In 1988 my blues band, The Hudson River Rats began a residency in NYC’s West Village at a venue called “Under Acme” (the basement music room of the Acme Bar & Grill) which we did every Wednesday night for 2 years. We had all kinds of stars come down to play & sing with us; Cyndi Lauper, Carol King, Phoebe Snow, David Johansen, Willy DeVille, etc. By 1990 we moved the show to the Lone Star Roadhouse on W 52nd St in midtown Manhattan and a whole different crowd of players started coming down. This is where I met Steve Clark.
At that time my band Company Of Wolves had released our debut album on Mercury records and we had heard that Joe Elliot was a fan (I know this is true because I ran into him more than a decade later and he walked up to me and started singing my songs!). So perhaps this is why Steve Clark knew to come to our jam – because my brother John & I, who ran the jam with our blues band, were 2 of the founding members/players/singers/songwriters of Company Of Wolves.
The night that Steve showed up I remember being impressed with ourselves because the word was getting out about our little blues night – so much that we had multi platinum selling artists like Steamin’ Steve Clark coming down to hang and play. He was a really sweet guy from what I remember, I shook hands with him at the side of the stage as he pulled out a cherry sunburst Les Paul (I think…?) I can’t remember which tunes we played but I believe it was with Richie Hayward (Little Feat) on drums. I remember that blues harp master Charlie Musselwhite also played that night. I really wanted to hang with Steve and chat but I had to stay on the stage to keep the night going – and by the time I got offstage, he was gone.
I was a fan of those 2 big Def Leppard albums; Hysteria and Pyromania so it was great to meet him. I was glad that he was such a down to earth dude, one who would come to a blues jam and not be afraid to wing it – to plug in someone else’s amp and play unrehearsed tunes with a bunch of people he never met. I am one of those guys so I really appreciate that in someone else! That’s a musician with no fear.
When it comes to new independent music like mine, there’s no better promotion than an endorsement from a well-known artist with trusted musical taste. I’m grateful that Little Steven is being THAT guy for “The Steve Conte NYC Album”…
The Steve Conte NYC Album is – “Without a doubt, one of the best records of the year!”
– “Little Steven” Van Zandt
Musician/Producer/Songwriter (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Disciples Of Soul), Actor (The Sopranos, Lillyhammer), Music Biz Entrepreneur & Radio Programmer (The Underground Garage on Sirius/XM, Wicked Cool Records, etc.)
That’s my 1960 Les Paul Junior that I bought from Chelsea guitars back in 1992.
It was a total wreck when I got it but I had the very talented Mr. Pat Clark paint it white for me and then I got the red tortoise-shell guard from Pick Guardian in Ohio.
Gibson had never done a design like this – I was trying to recreate the look of my favorite Fender bass, the Alpine White Precision Bass with the red pickguard. It’s been out there for awhile in photos & videos on the web and now I see that certain “rockstars” have “borrowed” my idea and presented it as their own…but we all know, I was the FIRST! 😉