Contributed by: Ramnarayan Iyer
- Greetings and Welcome to IMM Steve!
Steve: Thank You…
- What have you been upto lately?
Steve: I’ve been touring with the new Autograph all over the US and we are going to England in October. We plan to tour extensively internationally as well as record new material.
- Tell us about your inspirations growing up?
Steve: My inspirations were Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page…I really didn’t listen to anyone else after I attended the Guitar Institute of Technology aside from Alan Holdsworth. I tried to stay away from listening to other guitarist so I could concentrate on my own style. I also have to mention that Pink Floyd was an inspiration to me musically and I loved David Gilmore’s melodic phrasing.
- You played bass guitar at first…What made you take up lead guitar?
Steve: I started playing bass back in 1967 because there was a guitar player down the street from where I lived that wanted to start a band. I really wanted to play guitar though because I just loved the way it sounded and the way you could express your emotions on it. What made me switch over was the day Jimi Hendrix died…September 18th, 1970.
- Tell us about your trademark two handed(8 finger) guitar shredding technique?
Steve: I started doing it in 1973 when I saw Harvey Mandel playing with that technique and a local guitarist from Seattle named Steve Buffington. But what really had a heavy influence was when Emmit Chapman (the inventor of the Stick) did a clinic at GIT in the early months I was attending there. He mentioned while he was doing the clinic that he had started this technique on guitar but it evolved to a point where he had to invent an instrument that would accompany him more accurately for what he was trying to achieve musically. I talked to him after the clinic and he gave me some ides as to what he was doing on guitar before he invented the stick….this absolutely blew me away!!! Everything I learned from GIT from that point on I wrote down in double handed style.
- How did Autograph happen?
Steve: Autograph was an accident…we were just guys who jammed together on the weekends when Andy Johns (rest his soul) came down and listened to us at Victory Studios in North Hollywood. He was really impressed by what he heard and asked if we wanted to record a demo at Gower Studios in Hollywood…of course we said YES!! That demo was played for David Lee Roth by Keni, our drummer…in which David loved it! he asked us to open up their 1984 tour and we gladly accepted. Next thing was RCA Records and several others wanting to sign us because of our songwriting expertise. We eventually accepted the deal offered by RCA.
- Tell us about how the superhit song “Turn up the Radio” happened and Autograph song and the band themselves feature in the hollywood movie “Like Father Like Son”
Steve: The song Turn Up The Radio was a last minute effort we wrote to add onto the album….RCA declined it at first but then realized it’s potential. Like Father Like Son was something Motley Crue was supposed to do but because of their schedule were unable to….so we filled the slot.
- Among your tours you have stated that touring with Van Halen was your least favourite experience. Shed some light on it.
Steve: That was because I was told literally minutes before we performed that I was not allowed to do my two handed technique because it was “Eddie’s thing”….although I had been doing it years before I had ever heard of Van Halen. I was very disappointed because I had to re-think all of my solos on the spot. Aside from that, they limited our use of the PA and lighting to make us appear much of a lesser performance than themselves….I will always remember that.
- Post Autograph tell us about your musical endeavours like your solo project Network 23 and the Autograph rarities you released like Missing pieces and More Missing pieces.
Steve: Network 23 was an endeavor I explored from songs I had written that were not suitable for the Autograph style. I decided to do this album from where my heart was at the time….just playing and recording material that felt natural to me. Missing Pieces was a conglomeration of demos we were doing for Epic Records when our deal with RCA had ended. This was an album of just demos that showed which direction the band was going at that time.
- Great to see the autograph reunion happening Yourself and Mr.Randy Rand on bass are the guys from the original Autograph line up. Tell us how did you hook up with new singer Simon Daniels.
Steve: Randy Rand and myself met at the NAMM show in Anaheim California in 2011…and we realized that we really missed playing together. At that time we started to discuss a reunion but were not sure if it was possible. Steve Plunkett…the original singer was not interested because of his schedule. We started to look at other singers and we found Simon Daniels….he was a perfect fit and was into joining the project….lucky for us!! 🙂
- Kindly tell us the Ozzy Osbourne moments when he hosted a show with you guys and also featured in the loud and clear video
Steve: Ozzy was absolutely brilliant!! Vince Neil and him were very gracious to come down and do the filming for this…we are forever thankful for their generosity. Sharon, Ozzy’s wife, brought their kids down (who were very young at the time) for the filming and we had a great time hanging out with all of them…it’s an experience I will never forget.
- Any plans for touring India?
Steve: Yes….we want to play in India more then you can imagine….great people equals great times!!!
- What advice would you give to budding guitarists who are new into learning guitar?
Steve: Play from the heart! Don’t listen to what is currently popular because it is already over by the time you get your first recording out. Feel the music inside you…it doesn’t lie.
- You are from the 80s glam era which happened after the blues based rock (Led Zep, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd etc). Then thrash happened and Now we see gory vocals, death metal, double bass drums, where do you see the future of the real rock n roll you dream and lived?
Steve: The future is a melodic interlude that will make everyone excited about for what’s happen….
- Give us a sneak peek into your future projects.
Steve: More music…more compassion….more love…
- Thank you Steve…Leave a message for your fans
Steve: I want to thank the fans for making me want to do this again! And I want to thank those that have stayed with us throughout the years. And last but but not least….I want to thank you Ram for the opportunity to voice myself!!! You are a true friend!!! 🙂