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Secret Saucer

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Secret Saucer from 2012

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Steve Hayes: Before we started Secret Saucer I had made an album with Hawkwind members called “Star Nation -The SilverAge". Before that I had made two CDs under the name ‘Ultraviolet Rays” and played in various cover bands, not to mention one off live gigs with Daevid Allen and Hawkwind. I also am involved in recording projects with Spaceseed from Atlanta, Georgia and also have mixed two CDs for OresundSpace Collective from Denmark.

Dan Schnell: Been playing out since I was 16. I've played in Equinox, Exit, This, Sun Machine, and Secret Saucer. My fun gig is an acoustic solo/duo/trio thing, we were called “Sandy & the Man-bitches” (among other band names)/ I'm in Secret Saucer ‘cause Steve called me and asked if I wanted to show up and play. I did.

Billy Spear: Thanks to my big cousin Steve (yes, Steve Hayes), I began playing music as a teenager. Steve introduced the guitar to me and I haven't put it down yet. I guess when I think about it, music has been a family affair for me. Along with varies projects Steve and I have been involved in, Ultra Violet Rays, Sun Machine, Crawling for a walk (later line up) and, of course Secret Saucer, I have also been playing in bands with my cousin Matt Mugridge since the early 2000s. I am currently also a member of The Drexels. We just released our first CD Turning Stone

Ted Boburka: I have been drumming from the age of ten years - band drum and bugle corps, .rock bands.

Dave Hess: Ted loaned me his synth (MS 20) and I started to mess around with it. From there I practiced with a Grateful Dead band and the band did not like me adding spacey sounds to the Dead songs, so I was out. Did some recording with Thom the poet, a tape came out of the recording's - 100 copies - vary rare. Then started a band Blaahh which lasted for three years playing in my basement. Blaahh included the two Secret Saucer drummers Ted and Thom. Secret Saucer came out of the ashes of the Strange Daze Festival's. We were all involved in the Festival in one way or another. Steve Hayes invited us to his home studio for a five day jam in 2000. We recorded it and worked it down to 70 minutes of the best stuff. Then we sent it out to some record companies: Andy G. liked it and released it on his label (Dead Earnest)

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Steve Hayes:  Sleeping

Dan Schnell:  Wasting time not being involved in music

Billy Spear:  Hopefully hitting the pick four at Gulfstream. 

Ted Boburka:  I would be dead. There is no life without music!

Dave Hess:  My job: printing


How did the name of the group originate?

Steve Hayes:  Our original drummer came up with it

Dave Hess:  Thom our drummer came up with the name. We like it because it incorporated space rock and was a play on Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets


Who would you see as your musical influences?

Steve Hayes:  Gong, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, The Shamen, Black Sabbath, Cosmic Gate, Harvey Bainbridge, Techno Trance music, and so much more!

 Dan Schnell:  More like what...I am influenced by everything I have ever experienced on both conscious and unconscious levels

Billy Spear:  Hard rock of the late 70s early 80s. BOC, Thin Lizzie, UFO, Sabbath, Golden Earring, Motorhead - too many to list.... 

Ted Boburka:  Dave! No, just kidding! So many to think of!

Dave Hess:  Hawkwind, Eloy, Moody Blues, Ozrics, old Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Gong, Crack the Sky, Captain Beyond, Rush, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson, Camel, 70's hard rock and so much more


What's ahead for you?

Steve Hayes:  I wish I knew.

Dan Schnell:  The future. Endeavors to ascend and create. Adventure, work, play, rest. Certain death, eventually.

Billy Spear:  Secret Saucer's fifth CD. The best one yet!

Ted Boburka:  Next CD with Secret Saucer and finding a local band to play with (any one in 518 need a drummer?)

Dave Hess:  Never know: the future is an open book with a bunch of blank pages.


I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Steve Hayes:  From the heart.

Dan Schnell:  Comfort creation with a little space ala mode.

Billy Spear:  Space bliss. 

Ted Boburka:  F***ing awesome!

Dave Hess:  Spacerock for the masses


Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Steve Hayes:  Not specifically

Dan Schnell:  Well, it's been pretty cool so far. If I am to play with someone, they tend to "show up.” There are literally hundreds (if not more) that I would love to play with. 

Billy Spear:  Everyone I'm playing with now. There's no replacement for chemistry and we got it!

Ted Boburka:  Yes 

Dave Hess:  I like who I'm playing with now, nice chemistry. If Frank Bornemann (Eloy) would play with me that would be great.


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

Steve Hayes:  I think it helps. Not everyone can get the exposure that radio gives, so I think it helps.

Ted Boburka:  Yes

Dave Hess:  I think it gives exposure to band like us


In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Steve Hayes:  I think it's great!

Ted Boburka:  If we played live I would hope someone recorded the show! 

Dave Hess:  I think it's a good thing. I've taped a few shows and glad I can go back and relive some of the shows I've seen.


If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Steve Hayes:  Simon Cowell and Company. They are responsible for the "dumbing down" of America in terms of what people consider to be musical talent.

Ted Boburka:  Um… I am a superhero - every one on Xfactor and shows like that!

Dave Hess:  What Steve said.


If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

Steve Hayes:  Harvey Bainbridge, Richard Chadwick, Alan Davey, Huw Lloyd Langton and Dave Brock. Why? Did you see them live in 1989? - mind blowing.

Dan Schnell:  That band is together and called Secret Saucer. Dave, Ted, Billy, Steve & me. Why? It's my favorite band. 

Ted Boburka:  The guys I play with in Secret Saucer - our music would sound awesome live!

Dave Hess:  Late 70s Eloy - never got a chance to see them and I love their LP's from Dawn to Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes.


If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Steve Hayes:  Eloy, Gong, Hawkwind, Secret Saucer, BOC, Omnia Opera, Ozric Tentacles, Darxtar

Ted Boburka:  Every one! 

Dave Hess:  Eloy, Gong, Hawkwind, Secret Saucer, Ozric's, Moody Blues, King Crimson, Camel


What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

Steve Hayes:  Last CD I bought was Apollo 440's latest. Been listening to that and lots of Neu!, La Dusseldorf, Psychedelic Nuggets, Portuguese Nuggets, PFM, Tubeway Army, Scooter, Killing Joke.

Dan Schnell:  Honestly, all my musical focus is on our upcoming CD. I listen to us. I would say my casual listening is mostly Yes. 

Billy Spear:  I have been exploring the underground punk scene of the late 70s. The Avengers, The Wipers, The Dead Boys are a few I have recently discovered.

Ted Boburka:  Can, Kraftwerk, Porcupine Tree, Neu 

Dave Hess:  Hawkwind Onward, Been listening to lots of Mythos, Omnia Opera, Killing Joke


Have you read any good books lately?

Steve Hayes:  Nope

Dan Schnell:  Yes

Billy Spear:  Yes – Song of Fire and Ice. 

Ted Boburka:  People’s History of America by Howard Zinn...a must read for everyone!

Dave Hess:  Nope


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Steve Hayes:  That would have been, Brainticket, Huw Lloyd Langton and Nektar, at the Beachland in Cleveland, Ohio. Before that it was probably Ministry in 2008.

Dan Schnell:  The Musical Box (a Genesis copy band) playing The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in its entirety.

Billy Spear:  Rush at the Q, Cleveland, Ohio

Ted Boburka:  Roger Waters - The Wall 

Dave Hess:  Renaissance


Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Steve Hayes:  I am not guilty! I didn’t do it...really…ummm Abba

Dan Schnell:  Nope. No guilt, all pleasure. 

Billy Spear:  No - it's all pleasure.

Ted Boburka:  No. No guilt, just pleasure! 

Dave Hess:  Tears for Fears’ first LP


What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Steve Hayes:  Don’t have one....that I can remember.

Dan Schnell:  I turned it up to 11 once...

Ted Boburka:  I blew up! 

Dave Hess:  Playing with Blaahh in my basement and the soundboard blew up!


If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Steve Hayes:  Gilli Smyth, Daevid Allen and Kevin Ayers circa 1967.

Billy Spear:  Eric Bloom, Phil Lynott and Geezer Butler.

Ted Boburka:  That would change by the minute 

Dave Hess:  My Dad my Mom and Justin Hayward He seems like a nice guy.


What would be on the menu?

Steve Hayes:  Indian, with wine and weed!

Billy Spear:  Burgers, fries and beers.

Ted Boburka: It would depend on if I’m cooking or not. 

Dave Hess:  My Mom's sloppy Joes


Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Steve Hayes:  We are working on our fifth CD. Stay tuned!

Dan Schnell:  I am Dan. I am a musician, playing gigs since I was a teenager. I have been so fortunate to play with very talented singers and players over the years. We have made some beautiful music, particularly singing with my dear Sandy. To quote Joachim-Ernst Berendt, (The World is Sound), “at the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. We know that every particle in the physical universe takes its characteristics from the pitch and pattern and overtones of its particular frequencies, its singing. Before we make music, music makes us.” 

Billy Spear:  We are hard at work on the new CD and loving every minute!

Ted Boburka:  Thanks for giving us a chance to speak. Please support local art and music. Have a nice day! 

Dave Hess:  Thank for the interview. Keep an ear out for the fifth Secret Saucer CD.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at
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