I had to have Facebook remind me that today is Steve's birthday, so I am blogging a bit late. I knew it was coming up, but I got sidetracked. My bad, pimp. (In Liam's vernacular, this is a good apology.)
Steve and I met in 1986, I believe, although we are both not sure if it couldn't have been a bit earlier than that. Phoenix was a big/small town in those days an like-minded people tended to orbit each other in one way or another. Either way, our mutual friend, Emily, decided we should know each other, and she made it so.
Emily knew I wanted to be in a band. Steve was in a band and she thought he might be able to help me figure out a way to get in a band, or something like that. Either way, she took me over to his house when his band, Victims of Progress, was jamming. I think only three of the guys were there that day, but I enjoyed hearing them play "Destroyer" by The Kinks a lot.
I had been a fan of that song since it came out and had worn out all my copies of the cassette, which were numerous. To hear it live and punk was enough to cement my respect for Steve and his band. I think Damon and Darren were the other guys there that day and I met Chris later, but who knows. It was Steve that I bonded with immediately.
So, first and foremost, thank you Emily for bringing Steve into my life.
Steve and his family lived close enough to my area of the world that we started hanging out every so often and seeing how many mutual friends we either shared or created. Over those next few years, and Steve can probably remember some of the details better than I can, our friendship grew and we became brothers.
When I moved over to 7th Ave and Earll to live at Lanai Apartments, Steve and I decided to become partners on a triple beam scale. We called her "Claire" based on a line from The Breakfast Club and she was handy for the types of chemistry experiments we were doing in those days. In fact, Steve ended up moving into those apartments right before I moved to Berkeley and he even drove me up there.
That's a good friend, by the way, who will help you facilitate getting the fuck out of Dodge even after they moved into your same apartment complex so you could be neighbors. Not many people will do that and I've never forgotten it. We stocked up on a few sandwiches from Easy Street and hit the road after Steve got off work that day. We drove all night and made it to Berkeley just as the sun was beginning to come up.
We had a nice weekend, of course, enjoying the bay area before he left and hated to see him go. In another universe, I'm sure we made that move together. I wonder what kind of good ol' fashioned punk rock noise we could have made.
Speaking of noise, I did want Steve to be part of Religious Skid, too, as he is an excellent drummer, but it just didn't stick. I think brother Tom was worried we would slip into being a straight up punk rock band and Dave, our guitar player, had found this kid he thought was the second coming of Bam (Mike S. from JFA). Either way, I was bummed. I wanted to be in a band with Steve.
Since my Berkeley experience was limited to about six months, I came home and Steve and resumed our friendship as if I had not been gone at all. Eventually, though, life happened again and he moved out of state. First to Portland, if I remember correctly, and then he settled in Southern California for awhile before going back up to Oregon.
In the years that followed we have kept in touch either quite a lot or just through social media, but it doesn't matter. Time is just a blip when it comes to speaking to or hanging out with a brother. We played shows together with our respective bands and found ways to connect when we could.
When Steve got married in 2004, Ryan and I went up for the wedding and had a blast. We tried to surf and shot some guns and just explored a bit of Oregon together. I got up there later that year for a show and it was good to back on Steve's farm for a couple days. Regrettably, I have not made it back, but one day...
There is still chapters of our story to write, for sure. Happy birthday, Steve. I love you.
One of my favorite pictures of Steve and I. 1991. The loft in Berkeley. We were babies.