Steve can juggle seven monkeys while driving a taxi… through the ocean.
I was born in Seattle and grew up in Bothell, Washington in what used to be a small burg north of Seattle. I was the youngest of 5 children and consequently hopelessly spoiled.
My musical training began with piano lessons at 6. My mom tells me I was singing the alto part to hymns before I could read the words. However, someone noticed my beautiful yet piercing voice and made a comment to my mom about it while I was present. Thus ended my singing career until college.
Growing up I could listen to any note or chord and instantly play it on the piano. I don’t remember ever not being able to do that. Such is the nature of perfect pitch – you can’t work at it, no matter what that cheesy guy in the trade mag adverts tells you. You come that way from the factory, although my friend Patrick Fata thinks all babies are born with it, but it’s lost early on.
He may be right. I’ll be writing an article about perfect pitch becoming not-so-perfect, a phenomenon that has kicked me squarely in unpleasant musical places over the last few years.
The next few paragraphs are about my college years and immediately thereafter. You might want to skip down (to the end?) unless you’re my mom or a long-lost friend. Seriously, we don’t usually track how long you stay on this page….
I Graduated from Cedarville University in 1974. Travelled the country singing and playing with Selah, one of several bands by that name over the last few decades. Original band mates were Ray Moore on drums, Rick Swineford on bass, and Rod Robison as lead singer and front man. Deb (Jackson) Donough sang briefly with us at our inception. Fred Plassman joined us as guitarist a short while thereafter. Later we traded in guitar players and drummers and ended up at various times with Dave Reddick on guitar, and Mark Rasko and Paul Turner on drums. The band broke up in 1978, 3 months after I was married to Mary Millikan (nee Wood).
We recorded our first album in 1974 at Pinebrook Recording Studio in Alexandria, Indiana, now Gaither Studios. Dan Posthuma, studio manager at the time, produced, and since this was before we had a guitarist, John Darnall, a studio player, sat on in guitar on a few of our songs. It was a combination of original tunes and covers – we did a couple Andre Crouch songs, and one by Chad Watson of Simple Truth, as well as a few from Rod and yours truly.
Our sophomore effort was recorded in 1976, a much more ambitious attempt with Fred on guitar. It featured a few songs that were stylistically more adventuresome than those on our first offering, with a driving feel to some of them. Posthuma again produced, and Marshall Sanders engineered. We spent a few days in the studio as opposed to the quickie that was our first attempt.
When the band split in ’78, we had a lot of new tunes that were never released on an album, though we had recorded several demos at various studios, and some at a practice venue. Many years after the fact, Rod Robison was the impetus behind an effort to cull this unreleased material into an album, “Selah70s”. Dave Reddick took the demos we had recorded plus a couple live cuts, and edited and mastered them to create our final project.
Rod’s idea with the project was to raise funds for Last Bell, an organization that rescues older orphan kids in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, from whence our youngest son Luke was adopted. Our daughter Elizabeth works with a staff of about 14 Ukrainians to provide a safety net for dozens of at-risk orphans who have aged out of the orphanage system in Ukraine, usually when they are 15 or 16. Click here to check out the Selah 70′s project. I think the audio sampler interface is geeked, but you can download Angel Of Light to hear one of the tunes.
To be continued…