A few words from Bobby Bell
One of the unique and sometimes challenging aspects of being a drummer and sharing the stage with several other bands, which we often do; is to determine whether I will use my drum kit, another kit, or share. Our last three gigs provided three different scenarios. When I arrived at the Altar Bar on April 9th, I saw that there were already two drum sets already occupying the stage, and no room for a third. The drummer for Spike Merlot was kind enough to allow me to use his set, and with a few adjustments, I was ready to go. At the Thunderbird Cafe on April 12th, it was the opposite. Steelesque was the headliner, and I welcomed Jumpin Jack Flash’s drummer to share my set. When we played the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, hosting an open stage on April 16th; there was a third scenario, the classic “house kit.” The only thing was….there weren’t any cymbals on the stands. The open stage emcee pointed to the adjacent wall where I saw several cymbals proudly mounted. The ride cymbal had numerous signatures from previous drummers or musicians. I thought, “Nah,” and I hustled out to my car to retrieve my cymbals. In over 30 years of playing in many bands, hundreds of venues, and many jam sessions, I’ve probably played on a thousand different sets, sometimes challenging, often cool.
Now to throw a different twist on my drum tale. The other night, I had a dream that I was playing on a colossal stage with a 20 piece drum set, and Rob Eldridge was one of my roadies! I abruptly awoke, and thought, wait a minute, isn’t Rob Eldridge the fearless leader of Steelesque? Well, we’re all entitled to dream. Ha! Ha! Thanks for reading.
EJ catches up with the Steelesque Syndicate
“Hey Fans. First off need to thank everyone for coming out to our shows and helping us get our music out there. Wanted to catch y’all up on the goings on in the former land of smokestacks. The band has been playing a cool mix of shows as we continue refining our material and get ready for some studio work in the late summer early spring. We’ve done some bigger venues and some smaller local venues so we can get some newer songs ready for prime time. One thing is certain though, we are seeing more familiar faces at each performance. Love that! We are really pumped for the Three Rivers Arts Festival main stage this summer which will be a great crowd at a Pittsburgh institution. I think fans will really see the band grow and our overall sound evolve over the next few months as we focus more on song craftsmanship and less on gig rehearsals. It’s tough to find the time to keep the current material sharp and “stage ready” while trying to improve it AND work on new material. I think Robby will agree that time is our ally and more time in the lab (studio) will really help the creative process and allow us to add some more vibe and texture to our sledgehammer and anvil—Steel Fist in Velvet Glove. Come out and see us or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re reasonably kind. Next gig is May 3 at Club Cafe with Adam G. Levine. Hope to see you at a show soon. Sent from somewhere near Grove City, PA. EJ”
Scott Hazuda “Zudsy” Describes his path with Steelesque
When you get around town and play a variety of bars and clubs, its always a challenge to get the mix just right. On the keys, I ‘m continually switching between piano and organ settings, monitoring levels, and trying to find my place in the Steelesque sound, but I feel like its getting easier all the time. The more we play, the more it gels. I’ve also noticed that over the last few shows, some of the songs are stretching out a little bit, giving some room for exploration, which is great news for me because I am heavily influenced by improvisational music. As a musician, there’s nothing I love more than to let a song sort of take on a life of its own, especially live, and lead us on a path we’ve never been down before. Some of the newer songs that we’ve just recently played live for the first time, such as Energized American or What We Want, have a nice groove to them, and it seems like people have been appreciating the diversity throughout our sets. I know that personally I’ve really enjoyed witnessing the evolution of the band as we continue to write more music and bring it to the stage. Hope you all are enjoying it as well.
Sly Robby E
What stands out most, with my short experiences with Steelesque , is how we change sonically. Sound Chameleons would be great band name for us. We came out of the gates with a quick crowd pleaser at Mr. Smalls supporting Tumbleweed Wanderers and Tea Leaf Green. We were a little rushed by some miscommunication in the green room and started a couple of minutes late. However, it was good first show with a popping horn section on board with us.. Sound on stage was frenetic and a bit too mid rangey for my liking but a great debut according to the large crowd. That show seems like light years away for me. Our sound presently has found it’s resting heart rate so to speak. The energy remains but the groove tilts back and forth nicely in the pocket.
We’ve had highlight moments during this sweep through some of Pittsburgh’s coolest venues. The 30 minute set at Altar Bar was electric and tight. The band was catching a musical moment and came out swinging leaving a packed crowd smiling on the canvas. We’d like to thank Big Wreck and Drusky for that Tuesday night. The following Friday we joined up with Jumpin Jack Flash, a Stones tribute band, at Thunderbird Cafe. We played two sets marred with magic and mistakes. We celebrated with some cocktails…maybe too many. We missed a lot of cues but the crowd barely noticed as we improvised and traveled into some psychedelic areas. We carried that washed out, delay laden sound into James Street Gastropub the following Tuesday and turned a corner sound-wise. We played 6 songs all of which have their own identity. Steelesque has unique characteristics unlike other bands I’ve been in. We are able to take on many shapes in one sitting, morphing from an early Rolling Stones sound to an all out tripped out jam paying ode to Phish. As our catalog expands we could categorize songs into rough rhythm and blues, anthem blow outs, psychedelic travelers, indie kissed arrangements and just plain rock and roll.
We hope to draw a nice crowd into the 7pm show @ Club Cafe on May 3rd. The venue exudes a calmness so expect us to build throughout the songs and discover uncharted waters. It’s a constant transition with Steelesque. The fabric of the band is always changing. This can be unsettling at times for me being the primary songwriter. My guitar sound and rig has changed from show to show. The band is tight and our potential is unlimited at this point. As a musician and songwriter I consider myself fortunate to be playing with these guys and I’m eager to initiate the recording process. Thanks for the ride guys!
I’d like to extend thanks from the band to: Touchfaster, Drusky, Opus One, Thunderbird Cafe, Altar Bar, James Street Pub, Garfield Artworks, Club Radioactive, Mr. Smalls Theater, and Shadow Lounge.
During the last two months Steelesque has shifted from being a group of guys who practice in a basement to a band that can draw serious attention towards the stage at whatever venue we’re at. By no means am I putting myself or my group on a pedestal, it’s just an honest observation from someone who has witnessed positive reaction from several responsive audiences. It’s genuine too; we don’t travel with 20 friends to support us to every show. But we do have a few regulars who catch us every time they get, and for that I’m extremely thankful and appreciative.
With a highly energetic stage show and extended plays that cover a multitude of spectrums, I think that good things are on the horizon for our group. Over the next several months we should either be continuing to play several nights a week throughout the city and region, or look for us to enter the studio to begin the recording process. I’m actually pretty excited to see how the recording session should go. We do several extended jams so it will be very interesting to see what we end up recording for the album. I think we come up with some great stuff in our jam sessions and I can’t wait to capture some of it on a professional quality recording.
I also have a feeling that we’re going to be pumping out several new songs for the stage in the near future, so you’ll just have to come out a show and hear them yourself!
Check back periodically for more of our deepest inner thoughts (ha ha!) and just any updates or band news in general. The summer of 2013 should be exciting for Steelesque, hope you come out to be a part of it.