Haha, yeah, that’s for sure, Paul! Steve is a real character. He has bought, owned and sold probably about a thousand guitars and amps over the years. He is a Marshall amp aficionado, partial to the JCM800 series sound. He built my early appreciation for that style of sound.
Strange as it may sound, he has a particular fondness for the humble Ibanez Blazer…It’s his absolute favourite guitar, and he has had many of them over the years. When I first met him in the mid 1980’s he had a pale blue Blazer with a maple neck that was very well loved.
At some stage in the early 2000’s, in a decision typical of his rather mercurial character, he sold his beloved Blazer to a young friend in our circle of musos. I later played in a band with the guy, and he still has and loves Steve’s Blazer. Steve keeps begging him to sell it back to him, but he resolutely refuses!
Steve has a love-hate relationship with Les Pauls. He loves their tone, but finds them a struggle to play (or so he says). He is forever buying them, only to sell them off after a few months, when they “stop talking” to him.
At one stage he bought an absolutely magic-sounding and playing 1976 LP that I fell in love with, wanted to buy, but couldn’t afford at the time. Needless to say, I was pretty devastated when I found out he’d sold it off without letting me know!
Even though I’ve known him for 35 or so years, and played with him in a couple of bands, I’d never actually recorded him until yesterday. It was an interesting exercise in getting the measure of a performer’s psychology…
We started out with headphones, but when I could see he wasn’t comfortable (or “feelin’ it”), I suggested we just crank the monitors and ditch the cans. (I had the cab mic’d in a separate room with the door closed, and the bleed from 20 watt Soldano didn’t intrude too much in the studio room). The transformation in his confidence and playing was immediate.
Then I suggested the loop-recording method, where he could just keep playing takes of the solo sections. He’d never done it like that either, but he took to it like a duck to water. He did about 9 takes of each section, out of which probably 3 were very good “keeper” takes.
I would have been happy with what we had at that point, but then I had the idea of filming him live doing a few takes - mainly just for posterity’s sake, and as something to post on Fakebook and Instascam… Well, as you can see, with a camera on him, he just stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park!.. Definitely at his best as an "in-the-moment performer!