INTERVIEW WITH STEELCITY GUITARIST MIKE FLOROS
By Mick Michaels
COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Mike! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated. Mike Floros: Thanks for reaching out to the band. We’re really excited about this album and are always appreciative to talk with folks like yourself! CV: How would you describe the “Golden Age of Hard Rock” to a young person today? What do you think made it so magical for the listener? MF: From about the mid 70s to the very early 90s, one could discover many of the great bands that we’ve come to know and love today on mainstream radio. I remember hearing KISS and AC/DC on Y-100 (a Top 40 station in South Florida). Moreover, you’d hear them played in the same radio segments as bands like The Bee Gees and Player, LOL. To me, that not only made it a great time for Hard Rock but it also made it a great time for music, in general. The magic, at least for me, is that our generation was never confined to ONE style of music. We were exposed to so much more and in my opinion, our musical tastes benefited from that. CV: Some critics believe that the classic magic of music is missing today and it starts with the quality, or lack thereof, of the level of musicianship in those who are charged with creating it. Do you feel there is any truth in such a belief? MF: With all due respect to the critics, I’ll have to disagree. I believe that it’s much easier for today’s artists to release their music to the public, surely. However, much like in days and eras past, the cream always rises to the top. When you look at an artist like Bruno Mars, who is a complete throwback to the 80s (at least to me), how can you say there is a lack of quality or level of musicianship? That’s not even our genre but it’s an excellent example. You’ve got a lot of great, young bands releasing music these days, too. Look at bands in our genre like Maverick and Collateral, who are probably two of the best younger bands out there. They are making music that rivals that of any release from their older, more established peers. Hmm...again, I’m gonna disagree with those “critics.” CV: Would you consider SteelCity to be a throwback band? MF: Good question. Yes and no, I would surmise. "Yes," in the sense that we fly our “Melodic Hard Rock freak flag” high and do so with unabashed pride. I think people would consider us a throwback band because our sound echoes that of days gone by. I’d say "no" in some ways, however. While there’s an underground resurgence in the USA for this style of music, it’s never fallen out of favor in many parts of the world. I think for people who’ve followed this style of music since its inception, we’re simply a new face on the scene. Hopefully, we’re one they dig! CV: A band’s evolution is one that involves commitment, sacrifice and a lot of blood, sweat and tears...it’s a unique process. How has SteelCity’s evolution brought you to this point? MF: Great question. SteelCity, as Roy often says, is my baby. There’s a great deal of love, pride, and commitment that goes into every song written. And while the last iteration of the band was an absolute privilege to be a part of, working with the new band members has really raised expectations. One of the beautiful things, for me at least, was listening to the performances on the album. It seemed to me that each song had become personal to the guys and it showed in their performances. The band continues to grow and evolve and we’re thankful for each and every opportunity that comes our way. CV: Great songwriting, powerful production, and amazing performances are the main ingredients in what makes “Mach II” a stellar addition to the SteelCity legacy. How would you define the SteelCity sound and style based on this album’s end result? What makes it unique? MF: Wow, thank you so much for the compliments. Ooh, and we have a legacy now, LOL! Seriously, though, the performances by BJ Zampa, Tony Stahl, Roy Cathey, and Jason Cornwell were incredibly strong on this album. I know that the guys took great pride with this album and for that, one can’t help but be thankful to be surrounded by so much talent. This band wouldn’t even dream of putting anything less than our best into every single track. Further, we take great care in finding the right production fit for the band, as well. Whether it’s Johnny Lima on Fortress or Ty Sims and Erik Johnson on Mach II, production is always an integral part of our sound. These guys are as much a part of this album as the band itself. As far as what “our sound” or “style” is, that’s up for debate, I suppose. Our goal is just to deliver the best album possible. We do that by choosing the best songs we currently have and play our asses off! Some people have called us “Journey on Steroids.” That’s a great compliment, in and of itself. I’d just say we’re a band of many influences that regale the sound of our era. The fact that we can incorporate all of our influences and the listener can relate to that, album after album, is what I believe makes us unique. CV: Can a band ever have real contentment and still be able to write good songs? Or is it that uncertainty and contention of not being settled that inevitably delivers powerful music? MF: Contentment seems to come well after the album’s release, at least for me. The other guys might feel differently. When writing and performing the album, there’s always uncertainty and a drive to push harder. “I could have played this better” or “Maybe I could’ve written a better melody in that chorus.” That kind of stuff always pops into your head. There is a point when you have to realize that what you’ve done might just be your best and let go. Usually, after the album’s been out a few months, you realize those performances you were beating yourself up over are the ones that many identify with. That’s when your contentment sets in. CV: How has the recent COVID-19 pandemic affected the SteelCity camp?
How is the band coping with this crisis? MF: As a band, the guys have lost gigs/session work…as have most musicians. We signed with Brad Lee Entertainment just before the outbreak and I know our team was working hard to land us shows to support Mach II. All of that will have to wait and rightfully so. We’ve gotten word from our new label, Perris Records, that the album is actually performing quite well, though. Totally cool that music, ours or anyone else’s, for that matter, is helping get people through these times. Coping? We’re all doing it a little differently. Just from his Facebook posts, I know BJ’s bored. I saw him post a food pic the other day! That’s what happens when one of the world’s best rock drummers gets sidelined, I suppose. Everyone is trying their best to maintain positivity. We all know it’s going to get better but it’s just a matter of WHEN. In addition to being a songwriter and guitarist, I’m also a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Yes...I actually have a day job! So, I’m coping a different way. My work counterparts and I are facing the pandemic head on and as such, I’d like to take a moment here to personally thank all first responders and front-line healthcare workers. The challenge is real and everyone’s hard work and dedication is appreciated. CV: With the world at a seemingly standstill, do you feel the music industry as a whole, will find a way to bounce back and use this time as a way to improve itself? MF: I’d like to be optimistic and say yes but I think once this is all over with, they will continue with “business as usual.” CV: Music has a way of touching our souls and changing our lives. In times such as these, as the state of the world is in dismay, can people find healing in music? MF: Absolutely. Just find the video of quarantined Italians singing Black Sabbath and you’ve got your answer. A country torn by the pandemic and yet there they are flooding their balconies and singing into the streets. Music has always been a healer to the soul and it’s obvious, probably now more than ever. CV: What’s next for SteelCity...what can fans expect? MF: Well, for certain you can expect some live shows later this year. Brad Lee Entertainment has plans for us. In addition, Jason and I have been chatting about putting together a Northeastern run this fall, “pandemic-willing.” You can also expect SteelCity 3 on Perris Records, though that’s more of a 2021 likelihood. For the most part, the album is already written. We’re all pretty stoked about the future, for sure, though. CV: Thank you again for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success. MF: Thank you! It’s definitely our privilege to chat with you and share with your readers. We just want to take this moment to thank everyone who supports SteelCity and sites like yours. It’s fine people like yourselves that keep this Rock n Roll train going and we couldn’t be happier than to be a part of it. Peace! * Be sure to visit The CosMick View for this and many other killer interviews at: