Steve Bello Band
Gig Seeker Pro

Steve Bello Band

Band Metal Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"One Hot Minute"

AW: So I understand that you are not playing in the scene anymore; why is that?

STEVE: I stopped playing the scene when it became fashionable to do covers and nobody really cared about great guitar playing! If I sounded like Kurt Cobain instead of Steve Vai, I'd have a ton of gigs lined up but I don't. If I pressed like a gas station attendant and lied about my age, I'd have a million fans. If I chose to cover Blink 182 instead of writing my own material, I'd be...hanging from a noose, I guess. LOL!
AW: Would you ever consider joining/forming a new band if the situation was right?

STEVE: I would consider joining an established band if the timing was right and the music was 100% to my liking. I MIGHT playa live show in September as an instrumental metal act, opening for my friend Nick's band, Souls' Release. I hope his friends and fans like paint-peeling seven-string guitar solos! On my Twisted Metal CD, I played all the guitar and bass, and my friend Darren Patrick played drums...phenomenal drums, I might add. I'm working on a new CD with Darren, but this time I'm enlisting my friend Courtenay Penick to play bass on it. I just want to concentrate on my guitar parts. Plus Darren will have a new playmate for the CD.

AW: How has everything affected your music and songwriting?

STEVE: Everything from being pissed off at ex-band members to holding my wife and children every morning has affected my playing and songwriting. I write for me, really. I write purely on inspiration. I write what I like, not what's popular. If people happen to dig what I do, then great. If not, there's always Jessica Simpson. My music sounds like Pantera and Living Colour crashing a Steve Vai party. You can throw some Prince in there for added quirkiness.

AW: I hear that you are now sponsored by Ibanez Guitars. How did that come about?

STEVE: I am a big fan of the metal band Jag Panzer and their guitarist Chris Broderick is an amazing seven-string player. He used to play Schecter but the night I saw him play he was using an Ibanez! So one thing led to another, and I helped get him an endorsement with Ibanez. And since we live in a world of karma, I got hooked up with a regional Ibanez deal. Which means I get to do clinics, sell my CDs, keep my hair long, and tell people about the best guitars on the planet.
Steve Bello is not just a typical musician. Yes, he's played the scene for years, recorded albums, and has played with many of the local bands, however, Steve has definitely grown from his years in the "scene". Now in his early 30's with a wife and family, he has grown into more of a local legend. After meeting with him on several occasions and hearing some of his experiences while in the music scene for over 10 years, I can most definitely see that he in fact has grown from playing in the local NJ/NY area and can most definitely be described as a local legend. Now he plays for himself, which is ultimately what every musician should be playing for to begin with, by performing at Ibanez sponsored clinics. His next clinic will be at Russo's Music in Trenton, NJ on Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m.-S p.m: He will be on hand demonstrating new Ibanez guitars and effects. For more information on Steve's clinics or to read reviews of his most recent studio project, Twisted Metal, visit
- Peter Kakouriotis This "One Hot Minute" column will appear on a weekly basis and the band whose response is chosen will be given a free biz card ad! If you want the opportunity to win a free ad and appear in the paper, please contact Peter <> so you can be sent a questionnaire.

- The Aquarian Weekly

"Interview w/ Steve Bello"


He's a self-proclaimed solo artist who spent most of career playing in bands. He works at local NJ music store, Victor's House of Music, and he has a new instrumental CD for sale, Twisted Metal. Because he works at Victor's, one of the locations Paragon is distributed to, he gets to see it every month, and so he decided to email us recently asking for some exposure in the magazine. We more than happily agreed to help him out, and here is the end result: an interview delving into his musical career, tastes, and aspirations as a solo independent guitarist.

1. You'd played in bands for a good part of your life. Now you've decided to stick to your solo work, and you have no more intentions of working in bands. Could you explain what led you to make that decision?
Well, I just got tired of the whole band thing, really. I'd played in bands since I was 15 and when I turned 30, I decided, enough was enough. I never walked away from any band thinking, "Hey it didn't work out but at least I had fun." All my band experiences were pretty negative, really. I would be "the man" whenever I was asked to join a band, but after a few months it would be "Uh, could you not play all those Steve Vai licks anymore?" or something equally as moronic (laughs). So I guess you could say I became a solo artist partly by choice and mostly by force (laughs).
2. Your influences include Prince and funk, in addition to your long list of metal and guitar legends. Do you try to incorporate your funk influences into your music, or do you stick to the metal only?
I love heavy metal but I also love incorporating little twists in the music to keep myself inspired, really. First time I heard Prince do the guitar solo to "Let's Go Crazy," I became a Prince fan. Well, a closet Prince fan (laughs). I was afraid to admit to being a fan, for fear of losing my "metal credibility." But my senior year in high school, I just came out with it, and suddenly, all my metal friends were like, "Hey we dig Prince too!" (laughs). Then when I heard Living Colour for the first time, I was like, "Man they're slammin' metal AND they also got the funk going!" So I decided right then and there that I would combine metal and funk. As much as I dug Slayer, I also enjoyed listening to Prince. To me, it was a healthy balance. Jane's Addiction was another band that I admired too. Same thing with Faith No More and, to a certain extent, Fishbone and Chili Peppers. So yeah, my music is heavy metal-funk. Good enough for ya? (laughs)
3. You've got your solo album out, you've got one coming up in late summer '04, and you're a regional endorser for Ibanez. Aside from the guitar clinics, do you perform live in the NJ area at all, and do you have any plans whatsoever for more large-scale touring in the future?

-, No I haven't touched a stage since August of 2000. I have a wife and three children so any notion of touring is gone, and for me to drop everything to go on tour would be unfair to my family. I stopped thinking about "large scale" anything for quite some time. I'm content doing clinics here and there. It's a much more positive vibe. I don't have to worry about waiting 'till a.m. to hit the stage and play in front of three people who want to hear bad Linkin Park covers (laughs). I'm playing my music on my terms and there's no pressure at all. Plus I don't go home smelling of smoke (laughs).
Ultimately, what's your goal in releasing your solo work? Are you planning on getting bigger and more popular across the state, the country, or the world?
Hmmmm... when Angelo Mimmo, the Ibanez rep, offered me the chance to do clinics, it immediately inspired me to get back into writing mode. The CD that I recorded, Twisted Metal, was recorded purely on inspiration. I wrote the tunes, asked my friend Darren Patrick to play drums on the CD, and BOOM... everything happened so fast. I didn't record the CD with the intention of "getting signed;" those days are long behind me. I did it because it was actually FUN to play music and not worry about "Oh who will like this?" I think that vibe permeates the whole CD; everyone I talked to says that it's very "energetic" and "inspired." With the new CD I'm working on, I was once again in writing mode, and this time I do have a goal: Mike Taft, who is the head of Artist Endorsements at Ibanez in California, told me that he would personally forward a copy of my CD to Steve Vai for his Favored Nations label. I'm honestly not getting my hopes up, but it is nice to see people actually wanting to help me
out. Even if Vai says that I suck, at least my hero got to hear me play once before I die (laughs).
4. Releasing an instrumental album is pretty daring, considering that most of to day's more popular metal bands grab their audience by having angst-driven lyrics and vocals. You, on the other hand, want to reach out to people strictly through your music. Other than the obvious answer of not wanting to follow trends, what else led you to do instrumental albums?
I hate singers (laughs). And I tried to sing, but the cats in my town were throwing shoes at ME (laughs), so...I use the guitar to do the "vocal-esque" qualities, much like what Joe Satriani does. I don't think of what I'm doing as daring; to me, if l did a rap album, THAT'S daring.. . and stupid (laughs). Playing instrumental metal seems very natural to me. I don't have to hear a singer bitching about "I can't sing in that key" or "It's too heavy." And I don't have to hear a singer's girlfriend bitching about "Why are you in a band with Steve Bello anyway?" (laughs).
5. Of all the guitar brands out there, why did you choose to endorse Ibanez and become completely dedicated to them?
When I first got into guitar, I wanted a Strat because of Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore, and later Y ngwie Malmsteen. Steve Vai entered the picture when I was 15 and, his influence was so severe! He used to play Jackson guitars, so of course I tried one out and couldn't get into it. When he started playing Ibanez and had the JEM series, I had to check those out as well. Seriously, playing the Ibanez really felt natural to me. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. There was definitely this "vibe" that the Ibanez gave me that I didn't find in any other guitar. So l've been a fan of them ever since. It had always been a life-long dream of mine to be associated with Ibanez in some way, even if it meant cleaning their bathrooms (laughs). When Angelo asked me to do clinics, I was as happy as a pig in mud!
6. As mentioned earlier, you do a few guitar clinics around the area. How often do you do these clinics, and where are they located, for those who may not know about them and may want to check you out one day.

The clinics are really few and far between but we've had much success every time. I have a website, thanks to my friend and new bassist Courtenay Penick, and on there people can see when the next clinic will be and other goodies. It's Not original, but it works!
What do you like most and least about the guitar clinics, and why?
What do I like most? The positive vibe from the people who come out, and the fact that I'm playing my favorite guitars in the world has a lot to do with it. People can tell if someone's only doing it for the money. I do get paid to p~rform clinics, true, but I genuinely love Ibanez guitars, and when I talk about them, I think the people can sense that feeling. And now I've got DR Strings behind me, so I mention them as well dming my clinics. What do I like least? Not enough screaming chicks (laughs).
7. You work full-time. How do you manage to find the time to write music and record it, and then sell it privately?
I write when the mood strikes me. I don't set aside a block oftime and say, "Okay, now write." I've written stuff while demo-ing guitars for kids! I'll play this riff and the kids will ask me if it's my riff and I'll say, "No, it's Pantera"(laughs). I never "managed" to find time for writing and recording. I do it when I do it, really. I laugh when I hear people say "Man, between work and my kids and getting drunk, I can't find the time to even play an E chord." To me, that's slacking, and slacking translates into a fear of succeeding. If you want something bad enough, just shut your damn mouth and do it! Otherwise, I'm gonna beat you to it (laughs).
Does it make it easier that you work at a music store, where you're constantly around instruments, musicians, and music in general?
Yeah I would say so. Sometimes I don't feel like touching a guitar, much less talking about it, but I may get that one customer who is really cool and pulls me out of my funk. Or a rep will come in with something as simple as a new pedal, and I'll be inspired again. I'm lucky to be doing what I do for a living and actually enjoy it. I never got to be on the cover of Guitar World, but that's okay. . . maybe (laughs).
8. Imagine this: You get an anonymous email asking for a copy of your record, and you send it to a P.O. Box with no name attached. Two weeks later you receive a phone call at work and the person on the other end tells you to meet them at some remote location because they want to audition you for a famous rock band. They don't tell you the name of the band, but they tell you that your style is perfect for the band. Before you go meet them, in the back of your mind, who do you think just made that phone call (who's the band you'd most want it to be)?
With my luck, John Tesh (laughs). I really don't see myself in a "famous rock band," really. But if I had to pick two bands I'd love to play in, even if! played ONE song in front of a lot of people, it would either be Nevermore or Jag Panzer. I wanted to be in TM Stevens' band for a long time, really, but I had to accept the fat reality that I wouldn't fit in his band. But at least my wife and I are still great friends with him. I'm very content with that.
9. The first track on your CD is called "I Play Guitar." Was that a hard title to come up with?
Yeah I was up all night thinking of that one (laughs). I purposely wanted a bold statement, and I think that title sums it up best.
Now seriously, since there are no lyrics to your music, how do you go about choosing a title that would fit a song?
Titles will hit me when I least expect it. They can happen during a casual conversation, such as the case with the song "Another Sleepless Night." Or take the title track "Twisted Metal." I got that from reading a caption about the 9/11 aftermath and it said something like "Strands of twisted metal strewn across the land." I have a song on the upcoming CD called "Thunderfunk" and I wrote it the day I heard that Tony Thompson, drummer for Power Station and Chic, had passed away. That title just jumped into my mind and the music followed suit. The title also stems from the book about Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham, Thunder of Drums. Bonham and Thompson are no longer here, but I feel this song is a fitting tribute to their awesome drumming abilities. Gee, I sound like a Hallmark card now, right? (laughs).
1 O. And now you get your chance, as every other interviewee with Paragon does, to speak out with any plugs, messages to your fans, etc.
I am the Amp Department Manager at Victor's House of Music in Paramus, NJ. That's shameless plug #1 ! (laughs) I also have to give props to my rhythm section from Hell: Darren Patrick is the best drummer I have ever played with, and Courtenay Penick has a great sense of feel, tone, and groove on that bass of hers! Darren and Courtenay add more weight and power to my riffs, and I always leave a rehearsal MORE excited than when I walked in! And to my friends who have shown genuine support for my music over the years, I am honored to know such fine people. However, I MUST acknowledge my wife Brandice for her patience and understanding, as she is an artist herself, and my three children: Tristan, Emma, and Julian. That's all for now, so everyone check out my website and sign the damn guestbook, will ya? (laughs)

For more information on Steve, check out his website at: or visit him at one of NJ's best independent music stores, Victor's House of Music in Paramus!

- Paragon Magazine

"Interview w/ Courtenay Penick"

Interview with Courtenay Penick for Paragon Music Magazine August 2004

L: You played guitar in several projects before deciding to switch over to bass upon realizing the demand for guitar players was small. Was it easy to make that transition?

C: It was really pretty easy. I had played bass for a while on my own demos and in a couple of side bands. The biggest challenge was accommodating the size of my hands. Even for a guitarist, my hands are TINY, and it means I have to approach a different technique with my left hand than most people. I literally play with my thumb at the bottom edge of the neck, and my elbow in.

L: Do you regret making that change from guitar to bass (i.e. is it really much easier getting gigs as a bass player)?

C: I don’t regret it at all! After moving to New York, I found out REAL quick that there were too many guitarists and NO bass players. Finding auditions was no problem at all. I auditioned for a lot of bands over a period of a year, but never clicked with anyone until recently. The audition process in NYC is grueling and disheartening. There is way too much focus on image, and not a lot on content. Little did I realize that one look across the Hudson would put me where I really needed to be.

L: Who are your influences when it comes to playing bass?

C: I have a lot of the typical “bass player” influences like Victor Wooten & Flea. T.M. Stevens & Doug Wimbish really move me. But I also like the less known guys like Jon Evans, who plays for Tori Amos, and some locals as well. I really like John Shell from They Fought Back, and Mike Roberts from a band called Anika Minor back home in KY.

L: You also like to experiment in industrial and ambient music. Who are your influences on that end?

C: On the industrial side, I really like KMFDM, Nine Inch Nails, & God Lives Underwater. When I was asked to write a movie score for my friend’s film, I started really taking interest in other movie scores. I finally paid attention to all the drones and tension builders you don’t realize are there in movies. So I started playing with midi and came up with all kinds of weird synth stuff – a lot of which aren’t for the movie.

L: As an independent musician trying to make a start, what is your opinion on people who download music off the Internet without paying for it? Do you want people, at this stage in your career, to go online and download your songs? Also, do you think that your opinion will change in the future as your music becomes more exposed to the public?

C: I think the record industry REALLY has to get it together and realize that people aren’t going to buy a record on blind faith. They release the “best” thing on the record and package it all with a bunch of sub-par songs. I want to hear what you AREN’T pushing. I can see the consumers need for that. It’s still wrong, but what do you expect when the record companies don’t deliver what the consumer wants? Personally, I’m all for letting people download a limited amount of my music. I don’t think my opinion on that will change. To me, it’s no different than radio. It’s there to preview what you’re buying. The record industry doesn’t realize what a valuable tool downloading is.

L: When it comes to popular music, there’s a ton of trends that come and go with time. Some forms of music resurge while others stay dormant once they’ve gone away. If there were one genre or style of music that has come and gone that you wish would come back to mainstream media, which is it and why? Any form that you’re happy went away and stayed away?

C: I’d love to see a resurgence of funk, really. The Chili Peppers had that going on for a while, particularly with “Blood Sugar Sex Magick”. That kind of groove has always really moved me. As far as what’s gone away, I’m glad that 70’s disco never came back! Ack!

L: What’s tough about being a musician on the rise is that you still have to figure out a way to pay the bills. Any horrible day jobs keeping you financially afloat?

C: I’ve had my share of crappy jobs, particularly while putting myself through college.
Thankfully I’ve put myself in a career path in the process, and my job these days isn’t such a nightmare. I’m a network and telecommunications administrator in New York City. It sure beats waiting tables or scanning groceries for a living!

L: Fahrenheit 9/11 recently opened in theaters and has proven to be one of the most controversial documentaries ever made. Have you seen it, or do you have plans of going to see it? If you have seen it already, do you think the points made in the movie are indeed valid, or do you side with those who are labeling it propaganda?

C: I definitely view it as propaganda. However, that doesn’t mean Michael Moore doesn’t have valid points. The problem is that he labeled the film as a documentary, yet he only shows one side of the story. For the most part, I think the film is a pretty accurate representation of our government under the Bush administration, and I recommend anyone to see it. I learned a lot from it. But I urge everyone to be objective, because Moore doesn’t even hide the fact that he is extremely biased. He’s a man with good, valid points, but he’s far from fair.

R: I understand that you’ve recently started learning the slap technique for bass. How’s that coming along? How’s your thumb feel? Any bloody sores yet?

C: Ha ha! No bloody thumbs yet! It’s coming along, although I don’t see myself becoming a heavy slap player. I prefer to use it for accents, rather than going slap crazy. It has its place, but I think some people get a little overzealous with it.

R: You recently landed an endorsement with Curbow, a company that makes each guitar specifically for the artist ordering. I've tried to make custom guitars before and never got past the design phase because it's so hard for me to choose details. I WANT THEM ALL! How hard was it for you to know EXACTLY what you wanted from your new bass?

C: Let me make it clear, first, that the endorsement is still pending. We’re still in the process. The standard build on his basses are already near perfect for me. I talked to Greg Curbow for a while about building custom necks. He’s got them down to an incredibly small scale, now. The standard bodies were already perfect for me. A deep cutaway, and fat Bartolini MK1 pickups make me very happy. The string spacing is small, and he set up my action super low on my fretless. It plays like butter!

R: Since you play both bass and guitar, I am constantly curious to see how people’s tastes differ between the two. I love Gibson guitars but don't really have much of an interest in their basses. Equally, I really like Jackson basses but was never very fond of their guitars. All of this is based solely on what I feel comfortable playing. Curbow is obviously your bass of choice, but what guitar manufacturer are you loyal to?

C: My very favorite guitar is my ’95 PRS Custom 24 ten-top. I just have a major affinity for it. However, if I had to pick a guitar that truly fits me like a glove, I’d have to go with Ibanez. Their necks are great and their tone is unbelievable!

R: Any plugs?

C: I have to give serious props to my music-mate, Steve Bello, for giving me the opportunity to play with his trio. He’s a phenomenal guitarist and great friend of mine. Darren Patrick is an excellent drummer, as well. I’m having a blast! I also have to acknowledge my good friend, Janet Zappasodi for her support, friendship, and photography skills. She is the person that convinced me to get out of Kentucky and into New York! You can check out her photography at She does great work!
Finally, I have to give a shout out to my family for all their support. They’ve put up with a lot from me over the years! Thanks for keeping the faith!
- Paragon Magazine


Twisted Metal - 2003
All Wired Up - 2004
Jupiter Return - Coming Oct 2005!


Feeling a bit camera shy



Steve Bello decided to focus on all-instrumental material, after 17
years of slogging it out in various bands (and always hearing the same
critique: "Lose the singer, you'll sound much better.") He recruited
drummer Darren Patrick to help him record the first CD entitled TWISTED
METAL. Along the way, Steve picked up regional endorsement deals with
IBANEZ guitars and DR Strings; Steve also performs clinics for Ibanez
in the tri-state area. The CD garnered favourable reviews, being
compared to such artists and bands as Living Colour, Led Zeppelin,
Pantera, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai. (Bello played bass on the TWISTED
album, since he was unable to lock down a bassist in time.)
In March 2004, Bello met bassist Courtenay Penick and she expressed
interest in playing on the next cd. After passing her audition "with
flying colours" (according to Steve), the trio began tightening the new
material and, in October 2004, ALL WIRED UP was released and was given
glowing reviews. The band was also approached to perform live;
admittedly there was some reservation but ultimately they decided it
was worth a shot. The risk paid off. Even though they've only performed
a handful of shows, the band's exposure grew rapidly (at least on a
local level). The ALL WIRED UP cd was given to Steve Vai, courtesy of
Ibanez A&R rep Mike Taft, for a possible deal with Vai's Favored
Nations label. Courtenay even landed a "local hero" deal with Ashdown
bass amps, and is working on a deal with Warwick basses.
Bello began writing new songs for the upcoming third cd,
Jupiter Return, when drummer Darren Patrick decided to move on
and pursue other musical endeavours. Not to be deterred, Steve met
drummer Evan Prettyman and he was given a copy of the live set list to
learn in two weeks. Needless to say, Evan's audition floored both Steve
and Courtenay, and they quickly welcomed him into the band. More
impressive was Evan's enthusiasm, and that's what the band needed to
move to the next level.
Currently, the new line-up is in pre-production mode, writing and
rehearsing the new music. They wish to enter the studio to record in
July/August 2005, and hopefully release the new cd in October '05. In
Steve's words, "The new songs will definitely peel the paint off your
walls, just like the last cd, but with Evan's and Courtenay's input,
there will be some unique twists and turns in the music. Don't worry,
it's still PROGMETALFUNK, but I am confident that the 'non-metal' ideas
will blow peoples' minds."