The Snaggs release Hot Tomato at Kryptonite

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111220729415653.jpg’, ‘File photo by James Thompson’, ‘The Snaggs' lead singer Holland Zander performs at a 2004 concert.’);

n April 1 release party celebrates pop rock band’s first full-length CD

The Snaggs, Rockford’s rising celebrity pop band, has just cut a new album, Hot Tomato, to be released at a CD release party at Kryptonite Friday, April 1.

Prior to Hot Tomato, the Snaggs have only had two to three song demos—including 2002’s EP heavier than a ham sandwich and 2004’s Something to Chew On for Now—but this time around, it’s a full-length CD they’ve brought to the table.

This last Saturday morning (March 26), Holland Zander, Bill Olson (self-proclaimed “spiritual adviser” for the group) and Mickey Rosenquist (Karl Ropp and Ed Dulian were unavailable) showed up at my apartment for tea and an interview. Just like the CD cover, the dynamic between members of The Snaggs is humorous and relaxed, causing a very, very informal question and answer session.

Zander made an exerted effort to keep focused on the actual interview questions, while Rosenquist and Olson interrupted with stories about who last blew up their tour van with what kind of firecrackers. Everyone eventually settled down to talk after a while, and seemed to be in consensus on what the greatest appeal was of Hot Tomato.

“It’s fun,” Zander said.

“It’s the best we’ve put out,” said Olson.

“You should buy at least six to eight CDs, because even if you don’t like the music, they make a beautiful coaster set,” Rosenquist said.

In a way, Rosenquist is right because the cover features a rather sexy Zander in nothing but black underwear holding up two bright red tomatoes outside the 320 Store. In that vein, I asked them how much emphasis they put on sex appeal. All three members agreed they used to try to avoid using sex as their catch, but it became useless. Rosenquist pointed out that most interviewers usually want to talk to Holland because she’s “the cute little girl singer,” and added they just sort of “roll with it” now.

Hot Tomato is a perfect pop album. The songs never get too dreadfully serious, and if they do, it’s lost on the listener in the music. Zander’s vocals, as always, are powerful and catchy, and the music is straightforward rock played by musicians who know what they’re doing.

I think a good part of the appeal for The Snaggs is in their showy live performances. Hot Tomato captures enough energy that the enthusiasm of their live performances isn’t lost in the recording.

The Snaggs are different from many female-fronted pop-rock groups in that if one listens to the lyrics closely, they are fairly sexless, and the band is extremely tight.

Knowing most of their interviews have been focused entirely on Holland, I tried to balance questions and direct them toward all present. However, there have been two nagging little questions in my mind that I had wanted to ask Holland ever since The Snaggs began five years ago: Do you ever get annoyed with the questions regarding your father (Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander), and how much does Cheap Trick have to do with The Snaggs? Holland smiled, and everyone began talking at once.

Zander: Well, I think the most common question is “Are you Cheap Trick’s daughter?” And it’s like, I want to say “yeah, that’s why Mrs. Zander doesn’t drink anymore…”

Olson: I think Holland’s dad has probably seen The Snaggs about twice since we’ve been together, and…

Zander:…Yeah, we’ve opened for them twice. Other than that, there’s really no…relation.

TRRT: So you would say it gets annoying?

Zander: Yeah, like this one time a venue made a poster for The Snaggs that literally read: “The Snaggs featuring Holland Zander, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander’s daughter.”

Later, I checked The Snagg’s Web site, and that sentence verbatim is in their biography. One can speculate that there is a genuine sense of pride for familial accomplishment, though Zander by no means has any desire to ride her father’s reputation.

Due to space concerns, the full interview could not be printed in this issue of The Rock River Times. However, the last question I asked seemed relevant: “Who are you voting for in the upcoming election?” Olson shrugged and said, “Well, it probably says something that in our ‘thank yous,’ we thanked Mayor Larry Morrissey.” Rosenquist added, “Yeah, he should buy our CD.”

Since The Snaggs only play one or two shows in Rockford per month, interested parties would be advised to check out the CD release at Kryptonite, Friday, April 1. If you can’t make it, Hot Tomato will be available at, and will probably be on the shelves at Media Play, Acme Records, and the J.R. Kortman Center for Design. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. with a $5 cover. Opening acts are Adam and The Go Comets and The Vestals. More info: 965-0931.

From the March 30-April 5, 2005 issue

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