Hello, Stephen. Congratulations on your debut LP recently released on iTunes! Can you tell me a little about the making of the record? Why did you wait so long to do a solo LP?
Thank you very much. First of all, I feel as though I have already succeeded in many ways just by completing it! The making of this record came about very organically. I had been living in Ojai, CA for several years and feeling bursts of creative energy here. I happened upon Bernie Larsen in a local coffee shop and we instantly hit it off. I just felt this guy had a real vibe and followed my instincts. He told me he had a studio in town, (no more than 100 yards from my house conveniently) I paid him a visit and the next thing you know we’re embarking on the making of Golden. The basic tracks of the record were really recorded over a 3 week period, things were just flowing and a majority of the songs were literally written in that window as well. As to why so long between records, you just never know when the muse calls and I was certainly being beckoned by something other than myself to make this record. It just felt like now is the time, I’ve got something to say, don’t question it or over think it, just trust it and follow through!
How did you get the legendary Ian McLagan to play on the album… tell me how that collaboration came about.
I know talk about a blessing right? Ian was a friend of my producer Bernie’s, they had played together in the past on several projects and he happened to be in town working on another project for Rick Rubin and we were lucky enough to have him come up to Ojai and lay some tracks down on the song R & R. What an unforgettable day experience that was. And what a funny, wonderful man he was to be around. I cant thank him enough, “miss you Mac”! Myself, Bernie, and Mac are the only performers on Golden.
Will you tour with this record? Any gigs coming up in LA?
No tour plans as of yet, but rest assured there will be shows to support this effort!
You’ve experienced a couple different facets of the record business- from your years with Kik Tracee and label support to your solo debut, Golden which is released by you and which you’ve funded via Kickstarter.. what are the pros and cons of either system?
Well, it was certainly nice to have the support of a major in the promotion and marketing departments. I feel as though I am the president of my own label with one act on the roster! Problem is, I never got into music for the business aspect of it all, therein lies my biggest challenge with this solo effort. You forget that the word solo really means SOLO! ‘Oh yeah I’m guy the making all the calls and decisions!’
The crowdsourcing thing turned out to be a pretty cool platform for me, although I will say that it was a tough concept to grasp at first. I realized that ultimately this is a chance for my hardcore fans to get involved in the early stages of a campaign and pre-order the product and in return they would receive chosen perk in return, be it the digital or physical copy of the record, artwork, etc. To be honest, knowing that those people invested not only monetarily, but also their faith in me really was a huge factor in seeing this thing through, I wasn’t going to let them (or me) down! In the end, I would say that being signed to a major label in my career has been nothing but a blessing to me. Granted, it raises the bar and challenges a person to attain that type of support and recognition if that is one’s goal–meaning, having been there once you kind of have an an idea what that ride is going to be like!
My first exposure to you was during the run of Quad, the local stage production of The Who’s Quadrophenia. You played the role of Jimmy and handled most of the vocals–a pretty daunting task but you were nothing short of brilliant–you nailed it! Any more musical theater/acting work in your future?
Well thank you very much! And daunting indeed, that was by far the most challenging role I have ever taken on as a vocalist, yet also one of the most rewarding and fun! I have not ruled out the musical theater stage at all and currently working up some future ideas with the director of Quad, Pete Uribe. Stay tuned! For now, it’s all Golden!
What made you want to become a singer.. what was the moment you heard or saw a band and said ‘that’s it?’
That moment happened for me seeing those early Kiss album covers, followed by a Kiss concert in 1979, Judas Priest was warming up and I just about lost my mind! Mom took me and a friend and my life was forever changed! Also, David Lee Roth had a profound effect on me as well, that first Van Halen record slayed me!
Who do you like/What are you listening to these days?
Really into The Rival Sons as of late! BRMC (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) have always rocked me! Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, who all live up here in Ojai in fact. And the usual fare of classic rock I just cant seem to get enough of!
Thank you for your time, Stephen! Hoping to see you play locally soon!