Updated: Apr 6, 2021
In the fifth episode of Coffee With Me, we interviewed Andy Hilfiger and Ted Untz, founding members of the rock n’ roll & blues band, Sway.
The lively rock band originated back in 2011 in Dave’s basement, but who’s Dave? A mutual friend of the founding members, Dave would host the musicians for nights of playing acoustics sets and creating musical fusion every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Almost acting as an early audition, various musicians would gather in Dave’s basement to jam out and throw songs together. Eventually the band formed in an authentic way that became to be known as Sway.
The band shifts through various lead players, also inviting in special guests to play with them such as Joe Bouchard from Blue Öyster Cult, Dennis Dunaway from Alice Cooper, and Richie Ranno from Starz. Sway consists of Andy Hilfiger on guitar, vocals, and acting band leader, Ted Utz on bass guitar, vocal, and acting band management, Tory Ridder on drums, Lou Young as the lead vocalist and percussion, Mike Bishop on keyboard and logistics, and Tom Nelson and the solo guitarist.
The Mamaroneck New York, based band is spreading the word that rock n’ roll is alive and well, showcasing their unique rock n roll & blues sound through original compositions and covering classic anthems. Drawing from their love of rock n’ roll music, the band’s name derived from the classic song on The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album.
Andy grew up in a house of nine kids, each with their own preference of musical genres. He describes how each member of the family loved jamming out to their favorite music in their respective rooms. The house was a jukebox of diverse musical tones always shuffling through songs. Through the growth and changes in taste of music, the one artist that was always consistent in Andy’s house was The Rolling Stones. He quickly learned how to play bass guitar to his favorite songs from the albums he had access to.
Andy combined his love of fashion and music later in life. He started out as a stylist in product placement by dressing musicians in their videos. He had the opportunity to sponsor Pete Townsend through Tommy Hilfiger as his first corporate gig in the industry. Andy chose blue jeans, jean jackets, and polo shirts from the Hilfiger warehouse, and embroidered Tommy Hilfiger Presents Pete Townsend along the back of the jackets. Stemming from his success, Andy started his own fashion line called Andrew Charles, where he signed Steven Tyler as the spokesperson.
Ted started his first band at 12 years old when The Rolling Stones were just gaining popularity. They played the Stones repeatedly and mastered the early albums. Ten years later, Ted and Andy met through Dave and immediately knew they would form a rock band. His love of music has traveled with him throughout his entire professional career as a successful radio host in the Syracuse area.
Sway regularly performs in the New York area and travels to Upstate New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.