Silver Ship is an instrumental rock power trio that hails from Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. The band members are Mordechai Kleidermacher (guitar), Tony "Vinny" DeGennaro (bass), and Steve Wexler on drums.
“We’re real influenced by seventies heavy rock like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cactus, Grand Funk, Captain Beyond, Rush, that sort of thing,” says the band’s guitarist and founder Mordechai Kleidermacher. “And while those bands all had great singers, my favorite parts were always the riffs. So we figured who needs a singer. Let’s just do an album in a heavy-rock vein but do it all-instrumental since, as far as I’m concerned, the riffs were the most important aspect of that kind of music, not to mention we were just too lazy to look for a singer.”
Along with its heavier inclinations, the band has a more exotic bent too, as exemplified by songs like “Mr. T,” “Are You Receiving Me,” and the album’s title track, “Into Oblivion.” “We’re very into the fusion thing also, you know, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu, Larry Coryell’s The Eleventh House. There are no real boundaries with us. We’ll try anything. We dig all kinds of music, from rap to klezmer, what the hell, man.”
The band even tried its hand at reggae, as evidenced by the somber “Samson Is Dead.” “I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of heroes, how we put them on a pedestal and knock them down,” says Kleidermacher. “And Samson has always intrigued me, being this character that seemed to embody unbelievable strength and power, and yet it was his humanity, his love for Delilah, which ultimately did him in. Of course, he did have the last laugh.”
And what are some of the band members’ favorite tracks on the album? “Well, for me, it’s definitely ‘Warlord,’” says Kleidermacher. “I think we really smoked on that track, especially the rhythm section. Steve and Tony are just pounding, man. Love that tune. And ‘Earth Blues’ came out really good too. I love the whole bluesy, psychedelic vibe of it, the kind of Hendrix-meets-Led Zeppelin feel, and there’s a lot of cool jamming going on there between us. It sort of nails what we’re about, big, heavy riffs but also very jammy.”
“‘Slug’ and ‘Mr. T.’ are my faves,” says DeGennaro, “‘Slug’ for the power and the cool changes, and ‘Mr. T.’, because I wrote the riff. It’s kind of a tribute to the fusion thing, all slinky and fretless-like and funky. You know, I like a lot of soul music, Curtis Mayfield, etc. So it’s got all that, I like to think.
“As far as some of my bass influences, there are just too many, but I guess Stanley, Jaco, Geezer, and Mel Schacher [of Grand Funk Railroad] stand out in particular.”
For Kleidermacher, “Like Tony, there are so many, but a list of my favorite guitar players would include John Fogerty, John McLaughlin, Jan Akkerman, Carlos, Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page, Jimi, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Larry Coryell, Jim McCarty [of Cactus], Roy Buchanan, Eric, Paul Kossoff. Oh man, we could go on all day.”
“I guess I would have to say ‘Slug’ is right up there as one of my favorites on the record,” Wexler chimes in, “because it makes me feel like John Bonham when I play it. I love it. The beat is so Bonham-esque. It’s deceptively simple sounding, yet it’s so hard to play. As a drummer, it’s really satisfying. I also like our reggae departure in ‘Samson Is Dead,’ especially at the end where I do my tribute to Tony Williams, one of my favorite drummers of all time. Playing lead drums. I never get to do that. It was really cool. As far as some of my other favorite drummers, there’s Cozy Powell, Ian Paice, and from the newer guys there’s Glenn Kotche from Wilco.”
To sum up, says Kleidermacher, “We tried to do an album that reflects our multiple musical tastes which, as you can see, are wide ranging. This is a completely self-produced album. At the end of the day, we tried to play the kind of stuff that really moves us without much consideration of its commerciality. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about selling records. We do. We just don’t want to work that hard at it.”