Gotta Wear Shades
That night Steve gave me a cassette with 4 songs
on it. I had 3 days
to learn the songs and go to the audition. I
really did my homework,
and 3 days later I was as ready as I was ever
going to be. I walked
into the rehearsal studio where Steve, Mike and
Tim, as I later learned,
had spent endless months of auditioning people
to finish up the lineup
of the band. Steve introduced me to the guys
who gave me that look
like, “Oh boy, here we go again.”
Mike and I talked about that meeting recently.
Mike had a very heavy
English accent and I was from the hills of East
Tennessee. We had a
good laugh because neither of us could understand
a word that the
other was saying.
Pleasantries behind us, they set about the task
of weeding out yet
another waste of time. After playing 3 of the
4 songs and Steve putting
me on the spot by asking me to improvise in a
section of a song, the
audition was halted and I was asked to leave
the room. I was sure I
had blown it with the improv. As I recall that
moment, I played like a
To my total surprise, the guys asked me to go
to lunch and offered me
the job! It was another one of my “most gratifying
I’ve Been to This Movie
Right away, I was put on salary and the band went
to work, writing
and rehearsing the music for what would become
the first few months, I was totally in awe!
Here I was playing with
Steve Walsh, one of the greatest voices in all
of rock and roll, and truly
a major influence in my career. If the truth
be known, I have probably
played and sung “Carry On” more
than Steve has! Remember,
I was playing 4-5 sets a night, 5-6 nights a
and “Down the Road” were tops in
our set list.
We finally reached the point where we thought
we were ready to
showcase for the labels. Except this time it
was different, it wasn’t a
question of “will we get signed,” but “which
label will we sign with.”
That really took a lot of pressure off! After
showcasing with almost
all the major labels, we finally signed a deal
with Atlantic Records.
I was a happy man! I was thinking “big house
and sports car.”
For reasons I’ll never understand, after what
I thought were two
great albums, the band still hadn’t achieved
what I thought we would
achieve. Instead, we lost our deal with Atlantic.
The records we did,
in my mind were great, but didn’t get the recognition
deserved. And once again, the band was breaking
up and I was
contemplating my future. Any sane individual
would have given up
and thrown in the towel, but NO, NOT ME!
Once again, I packed up my stuff and moved back
Tim moved to California, Mike moved to New Jersey,
wife’s family lived, and Steve got a gig touring
with Cheap Trick,
playing keys and singing backing vocals!
How ironic was this?!
One of the greatest singers in the world, playing
in a supporting role.
Sometimes there is no justice in this world!
(continued on next page)