With the defense of his 2016 Offshore Powerboat Association Class 4 World and National titles a long way off—and winter slowing business at Saris Racing Engines in Lake George, N.Y.—offshore powerboat racer and musician Johnny Saris has some downtime on his hands. So come Jan. 2 Saris and his fellow band members in The Switch, a rock-and-roll/blues outfit, will head to Nashville to record a six-song EP with professional producer Peter Young and well-known recording engineer Kyle Hershman at Studio 19.
While Saris takes his music as seriously as his racing, he has a solid and informed perspective on the industry and reasonable expectations.
Johnny Saris (left) and his band-mates in The Switch have played together for almost six years.
“Everybody aspires to be the next Led Zeppelin, which of course we wouldn’t say ‘No’ to, but for us it’s mostly the adventure of four great friends driving 16 hours to hang out in Nashville,” said Saris. “That’s the best part. Recording while we’re there is almost a ‘When in Rome’ scenario.
“I guess the main goal (of producing the EP) would be for better bookings,” he continued. “We are playing at some really cool places currently in Saratoga Springs, Lake George and a few others but we’d like to expand that. Usually the next step for a band is to cut a demo of one or two songs to show a venue what their sound is like. We’re kind of skipping that and jumping straight to the point. Our ‘demo’ will be a six-song EP. Hopefully that will give us a leg up on the competition—I sound just like a boat racer.”
Of course, Saris has work to do before he departs. The Switch, which has been together for the better part of six years, has a show on New Year’s Eve.
“We’ll recover on New Year’s Day and head out the next day,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Johnny Saris covered the 2016 OPA season for speedonthewater.com.