Anyway, the only way we knew how to break out of that Steel Town was with music so, with all the strength we could muster we set to it. We built ourselves a large following, supported many big acts and got a record deal. Our first producer was Roger Bain who had produced Black Sabbath. We were not major fans of Sabbath but they were from our period and we did Paranoid and Iron Man in our early sets. Roger Bain also shows up later in this story. Sadly for my band, rock stardom eluded us and it all came to nothing. After nearly 30 years the drummer from the band found me on the web and I helped him build a web tribute to the band in sounds words and pictures, which can be found at www.thebullfrogstory.co.uk
When the band folded there was no way I was going back to the Steel Works so I took odd jobs to keep me afloat and set about fulfilling my dream number two which was to be a songwriter. Actually this was what had interested me all along. I figured that you had to be in a band to get somewhere but now I was going to try it all alone. I figured I’d need to become a producer along the way so I bought an Akai tape deck (right) and started to make demos and send them out. I still have the tape deck but it ceased to function long ago .
I started out in the real home of heavy metal, the Steel Works! Like all the kids in my town, I went straight from school into Consett Steel Works. I had other plans, and with another steelworker from my school formed a band and together with two other guys, we served two apprenticeships. One of them by day in the Steel Works. The other by night in the pubs and clubs of the North East of England with our band, Bullfrog. I played bass guitar. Our contemporaries and influences were Cream, Deep Purple, Led Zep, Black Sabath, Free, The Groundhogs etc. This was late sixties/early seventies. I recall the very first song I ever played on a public stage was Cream’s ìSunshine Of Your Loveî.
A couple of years ago I took my musical ìSteel Townî back to my home town and passed by the pub where I drank in all these musical influences and saw a sign outside; ìspecialising in 70’s juke boxî ñ jeez, they hadn’t changed the records in over 30 years. That’s me in the picture from the time I speak of with the blast furnace I worked on in the background. The Gibson EB3 I am playing shows up later in this story in association with Venom, a drill, and a crucifix.
People say of most decades, ìif you remember it, you weren’t thereî. I remember it all right but much of it is blurred by the passage of time, the speed at which things were happening, and of course the other ìstuffî that renders your brain cells a little less active. I’m afraid I have forgotten some of the songs I cut during my time as a heavy metal producer. I still get business execs in suits coming up and telling me that they were once in a band that I produced and how this happened and that happened during the sessions. I can’t remember it all but I always tried to make things happen, mostly laughter.
Now my credentials: The webmaster of this site asked how I went from Venom to Celine Dion, I say, ìit’s all the same stuffî. Years ago I was doing a radio interview with Jon Deverill (Tygers of Pan Tang) when the DJ said something about me writing songs for Sheena Easton. Jon saw where the guy was coming from and said ìhey, Steve’s more of a rocker than any of us!î