Back on the east coast, my beautiful daughter Molly was born in 2000. She became the focus of my attention and my involvement in band life slowed down appropriately at that point. In the years following my departure from LA, I continued writing and recording my originals in my home studio and, in time, contemplated putting together or joining a new performing band. I missed playing out, but was being more selective about who and what I got involved with. I believed there were more people out there who felt the way I did and wanted to hear great old school rock and roll live again. In late '01, I joined a hard-edged rock band based in Philadelphia called Mad Karma. The band consisted of Jimmy Roscioli on vocals, Dan Antonelli on guitar, Dave Gray on drums, and myself on bass. We played local Philly clubs like Sweeney's, The Hollywood Bistro and The Rusty Nail.
Mad Karma: Dan, Jimmy, Steve, and Dave.
Mad Karma had been doing all cover tunes so I satisfied my creative urges by recording some eclectic and eccentric stuff of my own in my home studio. The compiled recordings became "Passion in Progress, Part 1."
Tension eventually developed between Dan and Jimmy regarding writing, and Dan split the group to pursue his own original music. The foundation became shaky and part of the dynamic that made the band work was now gone. We played out one more time with a new guitarist but it wasn't really working. The band broke up entirely in late '03.
Shortly thereafter, I joined an '80s style band called Sunset Strip. It was a new collaboration featuring the key members of Midnight Angel - Mikk Black on vocals, Mike Gallagher on guitar, Damian MonteCarlo on drums, and myself on bass. We rehearsed from late '03 to late '04, with difficulties, going through several singers. The project unfortunately never got off the ground.
SUNSET STRIP: Mikk, Mike, Steve, Damian
While working in the previous bands, I also got together casually with some friends in a recording project in New York called "The Dangling Success" from 2002 through 2004. The group consisted of Danny Odescalchi (Minstrel, Arena) on keyboards, Jon Moorehead (Motives, Blue Law, Mojo Smoke) on vocals, Evan Balzer of Arena on guitar, Nelson Rangell on sax, and myself on bass. (Nelson was the top selling smooth jazz artist on Amazon.com in 2003.) The drummer slot was alternately filled by Rob Affuso (Skid Row), Victor Russo (Alice Cooper), and Steve DiGiavoni. The songs were original compositions of Danny's, in the vein of Steely Dan, and we completed a CD called "Mischievous Kiss" in early 2005. I couldn't make the commute on any kind of regular basis so I had to abandon that project, though much love goes out to everyone involved. The CD stands as a testiment to our collective insanity, driven by Danny's writing and enthusiasm.
Danny Odescalchi on keys.
Jon Moorehead on lead vocals.
Evan Balzer on guitars.
Nelson Rangel on sax.
Me on bass.
Rob Affuso of Skid Row on drums.
In 2005, I connected with a great local drummer, Steve Yosko. We started auditioning people in the Fall of '05. Though it took quite a while to find the right personnel and ramp up, we finally put together a great band we were happy with - a good old school rock and roll band with talent, showmanship and personality. The group consisted of Bobby Buerklin on vocals, Frank Schaffer on guitar, Steve Yosko on Drums, and myself on bass. The band was called Sweden Has The Bomb and we started hitting the clubs at the end of 2006, doing our first show at the now defunct club Whiskey Dix in Philadelphia on December, 28th.
Sweden Has The Bomb: (Clockwise from top left) Frank, Bobby, Steve, and Steve
We played out for a year and a half at Philly and PA clubs like Whisky Dix, Jokers, The Stadium, Tom's, The Wharf, and Railroad Street Bar & Grill. At our peak, the band was very tight and entertaining live, but by the Summer of '08, the band had unfortunately run it's course and had burned out. The group subsequently disbanded after doing our last show on July 19. 2008.
1979 to 2009 - It's been thirty years of incredibly diverse personal experiences performing in bands. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears... in rain... (wait, that was Blade Runner. Sorry, I drift from time to time. ;-)) There were some great times, some wild and crazy times, and some extremely disappointing and frustrating times to balance it all out. Pretty much the typical rock musician's story I suppose. But, to quote Steven Tyler (and I'm sure someone else before him) - Life's a journey, not a destination.
As I look back on the past thirty years, I think some of the best bands I had the good fortune to be a part of were Wasted Angel, Trajic Hero, and To The Curb. Though Wasted Angel's personnel are now scattered across the country, I am extremely happy to report that we have reunited to record new Wasted Angel material. :-) There is even talk of a possible reunion show in New York in 2011. At this point in time, writing and recording with the old Wasted Angel crew is bringing me a great deal of creative happiness and I foresee myself focusing on this project for quite a while. If and when the next worth while live band opportunity presents itself, I'll be there.
Steve's disclaimer: I apologize to anyone who might feel offended by my descriptions. I wanted to tell an accurate history from my perspective and this is simply the way I remembered things. Everyone mentioned added something special to the overall experience and made it that much more memorable and I have mostly positive recollections of everyone. All the band members, the road crew, the fans, the club owners, the family and friends and everyone else that added to the experience will live on in my memory until the day I die, and for these great memories, I am truly grateful. With a little luck and determination, I may be able to add on a few more chapters before I cop that eternal nod.
Thanks for reading, I hope everyone is healthy and happy and taking the time to dream.