Steven T.

Steven T.

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Singer-songwriter in the tradition of Zevon, Springsteen, Byrds and Rolling Stones tells musical tales of his "missing" twenty years...

Biography

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Steven T. may have had the good fortune to be born in Beverly Hills, California, but that didn’t bring him any special privileges in the rock ’n’ roll world.

As is the case with many independent, creative souls, he did not take well to authority, rebelling in all the usual ways. So, in spite of summer vacations in Hawaii, he soon found himself in military school for four years and had difficulty following the traditional paths of education and upbringing desired by his parents.

He did, however, find solace in studying Top 30 playlists from the mid ’60s, and started his record collection with his first LP purchase, “Best of the Animals,” followed closely by the Jimi Hendrix album, “Are You Experienced?” which changed his life. He took classical guitar and folk lessons before his parents bought him his first real equipment, a Guild “Starfire 5” and an “Acoustic” amplifier.

Steven’s first band, Aldebarron (named after a star), covered Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” (the Kooper-Bloomfield version) in a 9th grade Battle of the Bands, losing to a Vanilla Fudge copy band doing “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”! Aldebarron also at one time featured avant-garde jazz violinist and current LA Philharmonic Orchestra member, Jeff Gauthier.

His next band was a blues band in the mold of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Canned Heat. It was in this group, called Whoa! Fat, that T. honed his guitar chops. In 10th grade he formed the dual guitar attack pre-metal band Sappon Ice, a cross between Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash and Yes. After being sent away to boarding school twice to make up lost credits (which he never did), Steven T. returned to Hollywood to form EKG, which featured Nick St. Nicholas (Steppenwolf) on bass. The band resembled an androgynous version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer with a white Jimi Hendrix on guitar - which, by the way, nearly happened in reality. It was at this point that T. decided he really wanted to learn music.

So Steven began a two-year stint at the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied all things music with the likes of Marty Kristall and Buell Neidlinger (Cecil Taylor), Hubert Laws (CTI Flautist), Amiya Dasgupta (Ravi Shankar disciple) and Morton Subotnik (electronic music pioneer). Within this two-year period, he absorbed all the technical knowledge he would need to begin his assault on the pro music scene. After feeling the walls for tonal textures and practicing guitar scales and chords for eight hours a day, it was time for him to aspire to stardom, and thus he embarked on a career which laid the foundation and blueprint for his life to the present. This was the seminal turning point in his life.

Returning once more to Hollywood, T. set about immersing himself in the music scene. Answering an ad at a guitar store, he joined a “power pop” band called The Pop! which featured Roger Prescott (rhythm guitar, vocals), T. (lead guitar, 12-string, vocals), David Swanson (bass, lead vocals), and David Robinson (drums, vocals), previously with Modern Lovers, and later (after The Pop!), with The Cars. The band was like a dirty version of Badfinger with overtones of Alex Chilton (Big Star). Steven T. was also in a band called The Swarm, which was like a mix of early BeeGees, Hollies, and Kinks, combined with Procol Harum classical keyboard overtones. All this was obviously very English-influenced.

Missing his early rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz and R&B roots, T. left both groups to join forces with his old friend and mentor, Kim Fowley. While writing songs for Kim’s group, the Runaways (which later spawned solo careers for Joan Jett and Lita Ford), Kim and Steven came up with an idea for a punk hybrid band called Venus and the Razorblades. Steven became Venus and he and Kim recruited three teenage “Runaway-wannabe” girls and a male drummer, resulting in a hellish boy-girl crossbreed of early Velvet Underground, Blondie, white Ronettes and Spiders from Mars. Oddly enough, it worked, and the group became the only American proto-punk band to chart in the U.K. during the so-called “Summer of Hate” (1977).

Steven then obtained a deal to make a solo album for new label Dream Records, a specially created subsidiary of East Coast dance music record company Salsoul Records, which resulted in the 1977 LP, “West Coast Confidential,” produced by Fowley. Steven felt that the LP, with its “west coast Billy Joel-Bruce Springsteen direction,” had “too many triple scale in-crowd studio musicians” (he just wanted a band). “Strings, horns and uptown sugary crap ruined the street credibility, and (the album’s) L.A. roots were only evident in the lyrics.” He was, however, “grateful to have had the opportunity.”

Steven worked the L.A. club circuit with his own band following the release of his debut album, and in the late ’70s went on to write songs and play guitar on solo albums by Runaways’ lead singer (and l

Lyrics

Jack, Johnnie and Jim

Written By: Steven T.

JACK, JOHNNIE & JIM

I got three friends
Jack, Johnnie and Jim
Ain’t got no real friends
Just Jack, Johnnie and Jim
Took a ride on the Bourbon Street train
Fell asleep in the warm Summer rain
Every time I say “never again”
It’s always Jack, Johnnie and Jim

Ever since I got my big feet wet
Rollin’ snake eyes is all I get
Lady Luck ain’t gotten to me yet
Just Jack, Johnnie and Jim
Tried therapy and that didn’t work
Tried relationships and that always hurt
Can’t seem to get rid of those three jerks
Jack, Johnnie and Jim

Unholy union brought me to my knees
When all my friends became my enemies

Left the city and I hit the road
Been from Canada to Mexico
Sons o’ bitches follow me wherever I go
Jack, Johnnie and Jim
One of these days I’m gonna get me a gun
Line ’em up on a fencepost and have me some fun
Be nothin’ left of ’em when I get done
Jack, Johnnie and Jim

Creatures of Habit

Written By: Steven T.

CREATURES OF HABIT

You - you and I
Flyin’ together like birds in the sky
We - all by ourselves
It’s just human nature to need someone else
Baby I’m a non-conformist, I don’t have many friends
We’re creatures of habit, buckin’ the trends
If I had to start life over, I’d love you still again
We’re creatures of habit until the end

I’m free - free at last
Leaving conventional ways of the past
But we, we will remain
Often reluctant but willing to change
’Cause I learned my lesson early, I got this all down pat
With creatures of habit, it’s gettin’ old hat
And I want you here beside me, I’ve gotten used to that
We’re creatures of habit, it’s just where we’re at

Old habits die hard
So I will stay with you, girl if you want me to
I follow my heart
Wherever I may go, it’s the only way I’ve ever known

Now - now is the time
To gather my senses or leave them behind
And here - here inside me
Fear is the lock on the door, love is the key
’Cuz I’ve had my share of bad luck, but now I’m on the mend
Like creatures of habit, with troubles to tend
And it’s easier just knowin’ that no matter what I do
This creature of habit has habits like you

Saving Grace

Written By: Steven T.

SAVING GRACE

I got calluses on my fingers
And an alias for my name
Everybody wants protection
So that no one gets the blame
You’re forgotten and discarded
Can’t keep up the pace
You’re just lookin’ for your saving grace

It’s a desperate situation
When we’re fighting for our lives
Will you throw me out a tow line
When the raging waters rise
Can I count on you to be there
Even just in case
While I’m lookin’ for my saving grace

Saving grace - don’t abandon me
Show your face - lay a hand on me
Saving grace - won’t you rescue me
Because I will wait - till you get to me

Baby here’s a good proposal
Since the die’s been cast
Take a permanent vacation
We can disregard the past
’Cuz it could take a lifetime
Just to run the race
While we’re lookin’ for our saving grace

Discography

West Coast Confidential (Dream Records, 1978)
Damage (Charlatan Records, 2004)

Set List

Steven T. performs solo acoustic or with his band.
Sets vary according to venue and show length, usually 45-60 minutes.