Steve Hunter: Sound & Vision

By: Ryan Sparks

Chances are pretty good that if you’re a serious classic rock fan, with an extensive music library, then you’ve probably got at least one album in your collection that features the signature sounds of guitarist Steve “The Deacon” Hunter.

Hunter, who was born in Decatur Illinois, at a time when rock ‘n roll hadn’t even been invented, first started to carve a name for himself in the industry as a go to session musician in the early 70’s, thanks in large part to producer Bob Ezrin. Hunter was first called upon to contribute to Lou Reed’s Berlin album, which was released in 1973. He then got his first taste of the big time, touring alongside fellow guitarist Dick Wagner in Lou’s infamous Rock ‘n Roll Animal band, before vaulting to true rock’n roll stardom as a member of Alice Cooper’s group from the mid to late 70’s.         

The last couple of years have seen a creative re-birth of sorts for the veteran axe-man, first with the release of his stellar album The Manhattan Blues Project, which was released in 2013, and now with the follow-up CD/DVD project entitled Tone Poems Live. Captured in an intimate setting without an audience, Tone Poems finds Hunter sharing his unique skills and musical vision alongside some of the best musicians on the planet.

I recently caught up with Steve to discuss not only the new companion release, but to also touch on his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and Peter Gabriel, and the challenges he faces with making his music as visual and interactive as possible.

Ryan: First of all, congratulations on this awesome new release. Can you tell me a little about the genesis of this project and how it came about?

Steve:  A friend of mine from San Francisco, Brian Brinkerhoff called me up and he said “Look I’ve got this idea for doing a live video.” We talked about it at length that first time, but I was kind of on the fence about it and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it. We kicked some ideas back and forth and we knew that we didn’t want to do it in front of a live audience, because first of all that usually drives up the cost quite a bit, but also we thought that logistically that it might be a nightmare. So, we decided to do it like Miles Davis, the way he did Kind of Blue, which was basically they did the whole album live in the studio over a couple of days. So we figured we would do that, set up a recording studio so that we could shoot video of everybody playing live. After we had finished talking about it I thought that this could be kind of cool and a lot of fun. That’s how it ended up happening. We went into a studio and recorded live and that’s basically what we did.

Ryan: I think the title of this one Tone Poems is perfect, can you tell me about the meaning behind it or its significance?

Steve: Absolutely, that’s a good question. One of my favorite classical composers is Claude Debussy. If you’ve read anything about him, he was close friends with, I believe it was Monet, the impressionist painter. I think they were good buddies. They used to discuss each other’s work using the nomenclature of the other’s work. So in other words, Debussy would tell Monet a painting had rhythm and harmony and in turn Monet would describe music to Debussy has having color and balance. They would use those kinds of terms to discuss each other’s work. Debussy was also inspired many times by poetry, paintings and stories. “The Afternoon of a Faun” I believe was inspired by a poem. So, it sort of just evolved that his work came to be called tone poems, because his stuff his so visual. When you listen to “Afternoon of a Faun” you see visions and pictures and that’s without drugs. You can see things through his music and I’ve always admired that. I’ve always tried to do that same sort of thing.

When I was in school we would listen to Peter and The Wolf and I had a really good teacher who would point out that this melody was the wolf and that melody was Peter, so she was describing the characters just by the melodies. I was fascinated by that even as a kid and I brought that into my adult life and into my writing. It means a lot to me to try to create images or some type of feeling in a song or piece of music, which allows you as a listener to create your own visuals, so that you become part of the work as a listener, rather than just listening. You actually become part of it. I’ve always been fascinated by that concept of tone poetry.

Ryan: It’s almost like you’re painting your own canvas with your music.

Steve: Exactly. You have to think of color, texture, balance and harmony. I’ve never been much of a lyricist, so that kind of stymied my signwriting because I wasn’t able to come up with those clever words like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel or any of those guys. I admired them because I know how difficult that is to do, but I concentrate on the other side. I had to figure out what I could do to make music and have it keep the listener’s attention. Obviously instrumental music can get really boring if there isn’t a story or something like that. It’s a challenge to try to create something that carries you through the entire song and brings a certain feeling. All you have to do is become a part of the music and then that’s when it starts happening. To me it’s a little more interactive than with lyrics, because as good as words are I don’t think they express everything.

Ryan: Sure and sometimes those mental images that can be painted within a listener via the music, often that can be a lot more powerful than words.

Steve: I think so too, and with instrumental music each person will hear it differently as well and it will create their own little thing. I like that because it can keep your songs and your music fresh, because each time they listen to it they might hear something different. It may conjure up something different in their own imagination.

Ryan: This is how I feel when listening to your work; it feels very cinematic to me. I like to think of it as theater for your ears.

Steve: That’s a good way to put it. I appreciate that because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do [laughs]. You should be able to close your eyes and see something.           

Ryan: In addition to having a solo career of your own, you’ve also played on so many different sessions over the course of your career. That being said, I’m assuming that the main focus of this project was to concentrate on your own material as much as possible?

Steve: Yeah, because I really haven’t had a chance to do that too much. When I was signed to the IRS label Guitar Speak back in the late 80’s, I did a tour called Night of The Guitars with a bunch of different guitarists, and that was really the first time I ever got to play my own material live. When we decided to do this, Brian who was the producer, he really wanted me to do my songs. He said I could do a couple of covers, but he really wanted to focus on the stuff that I had written. I had written a lot of stuff and I had things that hadn’t been recorded and things like that, but we just wanted to focus on my stuff. Trust me, this was a new experience for me because I had never really done that.

Ryan: That being said, was it still a challenge when it came time to choosing the songs that would be represented here?

Steve: Oh yeah it was, because I wasn’t sure when I went in what songs were going to work in a four piece band and which songs would. So, I think we went in with fourteen songs, there are fourteen on the DVD; but these guys, Tony Levin, Phil Aaberg and Alvino Bennett are such great musicians that they can make just about anything work. There were only maybe two songs out of all of them where I kind of changed the arrangement and we went for a bit of a different feel, but basically they’re such great musicians they made it work. It was a real joy. When you get people like that, it’s not work anymore, it’s just fun.

Ryan: To me it felt like if there were any changes, they were hardly noticeable or they were very subtle.

Steve: That’s right, they were. That’s thanks to Phil as the keyboard player having to cover a lot of parts, because I like to layer guitars and layer tracks, so some of those songs have a lot of layers in them. For example, “Deep Blue” has a lot of guitar layers, but the way Phil approached his keyboard parts, he filled it out in such a way that you don’t really miss all those layers. The melody still has this nice little bed to sit on. So that’s what I mean, having guys like that who understand the gist of the song and how to get to the nut of it, and then be able to bring that out. That’s something Phil is really good at. He’s really good at condensing a part that will still work live.

Ryan: The last couple of years have marked a sort of creative re-birth for you, at least as far as your solo career goes. Last year you gave us the fantastic Manhattan Blues Project album and now this one. To what do attribute this to or do you even consider it as a re-birth?

Steve: No, I do as well. The reason I have to say is having my own studio and access to Pro Tools. I’ve always had something I could record on, like a porta studio or an 8 track tape machine, but Pro Tools really, really gave me the opportunity to experiment and try different things. I could take my sessions that I did here at home, into a studio, so I could put my own tracks into a studio, where you could never do that before, unless you had a 24 track machine and a console. It got very expensive and the maintenance was a real headache. So here I have Pro Tools and suddenly the whole world opens up to me and I can try all kinds of things. It took me awhile to learn it because Digital Audio Workstations are not an easy thing to grasp, but what I really like about Pro Tools is that it looked like familiar things that I had seen in the studio in the past. So I have to say that is one of the things that really opened me up to becoming more and more creative. I now had all the tools in my studio to make a record. Manhattan Blues Project was all done in my studio, with the exception of the drums on “Twilight in Harlem”, that was done in a studio, because I don’t have a big enough place to house a drum set. Then or course there were the guest guitarists and the two cellists. They all recorded their stuff and just sent me the tracks. That is another wonderful thing about Pro Tools and the internet. The two cellists sent me their tracks from somewhere in Central Europe. Marty Friedman sent me his stuff from Japan. So, having a DAW as they’re called just frees you up and it’s so much more exciting. It’s a great creative format. They’re all great, Logic, Cubase, any of them. I just happened to pick Pro Tools because I liked the way it looks and sounds and it was the easiest for me to grasp. 

Ryan: One of the most interesting albums in your solo arsenal is the Hymns for Guitar. That was a beautiful record, man.

Steve: Thank you. That one was also done in my home studio. That was an album that I wanted to do for many, many years. When I was a little kid my grandmother used to take me to church. She belonged to a church back in Decatur, Illinois. It was called the Church of the Nazarene, I’ll never forget it. She didn’t go every week, but when she did she would sometimes take me. I was probably only four, so I was just a kid. I didn’t really understand what was going on with the guy preaching. He may as well have been speaking French because I didn’t understand a word he said. However, what I did love was when the whole church would sing these hymns. They would sing them very quietly with these soft voices. It was beautiful. It was like sitting in the middle of a soft cloud of voices. I just remember that was the only part of the whole thing that I really enjoyed. So, later on in life I thought that it would be great to try to do that with guitars. I wanted to get that same sort of feeling of being surrounded by this sound, you know? That’s why I did that record and I’m hoping at some point I’ll have a chance to do another one. 

Ryan: Has the search for the perfect tone over the course of your career been kind of like a quest for the Holy Grail?

Steve: You know, it was at first. Back in the 70’s there weren’t a lot of pedals. There were some, but most of them that were out there I didn’t like. There were a few I did like, for example the Uni-Vibe which Jimi Hendrix made famous. I was the old school guy who would just plug the guitar into the amp and then turn the amp up. That was the tone, that’s what you get. What I ended up learning over the years is something that I think all guitar players learn eventually, and that is that the tone is basically in your fingers. All the amplifier does it make that louder. You have to stop searching for the perfect guitar, amp or pedal combination and just realize what you can do to make the sound that your fingers make and more like how you want to hear it. Suddenly the search is a lot easier now, because I’ll try this pedal and this amp, but as long as what my fingers are doing is the same, then it’s going to sound like me. It took me a good twenty years to realize that. One of the ways you find this out is by practicing without playing through an amp, so you’re playing all your stuff but acoustically. 

Ryan: And I would imagine by dropping the pick as well.

Steve: Well, the pick I’m doing about 50 percent. I found a way to keep the pick in my fingers, I don’t know how I discovered it but there’s a way I can keep the pick between my first and second finger and yet still play with my fingers. There are certain things where a pick still sounds great to me, but there are some very expressive things that only your fingers can do. I kind of mix it up between the two. On “What’s Goin On” or on “Riviera Paradise” I prefer my fingers.

Ryan: When I think of these great players who played with just their fingers I think of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green… Those names come to mind.

Steve: Yeah it’s a strange thing. Albert King never used a pick and man he got some screaming stuff out of his guitar. Wes Montgomery could play as fast as anybody with a pick just by using his thumb. I don’t think Jeff Beck even uses a pick anymore. To me there’s a tonal difference when your flesh hits the strings. There’s a round softness to the note that I really like. Of course that doesn’t work for everything. If you really want to get more percussive and stuff like that, then I think you need a pick. I use one about half the time, but man there are so many subtleties and nuances that you can get with your fingers and I really like that.

Ryan: How did you come to acquire the nickname of The Deacon? Who gave you that?

Steve: That’s easy. That was a joke. Bob Ezrin called me up one time… now Bob and I had worked together on a couple of things and then there was a lapse of maybe about nine months or so where we hadn’t talked to each other. He was off doing other things and so was I. He called me up one day to do an album, I forget whose it was, but he called me up and he goes “I haven’t seen you in you in nine months, you’re not drinking or doing drugs are you?” He was just kind of messing with me you know? I said,“Nope, I’m still the Deacon of rock ‘n roll”. I said it as a joke and he thought it was hilarious. So when I went into that session that’s how he introduced me to everybody. It just stuck. I used to bless the sessions and stuff like that, it just got really silly. I did a Dr. John album back in the 70’s and that’s all he called me was The Deacon. He didn’t call me anything else. It was a joke and I liked it, so I kept it. I use it as the name of my publishing company Deacon Songs, so I use it a lot.

Ryan: You get asked a lot about the seminal intro on the live version of “Sweet Jane” on Lou Reed’s Rock ‘n Roll Animal album. My understanding is that you had previously worked up something similar during your time with Detroit and also The Chambers Brothers, is that right?

Steve: That’s exactly right. I started writing it when I was with Mitch Ryder in Detroit in around ’71. I had started working on it; it was just one of those things where I figured it would be a fun little thing for me to play and noodle around with and eventually something might come of it. It didn’t matter because it was fun to play. I must have been thinking of The Who or something like that when I first started writing it. I wanted to write something like Tommy. Anyway I was working on it. I had shelved it a couple of times and then a couple of years later I was out on the road with The Chambers Brothers and they wanted something to start the show with. I said “Well I have this little piece that I’ve been working on, maybe we could do that?” We did a shorter version of it, which would bring them out onstage and it was very cool. Then I shelved it again after that. It wasn’t until we did the Lou Reed live tour; Lou’s management had called Dick (Wagner) I think, because he was the leader of the band, and they said “Look, we need something to get Lou onstage. We need you to jam on something”. Dick told them we would work something out. We tried a bunch of different things and finally I said “Well, I’ve got this thing”. I had worked on it and added the melody lines and had made a couple of changes in the progressions and stuff. I played it for the band and we worked it up and man it sounded great. It was like the best it had ever sounded. I wasn’t sure I had liked it up until that point. I figured it was just an exercise in chord progressions, but the way that band played it, it just all of a sudden lit up. We did a slightly different version in Europe than we did in America, because in Europe we started the show with “Vicious”. It just so happened that “Vicious” is in the same key. It was in E minor and “Sweet Jane” at the time was in E. So they worked coming out of the intro, but with slightly different tempos. In America it became the intro to “Sweet Jane” and of course it was recorded and all that stuff.

Ryan: Where it was captured for posterity, and the rest is history.

Steve: Yeah.

Ryan: Speaking of Dick, I once told your old sparring partner that I didn’t think that Lou ever had a better band than the one that did those two live albums. I know Lou was a guy who was always changing things up, but why do you think he didn’t keep that band together?

Steve: To be honest with you, I think that’s just the way Lou was. He was always like “Ok, I’ve done that, now I’d like to try the funk R&B kind of thing.” I don’t think he hated it. I keep reading all this stuff how he hated that album and thought it was the worst thing. I never, ever got that from him. I worked with him later on in life as you know back in 2008. I toured with him and we did the Berlin thing. I never felt once that he hated that album because he never indicated or said anything like that to me at all. He was one of these creative people that really had to stimulate himself. He knew the song was good and was happening but, “let’s try it a different way. Let’s try “Sweet Jane” in different key or a different tempo. Let’s try “Satellite of Love” a different way.” I think that’s a good thing for any artist to do because if you have a big hit record you sort of get caught in this trap, where you’re stuck and you kind of have to do it the same way the rest of your life [laughs]. It takes a lot of courage to do the song, but in a different way and just hope that the audience accepts it. Lou’s audience got to the point where they accepted just about anything that he wanted to do. Tracy Chapman was the same way. We tried that with some of her songs. One that comes to mind is “New Beginning”. Sometimes we would try that one differently onstage every night. It was very exciting, I really loved it. The audience would get into it and it was a great interchange with them. I think was Lou was the same way. Really creative people have to have that stimulus all the time.     

Ryan: You mentioned having the opportunity to revisit Berlin live in its entirety. What was that experience like for you?

Steve: It was fantastic. Bob Ezrin and I wanted to do that album, that way live, forty years ago. It got hit hard by the critics. It’s a depressing album and a depressing story, but it’s such a brilliant story. We wanted to do it on Broadway and off Broadway, that kind of thing. We had kicked around a bunch of ideas, but then it just fell flat. Everybody just ran from it. I was really hurt and I think it hurt me as much as it did Lou. I had gotten so involved in it that the album became my album, so I was very sad when it didn’t do better. Many, many years later Bob Ezrin calls me out of the blue and says “Hey man, how would you like to do Berlin live?” and I was like “You’ve got to me kidding me”. They had found a way to do it, so I said “Well its forty years late, but let’s do it”. We had a children’s choir, strings and horns and it was just magnificent. Playing those songs live with everything going around me was just magnificent. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my career without a doubt.             

Ryan: And aside from that probably your fondest touring memories over the years have been with Alice?

Steve: Oh for sure. There were some real high spots there. Playing Madison Square Garden was one. Also the L.A. Forum which was known as the Felt Forum back then. Playing Anaheim Stadium and playing those places. There were some absolutely fabulous Alice Cooper gigs, no question about it. Another was the time we played on the (Johnny) Carson show. That tour (Welcome To My Nightmare) was a blast to do. It was hard work, but it was a lot of fun. That was my first major tour, I was thrilled. I was looking forward to getting onstage every night. 

Ryan: Along with Dick, you were known as a go-to session cat. Looking back on those experiences do think you got pigeonholed in any way and did you feel it had any adverse effects on you when you were trying to carve out your own identity as a solo artist or was it just the opposite and you found that it worked in your favor?

Steve: That’s a very interesting and well thought out question. There were a lot of times where I didn’t realize that I was shooting myself in the foot. Here’s the deal, there are two ways of looking at your professional career. One is, you find something new and you focus on it until you’re the best at it. The first guy who comes to mind is Eddie Van Halen. He focused on a certain style of playing and he is the king of it. There are a lot of shredders out there like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, who are both friends of mine and both brilliant players, but Eddie started it, whether he wants to admit it or not. He’s still one of the best. That also has its drawbacks. When I was doing sessions, the reason I wanted to do them was I thought that playing different types of guitar would keep me fresh and on edge. I figured I wouldn’t get bored and I would constantly be learning. So my thinking was to be as versatile as I could and that’s how I would get lots of work. In some ways that was true, but in a lot of ways it wasn’t. What ended up happening is I got to be known as Alice Cooper’s guitar player, and of course there was Peter Gabriel, who I toured with early on. But I got sort of stuck in the rock genre, to the point where if I had moved too far out of it, people would get kind of mad at me. So it was a weird thing. Where that really hit me hardest was in the 80’s when suddenly everything changed and the rock ‘n roll that I was hearing on the radio wasn’t the rock ‘n roll that I knew. Suddenly I had no place in it anymore. I was a thirty year old has-been that nobody wanted to hear. So, what a wakeup call that was. Here I was trying to be as versatile as possible, playing acoustic and lap steel guitar, yet I was primarily known for the rock stuff. It killed me and the 80’s were really, really hard on me. Even though I was trying to be versatile, most of the work that I did get had me stuck in this genre. I was a bit naïve and I got hit hard in the face big time. Then when it came time to being a solo artist, I thought well now I’m really stuck. So what ends up happening is you just go, “Ok, now I’m just going to do exactly what I want and hope somebody likes it”. Ultimately what comes across to the audience is sincerity. If you’re really sincere and passionate about what you’re doing, then the audience will find you. 

Ryan: Aside from working on Peter Gabriel’s debut solo album, you also did get to tour behind it, albeit just for the first leg. What do you remember about being on the road with that band and sharing the guitar workload with Dusty Rhoades, aka Robert Fripp?

Steve: Well, you know I’ve been in a lot of great, great live bands. I’ve been really lucky. I have to say though that band was probably the best band that I’ve ever played in. Every single musician in that band was extraordinary. All they did was kick my ass every night. I had to keep up with these guys. Tony Levin has to be one of the best bass players on the planet. Alan Schwartzberg is an incredible drummer. Larry Fast, Phil Aaberg and percussionist Jimmy Maelen, and of course Robert. Every single night I felt like I’d have to grab on and hang on, because those guys would tear me up if I wasn’t paying attention. It was really good for me and it really helped me in many ways. It was a joy to play with those guys and Peter of course.

Ryan: There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of video footage, but there are some decent sounding audio recordings floating around. I mean you guys were doing Marvin Gaye and Kinks covers. That must have been a blast.

Steve: Well you have to remember at that time he only had the one solo album, which was maybe forty eight minutes long, so we had to fill out the show. It would have been weird for him to do a bunch of Genesis tunes. We ended up doing one and that was “Back In NYC”, but we had to fill out the set, so he just picked out some of his favorite songs like “You Really Got Me”. That was a lot of fun and I thought he pulled it off really well. 

Ryan: Everybody always talks about the dynamic interplay you had onstage with Dick. I know you both had attempted to try to do something together over the years, but it never panned out. You touched upon this for a recent guitar magazine tribute to Dick, but can you explain in a nutshell why the two of you weren’t able to coordinate a project together? I think you described it as almost needing, not a mediator because that implies something else, but someone to bring you to some sort of common ground musically, like a guide perhaps?

Steve: Well you’ve certainly done your homework and I really appreciate that. Yes, that is true. Dick and I had talked about it many times over the years. I was living in Los Angeles; I had lived there for most of my life, for like twenty five or thirty years and there would be times where he would come out to L.A. for business. We’d always get together and talk about it. We talked online, on the phone and there were a couple of times that I flew to Saginaw (Michigan), where he was living at the time. We just tried everything, but for some reason it never gelled into anything. It wasn’t that we didn’t have respect for each other or that we didn’t like each other, none of that stuff. We already knew we could work well together, but when we tried to do it on our own, I went one way and he went the other. I might be wrong about this, but my theory is and what I think happened is that when we were playing behind Lou Reed and Alice Cooper there was a focus. His energy and mine got focused on both Lou and Alice’s material. Even some of the Alice Cooper material, a lot of it Dick wrote. For some reason when we were really focused was when we were working on Lou and Alice’s material, but when you took that away and we had to focus on our own music, then it just got crazy. I know there were things that I played for him that he didn’t like and there were things he played for me that I didn’t like.

Ryan: That’s kind of normal.

Steve: It is. We would kind of stand there scratching our heads trying to figure out what it wasn’t working. We should have been able to put something together and just go have fun. I think what happened was when the focus was taken away it got a bit chaotic. Another reason is I think Dick and I both thought in opposite directions and I think that’s what made us work so well together behind Lou and Alice. Being opposite made us work really well together but when we tried to put something of our own together, it didn’t work. He knew it as well as I did. I read interviews that he did, where he said that we had tried to work together, but that it just didn’t work. He went in his direction and I went in mine and we just couldn’t get it to come together. It was really sad, because we must have tried six or seven times over the years.

Ryan: Not long before Dick passed away he released his autobiography. I’m curious, have you ever considered writing a book of your own?

Steve: I am actually right in the middle of working on one as we speak. I am writing a book yes. I’ve already got a title, because you have to start with that. It’s called Memoirs of a Rock ‘n Roll Animal.

Ryan: Nice! We’ll look forward to seeing that.

Steve: I’m about maybe a quarter of the way through it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.

Ryan: Who would you consider to be the main influence on you or the reason why you first picked up a guitar?

Steve: That’s a little weird because I started playing guitar when I was eight. I started playing lap steel and of course my world was very narrow in those days. The person who got me interested in playing lap steel was my father, because he played lap steel. As I got older, when I hit about twelve, that’s when I heard Chet Atkins for the first time and I was knocked out. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing coming out of this guys guitar. So around that time is when I switched over to regular guitar and started to learn Chet’s stuff. By the time I hit fourteen then we started hearing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix and that’s when the whole world opened up. All of a sudden I had tons of influences instead of just one [laughs]. The guy who made play the regular guitar though was Chet Atkins, without question. 

Ryan: If you had to pick a song or songs, for someone that has never heard you, that you feel best represent who Steve Hunter is as a player, what would they be?

Steve: That’s a tough one, and the reason it’s tough is because as a player I’ve evolved and changed and modulated a few times you know? It’s almost like there have been different eras of my career that kind of indicated different things. Nowadays, even though it’s not my song or something I wrote, one would be “What’s Goin’ On”. First of all, I’ve always loved that song and thought it was a brilliant single and a brilliant recording. It’s one of Marvin Gaye’s most beautiful works as a singer. It has a perfect arrangement, everything’s perfect. There’s so much soul in that melody that fits guitar so well. That’s the kind of person I am. As a guitar player I look for the soul in everything. Ray Charles had a great quote; he was getting lambasted for doing a country record. Black people got really mad at him for doing that and white people it seemed didn’t want anything to do with him, so he was getting it from all sides. His quote was “Listen, I’m a singer and my job is to find the soul in music”. That’s how I feel about the guitar. Guitar for me is a voice, because I can’t sing worth a damn. I speak through the guitar. “Riviera Paradise” would be another one.

Ryan: Give me one of yours.

Steve: “The Idler” is one. I’d have to put the intro to “Sweet Jane” in there, because that one sort of landed me on the planet.

Ryan: Last question, knowing now what you didn’t know then, would you change anything or do anything different?

Steve: That’s a really good question and it’s one of those questions that is a philosophical one. If you think back and say “Oh man I wish I would have done that”, the problem with that is, had I done that, I might not be where I am now. It’s that old Einstein thing where you can’t go back and change anything, otherwise you’ll screw up the future. So, I kind of feel that way. Yeah, there are regrets and things I would have done differently or things I wish I wouldn’t have said and things like that, but I think in the course of one’s life there isn’t anyone on the planet that can honestly say, that if they look at it realistically, that they don’t have a regret or two. The problem is, whatever you did, even if it was something negative, it’s got you to where you are now. So, I just leave that alone. It’s too much trouble and I’m just too lazy [laughs].