell you this one, two Jews walk into a bar. . .' Thank God he has a sense of humour."

Does Sal get many people going up to him and going "Zap!"? "No not in person," he says, "but for some reason I've become quite the hit in Scandinavian countries. I have no idea why but I'm getting a lot of emails from people in Finland and Norway, people asking for pictures and I tell them that I don't really look like that anymore. And they say, 'That's ok, we've seen the new video!' and of course my wife is totally amused by this whole thing and I think my kids are half amused, half mortified. I keep telling my son, 'If you ever want to use me as a way to meet girls then just say, "Hey my dad is that YouTube guy".' It's not easy around my house because I almost live for embarrassing my kids."

One of the good things to come out of the YouTube success is that it's given him the opportunity to be in touch with his former bandmates again. Finally Sal tells me what's happened to the rest of the band members. "Two of the people from the video have since passed. Nick the drummer died about 15 years ago. The big guy standing behind the piano to the right in the video John Weiner died about six months after the whole thing hit. He was thrilled. He just thought it was the greatest thing in the world. The guitar player, Frank, I keep in touch with. And yet there are some people in the group who I haven't heard from at all. We're scattered all over the country. We got people in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, California, they are all spread out all over the place. People keep saying, 'Is there going to be a reunion?' I say, 'Nooooo, I don't think so'." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Mike Rimmer
Mike RimmerMike Rimmer is a broadcaster and journalist based in Birmingham.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Mark Flowers in Moscow @ 12:36 on Aug 8 2018

On Facebook one of the music-dedicated groups I joined was group about punk music and the video was posted there. To be honest, I find it unintentionally cringe-worthy, but fun, and was surprised that most of the comments for it were extremely positive. I did a bit of Internet research and found that famous German punk singer, Nina Hagen, who seems to have become a Christian, has covered the song on one of her recent albums.

Posted by jim alsip in fernley nevada @ 22:46 on Oct 19 2014

I am a saved by Jesus Christ child of the Holy Father. through the Wisdom of Christ I can see that the song "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" will lead those Souls seeking Salvation, it will lead them Home.

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