Steven Gullett
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Steven Gullett


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The best kept secret in music


"Steven Gullett's songs are musical short stories."

Steven Gullett's songs are musical short stories.
Steven Gullett releasing 3rd CD
Go! Magazine - Rock Insider 11/14/03
by Don Thrasher For the Dayton Daily News

Songs About Them & Me and You is an apt title for the latest solo CD from Steven Gullett, a local songwriter with a growing reputation for crafting memorable, musical short stories about real-life troubles, insecurities and loss. His believable character studies and personal confessions set to simple acoustic-guitar accompaniment (with occasional electric guitar overdubs) are a perfect musical soundtrack for this age of reality TV and overt voyeurism.

Faking It All for You is a biographical sketch that captures the claustrophobia and hopelessness often prevalent in small towns where options are limited and disappointment is a top ten word.

In Look What Music Did to Me, Gullett takes a humorous look at the good and bad aspects of being a hard-core music fan with a penchant for wearing flamboyant glam-punk clothing.

Angels Are Never Enough is a powerful first-person account about coping with the untimely death of a loved one.

Gullett truly reveals his gift for storytelling in Whatever Comes Closest, a melancholy portrait of a glorified secretary whose biggest regret is never getting married. The epic tale traces the unhappy woman's life, from losing her innocence at 15 with four beers on her breath and her parents down the hall, through a hippy phase in college, to being a lonely, overweight woman in a house filled with sadness and a couple of cats. Gullett's attention to detail helps create well-rounded characters like this song's protagonist who "looks good from a distance, but up close slightly misses, like a first glance full of wishes on a falling star . . . She don't stand out in a crowd and she stares at her feet when she walks."

Songs About Them & Me and You, Gullett's third solo album in less than two years, will be officially released when he performs at Canal Street Tavern on Sunday (Nov. 16). Gullett will perform solo, but he will also be joined on several songs by guest musicians Tod Weidner of Shrug and Josh Hoag of Nicky Kay & the Kay-tones, the American Static and Maery Lanahan. Weidner and Minneapolis-based songwriter Ben Connelly also will perform solo sets that evening.

Gullett, who works in the library of the Dayton Daily News, is a busy man. In addition to his solo work, the former singer and guitarist for glam punks Freak Strobe, Love Lies Bleeding and the Mystery Addicts, leads his own band, Star Heartless, and plays guitar for the American Static.
To find out more, visit

Rock Insider, by free-lance arts and music writer Don Thrasher, gives a behind-the-scenes view of the Dayton music scene. It appears every other week. Contact Thrasher by e-mail at

- Go! Magazine

"Steven Gullett - Songs About Them & Me & You"

Steven Gullett - Songs About Them & Me & You
by Holly Quinn
Dayton Exposed 11/13/03

Steven Gullett is a serious, musical veteran. In the past, Gullett has played in the local bands Love Lies Bleeding, the Mystery Addicts, and Freakstrobe. He is currently a member of Star Heartless and American Static. He plays guitar in both. I caught Gullett's solo show at Elbo's. I had not gone to do a review, but I immediately knew I wanted to interview him after only hearing him play for a few minutes. Gullett has a moody, updated folk sound with a punk edge that catches a crowd's attention.

Interviewing Gullett was different than other musicians I have talked to. He was a very shy guy, but you could tell that music is his lifeblood. He told me that, Songs About Them & Me & You, is his third solo acoustic CD in two years. When asked whom he would compare himself to, he said Paul Westerberg and John Easdale. Gullett has played since 1992.
When asked what he liked most about his solo project, he stated that he could "explore being a musician instead of a punk guy around town". Gullett is originally from Elyria, Ohio, and has been in Dayton since 1991.

Songs About Them & Me & You is very well organized. A song of special note would be Southern Belle (about the famed Dayton bar), which I also got to see him play live. Gullett puts a lot of energy into this song, and really gets his crowd going.

Gullett has a CD release party planned for Songs About Them & Me & You Sunday, November l6th; at Canal Street Tavern. Tod Weidner will accompany him at this show on electric guitar, and Josh Hoag on upright bass. Gullett also has a solo show planned for the end of' November in New York, with Star Heartless December 6th at Elbo's, and with American Static Thanksgiving at Canal Street Tavern.

Songs About Them & Me & You is a very good solo acoustic disc, and Gullett was a pleasure to interview. I would suggest to anyone to catch the release party and get a copy of this latest work from a deserving local artist. - Dayton Exposed

"DIARY OF A ROCK 'N' ROLL FIEND - Solo, So Alone:"

Solo, So Alone:
by Jeff Dahl / Carbon 14 #23

-It seems that as bands break up, whoever might be sited as the driving or creative force will soldier on in some form or another as the rest of the band limps to the wayside of obscurity. Here are some cats that've left the band scene behind and have decided to walk the long, lonely solo path.-

Steven Gullett - One of the strongest singer/songwriters I've come across in a long, long time. He's got two great CDs out since the split-up of his glampunk band, The Mystery Addicts. Cheap Reflections is subtitled A Collection Of Demos; it's just an amazing set of 4 track recordings and the fact that he covers Peter Laughner, The Stones and Neil Young should tell you where he's coming from. What will take your breath away is that his originals measure up to these classic covers! The newest CD, Sad Like Marilyn, is another home recording with a bit more attention to production and it's even more brilliant. Unless you're passing through Dayton, Ohio you might never get to see him so I'd suggest you check out his website: - Carbon 14

"Steven Gullett - Sad Like Marilyn"

Steven Gullett - Sad Like Marilyn
Review by Mr Huh?

I don't know who Steven Gullett is personally, but I'm comfortable enough in my sexuality to say that if I was a woman, then I would want to have his baby...Or maybe not. That sh*t hurts from what I hear.

Anyways, Sad Like Marily is an anti-folk (or folk/punk synthesis) gem that captures a profound sense of both introspection and cynicism at times. He does have the type of songwriting chops and lyrical inventiveness that would make Bob Dylan (one of his influences) proud.

The first song, "Low Expectations" is a candid warning against both putting too much confidence in and also no trust whatsoever in what people say and do as he relays with just the first few lines alone. "Pressure" is the first track that really wows you with Steven's lyrical ability to a charging and optimistic tempo. The first few lines of "Hopefully" also showcase his ability to tap into an almost universal feeling with the lines, "Do you regret all the things you liked when you were young?/Don't believe in garbage, don't believe the things you wanna touch" are words that can easily apply to all that pop-culture bullsh*t that you were taught to like even though secretly you either wondered if there might be more meaningful things or wanted to put a drill to your head and get it over with. "My Old Friend" is a song written about the late, great Gregg Spence, and even though I have absolutely no idea who he is, I feel still like the world lost someone important after listening to this. "I Bet You're a Legend Now" is a great song satirizing fame and the unfortunate inability to control it. It's a bit of a slam you could say towards those who intentionally chase fame and then complain about it. "In Debt" is the only all-electric-guitar song on the album, but a great electric riff still accompanies the acoustic riff on "The Futility Ball" and the final track, "One to Pray" shows that Steven isn't afraid to experiment with a synthesizer and even a brief, yet sublime, solo to go along with a solemn reflection on the question of the after-life.

Managing to be sentimental without being sappy, Steven Gullett easily, has the potential to grow enough to make a future album on par with Highway 61 Revisited, Blue, or Graceland. -

"Steven Gullett turns wine into water"

Steven Gullett turns wine into water
by Leslie Benson
Dayton City Paper 11/13/03

It seems as though every time we turn around, singer/songwriter/guitarist Steven Gullett, formerly of glam punk band The Mystery Addicts and current member of Star Heartless, has released a new CD.

Unlike his previous solo records, Sad Like Marilyn and Cheap Reflections, his newest album, Songs About Them & Me & You, takes a serious glance at the direction of his life, meaning, and purpose and whips back with a fine answer - the performing and recording of acoustic music.

With refined vocals and social commentary Gullett offers us more of his catchy choruses and charcoaled, sentimental lyrics. With over a decade's worth of performing live shows, Gullett has turned 180 degrees from shocking audiences with razor-sharp glam punk songs to placing more value on intrinsic motivations and personal issues in his music.

Although he may sound similar to other folk singers of the era, Gullett is better described as an anti-folkster. He has traveled from the darkest gutters of basement rock bands to the core of his being - a lone man with a single acoustic guitar and a microphone lit up on a dim stage.

However, his new sound cannot compare to the 100 percent glitter rock sounds of his former band. But the change is welcome. Gullett has de-toxed his music from that of alcohol running through tattooed veins to empathetic blood and poetry running through mature aged arteries.

Steven Gullett of Star Heartless will perform a solo acoustic set, with friends Tod Weidner (of Shrug on electric guitar and Josh Hoag (of American Static and Maery Lanahan) on upright bass joining him for a few songs. Ben Connelly and Tod Weidner will also play individual sets. The show will take place at the Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St., on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 9 p.m. Admission is $5.

For more information, check out, or - Dayton City Paper


The Mystery Addicts' Steven Gullett
releases solo effort, Cheap Reflections

ONE THING you learn as you get older is that nothing's ever what it seems. To be cliché, there's always "more to the story," more than meets the eye. Such is the case with Steven Gullett's first solo record, Cheap Reflections: A Collection of Demos.

Gullett's regular gig is co-songwriter/frontman for The Mystery Addicts, one of the longest-running rock 'n' roll shows in Dayton. Occasionally, you can spot Gullett performing at a Songwriters-in-the-Round or Musicians' Co-Op at Canal Street Tavern, but it's a safe bet most people know him first and foremost as the glammed-out, rosy-cheeked other half of what might just be Dayton's hardest-gigging original band besides The Jackalopes.

Cheap Reflections was recorded during a two-year period, just Gullett waxing philosophic with an acoustic guitar and a Tascam 4-track recorder, creating a collection of personal stories, narratives and castoffs from Mystery Addicts writing sessions. Some were born as far back as '93, when Gullett was an angry twentysomething opening shows at the now-closed Brookwood Hall, a North Dayton bastion of sweaty, independent punk rock that witnessed shows by the likes of Guided By Voices, Brainiac and The Method. Other tracks were born more recently, molded into shape as Gullett learned more about the recording process while working on the Addicts' first full-length, Unluck and Shame. Something about the songs is raw and unpolished. It's not just the fact it was recorded on a four-track - the tunes are emotional snapshots of personal experiences, cloaked in strained vocals and hushed chords.

Gullett mines richly from the wellspring of rockers-turned-solo-artists such as Paul Westerberg, Neil Young and Peter Laughner, making the obvious nod to his influences with the inclusion of "Baudelaire," "Dead Flowers" and "Needle and the Damage Done" on the album. These songs work well with originals such as "Nowhere Here," which features a "Sister Morphine" feel. "`Nowhere Here' is a song I wrote when I was working door at Canal Street Tavern back in '93 or '94," Gullett explained. "That one I just wrote sitting there watching some horrible band whose name I will not mention, and (it's also about) whatever was going on with me at the time. I had good reaction to that one when I wrote it, but I stopped playing it over the years."

As he was compiling songs for this album, which he'd never actually intended to put out were it not for "people constantly asking" him about it, Gullett ran across other, older songs, some of which made the cut such as the blues tune "Down Here" and "Don't Ask Me to Talk About Love," which was "one of the ones that hurt the most, no elaboration."

"I always wanted to be one of those guys who wrote story songs; I never thought I could," Gullett said. "(When I started playing), l used all these really strange chords that I just made up - which I still think is a good thing, and I do on occasion. I was a lot more aggressive acoustically back then. ... I think I used to write a lot more songs, but as (local blues musician and former CST Co-Op host) Sharon Lane once told me, 'As you get older, you write less songs, but more of them are keepers.' And I think that's true."

Though he remains deliberately enigmatic about the meaning of his songs, he acknowledges the songwriting process provides an emotional outlet he'd never completely gotten from other creative endeavors such as fine art. "It's about honesty," Gullett reflected. "I think that's what draws me to people like Dylan, or Westerberg."

Like his inspirations, Gullett has a natural tendency to camouflage what he's trying to say: "I mean this, and it comes out like that. But I know what I meant; it's up to other people to decide what they think it means.

"Sometimes (a song) means, `You wrote this because you have to get something off your chest.' I don't really think about it that much; it's just kind of what I do," Gullett said. " ... (When I started writing lyrics and my friends forced me to be in a band, it all worked out a lot better; I had some emotional release that I couldn't get anywhere else. ... I don't write songs about going down to the Caribbean and having a party, because I've never been to the Caribbean. I try to be honest and hopefully that's what comes off." - Impact Weekly

"Steven Gullett drops his second solo disc"

Steven Gullett drops his second solo disc
By Don Thrasher / IMPACT WEEKLY FEB. 6 2003

The Mystery Addicts have broken up and co-founding member Steven Gullett doesn't really want to talk about it. True, the group disbanded once in the summer of 1999 only to reform by the spring of 2000, but this time it's for good. When the group called it quits after a show at Elbo's in November, the era of Dayton's hard rocking glam punks had finally come to an end. For Gullett what's past is past. Although it's only been a few months since the group's demise, he has clearly moved on. Today, Gullett is more concerned with his activities as a solo performer than dwelling on the accomplishments of his former band.

"I didn't quit The Mystery Addicts to play solo, " Gullett said. "It just wasn't what I wanted to do anymore. I might play with a band again but at the moment, this is what I'm doing. Everything is up in the air - there are no set plans."

While the singer/songwriter doesn't have concrete plans for the future, that doesn't mean he's been sulking at home making plans for a rock 'n' roll rebirth. On the contrary, he's doing the same thing he did before he joined The Mystery Addicts (and continued to do so sporadically during his tenure with the glam punk outfit), which is perform solo. "Doing it myself is the hard route to go," Gullett said. "Getting other people and playing out is the easy route. I enjoy both, and I'm always caught between which one I want to do more."

For now, it appears he is going it alone. In January, Gullett released Sad Like Marilyn, his second album in singer/songwriter mode. Like his debut, Cheap Reflections (released in May 2002), Sad Like Marilyn isn't so much sad bastard folk as introspective anti-folk (or acoustic music with a rock attitude). "Drunks, Junkies and Thieves," "Pressure" and other cuts betray Gullett's punk background, and that's a good thing.

On most tracks, Gullett's gruff rocker's voice is accompanied by a solitary acoustic guitar. On a few other songs, however, he sweetens the mix with subtle overdubs. On "One To Pray," the singer says goodbye to a deceased friend and punctuates the sentiment with a simple, melodic guitar line. A slide guitar overdub brightens the mood of "Low Expectations," a somber song about remaining centered and content by accepting the fact that people are human and will make mistakes, and on some occasions even disappoint you.

Like its predecessor, all of the songs on Sad Like Marilyn were recorded at home on four and eight track machines. While the results are a far cry from the crude and amateurish recordings of many lo-fi artists, these sessions still don't have the sheen of a proper, state-of-the-art studio. The recording quality is somewhere between those two extremes, which is the perfect setting for Gullett's anti-folk approach.

According to the singer, he likes the immediacy of working alone at home because he isn't held up by studio time and bandmates' busy schedules. "Normally you write songs and it's a long time before they're released," he said. "With this new CD there are three songs that were written in the two months since the band broke up. It's nice to put something out when it's fresh like that."

Some of the songs on Sad Like Marilyn are new offerings, but there are a few tracks with older born on dates. "Hopefully" was written in 1996, "The Futility Ball" was written in 1997 and "In Debt" was written in 1999. "I Bet You're A Legend Now" was a part of Gullett's acoustic sets in the mid-'90s.

"I played 'I Bet You're A Legend Now' on and off from 1994 until I put it away a couple of years ago," Gullett said. "I pulled it out recently and thought, 'It's a cool song,' so I started playing it again."
While the recent demise of the Mystery Addicts hasn't directly affected Gullett's songwriting, it has made it easier to focus. However, like before, he doesn't dwell on the process. Gullett prefers instead to write the material in a fit of creativity and let the song dictate how he performs it.

"A lot of times I just write and whatever comes out, comes out," he said. "Some times it works as a band song and other times it works better with just me and the guitar. Other songs work both ways, it just depends. Toward the end of the Mystery Addicts I was writing more with the band in mind than I wanted and that was problematic."
Although it's unfair to label it a movement, many of Gullett's contemporaries in the local rock scene have also taken to performing acoustically. "It seems like a pretty good climate locally for people playing solo," he said. "A lot of people in bands are doing solo shows and that's cool. The musicians co-op at Canal Street seems to have picked up. It has a built-in crowd and people go down there because they like it. Ya know, it's a lot of the same people, but it's a social thing and that's cool."

While Gullett doesn't see himself as part of some local movement, he is glad to have like-minded performers to share the stage with. For now at least there are no plans for full-on rock. Gullett is content to take the stage alone, a singer and his guitar.

"I'm enjoying playing solo," Gullett said. "ya know, it's a lot cheaper to buy equipment and you make all the decisions yourself. And, it's completely self-contained, so there is nobody to blame but myself. It's fun to do things like the CD design.
"Booking is a new thing for me," Gullett continued. "In the other bands somebody else always did it. Jamy (Holliday formerly of The Mystery Addicts) and George (Gee Gee Bradley formerly of Love Lies Bleeding) were the kings of booking, so it made more sense to let them handle it. I'm finding it's easier to book bands than solo acts."

No matter what difficulties lie ahead, it's safe to say Steven Gullett is one anti-folky who won't let all the obstacles and bullshit slow him down. And for that, we should all be glad. - Don Thrasher

"Nostalgia Poisoning Interview"

1. So tell me a little about the new album. Are these all brand new songs, older songs?

All the songs on the new CD were written over the last 2 years with the exception of “Attention Junkies” which dates back to 1995. In fact I used to play that one with my old band Love Lies Bleeding. Anyways I’ve always liked it but somehow it never got released until now. I think it still holds up & is a bit of a nod to my “I’m a tragic poet” youth.

2. Is there a theme running through the album or is it just the latest collection of songs?

If there is a theme then it’s not intentional. I did record twice as many songs for the CD than actually made it on but I kept moving songs around, dropping some, adding others until it sounded cohesive to me.

3. Where/when/how was the new album recorded?

It was recorded over the last year and a half (which is a long time for me) in my makeshift home recording set-up I call Star Heartless Studio (same place where I recorded Robb Young’s CD & am currently working with John Dubuc). I did a lot more digital recording on this CD than the previous 3 and that’s good part of the reason why it took so long. I had to buy more equipment & teach myself a lot while I was tracking the songs.

Then I mixed & remixed compulsively & plug-ined myself crazy. So it was a long process and I’m glad to be past it and have something to show for all the computer eye I suffered.

4. What's the title (Nostalgia Poisoning) about?

The phrase came out of a night at Canal Street Tavern when Legbone was playing & I was hanging out when my old band mate Jamy Holliday happened to step behind the bar for some reason and it was like we’d dropped backwards a decade all of a sudden. I believe it was my wife Angelle who said it was like nostalgia poisoning. I heard that and said, “That’s a song.” Wrote the song about a week later having nothing to do with that evening but just taking the title ya know. And thought it sounded like a good CD title as well.

5. Tell me about the other projects you're involved with.

Well I’m lucky enough to be playing in two very different bands I’m really proud of. First there’s Snake Oil which is Jason Short (ex-Montgomery Greene) on drums, percussion & vocals, Robb Young on acoustic guitar & vocals, Bryan Lakatos (Shrug) on upright/electric bass & myself on vocals & acoustic/electric guitar. It’s a blast playing with those guys; we do my songs & Robb’s. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten in a band to what I write naturally, meaning we don’t fuss about whether a song is not this enough or too that, we just play what we like. Sometimes it’s a ballad, sometimes it’s got a twang, and sometimes it’s a rocker. I don’t think music is supposed to be that segregated, throw the genres in the toilet I say, let’s just play ya know. And I like to think of myself as at least a 4 trick pony so it works out well. We’re working in our new bass player Bryan right now and hope to do some recording this summer/fall. Until then some demo MP3s and other info can be found at

Also I play rhythm guitar in The American Static with Jason Himes on piano & vocals, Tod Weidner (Shrug) on lead guitar, Dan Stahl (Shrug) on drums, Tim Pritchard (Flyaway Minion) on bass, Patrice Hall on violin, and Joanna Taylor on viola. That’s been a really cool situation not singing or writing the songs just playing guitar. We’ve been recording a new CD for the last year or so. Patrick Himes (Flyaway Minion) has taken over the recording/mixing after Joe Winner (The Lab/Joe’s Garage) left town. It’s sounding really good; I’m looking forward to finishing that up. You can keep track of what were doing at

6. Is Star Heartless still happening?

No, after Bryan Labonte left it just fell apart. But he’s out in L.A. trying to play music and I wish him the best.

7. What are your musical plans for the Summer?

This summer I’ll be playing some solo shows, Snake Oil shows & American Static shows, hopefully finishing the Static CD, starting the Snake Oil recording, hosting Tuesday night Co-Ops down at Canal Street Tavern, working some more on John Dubuc’s CD, and generally being that guy that’s been doing this a while and won’t go away.
- Rev. Chad Wells


Cheap Reflections CD
Sad Like Marilyn CD
Songs About Them & Me & You CD
Nostalgia Poisoning CD
Dayton After Dark vol. 1, WYSO presents vol. 1 Compilations

w/ bands:
Freakstrobe - Angst & Color CD
Love Lies Bleeding - Under The Gloss CD
Love Lies Bleeding - Care Little Wrong split single w/ Nostromo
Mystery Addicts - Mystery Addicts 4-song EP
Mystery Addicts - Unluck & Shame CD
Mystery Addicts - Good Boys Don't Kill 7"
Snake Oil - Almost Acoustic Music CD
Snake Oil - WYSO presents vol. 2 compilation, Dogs D'Amour Tribute CD
The American Static - Amour, Espace, Temp CD


Feeling a bit camera shy


Steven Gullett has more than a decade’s worth of experience playing music, both as the driving
songwriter in glam/punk/rock n’ roll bands and as a solo performer. As a member of Freakstrobe,
Love Lies Bleeding, The Mystery Addicts, The American Static, & Snake Oil, Steven has shared the stage with Guided By Voices, Electric Frankenstein, Tyla, The Dead Kennedys and Hamell On Trial. Based in Dayton, Ohio, his bands have toured from coast to coast, making plenty of new converts along the way. But he has always returned to the brutal honesty of the acoustic stage, where songs live and die on their own merit.

“There’s something so raw & bare about one voice & one guitar that just can’t be beat,” he says.

His debut solo CD, “Cheap Reflections,” was recorded on 4 and 8 track machines, chronicling years of growth as a songwriter and performer. The result is a sparse but immediate sound. Steven’s rough vocals lay down beautifully with the thick sound of a jumbo acoustic guitar and spare electric overdubs.

After leaving The Mystery Addicts to pursue a solo carreer full time, Steven wrote, recored and released 3 more CDs from 2002-2006. A stripped down departure from his band releases, this material met with praise from critics, fans and fellow musicians alike.

Armed with a catalog of over 300 songs, Steven blurs the genres that try to define him — from Rock
to Ballads to Punk to Alt Country and aggressive Antifolk . The constant core among the diversity is solid, honest songwriting, melodic hooks, & intelligent wordplay spiked with a poet’s phrasing.

He’s also received airplay on Ohio radio stations WOXY, WYSO, WXEG & appeared on the
nationally televised “Daily Buzz” morning show on the WB network.

Thanks for listening.
Star Heartless Records