Extremely Crazy Rock 2005
- Gloria - This is particularily crazy...and I'm proud of that. You can still hear the influence of Arnold Schoenberg (John Cage's teacher) in the melodies. I originally began to use this dissonant melodic approach on the Blah Blah Woof Woof Band CD nearly 30 years before (hear Faggots, Jazzmen, & Brothers Leavin', and Freight Door Charley).
- Gloria Take Two
- Gloria Take Three
- Louie Louie Take One - I first overheard this song wafting through the woods, on a Sunday afternoon, in my suburban home in Alexandria, Virginia when I was twelve. It was sexy and cool. It's a beginner's song. After about a year, guitar players don't really want to play this song anymore. I thought I'd kill it...see what you think.
- Louie Louie Take Two
- The Letter - Listen to the classical guitar intro...forlorn and cool.
- The Letter Take Two
Crazy Virtuoso Solo Acoustic Blues 2004
I once played with Joe Pass in the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I was very struck by how he could keep the melody, chords and most impressively to me, the bass going, and still have immaculate time . Being 19, and having no sense, I decided to devote my life doing that. I did not like the way Joe handled his strings, though. I liked Hendrix's bends and vibrato much better. It's a more sensitive and yet more powerful contact. So, I simply combined the two things I loved technically from both these men and their example is what inspired this approach solo acoustic guitar…Looking back, I'm sure I should have listened to my mama and become a lawyer.
This CD was recorded in San Francisco in four different studios; two great ones, and two terrible ones. There is some digital distortion on a couple of tracks from the bad studios, but I like the playin', so I kept them on this CD.
- Red House - My favorite blues song. My daughter abhores this song-she's heard it every day for 18 years and it's like Chinese water torture for her.
- Crossroads - I hate Eric Clapton. I just hate him. Couldn't be anything about the fact that he's rich and famous and I'm not, I'm sure.
- Dust My Broom - This song has the most enigmatic line in all of blues literature (line three –verse one).No one cares. It's a cool song.
- Before You Accuse Me
- Gonna Miss You When You're Gone - A very obscure tune my John Lee Hooker. I used to confuse obscurity with profundity.
- Stormy Monday - T –Bone Walker is mostly remembered for this song. His primary musical contribution, though, was the development of the single string guitar solo that would later influence B.B., Freddy and Albert King who would then influence Page, Clapton and Hendrix who would then mislead a generation of young people by inspiring them to become guitar players instead of lawyers.
- Same Old Blues - My favorite song.
- Black Bottom - Bukka White, my favorite blues artist, recorded this in the 1920's. The arrangement is totally mine and has no resemblance whatsoever to the original-my lawyer made me say that…
- Rolling Stone - The Rolling Stones got their name from this song.Rolling Stone magazine got their name from this song.Bob Dylan got his title for ‘Like a Rolling Stone' from this song.
There are two old monks in Atlanta who were very kind to me. I wrote and recorded this music in 2001 as a gift for them to celebrate their chastity.
One of my students is Charles Brewer, the founder and former CEO of Mindspring.com. When I met Charles I wasn't sure he could afford to study with me and I told him so. So, he made $40,000,000 dollars and called me back. Later I invited him to study bass with me. I had just written the Holiness CD and he and I premiered it at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta where the Indigo Girls got started. Before we went on that night Charles, looking a bit apprehensive, said “Steve, it's hard to imagine an idea with universally less appeal than this”.
- Tell the Truth - is a funky blues shout about beliefs and exaltation around chastity. It’s my personal favorite of these eight tunes. Opinions vary: I have a 92 year old monk friend who describes this as “The Good News” (the original meaning of the word Gospel)…On the other hand, I think Charles' opinion may be more on the money.
- In My Own Light - talks about the decision to be chaste is one that you have to make alone. This has also got to be the longest intro in history.
- Chastity - is a joyous, soft rock exposition of the gifts that folks who intentionally choose chastity receive. But it can’t be just because you’ve got bad social skills and can’t get a date…yeah, yeah, yeah.
- Mountain Climbing - is a jazzy blues that talks about the magic and the challenge around chastity.
- Joyfulness of Heart - comes from a line in the Catholic Apocrypha which says, "Joyfulness of heart is the life of the man and a never failing treasure of holiness." Originally, I wrote this music for Frank Zappa in1975 when I met him...Needless to say, Ihave changed some of the lyrics for the monks.
- It Ain't Impossible - stems from a line in Gandhi's writings about Brahmacharya which says, "Let no one think that it is impossible because it is difficult."
- I Want to Live Life Holy - is a silly listing of things that I do not do…that make me feel good when I do not do them. The third verse is particularly irritating…
- It Ain't About - is my daughter's favorite tune about Holiness. I particularly love the bridge, "You know that I ain't gonna stop, until it's got me broken down on my knees, until it’s got me down on my knees".
Burning Bridges 2002
This my second and final musical gift to my Atlanta monk friends before I moved to San Francisco . I’m Done and Let Freedom Ringwere the ‘hits’, if such vernacular is possible in this context.
- Burning Bridges - is a chant, a chaste field holler, if you can imagine that.
- Chastity is Power - is a fairly provocative title over a boogie figure…the powerhouse tune on this CD.
- Finally I Understand - is about considering the letting go sexual love and embracing chastity…
- I'm Finally Leaving You - Saint Augustine was just another guy until he embraced chastity. Buddha literally walked over his own child as he left his home to seek chaste enlightenment. Heartbreaking sacrifice…
- I'm Done - is an R&B celebration to all the freedom I have enjoyed from surrendering various crazy things!..My favorite song on this CD.
- Hallelujah - is a bittersweet goodbye.
- Too Close to the Edge - is a funky reminder that “feeling my soul means everything”.
- Whatever I Need - is about the militant willingness these guys have to do whatever is necessary to achieve peace.
- Let Freedom Ring - is a happy song, metrically, and is a tale about my childhood, youth, and the gift of my daughter. People love this song wherever I go…I like that.
Sacred Music 1990-1994
In 1990 I was a childrens evangelist in the tenth largest church in America, Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta . 12,000 members with a $12,000,000/year budget. The biggest performance I've ever done was actually leading sixty 3, 4, and 5 year olds singing with a 35 piece orchestra and a 200 piece choir in front of 3000 people in the most angelic, sweetest music you have ever heard. That'salot of numbers for Jesus.
Evil, Wicked, Mean, Bad and Nasty Guitar 1974-2004
- String Trio - was recorded in the summer of 1976 as a gift to John Cage on our first meeting. We would correspond by mail and by phone for 18 months before I would move to New York to “study” with him.
- Ghelderode - -This recording was completely improvised and was dedicated to the playwright whose work I loved. No wonder I was broke at 19.
- String Quartet - My favorite producer heard this on January 8, 2005 and said, “We know you're crazy.” I think that was a compliment.
- 1st Movement (2nd realization) - This recording was made on June 25, 1974, in Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia. It was this recording that inspired Milo's Velimirovich, then Chairman of the Music Department at UVA, to say, “You should not be studying here. You should study with John Cage." I had never heard of him. I was a nineteen year old kid from a cattle farm in Virginia.
- Evil, Wicked, Mean, Bad and Nasty Guitar - Barry Zito saw an ad of mine, called me and said "I'm a pitcher”. I said “That's nice”. He said “No, I‘m really a pitcher. “ I said “That's good. He said “No, I started the All Star game on NBC last Thursday night”. I said “Oh, you really are a pitcher!” Barry liked the weird stuff, lent me his Taylor 914-CE so I recorded a couple of strange ditties for him in Fall of 2004…
- Evil, Wicked, Mean, Bad and Nasty Guitar (for Barry Zito)
- Evil, Wicked, Mean, Bad and Nasty Guitar(for Barry Zito as well)
Blah Blah Woof Woof Band 1976
This CD was recorded when I was 23 years old and living in Richmond, Virginia, which at the time, I thought was the big city.
Fusion (a cross between jazz and rock) was all the rage. Artists like John McLaughlin, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Frank Zappa were the folks we looked up to. This CD reflects that influence.
Sweet Songs for my Daughter
- Postcard to God - This is the best song I've ever written. I wanted, as a responsible artist, to use whatever gifts I had to serve the person I loved the most in my life. So, I tried to say what would be in the heart of my then eight year old daughter, if she were able to articulate how she felt for herself. I believe I succeeded.
- Stay Down Zorro - I was in five custody cases for my daughter. I won three, lost the fourth and finally won the fifth. In the very darkest moment of my life, when I lost custody of Jen, I wrote this song as a compassionate healing tool.
- Jenny, Jenny, Jenny - I recorded this for my daughter...'cause that's her name.
- Jesus Loves Me - Jesus Loves the Little Children- These melodies and lyrics make me feel happy.
- Someone to Watch Over Me - This is my Harry Connick Jr. rendition.
- Jumpin' Jack Flash - I recorded this for my daughter, too.