"If you let me sit and play my guitar quietly at the back of the class, I promise
I'll come to your class every single day and never be late."
-Steve Strongman, age 16 to his grade 10 English teacher
Yup, it's true. He actually said that to his grade 10 English teacher. "That's the honest to god truth", Steve will tell you that himself. Sounds like a reasonable request now that you look back at Steve's formidable career as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. From those early days of playing guitar in class to playing the halftime show at Giants' Stadium (Nov. 2003) as guitar player for Kazzer (www.kazzermusic.com), it seems like it's all been perfectly natural for the young man who was a natural since he picked up the instrument.
Steve picked up the guitar at age ten, and after taking a few lessons, started to make rapid strides teaching himself as though he already knew how to play. Before he knew it, he was playing assemblies and high school parties. While attending high school, he was already playing music full time, playing neighbourhood bars on weekends even though he was still under the legal drinking age.
Early acclaim was soon to come his way. As the new young gun blues guitar player on the block in his native Kitchener-Waterloo, then Canada's blues hotbed, Steve quickly made a name for himself as the leader of the Steve Strongman band. Playing opening slots for established blues acts at various clubs including the renowned Pop The Gator built a loyal following for the young guitar slinger. Props came from Mississippi born guitar legend Mel Brown (bio) who had recently relocated to K-W. Steve was often invited to sit in with Mel and his band and the two became friends. Around that time, Steve also made quite an impression on R&B legend Otis Clay: As Steve was walking offstage after a blistering opening set for the aging soulster, he famously drawled: "You guys are goo-ood … I'm ‘onna do what YOU do!!"
Steve's natural gift had pushed him at an early age to take up singing, more out of default (because no one else in the band would), but this proved to be a boon as the accolades begin rolling in for Steve as a singer at a time when he had focused very little time on singing and considered it an afterthought. He began nurturing this side of his muse and exploring songwriting during weekly shows as an acoustic duo with his soon to be longtime musical partner Rob Szabo (www.robszabo.com). The two would go on to develop a dual pronged vocal harmony/guitar style early on in a quiet acoustic setting that would blossom into the full-bore rock ‘n' roll attack of Plasticine … more on that later. Steve's abilities as a singer with unparalleled range and power became undeniable and universally acknowledged within his musical community at this stage.
The confines of the relatively small musical community in K-W soon became limiting for Steve, and he set his sights on bigger pastures. He played guitar sideman in various groups including The Guse Family, a country show band that Steve toured with, honing his country chops which would ultimately become the cornerstone of his "pick and fingers" playing style. The group toured intensively in the U.S. with stops in Opryland and as the feature act in Branson, Missouri where Steve got to meet and share the stage with one of his heroes Roy Clark.
The country phase of Steve's life was quickly brought to a close when Steve was asked by Tal Bachman (son of Randy) to fly to Vancouver and later L.A. to help him form the band which ultimately led to Tal's worldwide deal with Columbia Records (Sony) and his international hit "She's So High". Steve was exactly what he needed as a strong back-up singer and killer lead player. The two became close friends and are to this day.
Steve flew the coop from the Bachman camp in order to form Plasticine with his longtime musical partner and good friend Rob Szabo. Over four years the band has recorded two CDs (Public Address System, 2001 & Plasticine, 1999), toured Canada several times, appeared in all forms of local, provincial and national print, radio and TV, signed a record deal with The Song Corporation, seen that company go bankrupt … the list goes on. To read all about their continuing exploits go to www.plasticine.net.
In the midst of all this, Steve was invited to play with Epic Records US' newly signed wunderkind Kazzer. Steve toured extensively throughout the US with the rap-rock-breakdance phenom, headlining large university venues and opening for such acts as the Roots.
Upon his return to Southern Ontario from Vancouver and L.A., Steve had relocated to Hamilton, where he currently resides, and established himself in its vibrant musical scene. Around this time he began a residency at the club 33 Hess. This Tuesday night stint began to grow into a real musical event as Steve regularly invited guests to come up and jam with his stellar band (Colin & Craig Lapsley on bass and drums respectively), and the group continually expanded their repertoire of blues and r&b standards to seamlessly blend them with extended improvisational sections and forays into rock land... which brings us to the present day:
Burgeoning music impresario Alex Erasmi, a longtime fan of Steve's and a fixture of the Hamilton musical community was inspired to arrange a recording of a Tuesday night at 33 Hess and Tuesday Night Live was born. Two consecutive Tuesdays were recorded in their entirety and the best tracks were chosen for the CD. There was no overdubbing, digital editing or any kind of studio trickery involved. This is what these guys actually sound like LIVE.
The Steve Strongman band continues its residency at 33 Hess (www.33hess.com) in Hamilton every Tuesday. They will be taking the show on the road in the spring and summer of 2003.
"Tell me when the red light's on..."
-Steve Strongman "Tuesday Night Live"