"THE CHILD HAD A DREAM"
The child hada Dream
and it danced in his head
So clearly did it shine
One day he knew would come his time
And all the world would know.
The world knew already
For it planted the Dream
andthe child made it his purpose
when he was older
To seek out the details
and carve out the stone
which would last in the worldthen forever.
So of course in his carving
He captured himself
And the Dream then became
Like a fancy
He could take it or leave it
And wrap it and sell it
To the man who would bid him the highest.
The Dream of his childhood
must wait for another
And maybe a whole generation
For although he could see
in himself all the glory
his body could never quite handle
His Dream was alive for all time.
The child had a Dream
and it danced in his head
So clearly did it shine
One day he knew would come his time
And all the world would know.
"Stevie Sparks" has lived a legacy of music and goodwill shared by thousands of people from around the world over the last 35 years. Award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, versatile dance band leader, soloist in world-famous resorts, popular journalist he employed his talents fulfilling personal goals, while at times living an enviable lifestyle in some of the most beautiful places in the West... and has made countless friends in the process.
But with every goal achieved came sacrifices, andin the pursuit of his ideals - although his creativity flourished, Stevie succumbed to the proverbial "starving artist" syndrome - or, ashe says, "my kharma ran over my dogma". In May of 2002 - after a series of injuries and stroke-like symptoms had been making it difficult for him to work for months-Steviewas diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), by George Washington University Medical Center of Washington, D.C., a degenerative neurological condition, with no medically verified cause or cure, thought in this case to bethe result ofa combination of environmental toxins, malnutrition and stress. His last professional performances were in the Fall of 2001, as he has slowly become completely disabled.
Stevie gives a little testimony here: "Buckminster Fuller said before he died that each individual has a cosmic imperative to tell their story - to relate their own point of view, which is necessary for the empowerment of the human community as an organic whole. So this page, and my music and writings, are my contributions to that process. I suspect it is a rather natural impulse to want to leave something of use in this world after one leaves it - particularly if you have children, and I must say I've tried to do that.
"Regarding this illness that has afflicted me, although it seems to be taking me prematurely, I do not see it as 'punishment from God', or some such thing. Everything in this world is cause and effect. I've learned that there's a link between finances and emotions. Because I was raised in a privileged environment, I always took money for granted and assumed life would take care of me - and it did, and generally has. But when my first marriage failed and I was separated from my children, the resulting depression and frustration began to erode my well-being. After re-marrying in Idaho failed to provide the secure secondhome I hoped it would for my children, I returned to Hawaii very disempowered, and subsequently made some very poor decisions regarding the company I kept, resulting not only in some serious damage to my integrity and reputation, but in some health problems which affected my work as well. Although I think I did pretty well considering the circumstances (see bio below), the fact is, I was never able to recover financially or emotionally from these difficulties. By the time I returned to D.C. in 2000, I wascompletely vulnerable, but optimistic when I married again, that I could overcome these obstacles to peace of mind. Unfortunately, singing in smokey bars, driving a vehicle with an exhaust leak, sustaining some painful injuries, and generally being exposed to a variety of chemical and environmental toxins during that period, seems to have been more than my system could handle.
"When I found myself smack dab in the middle of the 9/11 attack on Washington (in traffic a few miles from The Pentagon), it was absolutely terrifying. We have learned that under conditions of malnutrition and stress, the body is considerably less able to eliminate heavy metals and other toxins, actually allowing them to be absorbed, when they would otherwise pass out. Being very health-conscious most of my adult life, I never really had any serious illnesses. But it seems that my injuries from a skiing accident when I was 16 also were a factor here. My leg had been ripped apart above my ankle, and my lower back was badly twisted. The resulting neurological damage may have contributed to my vulnerability to these degenerative effects later in life.
"After that accident, my life became focused on music, as I could no longer compete athletically with my peers. I now realize that it also left me somewhat eccentric (off-center), as the right side of my body never fully developed in balance with the left side. Recent research has revealed that such neurological weaknesses can contribute- in combination with these other elements - to the onset of such diseases.Baseball hero Lou Gehrig was apparently poisoned by the cadmium in the white base-line chalk on his playing fields. After he died, they removed cadmium from the chalk. I believe the reason you don't hear more about the link between environmental toxinsand diseases like this one has to do with the mysterious blur in the line between chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the intense litigation involved in these claims. At any rate, I'm certain that these environmental dangers and my inability to overcome emotionally charged financial issues (which resulted in depression) have worked in concert to set the stage for my Swan Song - which is basically a message to all of you who know me to be aware of such things in your own lives."
Stevie is an ASCAP-affiliated songwriter witha variety of material in his catalog. Selected four times as a national finalist in the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival sponsored "New Folk" competitions, and recognized three times with awards from the annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest in Washington, D.C., he has self-producednine independent collections of his songs, which are currently being re-mastered for release.
Reflecting on his life and the opportunities it offered, Stevie has mixed feelings: "After my experiences in Hollywood as a kid, I generally avoided commercialism, in favor of seeking the soulful - which I found in the Hawaiian community, and some of the other beautiful, out-of-the-way places I lived. But, clearly, I made the mistake of being too protective of my artistic integrity - wanting to do things my own way, and let a lot of great chances to connect with the music industry pass me by."
He elaborates: "I saw myself as a communicator - over the yearsdeveloping a talent for putting words and music together. When I was in my 20s in Maui, an elder told me that I had the gift of 'Automatic Writing' - or, allowing The Spirit to speak through the pen, as it were. I had already proved in my teens that I couldwork up a concert crowd, and now I wanted there to be meaning behind my message. I really worked at developing my craft, but it wasn't about commercialism. It was about ideas and emotions and touching people in a special way. Often people would sing along with my songs the first time they heard them. It all seemed to come from a higher place, and it wasn't for sale. That was where the conflict began. There were times when I tried to write for a marketplace, but mostly I just wrote because it had to come out - something needed to be said. Songs like 'Long Ago and Far Away', 'A New Horizon', 'Four Seasons Cycle', 'After Sunset Sometimes', and 'Far From the Struggle' came to me with mystical substance, but it's unlikely that many people will ever hear them because of their obscure place in my catalog. Of course, at times I wrote just for fun - to entertain. The stuff I ended up recording generally represented a cross-section of songs I thought people would enjoy.When I was young, I considered it a great privilege to be an artist, and I created my work out of a love for humanity. That all kind of got lost in the shuffle in later years, but I hope the inspiration that filled my life - and my music - will find its way into the hearts ofsome peoplewho are still thirsty for just that kind of vision and inspiration."
"Having said all that, I think my true talent was in connecting people, which I did quite a bit.This is one reason why when I put a band together, it was usually good, and why I preferred that to being in someone else's mismatched group. I always had a good sense of how different people's energies would work together. In fact, in general, I fancied myself a Peacemaker, although I'm certain there are other people who did not necessarily see me in that light. I think I would have made a good diplomat - and probably would have made a much better living than I did having to deal with a steady stream of mercenary, money-hungry musicians andtone-deaf, bottom-feeding club owners. Anyway, none of that matters now - does it?
"Just for the record, here's a few things I'd like to be remembered for: As the guy who got WAMA back into the State Theater (Ask Mike) - which is, of course, now the official home of the annual WAMMIE Awards Show; As one ofvery few haoles (white guys) to get heavy airplay ('Back in the Island') - and even score a TopTen Hit ('Aloha Nahiku')- on all-Hawaiian radio; As the guy who - allegedly -got Ian Tyson to be a little nicer to his hired help; As a musician who arrived in Austin cold, and - to the amazement of the locals - actually GOT work as a soloist and bandleader; And as the guy - in 1993 - who had the Mayorsof Sandpoint, Idaho, and Invermere, British Columbia agreed tocross-border tourism promotion between their two communities (which is still a good idea, but never happened)."
SOME FUN FACTS FOR FANS:
Pet Peeve: Guys who call themselves drummers but can't keep time, don't carry brushes, only know two "beats" -- Blues and Rock, and in fact are not musicians at all but just cats with stix looking for chicks. My advice if you want to play good music and attract women: sell the drums, buy a nice stereo anda Bow-Flex.
Favorite Colors: Orange and Blue
Favorite TV Show: MacGyver
Favorite Movies: The Natural, Heaven Can Wait, Being There, Elvis Meets Nixon
Favorite Food: Scallops wrapped in bacon
A Favorite Song: "Joe Sure Knows How to Live"- Eddie Raven
Some Favorite Artists: Wes Montgomery, Peter Green, Tim Hardin, Mickey Newbury, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon,Pat Metheny, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, Marty Stuart, Guy Clark, Amazing Rhythm Aces, R.B. Morris, Ian Tyson, Rodney Crowell, Keola Beamer, Colin James
Some Favorite Albums:'Awake Me in the New World' - Peter Rowan;'Lovers' - Mickey Newbury; "Vital Signs" - Dave Mallett; "Tiger in the Rain" - Michael Franks; 'Children of the Future' - Steve Miller Band (with Boz Skaggs); 'Win This Record' - David Lindley & El Rayo-X; 'River of Madness' - Steve Conn; 'Lost in Austin' - Marc Benno; 'Desperado' - The Eagles; 'Pearls Before Swine' - Tom Rapp; 'Little Village' - Hiatt/Cooder/Lowe & Keltner; "Forever Changes" - Arthur Lee & Love; "A Long Time Comin'" - Electric Flag.
Favorite People: Those who signmy Guestbook.
HIS MYTHICAL MUSICAL ODYSSEY — "In Search of the Holy Scale"
(Chronological facts, stories and anecdotes from Stevie's life of music--episodes still being added and updated):
From his early childhood, Stevie was told by his adoptive parents that they were directed to support any musical interest he showed. He didn't even know who his natural parents were until early 2004. In fact, his natural father was the leading man in such musicals as "Oklahoma" and "Carousel" in high school (with a vocal range that was considered exceptional by his coach from the Metropolitan Opera),who methis natural mother singing in one of those productions. Today his mother is a soloist with a Seventh-Day Adventist choir in Arizona, who hasan absolutely gorgeous soprano voice. His father even once sang for President Franklin Roosevelt at The White House. This explains Stevie's versatility as a vocalist, which was celebrated by many who enjoyed his talents over the years.
He was tutored in voice and piano by Dr. Wilfred M. Briggs, organist and choirmaster at The Landon School For Boys in Bethesda, Maryland, and at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland--Dr. Briggs favored him, and personally groomed the boy soprano for these elite choirs. Stevie was also sent to some other prominent Washington piano teachers, but rejected formal training, in favor of his own creative interests.
Although he thought about actually playing music for years, tinkering with piano, drums, and saxophone, Stevie didn't discover his instrument until 1963: he found a 1948 Mahagony Martin Nylon Classic hidden in a dark basement - which had been given to his older brother years before by Maryland neighbor Conrad L. Wirth (then Director of The National Park Service). His parents didn't want any "beatnick" music around, so they had stuffed the guitar away.
Around that time, a new kid arrived at Leland Junior High School from California - Marley Hay had long hair, played guitar, and liked Bob Dylan. Stevie immediately befriended this round peg in a square hole, and the boys began hanging out and learning songs together.
But it was Surf Bands--not folk singers--that were stokin' Stevie's passions, and by 1964 (after early gigs with a Silvertone and a much-ridiculed 4 Pick-Up Kent) he was performing on his first Fender electric (a red Mustang) in "THE CHANTONES", with bass guitarist Gary Garvin and drummer Mark Rykken (later replaced by Walter Sheridan, who went on to drum with Bobby Radcliff). The fledgling trio covered tunes by local legend Link Wray, The Ventures and other surf-guitar phenoms, sporting two "managers": Peter Coster, and Joseph "Butch" Hunt--whose mother was active in Chevy Chase social circles, providing Stevie with his first taste of patronage, with her referrals to a seemingly endless supply of pool parties and basement sock hops.
His pal Mark Rykken's father had a hobby of recording and collecting live jazz. Colonel Rykken was good buddies with Tony Taylor, owner of Washington's premiere jazz club "The Bohemian Caverns". Often during rehearsals at Mark's house, jazz legends such as Stanley Turrentine, Les McCann, and Roberta Flack would slip down into the basement to see how the boys were doing. Stevie got to know Tony in the 1970s, when Mark and his dad formed a production company with Taylor - called VTM, which discussed producing an album with Stevie, before he headed West again. In the 1980s,when Les McCann needed sound equipment for a gig at DC's legendary Blues Alley, he calledon Stevie. After that, McCann would routinely surprise Stevie by picking up his tab whenever he brought friends to seeLes at gigs.
Stevie's aptitude and interest in electronics translated from rebuilding old radios and Hi-Fi's into hot-rodding guitars and amps, and in having all the new gadgets of the day to play around with as they arrived on the scene, such as the Gibson "Fuzz-tone", the Vox "Wah-Wah", the "Echo-plex", and--later--a Guild "Roto-Verb", bequeathed to him by homeboy Nils Lofgren. As the Audio-Visual guy in school--running projectors and P.A. systems etc.--he took a great interest in making sure his bands were properly equipped and set up for their gigs. This, of course, continued throughout his life. Neighborhood friends recall coming home from school to listen to Stevie's radio broadcasts out of his bedroom. Although his home-made rig was technically illegal, he delighted in playing newly discovered music for his pals over the airwaves. He still has early recordings he made, bouncing "sound-on-sound" on his Sony two-track, and playing around with special effects.
In 1965 Stevie formed "THE ELEKTRAS" (with Charlie Berger, Karl Harr, John Quinter and Steve Mourat), adding vocals to the mix, and getting booked at Country Club parties and church socials by riding the English Blues/Rock Wave - covering bands such as The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Standells, The Outsiders, The Blues Magoos, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks.
This combo morphed into "THE VAGRANTS", when Quinter was replaced by Guy Dorsey - who Stevie drafted from some Soul band he heard in Bethesda, and Mourat made way forGeorge Spano - who Stevie met one day when he took the wrong bus home from school. Theyworked the regional teen club circuit, and won regional Battles Of The Bands... with the added feature of their eye-catching Go-Go Dancers: Holly Murphy and Linda Hartman. In 1966, the band was featured "live" on the Washington, D.C. area teen dance television show "WING DING" (with Bruce Carroll replacing Berger on drums). Around this time Stevie became very active in booking and P.R., handling the band's business and getting them covered in Mike Oberman's "Teen Beat" music column of Washington's Evening Star newspaper--which later succombed to the almighty Washington Post.
Altho' D.C. bred Blues guitarists Bobby Radcliff and Jimmy Thackery name him as an early inspiration, Stevie never stuck to any particular style of music. Versatility became his undoing in later years, as the industry was unable to pigeon-hole him, and his live shows were unpredictable. But this served him very well in resorts and with private clients, where he was consistently celebrated for his command of different styles, from Country & Western, Bluegrass and Rock & Roll to Rhythm & Blues, Pop, and Jazz standards. Agents found this difficult to deal with, soStevie ended up representing himself, for the most part through word of mouth, during his entire career--whichhe saysultimately worked against him, though it gave him a great deal of freedom. His diversity as a songwriter, singer and player is reflected in the nine independent album projects he produced, which cover a variety of musical styles. Local influences included legendary guitarists Link Wray, Roy Buchannen, and (later) Danny Gatton, but Stevie's earliest guitar mentors were Alan Adkins (Resume`s, Dubonnets, Pep Boys, Tears), Eddie Becker (Velours) and Chris Toby. He also studied piano and guitar for years with Richard Harrison, arranger for the great Charlie Byrd. He says the one musician who inspired him most in the early years was multi-instrumentalist John Hurd of The Newports, who he also took lessons from. He later became a fan and friend of guitarist Tony Grasso of The Puzzle.
But, particularly in those early years, it wasn't so much his musicianship as his performances that wonhim anaudience. Stevie was athletic, being a regional trampoline and diving champion,and at 14 yearsof agehe qualified to compete live on WMAL television's "BOWLING FUN" show in Washington, D.C.-winning the contest on the air.Stevie also was an award-winning swing dancer, so he was very visual--interacting well with his crowds from the beginning. Although a serious skiing accident put him in a full-leg cast for months during the winter of 1966-67 (and affected him for the rest of his life), the injury did not stop him from performing, as a photo of The Vagrants competing in a Battle of the Bands at Maryland University shows. With Stevie "grounded," this was the only battle The Vagrants did not win. The stage was where the budding entertainer found his self-expression, and some people who would later meet him offstage found it difficult to believe he was the same person they had seen performing, because he was so shy and softspoken.
One of the sweetest victories Stevie enjoyed with The Vagrants was when they were challenged to a battle in Bethesda on THE RENEGADES' home turf. This was a cocky bunch of guys - Tom Birks, Rolf Hansen, Bob Gordon, Louie Newmyer, and Butch Sithens, who were assured of their victory in this setting. But the crowd went for the well-dressed showmanship of the band from Chevy Chase, and The Vagrants all but stunned and humiliated The Renegades by walking off victorious. Years later, when Newmyer began working in bands with Stevie, it was a constant tease, when he would bring up that sweet defeat. The night of that battle, there was a 14-year-old kid acting as The Renegades' roadie: his name was Nils Lofgren, and he went on to form one his great bands, Crystal Mesh with lead singer Tom Birks.
When The Vagrants disbanded in 1967, his friend Guy Dorsey began playing with Bobby Radcliff, and Stevie stepped into the frontline with popular local recording act THE RESUME'S (re-formed by Tom Tedrow and Alan Adkins, who added Stevie, John Patterson and Michael Blakeman, when the original rhythm section of Arthur Killick and John Ridenour departed for college). As he continued to work his way up through the local teen dance club circuit, Stevie wrote, arranged and co-produced his first original recordings with this group.
After landing a house gig at the brand-new "Pale Iguamas" (71st Street Club) in Ocean City, Maryland for the Summer of 1968, the band changed its name and its image: As "CRYSTAL CLEAR" (with Van Holmead temporarily replacing Patterson on drums, and keyboardist Michael Burke replacing Blakeman) they featured original jam/dance material, a psychedelic light show and outrageous stage performances, which broke attendance records and influenced a generation of regional wanna-be's, causing a stir in the media and under the boardwalk.
Another professional edge Stevie had in those early days was his job at Turntable Records, near D.C.'s Tenley Town. He would audition new releases, taking home anything that he thought was cool enough for his band to hear. As such, he was in the position of turning a lot of people on to new music, during the creative renaissance of the late 60's. When new Craig 8-track car stereos arrived at the shop, Stevie installed one, instantly transforming his 1963 Plymouth Valiant into the vehicle of choice for cruising. His favorite pastime became escaping his conservative family home by flying around D.C.'s scenic parkways and rolling back roads listening to the newest psychedelia in delicious stereo--usually with a carfull of hysterical pals... but sometimes - he says -just as a meditation. Occasionally he would drive all the way to New York City to buy new 8-tracks and albums that would not make it into the D.C. market for another couple of weeks, just so he could be on top of things. One of the albums Stevie introduced to his community ahead of the marketplace was the groundbreaking "Days of Future Passed" by the Moody Blues. Other favorites for cruising included the debut albums byKing Crimsonand Pink Floyd ("...doi doi..."), "Children of the Future" and "Sailor" by the Steve Miller Band,the "Fathers& Sons" blues collaborationwith Muddy Waters, Cream's "Disraeli Gears",Hendrix's "Axis Bold as Love", "Forever Changes" by Arthur Lee & LOVE, and the 2001: Space Oddysey soundtrack, to name a few.
In the Fall of '68, Stevie (with Patterson and Burke) began sharing D.C. area concert stages with other acts such as Nils Lofgren (and his band The Shot - with Bob Gordon and Butch Sithens), and broke into the Georgetown nightclub circuit, playing off nights for The Flavor, The Cherry People, The Fallen Angels and other local legends, at clubs such as The Rabbit's Foot, The Silver Dollar, The Keg and The Crazy Horse. The trio specialized in Psychedelia and Rhythm & Blues, covering Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Paul Butterfield, Harvey Mandel, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, and others, while gaining a reputation for their own wild stage antics and original material. Stevie soon ended up on "Wing Ding" a second time... with this versatile trio.
A classic anecdote from those days: Nils Lofgren called Stevie to drive him to New York to see "his friend" Jeff Beck at the Fillmore East. When they arrived Beck had canceled, and their trip seemed to be ending curbside. But Stevie noticed a guy with long white hair talking to someone at the box office and said "Hey Nils, I think that's Johnny Winter." Nils leapt out of the car and the next thing he knew Stevie was driving Winter, Tommy Shannon and Uncle John Turner to their hotel at Central Park. They were the replacement act, sharing the bill with The Savoy Brown Blues Band, andStevie and Nils were the guests of the bands for two shows that night -front-row seats -hanging out backstage--2 cool4 school. Stevie looked on as his more aggressive pal sat knee-to-knee, swapping licks with Winter in the dressing room. He says Nils was not one to let an opportunity pass, and Stevie was happy just to soak up the energy. After the closing show, some suits from CBS records filed into the dressing room... and the rest, as they say, is history. Check out more about Winter on the articles page: http://www.stevieguitar.com/articles.php?a=9
During the late '60's Stevie got to hang out with - and watchedperformances by - such other notable acts as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Paige & Led Zeppelin, Buddy Guy, Jesse Colin Young (Youngbloods), Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels, The Grateful Dead, C.T.A. (Chicago), Arthur Lee's LOVE and John Mayall, to name a few. He also took in live shows by James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Cream, The Moody Blues, The Who, Poco, Steve Miller, Elvin Bishop, B.B. King, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Iron Butterfly, Buffalo Springfield, and Rhinocerous, among many others, who each influenced his performing, playing and writing with their unique styles.
SEDUCED BY HOLLYWOOD:
Stevie briefly formed a band with Bob Gordon, Louie Newmyer and Butch Sithens--called "FLEEBOON", which sported a talented lead singer he only remembers as Gene. They landed a gig at the venerable Sam's Place in northwest D.C., but Gordon went to work with Nils, when Lofgren got a record deal. Then, after his adoptive father attempted suicide out of financial distress, Stevie left home in May of 1969, venturing to California alone with his Baby Blue "55 Maple Neck Stratocaster, hoping to reverse the family fortunes.
By July he was signed to a recording deal, after performing at The Hollywood Palladium's annual "Teen Show" with a 7-piece pickup band -which they called "ALBATROSS". Les Brown, Jr. (Rockin' Foo), was called in to co-produce with Motown's Eddie Singleton, for a new label - Hobbit Records, and everything seemed to be cooking. Stevie found himself lounging in a fancy office on the top floor of a Hollywood skyscraper, as dudes with sideburns fed him classic lines about how he was going to make them all rich. The band was outfitted with colorful new Kustom amps (the ones that were rolled and pleated), they played The Whiskey a' Go-Go, and Stevie even priced a new G.T.O... but, after cutting a few tracks, their album deal folded amidst Hollywood sleaze and greed - a lesson learned, while he was still in his teens.
However, this episode resulted in the national release of two of Stevie's songs in 1970: "Good, Good Woman" b/w "Don't Need No Doctor", sung by the band's lead vocalist "Johnny Apollo" ( http://www.rockabillyhall.com/JohnnyStark.html ), and produced by keyboardist Mark Traversino, for Gene Norman's GNP Crescendo Records.
He has lots of great stories from those days... including hanging out with homeboys Nils Lofgren, Bob Berberich, and Bob Gordon in Topanga Canyon, as "GRIN" made a name for themselves with Neil Young's producer David Briggs. One night Jimi Hendrix followed Stevie onstage at Thee Experience on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, during a jam with members of "Fraternity of Man" (who later formed Little Feat). Members of Savoy Brown Blues Band (who he had met during that episode at the Fillmore back in New York) talked him into auditioning as lead guitarist for Blue Cheer, when Leigh Stephens left... which Stevie says was a very funny experience, wherein he got to play his guts out through a stack of Marshall amps for over an hour.
When he went back hometo D.C. that fall,Stevie moved into a house on Blair Road in Takoma Park, shared by Bob Berberich. When GRIN returned from L.A., with the tapes of their new album, Stevie had the only tape deck, so they all listened to the new tracks for the first time in his room. Alan Adkins and John Patterson had been in Hollywood with Stevie, and they now formeda new power-quartet - "STILLROVEN" - with Louie Newmyer (who was later replaced by "Ace" Hansmann, founding bassist of The Nighthawks). As well as featuring their own material, the boys covered progressive acts such as Spooky Tooth, Blodwyn Pig, Moby Grape, Taj Mahal and Free, but they were best-known for Adkins' arrangement of The William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger theme), which closed all their shows. The band shared stages with Bob Seger, The Kinks, Cold Blood, Zephyr, Redbone, Cat Mother, Grin, Claude Jones, Fat City and Crank... among others. Stevie is interviewed and featured performing on stage with them inan Award-Winning 1991 Documentary film: EMERGENCY! - The Reunion - which captured a 20th Anniversarygathering of alumni from this seminal Capitol City original-music venue, held at the legendary Bayou in Georgetown (now demolished in the wake of a huge new water-front development). Thegroup had auditioned at EMERGENCY! shortly after its opening, and the club's manager, promoter Mike Schreibman, enlisted them as one of his house bands. It was thanks to Schreibman's support that the band developed quickly and got considerable exposure during that relationship... and they remain friends to this day. Stevie says Michael is the single most influentialfigure in D.C.'s recent musical history— for many years he has beenExecutive Director of the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA).
Stillroven also headlined one of the weekly GROK CONCERTS, held outdoors on Washington's Capitol Mall (next to The Smithsonian), during the Summer of 1970. Those in attendance will remember that midway through the band's set, a drunk construction worker vaulted onto the stage, first confronting Adkins and then Stevie, who he inexplicably punched outduringNeil Young's "Down By The River". The concert was stopped, after the crowd dragged the guyoff the stage by his feet, and Stevie was taken into a tent for first aid. When it was announced that hewas allright, and would not press charges, the crowd went wild and the concert continued. According to Stevie, the guy had said to Adkins "I don't like the way you sing...", and Alan pointed to Stevie, who was singing at that moment, and the guy walked over and delivered hismessage. Just another day in our nation's capitol.
Many of the bands Stillroven worked with at EMERGENCY! were very encouraging. Philadelphia's 'American Dream' brought their producer Todd Rundgren down to hear the boys, but he got too loaded and missed the show. Candy and David Givens of Colorado's 'Zephyr' (which featured guitarist Jock Bartley - laterwith'Firefall') took a particular interest in Stevie, befriending him and encouraging him to step out on his own again out west. Adkins was trying to talk Stevie into letting old palCharlie Pearson join the band asa front man, but Stevie was not interested, and when he did head west again, Adkins and Pearson formed 'The Dubonnets', with Rolf Hansen and guitarist Michael Sterne (later with Miles Davis).Louie Newmyer and John Patterson became the rhythm section for Phil Blum's "ITCHY BROTHER", with Guy Dorsey on keyboards, who had been a mainstay with The North Side Blues Band, until Brett Littlehales and Bobby Radcliff parted company.
During the summer of 1970, Stillroven held down a gig at Ocean City, Maryland's legendary Beachcomber Lounge - re-named "STONEHENGE"by a new owner. The band had an open stage policy for any friends who dropped by. Tommy Lepson stole the show one night with his Janis Joplin routine, which Stevie caught on tape, providing Tommy's future band members plenty of laughs, when it showed up as a rehearsal tape in the 1990s.
After being invitedback to California in the Fall of 1970,Stevie worked L.A. clubs as guitarist for Johnny Apollo, as drummer/vocalist & guitarist with Darryl Cotton's Wild West Medicine Show (on the Glendale C&W Circuit), and as bassist/guitarist with Mark Traversino's LOS ANGELES SWING CLUB house band - "The MarcAnthony Orchestra". On one occasion, with Mark's band, the drummer for the evening had just come off the road with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett. Stevie was his bass player for the night, and he says it was one of the premiere musical educations of his life....learning the fundamental truth of "Boom, Clutch, Boom, Clutch, Boom, Clutch..." - for the duration.
One day, while hitchhiking onSunset Strip with his guitar, a green and white Cadillac slid up, the window rolled down, and a blackdude leaned over under a slick hat and said "Can you play that thing, boy?" Stevie said "You bet!", and he was whisked up into the Hollywood Hills. He became the guitarist, bandleader - and chauffeur -for Carl Roguel, a friend of Sly Stone and Buddy Miles, who was otherwise known as "Mr. Six".This dudeprovided Stevie with an open door at the Whiskey a' Go-Go, and lots of wild times driving around in that green Cadillac - including trips to Las Vegas and up to the Fillmore in San Francisco for a Buddy Miles show, which included The James Gang (Joe Walsh) and a new band that Stevie says really bummed him out: Black Sabbath. One evening Mr. Six took Stevie to a private show at P.J.'s by Chuck Berry, where Stevie sat next to rock legend Jim Morrison, in the small but appreciative crowd.
In early 1971 Stevie was invited to front a new power-trio, by a former bass player with The Hondells, who had a very talented drummer Stevie only remembers as Jeff. "ROCK CANDY" soon held regular club gigs in beach towns such as Manhatten, Hermosa and Santa Monica, while fishing for a record deal with their manager.
Back out hitchhiking again with his guitar to a gig one evening, he was picked up by Doug Weston, owner of the legendary Troubadour folk club. After driving Stevie all the way to his venue in Venice, Weston invited him to be a guest at the Troubadour whenever he wanted. But it wasn't for a gig. After one long night upstairs at the club, with the illustrious club owner trying to pump Stevie full of the finest recreational drugs of the day, while folk icon Phil Ochs (one of Stevie's musical heroes) sat across the table getting drunk, telling sailing storiesandchuckling about the goings-on,it became apparent that sharing Weston's lifestyle was not what Stevie had in mind when he accepted the invitation. But he remained politely sociable and, on another occasion, had a wonderful evening in the same private quarters, partying with Bobby Blue Bland and his band, at which time he met David Bowie, who Stevie says seemed to him to be a very odd character.
Rock Candy soon earned a Grand Opening/House Band spot at the trendy "Papa Joe's Rock Emporium & Screen Door Factory", in Redondo Beach. But before long, Stevie had a psychedelic epiphany, sold all his electric equipment, parked the car he had been given on his manager's doorstep, bought a Yamaha FG-180 acoustic guitar, and bailed out of the hyper, drug-crazed L.A. scene, for Maui, Hawaii - on the advice of his co-star for that club's opening night gala, 'Playboy' Playmate Cris Cranston (Miss April, 1971). As it turned out, it was a good move in more ways than one--the club's owner made national news within months, as the principle figure in one of the largest cocaine busts on record. Stevie's epiphany consisted of the realization that being dependent on electricity for his living could result in a real shock if the power was turned off. He figured it was more practical - and soulful - to grab an acoustic guitar and head for the jungle... so he did, thanks to a friend of his roommate who showed up, offering Stevie a room in a house he was renting, which was nestled in the Haiku hills of East Maui. Ironically, the property was owned by the Rohrer family, who would figure largely in Stevie's life 30 years later.
LURED TO PARADISE: Stevie Becomes a Maui Legend
Stevie became the talk of the fledgling Valley Isle music scene in no time (as Cranston said he would), quickly securing the Bandleader's spot for the Summer of 1971 at The Maui Belle - at the time the only night club in Lahaina - by sticking a d'Armond pickup in his Yamaha acoustic. Jams with characters like Bob Mosely (Moby Grape), Mike "Smitty" Smith (The Raiders), Michael Clarke (The Byrds), and even Peter Fonda (who Stevie says seemed to always want to sit in), spiced up the nightly routine, as Stevie brushed elbows and got acquainted with other vacationing legends when he was barely of drinking age (and Stevie wasn't drinking). One evening Buddy Miles showed up, wanting to play guitar, so Stevie played drums for him. That night the bass player was Honolulu native David Rorick, who later introduced Stevie to Nashville, when Dave became bassist for a number of Grand Ol' Oprey stars.
Shortly before Stevie arrived in Maui, Jimi Hendrix had done his "Rainbow Bridge" concert in Olinda, which was immortalized in the cult film of the same name. Everyone was still buzzing from the event, andlocals who were in the film were soon drawing Stevie into their vortex. Steve Sutherland, Paul Gebauer, Les Potts, Chris Greene, Steve Omar and others were becoming Maui legends for the parts they played (as well as for their personalities in general), and through them Stevie was introduced to truly radical new ways of looking at the world he lived in. Hiking through the awesome Haleakala Crater National Park, and down the ridge of the 10,000-foot dormant volcano to Poli-Poli State Forest, becameregular spiritual walkabouts withMaui friends. On one occasion, Stevie hiked all the way from Haleakala's summit through the crater and out the Kaupo "Gap" back to sea level near Hana - a three-day journey - with his guitar on his back.
During that first summer in Paradise, Stevie was befriended by "Gut" Terk (http://www.vickibrennerent.com/bluecheer/gut.htm), who had been a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and the manager of Blue Cheer. Gut owned a 45-foot gaff-rigged schooner called "Elixir", and, in the fall, Stevie joined the crew for a while, preparing to sail to Tahiti. But after a terrifying shakedown sail through 30-foot swells in the Molokai Channel on the way to Honolulu, the trip was abandoned and Stevie came back to Maui to be a landlubber. Gut introduced Stevie to David Crosby, who took them for a sail on his beautiful ketch "The Mayan". Crosby had just returned from California with a pre-release copy of Joni Mitchell's "Blue", and it played all day long while they were out on the water.
When some former associates from L.A. tracked Stevie down in Lahaina, trying to talk him into coming back for a contract, he laughed them off with his bare feet and tan, showed them a good time, and sent them on their way. He went on to be a musician-of-choice for years of local parties, learned to surfby hanging out with Maui legends such as Tommy Hall, Les Potts, Steve Dabney, "Wayno" Cochran, Davey Elber and Gerry Lopez... and even had the rare privilege of caretaking the home, offices (and archives) of John Severson, the influential film-maker, environmental activist, and founder of Surfer Magazine - who, next to Duke Kahanamoku, is arguably the most famous surfer in history.In the early 70s, Steviewas among the first to hold solo house gigs in venues such as The Lahaina Yacht Club, The Rusty Harpoon (first public seaside Grille on Kaanapali Beach), Chuck's Steak House (now Leilani's On The Beach), The Oceanhouse (now Lahaina Fish Co.), The Kula Lodge, and - later - The Kahana Keys, The Blue Max (now B.J.'s Pizzaria), Mama's Fish House, and Charley's in Paia.
Nicknamed "Stevie Guitar" by barmaids at Kula's Silversword Inn (where he worked on piano AND guitar in a duo with California guitarist Bob Bangerter), Stevie became sort of a resident musician at the now-legendary communal land project known as "Woodrose", which was being cut out of the sub-jungle along Honopo stream, adjacent to the magnificent "Queen's Pool", by a co-op of friends from the Big Sur area. Every morning he would shower under the springs at the waterfall, enjoying--for a while--an idyllic lifestyle, the memories of which were later immortalized by Eric Gilliom in his song "Honopo", co-written by Joel Clark, who Stevie knew from those days at Woodrose.
Around that time, he got acquainted with Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, which had been Stevie's favorite label - introducing us to such greats as The Doors, Paul Butterfield, Arthur Lee & Love, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, The Incredible String Band, Mickey Newbury, Judy Collins, and many others. Holzman had sold Elektra to David Geffen and moved to Maui to set up a new home office for his position as vice president of Warner Communications. Though Stevie tried to interest this influential producer in his original songs, it was after hearing him incognito at La Familia restaurant one night that Jac came forward, surprising Stevie by telling him that he was "an excellent interpreter of other people's material."
But his own songs did have their effect, as was illustrated by an episode with Jim Messina (who Stevie admired from his work with Poco and Buffalo Springfield):Stevie's girlfriend was commissioned to make outfits for a Loggins & Messina show in Honolulu, and Stevie spent a day driving Messina around Maui in their Land-Rover. After dinner, the guys swapped songs and stories. A few months later, Messina released his hit "Lahaina (where the mangos are sweet...)", which was directly inspired by a local favorite Stevie wrote and had played for him that evening, called "Lahaina Town". Messina also got another souvenir of his visit: the blue jean jacket (with white pearl buttons) Jimmy is wearing on the cover of Loggins & Messina's greatest hits album "Best of Friends", which he somehow succeeded in talking Stevie out of before they parted company. Stevie got to see their Honolulu show (which he says was excellent) and, when he and his girlfriend were visiting her parents in Redondo Beach, Messina invited them up to Hollywood, where they listened in on live sessions for the album "Full Sail", and went out to dinner with Loggins and the band. But Stevie never heard "Lahaina" until the album came out.
On another occasion, when he heard that folk icon Ramblin' Jack Elliott ("Son of Woody Guthrie and father of Bob Dylan") was hanging around in Lahaina, Stevie posted himself by the door of The Maui Belle one evening and, sure enough, Elliott walked up. Stevie spirited Jack off to his girlfriend's house, tempting Elliott with a home-cooked meal, and a good buzz. They spent the evening playing guitars and swapping stories, all of which was captured on a cassette tape Stevie still has. Elliott's legendary finger-picking amazed Stevie, and their time together influenced the young rock and roller considerably. In the course of the following week, Stevie and Jack rambled around Maui together, playing at people's houses, and did shows at The Lahaina Yacht Club and The Silversword Inn — which Stevie also taped. At one point on the tapes, you can hear Elliott confess: "Man...you play music like I've never heard before..." during one of Stevie's tunes, which was co-written by local friend John Manner/Franco.
Yet another influential encounter Stevie had - among many othersduring those years - was with Bernie Leadon, guitarist with the original Eagles and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He was the one that gave theEagles their country edge on the early albums, and was in Maui reflecting on the direction the band was heading, and wanting out. Stevie spent an evening withBernie playing guitars in his cabin at the Kula Lodge, learning some of his classics, like "Bitter Creek" and "I Wish You Peace" - which, ironically, a fanof Stevie's had recently asked him to learn. They talked alot about Gram Parsons, who had recently died - Bernie said if you wanted to know what made Gram tick, listen to Merle Haggard... who was his idol. There was a funny moment while they were playing "One of These Nights" together, when Bernie suddenly stopped, shook his head, and said "Man, don't those guys sing high?"
Steviealso enjoyed some sidelines from music, such as working part-time as a projectionist in Lahaina's historic Queen Theater - a gig which he handed off to Wayne Cochran when he left, and working as a grounds-keeper at The Napili Kai Beach Club on Napili Bay - which, at the time, was at the end of the road for development, until theworld-famous Kapalua Resort was constructed, immediately to its north, a few years later. Pursuing his spiritual development,Stevie enrolled in comparative religion courses at Maui Community College, where he also studied journalism.
In the summer of 1973, Stevie was selected - with local partner Matthew Akiona - to represent Maui at the Diamond Head Crater Music & Arts Festival on Oahu, where he first heard Gabby Pahinui, The Brothers Cazimero and Peter Moon in concert. Through these influences he became very interested in Hawaiian "Slack-Key" guitar styles, and contemporary Island standards. He soon landed his first high-profile resort gig in The Crown Lounge of The Royal Lahaina at Ka`anapali Beach, playing local legend George Paoa's off-nights and vacations, for which he hired flutist/bassist John Lemus, calling their duo "Wood-Wind".
In 1975, Stevie was initiated into a local Hawaiian cabaret revue "DOTTIE & THE MAUIANS" by an 85 year-old elder "Kahuna". The Blessing was intended to protect him as he became the only "haole" (white outsider) to walk onstage at The (exclusively local) Plantation Nightclub in downtown Wailuku. A highlight of Stevie's tenure as Dottie's lead guitarist there was one evening when a respected and beloved elder, pianist "Uncle Bill" Werner, mounted the stage to sit in, announcing to the crowd: "You folks pay attention to this haole boy - one day you'll say you heard him play here for us...", heralding un-precedented acceptance of a mainland kid playing native music on local turf.
Other bandleaders who Stevie shared the stage with at The Plantation Club included Freddie Pan and Jesse Nakaooka. Along with the Island Standards he covered, Stevie also introduced the kaamaina (native) crowds there to songs by artists such as Gram Parsons, as well as to his own compositions. Oddly, after Parsons died, drummer Michael Clarke - who worked with him in The ByrdsandThe Burrito Brothers, showed up one night atThe Plantation, standing in front of the stage, shaking his finger, and saying "OK, Gram... OK ,Gram..." to Stevie, as he sang one of Parsons' songs with Dottie's band. Michael and Stevie had hung out alot together, and Michael was known to have a few drinks.
Stevie recorded the classic "Blue Hawaii" with Dottie and, over 20 years later - in 1997 -he fulfilled a promise, by composing and producing the recording "ALOHA NAHIKU" for Auntie Kamalu ('Dottie") Kahookele Kekahuna, which received heavy airplay, lingering in the Top 10 on Hawaiian Radio: KPOA - "Island Sounds"... ANOTHER breakthrough for this haole guitar player, in a predominantly local Island format. At that time he also joined Auntie Kamalu's "Ma Kau Kau Halau" (Hula Show & Polynesian Revue), performing with them weekly at The Ukulele Grille Showroom of Kihei's Maui Lu Resort.
Among other configurations during his early years in Maui, Stevie formed a supergroup - "JUNGLE JIM" - with Philadelphia-born guitarist Jimmy Murray (Quicksilver Messenger Service), local bassist John Manner-Franco (Bend), and his long-time D.C. pal John Patterson on drums, performing mostly original music, and occasionally featuring vocalist Ginger Johnson ("Island Girl" columnist - "The Hula Honeys").
Stevie also moonlighted with Maui's infamous and legendary Surf/Blues/Psychedelia phenomenon "THE SPACE PATROL" in 1975 ("Colonel" Kenny Courtney, Tom Raul, Tommy Hall, Steve Dabney, Glenn Davis and Les Potts) - drumming for them at concerts and clubs, and later fronting the band for some high-profile dates such as the annual Makawao Rodeo Dance, at Sub Molina's CLUB RODEO (now Casanovas).
One of his favorite gigs during that era was a duo he had with gifted singer/songwriter Jeannie Miller. They were the featured act for quite a while at The Whale's Tale in Lahaina. Jeannie's boyfriend was an expatriate Canadian guitar playerknown asDanny Paradise, who told Stevie to be sure to visit Banff if he ever went to Canada. In time, Stevie did, Jeannie changed her name to Morea Paradise, and Danny ended up being the personal yoga guru to Sting.
OH, CANADA: A Whole New Life in the "Great White North"
In May of 1976, friend Jimmy Doherty (Columbia recording artists Cecilio & Kapono's road manager) found Stevie playing at The Blue Max, and offered him a Union contract in Vancouver, British Columbia ("Stevie... why don't you get out of here for a while, and make some money?" - "Uh... OK."). In the light of the fact that asocial indiscretion hadestranged him for a time from a community of dear friends in Maui, it was a timely offer, which he couldn't refuse... although this situation he walked away from remained one of the great heartaches of his life.
After the initial three-week club date, at "GARY TAYLOR'S OFFICE"(an intimate hub for the elite of western Canada's blossoming music scene), Stevie was held over by Taylor another three months, enjoying a celebrity lifestyle, during the premier season in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After wintering in Maui, he returned to play at "The Office" again during the Spring of "77. Over the next few years he was a regular there, often sharing the bill with emerging local artists (Powder Blues, Al Foreman, Doc Fingers, "Smilin' Jack" Smith, Chris Allen), and eventually emigrating into Canada - on the strength of his artistic acheivements - in the Fall of 1979.
In 1980, after settling on B.C.'s beautiful "Sunshine Coast", Stevie produced his first independent album there - "Live At The Wakefield Inn", assembling a six-piece band of local players. He held a house gig at this historic ocean-front Pub, overlooking the pristine islands in the Straits of Georgia for five years, while alternately touring world-famous destination resorts on Vancouver Island and in The Canadian Rockies. In July of 1981, "THE WAKEFIELD BAND" was booked for a prime slot on the main stage of that year's Courtenay Rennaisance Faire, on Vancouver Island - at the time the largest music festival in western Canada. Although no one knew who-the-heck these guys were (Bob Gleason, Lee Taylor, Mike Evans, Denny James, Stevie... and his ol' pal John Patterson again on drums), subsequent reports from festival organizers heralded their show as the surprise highlight of this three-day event. Sound Engineer Frank Campbell -- of Simon Fraser University -- recorded the set live to 8-Track, and some of the songs made it on to the re-issue of "The Wakefield Band - LIVE!".
Stevie accepted an offer to perform the leading role in a stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in the spring of 1981. Celebrated Canadian producers Lyn Vernon and Lloyd Burritt guided him through this exciting challenge, which resulted in favorable reviews - although playing the role of "The Lord" presented its own ironies and challenges, such as condemnation by some local clergy, and some deep personal soul-searching of his own. Stevie also played a bit part on an episode of the popular and long-running CBC television series "The Beachcombers"--his only other foray into acting.
During the summer of 1981, Stevie produced the first Sunshine Coast Music Festival, in conjunction with Sechelt's annual Arts Fair, held at Hackett Park. Featured performers included Peter Trower & The Industrial Accident, Hale Gerow, King Anderson, and Reg Dixon with Stevie wrapping up the show fronting a four-piece band of local players.
Another highlight of Stevie's tenure at West Sechelt's Wakefield Inn, was an impromptu evening performing one-on-one with the great Boz Skaggs, who was on The Coast for some fishing, and got a bug to play for the locals. They packed the house, and the next day Skaggs took Stevie and pub owner Gary Radymski fishing - North on The Straits Of Georgia to his privately-owned island, paying his fellow musician the highest compliments, to all whom he spoke with.
Stevie became a father, with the birth of his son in August of 1981. Pulling back from the nightlife, he worked as an audio consultant and began writing a popular music column for John Burnside's award-winning Sunshine Coast News. His musical interests took a turn toward The Christian Life, with Folk, Bluegrass and Country influences edging out the "heavier" Rock, Jazz and Rhythm & Blues of his early career. In the early 1980s, one of Stevie's Christian songs - "The Highway of Life" - was used by Washington D.C.-area producer Jeff Benya to kick off his wife, Brenda's, singing career. They produced a video, which featured Stevie as a hitchhiking guitar player who ended up in the back of their pickup truck accompanying Brenda on the song.
During his years on the Sunshine Coast, Stevie enjoyed entertaining at local Legion Halls and community dances. He became very popular with older folks, who loved to dance to his renditions of Country and Pop Standards. There was a warmth and intimacy in these venues which he never found with the younger audiences in bars. He also became a house entertainer at Lord Jim's Lodge, and at The Campbell River Lodge on Vancouver Island.
In 1982 Stevie took his family to Maui for the winter, where his new trio - "JUSTIN THYME" - played The (now legendary) Blue Max, and recorded original tracks at George Benson's Lahaina Sound, courtesy of the studio's chief engineer Bill Ravencraft - who (oddly) had been Stevie's landlord in Hollywood in 1970. Benson let Stevie play some of his "awesome" guitars, and they spent one memorable evening out on the town at The Blue Max, where Al DiMeola was jamming with newcomer Joe Cano (see Benson story on the "Articles" page).
His former "agent" Jim Doherty was now a fine art consultant with Jim & Nancy Killett's fledgling Lahaina Galleries, and got Stevie on board there for a while, so he could develop his new music in his free time. While learning the fine art game, Stevie met legendary Canadian actor and artist Laurence Cherniak from Toronto, and Larry invited Stevie to be his exclusive agent. In South Maui, Westin had opened the first major hotel on the beautiful Wailea beaches and Stevie set his sights on getting a gig there. He talked his beautiful friend Suzie Brookover into singing with his trio, grooming the group for auditions at the hotel. The management finally humored him, allowing the group to come in and set up in an empty convention room. Typically, the way people generally responded to Stevie before they had heard him perform, the management did not have high expectations, sending one assistant down to monitor the audition. After his first song, the guy asked Stevie to wait and soon returned with all the senior management. They told him his group was the best they had heard at the hotel and hired him on the spot, for convention services. Unfortuantely, soon after this, Stevie's wife left Maui, unhappy with their lifestyle there and pregnant with their daughter. Against the advice of nearly everyone he knew, Stevie walked away from his new-found business opportunities, and returned to Canada hoping to salvage his marriage.
The demos he had recorded in Lahaina got Stevie billed at The Courtenay Rennaisance Faire festivities - in July of 1983 - which were filmed this time by Frank Campbell, providing some classic footage of a pivitol period in Stevie's artistic life. Anticipating the birth of his daughter in December of that year, he subsequently withdrew completely from performing, taking recording engineering courses and continuing to work as an audio and fine art consultant, while exploring his spirituality with Elizabeth Clare Prophet's "Revolution in Higher Consciousness" movement, which influenced his composing - and lifestyle - considerably, for years to come.
THE CALL OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS:
After being laid off from his job as an audio consultant in Sechelt, Stevie relocated from Canada's beautiful Sunshine Coast to its awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains in 1986, lured by year-round residency opportunities at world-famous Ski and Golf Resorts such as Fairmont Hot Springs (five years), Radium Hot Springs (two years), Panorama Alpine (two years), The Bayshore Inn at Waterton Lakes International Peace Park (North of Glacier Nat. Pk.), Sunshine Village, and the historic Banff Springs Hotel - where he was a House Pianist/Guitarist in the majestic Rundle Lounge, during late Summer of 1986 and '87. He considers his residencies at the Banff Springs among the professional pinnacles of his life. The world-famous Resort and Spa - known as "The Castle in the Rockies" - provided him not only a private apartment and a handsome weekly salary, but also first-class dining and access to amenities such as golfing and swimming in the hot springs, in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. From his nightly seat at the piano, he fielded invitations to work in Japan, Australia, and Europe - all of which he turned down due to his responsibilities to his family. The tips alone brought in more than he made in a number of other jobs playing music.
The versatility of his repertoire and vocal stylings, as well as his flexibility on piano and guitar, made Stevie a very viable and popular act in these year-round resorts, which offered a variety of performance opportunities for their entertainers. From intimate lounges to rowdy apres-ski bars, and convention dances to candle-lit dining rooms - he played them all, with equal praise from his employers and guests. He even sang cowboy songs for mountain trail rides, and, on one remarkable occasion, entertained legendary philanthropist Malcolm Forbes and his entourage around a campfire at Fairmont Hot Springs, alongside the headwaters of the Columbia River. He made such an impression, after singing a song he wrote called "Talking Washington D.C. Job Search Blues" - which mentions Forbes Magazine, that Forbes sent Stevie a complimentary letter, and a book about his world travels which he signed "To Stephen - Who makes the adventures of living into unforgettable songs."
In his resort work, Stevie eventually used background tapes he recorded along witha drum machine, so he could do lead guitar work in his solo act. Covering artists from Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson to Mister Mister,Bruce Springsteen,and Led Zeppelin...to nearly everyone in between -- from the 1940s right up to the current music charts, he prompted such responses as a letter from Don Jaques (then General Manager of the world-famous Calgary Stampede), gushing that "this gentleman can play for any age group, and plays anything the audience wants to hear... I've enjoyed his talents more each time." One employer even labeled him "The Human Jukebox", a tag which Stevie demanded be removed from their promotions.
In the spring of 1987, while back in Sechelt planning a summer tour of The Rockies, Stevie got a call out of the blue from Rick Reed, owner of Deep Creek Resort in Naples, Idaho. Rick had heard about him from Dorothy Reikena, owner of The Sportsman's Lounge in Bonners Ferry, who had been entertained by Stevie at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort during her family reunion there - he needed a headline act for a regional talent contest he was hosting over the Fourth of July weekend, and it fit perfectly into Stevie's tour schedule. The guys really hit it off, and Stevie started spending all his free time working for Rick at Deep Creek. Among his regular customers were Randy and Vicki Weaver, who lived nearby on Ruby Ridge.
After meeting Ian Tyson (Ian & Sylvia, Great Speckled Bird) at The Banff Springs in September of 1987, Stevie joined the award-winning Canadian songwriter's"COWBOYOGRAPHY" tour of the U.S. ("Navajo Rug","Four Strong Winds", "Someday Soon", etc.), playing bass and singing third harmony, at a peak of Tyson's legendary career (the recording won Album,Song, Artist, and Producer of the Year Awards in Canada,the same week Stevie joined the band). Interestingly, the promoter for the East Coast leg of the tour (Annapolis, D.C. and The Lone Star Cafe in New York) was Stevie's former 'manager' Michael Schreibman. It was good for a laugh when Stevie showed up at The Birchmere in a cowboy hat.
REPATRIATED IN IDAHO:
When the tour - and his marriage - broke up, Stevie moved an hour south of the border (down Highway 95 from B.C.'s Columbia Valley) to Sandpoint, Idaho - where Val Kaspar set him up with a cozy cottage and a house gig at The 21 Club. In 1989 heproduced his second independent album, "CROSSROADS" - a solo effort - at Dennis Coates' Music Maker Studios. Shortly thereafter he was recognized for the first time by Rod Kennedy of The Kerrville Folk Foundation in Texas, as a National Finalist in their prestigious "New Folk Songwriters Competitions" (co-sponsored by "Sing Out!" Magazine of New York) - a distinction he received on four occasions. Stevie's songwriting was also recognized with two awards (from over 5,000 world-wide entries) in the 1993 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, at The Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, D.C. - the only other competition he had ever entered, until garnering another award at the Mid-Atlantic Contest, for his catchy R&B tune "Feel Good Friday", in 2002.
One song from Crossroads -- "The Maryland Hills" -- received accolades and a letter of commendation from then-Governor of Maryland, Donald Schaefer, who referred the song to the "Maryland, You Sure Are Beautiful" State promotional campaign. The album also received a favorable review in Northern Virginia Rhythm magazine, which said "his playing shows great ability on both acoustic and electric guitars" and that"his voice cries out with youth and strength" - quite a compliment for a 38-year-old veteran of the bar scene.
His second Kerrville "New Folk" finalist award took him to the 1990 Napa Valley Folk Festival in California, where he celebrated the life of songwriter Kate Wolf with her family and friends, shortly after this talented artist passed away from cancer. The trip was sponsored by the Sandpoint Elks Lodge, where Stevie served as Chaplain for two years.
As a result of his trip to Kerrville from Sandpoint in 1991, Mel Holt --owner of Nashville-based Step One Records -- sponsored some demos for Stevie, which resulted in his third independent collection - "SESSIONS", co-produced by "A-Team' bassist Dave Rorick (his old pal from Maui, who was most recently with Johnny Cash). Through "Roe", Stevie met - and saw live performances by - such legends as Roy Acuff, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Verne Gosdin, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Scotty Moore, The Jordanaires, and Dottie West... as well as "The Man In Black" and his wife June Carter. Stevie also got to hang out with Dave backstage at the world-famous Grand Ole Oprey, on a number of occasions - getting a first-hand look at how it all went down, and had an insider's guide to the local club scene, witnessing some remarkable late-night jams with "The Superpickers" - the elite of Nashville's session veterans, over some "damn good whiskey... Yeah Buddy!"
Northern Virginia Rhythm Magazine also had favorable things to say about SESSIONS, particularly the songs "Remember the Alamo" - which they said, although very strong, needed a little more work to bring the lyrical theme into focus - and "Heroes" - which they gave "chart potential." The strong political theme of "Heroes" - attacking Bush's Gulf War - kept mainstream interest away, but ironically, Stevie's music seemed to fulfill the review's claim, as friends pointed out years later. That fall, he had left copies of these demos with friends in D.C. who worked with Mary Chapin-Carpenter. Six months later, Carpenter had one of her biggest hits with "I Feel Lucky", a song that was un-characteristically Rhythm & Blues-based, closely parallelling Stevie's musical arrangement in "Heroes" - and featuring a piano lick that was nearly an exact duplicate of one of blind sessionplayer Jay Spell's (Jimmy Buffett, Ronnie Milsap) hot licks on the tag of Stevie's original. After this was called to his attention, a high-powered L.A. law firm looked over the situation and offered to file a law suit, reasonably certain that they would prevail. But home town insiders suggested that Stevie would look like a gold-digger, coming after an extremely popular local artist, and that this could work against him - which they said would be unfortunate, for someone with so much other material to cash in on. As a result,he never brought the issue into public view - a decision he later regretted, as Carpenter proceeded to dispense with nearly all ofStevie's friends who had helped her develop her music and her career, once she made it to the top... friends who later discretely relatedstories ofartistic contributions they had madeand never gottencredit for.He did, however, receive a very gracious letter from distinguished elder San Antonio Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, thanking him for expressing his views in "Remember the Alamo", which he framed on his office wall, next to the letter from Malcolm Forbes.
Speaking of the Music Business, Stevie opened his office for "SILENT PARTNER PRODUCTIONS" in Sandpoint, from which he managed and produced local concerts, community events, and a live radio show(patterned after 'A Prairie Home Companion') he called "THE NORTH WOODS REVUE'. He also took up journalism again, writing a weekly music column for the Bonner County Daily Bee, and contributing articles to Sandpoint Magazine. His new band - "SILENT PARTNER'(Ted Kuhlman, Kurt Canattaand Kurt Kondratko)- toured the Idaho/Washington/Montana/B.C. "Inland Empire" and Stevie opened shows at Sandpoint's historic Panida Theater for comedian Pat Paulsen (thanks to Rick Reed of Deep Creek Inn), and influential songwriter Danny O'Keefe ("Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues", "The Road" - covered by Jackson Browne). He continued to work seasonal resorts in The Canadian Rockies, while holding solo house gigs in Sandpoint venues such as Mitzy's, Kamloops, Trestle Creek Inn, and Swan's Landing, and being featured at popular showplaces like Bugatti's Pub, Cedar Street Bridge, The Pend O'Reille Brewing Company, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, and Jimmy D's in Coeur d'Alene, as well as Duane Hagadone's celebrated lakeside Coeur d'Alene Resort.
In October of 1993, Stevie was featured on Tom May's nationally-syndicated "RIVER CITY FOLK" radio show. He performed original songs, discussed four of his primary "acoustic" influences (Tim Hardin, Mickey Newbury, Ian Tyson and... the fabled Ramblin' Jack Elliot - whom he had hung out and played with in Maui in 1973), and closed the one-hour show - carried on N.P.R. - by dueting with May on the folk classic "Satisfied Mind". Unfortunately, Stevie had no P.R. or commercial recordings at that time to offer his national audience and, after the broadcast, disappeared once again into artistic obscurity.
His tour with Ian Tyson in 1987, and the EMERGENCY! Reunion in 1991--with Stillroven--had fired Stevie up to take one more shot at putting a band together that would perform his own music on stage, free of the confines of the resort and bar business.
"THE LEISURE SCIENTISTS' were formed in British Columbia in 1994, as an experimental R&B dance band, with Stevie focusing on his own material. The first Leisure Scientists' recording was produced live, back in the D.C. area, during the Summer Solstice of 1995: "IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE" featured Grammy-winning buddies Peter Bonta and Rico Petrucelli (Mary-Chapin Carpenter), and an All-Star line-up of talented Washington area players, including "Choo-Choo" Charlie Williams, Mac "The Professor" Walter (Deanna Bogart), and Chris Watling of the Grandsons.
Ironically, Stevie had met "Choo-Choo" and "The Professor" in Canada, through his association with Ian Tyson's guitar player John Cronin. Tho' he was born in Maryland, Cronin lives in B.C.'s Columbia Valley, where Stevie still worked seasonal resorts. They had become friends through touring with Tyson, and Stevie was playing drums for John's band - THE AVALANCHE DOGS, at Panorama Resort, when Charlie showed up on vacation one day, wanting to blow some harp at a jam session. Turned out he knew Mac - who just happened to be John's cousin - back in Maryland. And, later, when Mac came to visit John, he and Stevie hit if off. They all became great friends, working together whenever they were in proximity with each other, as their schedules allowed. (Mac played on Charlie's album - "Harpin" My Life Away", and - finally - in 2003, Mac and John released their long-awaited and wonderful acoustic duet CD "COUSINS".)
Stevie had remarried in Sandpoint in August of 1993, and in February of 1994 he and his wife were the guests of Jim Fuller for a Valentine's reunion at Charley's in Maui, which featured Stevie's pals Tommy Hall, Joe Rivers and Tim Hackbarth, as well as a number of other musicians Stevie had worked with. Fuller built a new stage for the event, which was a great success and kicked off weekly jam sessions hosted by Tommy Hall. In fact, Stevie was so invigorated by the turnout for the reunion that he came back to Maui in April to play at Charley's again, and also booked some gigs - thanks toold friend Dave Allaire - at Kimo's in Lahiana. On this second trip, Stevie met Willie Nelson for the first time, who had become a golfing and card-playing buddy of Fuller's.
As time went on, it became apparent that his marriage in Sandpoint was not going to provide the home he hoped it would for his children, due to difficulties he was havingintegrating them with two older step-sons, so the couple parted company amicably. Stevie packed everything he owned into storage, and headed back to the Islands with his acoustic guitar and a suitcase (Deja Vu!).
RETURN TO PARADISE LOST: Back in the Island
When he made it back to Maui in early 1996, THE LEISURE SCIENTISTS were newly incarnated with Marcus Johnson, Gerry Davis, Rudy Esquire and Margaret Rainsford. "DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY" was produced with this line-up, drawing on popular new material from their club shows - at venues such as Hapa*s, The Wunderbar and Longhi's. Stevie also worked in island clubs with Rudy "Mr. Sax" Esquire. After hearing the duo, Barry Marvin offered Stevie a house gig at his restaurant - The Bella Luna,in the exquisite Diamond Resort overlooking Wailea, where he was featured on piano and guitar throughout the summer and fall of that year. Stevie also held weekly gigs at David Paul's Lahaina Grill, The Mana Kai Beach Club in Kihei, and at the Kula Lodge.
After his first visit to Austin, when he was flown to Liberty, Texas, to entertain at a wedding, Stevie returned to Maui and - in February of 1997 - produced a live sessionof nine of his tunes with Paul Marchetti, Doug White and Rudy Esquire... which was titled after a spontaneous jam he called "THE FLIGHT OF THE MAGIC TORTOISE". A year later, co-producer Jake Rohrer stepped in with some financial backing, and helped bring the album to fruition, with the addition of three new songs, and the talents of Hammond organist Gene Argel, percussionist Esther Godinez (Prince, George Benson), smooth sax-man Miguel Maldonado (Willie Nelson's Planetary Bandits) and The Leisurettes. Jake had been the guiding hand behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, from the "garage days" through their globe-trotting prominence as the most popular band in the world. He had been retired for many years in Maui when his younger brother, Robbin,recommended that he take a look at Stevie's work.Jake was so excited by what he found that he came out of retirement, forming a record company and a publishing company for Stevie's music - telling him: "Hell, you're better than John Fogarty... Let's do it one more time."
Stevie's live band now featured Josh Greenbaum on drums, Les Johnson on bass, and Maldanado on sax. They opened for Grammy-winner Clifton Chenier's heir C.J. Chenier, and for the annual "Rhythm & Blues Mele" (Blues Festival) featuring Guitar Shorty, Maria Muldaur, and wiz-kid Robben Ford, at two different Maui Arts and Cultural Center shows, and played a number of private parties and festival events. Around this time Stevie also hooked up with dynamic vocalist/keyboardist Louise Lambert, from Toronto. They worked quite a bit as a duo, and Louise also became a Leisure Scientist for some premiere gigs. Respected elder Austin Green, a veteran of the Hollywood movie industry, approached Stevie during a gig at Maui Country Club - with Louise and old friend John Patterson on drums, raving that: "After 40 years of working in Hollywood, this is the best trio I have ever heard!"
While producing Magic Tortoise at Doug White's studio in Lahainabetween Januaryand October of 1998, Stevie held a house gig as pianist in the Lehua Lounge of the world-famous Kapalua Bay Resort Hotel. When the project was completed on his 48th birthday, he left the resort business again, to promote his artistic efforts.
Through his relationship with Stevie, Jake met and produced other Maui talents, such as Josh & Tiffany Lee, Maggie "Catfish" Siegfried, and Ginny Clemmons. But Jake's heartwas in Hawaiianculture, and his muse led him to be a 'Hoku' award-winning producer for a number of native artists,when he builthis own home studio.
After hosting a CD release party for Magic Tortoise in The Ukulele Grill Longhouse of the Maui Lu Resort, Stevie's 8-piece band -- featuring Leisurettes Maggie Siegfried and Sarah Jane Jameson -- was hired by the Maui Lu for their New Year's Eve Gala in this beautiful tropical showroom. The evening was a sell-out, and The Leisure Scientists were immediately booked to return for the Millennium celebration a year later. But, while Stevie was in Austin, promoting his album, The Maui Lu changed ownership, and the gig disappeared without notice.
His partnership with Jake Rohrer was also dissolving due to differences over management, marketing and promotion. Jake decided his primary interests were publishing and working in his home studio, and he did not want to be involved in any management responsibilities outside of Maui. Available funds had been exhausted in production, and Stevie was now on his own once again, trying to get his music heard, with no financial backing.
ALIVE IN THE LIVE MUSIC CAPITOL OF THE WORLD:
However, Magic Tortoise was well-received in Austin, getting Stevie a live spot on The Austin Music Network (television), and co-billing with Ray Wylie Hubbard and others at the prestigious FIESTA AT LAGUNA GLORIA in 1999. He also performed with "THE SOUTH AUSTIN GOSPEL CHOIR" on the main stage of that year's OLD SETTLERS' FESTIVAL, where they shared the bill with Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, Guy Clark and Jerry Douglas, among many others. Stevie befriended popular Austin singer Leann Atherton, and enjoyed hanging out and playing at her annual South Austin Barn Dances, a hip, laid-back alternative to the intense South By Southwest Music Conference, held every March in downtown Austin. At one Barn Dance he attended, Stevie got to play one-on-one with Rhythm and Blues Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell (Funkadelic/Talking Heads)--they had just met at a gig Stevie was doing at Gilligan's Restaurant (where Bernie sat in with him), and when Atherton invited Worrell on stage for an impromptu performance, he insisted Stevie join him.
In 1999 Stevie also opened for Grand Ol' Oprey hit-maker Hal Ketchum, at Gunter Schuller's prestigious FESTIVAL AT SANDPOINT, in the Idaho mountains, and was a headliner (with The Rankin Family, Spirit of the West, Barney Bentall and others) at SunFest '99, back on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. In Maui heshared billing at an event withRock Legend Dave Mason (Traffic). During that year he was also a staff entertainer at the beautiful Hotel Hana Maui--playing Hawaiian music with some of the talented locals--and was featured regularly as a pianist and guitarist for the celebrated MAUI FILM FESTIVAL- where he once sang one-on-one for Kris Kristofferson, after luring the songwriter over with a rendition of one of his early songs - "When I Loved Her". AfterStevie finished singing it, Kris leaned over and said "I like that song... nice job!" The event was the world premiere of the new Father Damien movie in which Kristofferson had a starring role.
Stevie had begun drawing on his journalism background with contributions to Mark D'Antonio's new Maui Time Magazine in 1998, and continued writing for the publication until Mark sold it in January of 2002. During the course of their relationship, Maui Time provided Stevie with credentials that were honored at premiere venues all over America, including Austin's South By Southwest (SXSW) Festivals, Willie Nelson's FarmAid, and Nashville's Western Beat Internet radio program. With his Maui Time cap on, Stevie got to meet, interview, and photograph a remarkable array of talented artists. Check the articles page for the fruits of some of his labors.
The year 2000 found Stevie back on his home turf near Washington, D.C. for family estate business, and a subsequent marriage. He worked on staff in the box office/gift shop of the legendary Birchmere Club in Alexandria, Virginia, and renewed lifelong friendships with area musicians, putting a new jam band together and working as a soloist in a variety of D.C.-area venues, including The Old Brogue (Great Falls, VA), The Blue Moon Cafe (Sperryville, VA), Mosby's Tavern (Middleburg, VA), and the classy Lightfoot Restaurant(Leesburg, VA)--where he was a house pianist. Stevie and virtuoso Baltimore guitarist Mac Walter (eight years with Deanna Bogart) formed a duo--"The Bay Boys", performing at the annual Takoma Park Street Fair and a number of area clubs and restaurants. Stevie also produced and hosted a weekly "Blue Monday" blues jam at Sully's in suburban Virginia, with the support of such great players as drummers Robbie Magruder (Roy Buchannen/Mary Chapin Carpenter, etc.) and Andy Hamburger (Michael Fath/Dean Rosenthal), and bass players Jan Zukowski (The Nighthawks) and Wade Matthews (Nils Lofgren Band). He hosted an open mic night at Flanagan's in Manassas -- where he played weekly with Jan Zukowski and Dave Thomas, and later held a house gig at Brady's in Manassas as well.
Baltimore harmonica master "Choo-Choo" Charlie Williamsfeatured Stevie as lead guitarist with his band--"THE SPITFIRES"--for a number of high-profile Baltimore Blues Society dates--including a shared bill with the legendary James Cotton at Baltimore's vintage 8X10 Club. Funky, dude!
During opening spots in September of 2001 for Jimmy Buffett at Nissan Pavilion and old pal Jimmy Thackery at The State Theater (with Leisure Scientists: Jan Jakubowski, Dave Thomas and Willie C. Little) - and a show at the annual Takoma Park Street Fair (with Chris Sonnenberg, Dave Elliot and Tom Ruggieri) - Stevie began to notice he was having problems with his hands and voice, which he later learned were the early symptoms of Lou Gehrig's Disease.
On Sept. 10th and 11th, 2001, Stevie's "Feel Good Friday" was produced at BIAS Studio A - just a few miles from The Pentagon, with Grammy-winning Producer Bob Dawson, and an All-Star D.C. band, which included Grammy-winners John Jennings (Mary Chapin-Carpenter) and Jon Carroll (Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Starland Vocal Band), with multi-WAMMIE winners Tommy Lepson, Wade Matthews and Mary Ann Redmond, backing up the legendary Bobby Byrd and his wife Vickie Anderson - Rhythm & Blues Hall-Of-Fame Inductees (James Brown) - who were the featured vocalists on the track. Stevie also produced three other original R&B songs at BIAS with the "BLUSHOOZ" band: Mac Walter, Tommy Lepson, Wade Matthews and Andy Hamburger, featuring vocalist MaryAnn Redmond on one of the tracks.
During the fall of 2001 Stevie returned to Nashville, to produce "TWANGED!" -- ten of his "roots country" songs--with Dave Roe, Kenny Vaughn, Fats Kaplin and Grammy-nominee Steve Conn, some of Music City's hottest session players, who he nick-named "THE YEAH BUDDIES". By this time, he was losing his voice to ALS, so hired guns such as Randy Kohrs (Dolly Parton Band) were called in to finish vocal tracks on the project. Some of Stevie's friends in Austin adoptedthe tune "Redneck Ways"from this project as the theme song for their band "Steelbeam", printing bumper stickers and T-shirts that exclaimed "Stay Out of My Redneck Way!"
Stevie's final project in the D.C. area was a session at Mac Walter's Baltimore studio producing some of his award-winning cowboy songs. Guitarist John Cronin (8 years with Ian Tyson), bassist Ira Gitlin (Oklahoma Twisters/Hard Travelers), and drummer Robbie Magruder were nicknamed "THE CAMPFIRE COWBOYS", and the result, which features seven of his tunes, has been titled "A Riderless Horse" --after the song that garnered his first Kerrville Award.
Stevie's last professional performances on-stageincluded a HalloweenParty at Dick Nye's KEMP MILL INN (with Chris Sonnenberg andJamie McKinnon)and a gig withTHE SPITFIRES at Frederick, Maryland's venerable Raw Bar, during the Christmas holidays.
While in Maui in January of 2002, Stevie recorded three of his jazz/swing tunes with local aces Paul Marchetti, Brian Cuomo, Bob Harrison, and Howard Rosenberg on sax: "Heart to Heart", "Memories of You" and "Nobody" - by 'THE SWINGIN' SILVERSWORDS'.
In July 2002, an all-star cast of D.C. legends--including Bobby Radcliff, The Rosslyn Mountain Boys, Tommy Lepson, Steve Wolf, Jon Carroll, Mary Ann Redmond, Tom Lofgren, Chris Watling, Eddie Becker, Brett Littlehales, Bruce Ewan and Mark Wenner -- turned out to celebrate Stevie's life of music at The State Theater. For more details, check out the Aloha Benefit on the Events page.
Recent activities include completing work on his discography, and producing live shows to raise awareness of neuro-muscular and environmental disease. See the Events page for details on the many talented artists who turned out to support Stevie's cause. After returning to Maui in the fall of 2002, Stevie became a celebrity D.J. on Mana`o Radio, a very popular listener-supported operation, which is also carried live on the Internet. See the News page for a link.
Thanks for taking the time to read this--we hope it entertained and amused you.
I cried - "Oh, won't you follow me...
you see, I've found The Way,"
Not a voice did answer
not a soul would say -
"Yes, you are my Master...
I see it in your eyes."
Lost in my delusion
I did not hear their cries:
"We do not need false martyrs
to lead us down the road...
If you truly are our Master
you will take away our load!"
This load that you still carry
is something of your own
if I released the burden
how then would you have grown?
Now as I sit here being
amidst the dying trees
I know why I was sent here
in times as sick as these
I see the plot unfolding
I know the story well
I will keep on smiling
through the last few days
--Stevie Sparks - 1973 - Maui, Hawaii