Steve One and the Shades, the quintessential 80's power-pop, rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area, disbanded in 1990. They released one 5-song E.P., produced by Scott Mathews, on cassette in 1987 and a 7-song vinyl album and cassette, produced by Dave Denny, in 1988. (Two of the songs were repeated, so there was no reason to include both versions of the same songs here.) These recordings were primarily to be used as demos to "shop" to the major labels, but after numerous requests from fans and media, they printed two limited runs of product...albums and tapes...and were distributed throughout northern California. The two pressings sold-out almost immediately. These songs were produced on an extremely tight budget with minimal overdubs. In fact, for the lead vocals, Steve was given only one take per song. And in rapid succession. All the vocals were cut in one quick 2 hour session.
These MP3's were copied from a CD which was a copy of the 18 year old, well-worn cassette tapes found in a box just last month...hiss, dropouts and all! (A search is on for the masters, but no one seems to know where they are, or what happpened to them.) As a live performance band, they headlined and opened literally hundreds of shows in northern California, sharing the stage with many of the decades' notable performers, including Huey Lewis and the News, Chris Isaak, Greg Kihn, Night Ranger, Ronnie Montrose, Eddie Money, Starship (KBC), and more. They received local radio airplay, great reviews and performed live on the radio, sometimes in a semi-acoustic format...long before the term "unplugged" was coined. Sadly, the lack of a real record deal and the "usual band stuff" broke them up around 1989-1990.
Steve One and the Shades was/were:
Steve "One" Waddington: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Skip Reilley: backing vocals, bass
Terry Kincannon: backing vocals, lead guitar
Gary Craven: drums
Dave Hirsch: keyboards.
There were a few other very talented musicians who flowed through the band throughout the years, they are:
Joost Vonk: drums and amazing backing and lead vocals
Steve Robbins: keyboards and backing vocals (the 'Cheesy Farfissi")
Geoff Stich: lead guitar
Russ Golub: lead guitar, backing and lead vocals
Bill Costa: Lead guitar, backing vocals
Kurt Keown: lead giutar, backing vocals
Steve One and the Shades 1982-1990
They played virtually every club with a stage throughout Northern California. San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties were the home base, but they played in just about every county north of Kern county. They played a very few times in Los Angeles, mostly showcases for major labels and a few regular club dates, just prior to disbanding. Steve One and the Shades "expired" in 1989-90.
The usual suspects...the Beatles, the Stones, T-Rex, INXS, the Romantics, and the whole 80's "new wave" thing that was going on.
Steve One used a collection of vintage Gretsch, Vox and Fender guitars through a Roland Jazz Chorus amp and a Gallien Krueger Pre-amp with various Alesis rack mount effects and a Nady wireless set-up.
TK used a custom made Mighty-Mite Strat through a Mesa-Boogie stack and various foot-pedals.
Skip played a number of self-designed basses, usually through a Gallien Krueger amp and custom cabinets, with various pedals for effects.
Gary had an awesome yellow drum set, very expensive at the time. (Forgot the brand name)
Dave Hirsch played various hi-tech keyboards and workstations.
These songs, and this "album", are posted here as a more-or-less archival history of a band that was actually pretty damn good back in the 80's.
Although their album never came close to illustrating what an awesome live show they were, it still serves as a document of a bunch of guys who were playing out 5 nights a week for years, hoping for that "break". Too bad they never had a major-label budget to really explore the studio or for promotion. Who knows what might have happened. By today's standards, the songs are pretty "poppy", but taken in context of their time, they were pop, yet rocking, dynamic and adventurous, with some dramatic touches and some cinematic influences. And this was their first and ONLY record! They should have been signed, because its a shame that these talented musicians never had the chance to really develop in the studio. (After all, the Beatles "Love Me Do" never even hinted at what THEY would become.)
But this is what was happening in the 80's. LOTS of great bands never got their due.