The Steward at Space Base

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~ quick selfie bio ~

I grew up in the golden era of rock and pop. Like Firesign Theatre said, you got to start young if you're gonna stick it out. At age 5, I wore out Chuck Berry's aging vinyl 45 of "Johnny B. Goode". 15 years later I was his bass player on the concert stage - as were others. (I was the northeast U.S. and Big Apple guy.) That was a brief moment in time, just like (a few years earlier) catching a ride to some outdoor concert in White Lake NY. Later on I heard it called Woodstock. I’ve been involved with various forms of art all my life, but music has been the overriding passion. The Stewards Eclectric band came together to express this and to have some fun, and the characters of this musicians' consortium play in a sandbox of varied styles while (good-naturedly?) thumbing collective noses at today's genre-specific big-box music retailers. ~SHS

 ~ a (brief!) PROFESSIONAL Accounting:

by Crow "Birdland" McCaw © 

Although a relative unknown, The Steward is a bona fide original. Why his compositions have not yet been extensively mined is as inexplicable as the ongoing alien presence cover-up. But the years of work as a composer, musician and eco-conscious organic farmer find him to be outstanding in his field.”

Same ol' his-story: wrote his first song at age 5, never had a music lesson, taught himself to play left-handed on an upside-down guitar. The veteran bass player, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist still lives music - writing, singing, playing lots of crazy instruments, and 6-string guitar in that weirdo lefty-but-strung-righty style. (It's not ergonomic!)

"I came off the road, but never quit playing. The farmhouse recording studio is in constant use. Onward."    ~SHS

During his tenure with Bobby Comstock's Ithaca NY-based band, Steve played concerts in the northeast U.S., backing early rock and R&B hitmakers from before he was born: Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Coasters, The Drifters, Ronnie and the Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, The Angels, Chubby Checker, Gene (The Duke of Earl) Chandler, Gary U.S. Bonds, as well as Shirley and Lee, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Five Satins, Lou Christy, Freddie (Boom Boom) Cannon, Jimmy Clanton, Leslie Gore, The Moonglows, The Orioles, The Harptones, The Cleftones, The Deaf-tones? – possibly every surviving Do-Wop group with a name ending in “-tones," and many others. He was a hired-gun in-concert bassist for numerous Hall of Famers, the so-called 'Architects of Rock and Roll'.

[personal Interview, excerpt] STEVE:
"I was just a young hired-gun bass player who suddenly had the opportunity to play for these legendary artists - many with big hits I had grown up singing along with, like Johnny B. Goode. As a little kid, I was spinning their vinyl 45s even before I could read. I could always tell whose record it was by the color of the label. So the homework came first, and then I went to school. There were never any rehearsals with folks like Chuck Berry. You knew the changes or learned fast - or you were gone."
(©  Reprinted with the very kind permission of the publishers of Wasting Time magazine.)

SHS and Chuck Berry

Did you see a lefty bassist with either a sunburst or blond Fender Precision perform with vintage rock acts at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre, The Boston Garden, Pittsburgh Civic Arena, The Spectrum, in Toronto, in Montreal, (or at any number of theatres, clubs, war memorials, colleges and universities in eastern U.S. and Canada)?

Got any photos of Stephen onstage from the sideman days? They're rare and we’d love to see ‘em! Here's one that someone gave us, (above), from the War Memorial in Rochester NY. Complimentary 18x24" poster and other goodies to anyone who sends us an original shot of SHS playing with Strange Brew, Headwind, the Comstock band or any other band he was in. If we use it, we’ll offer a name credit, and a grande mucho appreciado. (Same offer is made to anyone writing a review.)


Strange Brew (1968-1970), founder, lead vocals, bass, and driver of the Strange Brew station wagon, a 1963 Pontiac Tempest, 6-cyl. 3 on the tree. PERSONNEL: SHS, Darryl Gunther (lead and rhythm guitar, vocals), Mike Plevyak (drums), Mike Bath (rhythm guitar), Mark Leach (Vox organ, vocals, percussion). Earliest version of the band also included Jack Bower (trumpet). 

Ezra (1970), bass, vocals, tenor guitar. One of the three founding members of this popular unplugged (but short-lived) freshman vocal harmony trio at Cornell University. Did a lot of walkin’. PERSONNEL: SHS, Jeff Plissner (guitar, vocals), Aaron Meza (guitar, vocals). Morphed into the electric band:

Headwind (1970 - 1972), bass, vocals, 12-string guitar, slide trombone, and driver of the occasional U-Haul. PERSONNEL: SHS, Jeff Plissner (Farfisa organ/keyboards, guitar, vocals), Aaron Meza (guitar, vocals), William “Copy” Schnaitter - initially (guitar, vocals), Keith Friedman (drums, vocals), Larry Weinstein (booking manager). A later version was with Bob Shlien (guitar, vocals).

Orion (1972), bass, vocals, and pilot of a 305 Honda Super Hawk (that was not always great for gigs!) Briefly. PERSONNEL: SHS, Jeff Plissner (organ/keyboard, guitar, vocals), Bob Shlien (lead and rhythm guitar, vocals), Mitch Doll (drums, percussion, vocals).

King Henry Soul Review (1972), bassist and driver of King’s old Ford van, and occasionally even the Caddie limo. (“You traded it for a microphone? OK, I can see that.” – Jake Blues) Very briefly. PERSONNEL: King Henry/Henry Mont (front vocal), SHS, Wayne Hammerly (Hammond B3 organ), Joey? (drums).

Avalon Ballroom Band (1973), bass, vocals, and mostly rode shotgun. Briefly. PERSONNEL: SHS, Bob Shlien (guitar, vocals), Wayne Hammerly (Hammond B3 organ, vocals), Mitch Doll (drums, vocals). What an idiotic name for a rock band. (I had lived for awhile in Avalon, MISS.) Fancy ladies were always showing up at the gigs in ballroom gowns, expecting violins, bubbles and champagne music, but getting Rolling Stoned instead. Come to think of it, we probably were - which explains the name.

The Bobby Comstock Band - earlier a.k.a. Bobby Comstock and the Counts (1973-1980 full time, and occasionally in 1982-1983). Also:  The Comstock-Miles Band (1980-1981)

For the years listed, SHS did bass, lead and harmony vocals, and was "driver of the Winnebago". Kidding, it was a ’68 Dodge 4x6 cab-over. (“We’ll talk to Bab…”Elwood Blues) Main Comstock Band PERSONNEL configurations during my tenure: Initially, Bobby Comstock (front vocal, rhythm and lead guitar), SHS, Larry Crowder (lead and rhythm guitar, vocals), Allen Vanderberg (drums, vocal on Blueberry Hill!). After a year or so, Auburn NY's Anne Serafin was added, doing female front lead songs plus adding that higher harmony voice. (After this, there was a VERY short-lived country version with Donnie Harding on guitar and vocals replacing Crowder; this was possibly the briefest Comstock band ever.)

Then the band shifted - again: add Skaneatles' own skinny atlas Joe Whiting, front man from Jukin' Bone, to co-work the front along with Bobby. During this run, Vanderberg left and was replaced by Al Hartland on drums. This hand eventually played out, and soon the Comstock-Miles Band was created, adding Raw Meat's singer and guitarist from Cortland NY. PERSONNEL: Bobby Comstock, Brian Miles (rhythm guitar, lead and harmony vocals), Sara Magladery (lead and harmony vocals), Rick Pallatto (lead guitar), Al Hartland (drums), and SHS. This band existed later without Sara.

By the early-mid '80s, there was no set band any more; Bob and I would put something together to fit the upcoming gig(s), and he continued to do this for some time after I moved on. Notable additions in this vein were keyboard players JonJon McDuffy, and later Chip Smith (mostly for the big venue old R&R concerts), and Duke Shanahan, guitarist, mostly for the bar and club scene. Also, Bobby Comstock Jr. tried his hand at playing bass in dad's band for a few gigs after I left.

Guitar TopSteve

Bob Fitzgerald Band (1981-1982), bass, vocals, and driver of the red Dodge Power Wagon. PERSONNEL: Bob Fitzgerald (front vocal), SHS, Paul Johnson (guitars, pedal steel guitar, vocals), Billy Kelley (keyboards, guitar, vocals), and a young drummer, (name?), later replaced by Dan Gill (drums, vocals). The house band at “Chenanigans” in Binghamton NY. Eee-hah!

The Farmhouse Garage Band (1987-2010), director and songwriter, bass, vocals, guitars, horns and etc., driver of the orange Dodge Adventurer pickup (“Sunrise”), and the Lil’ Red Express truck heard on Track 2 and – oh, never mind… PERSONNEL: See CD insert liner notes.

Stewards Eclectric (2014-present), writer, director, head musician.

Do your best to "Have Some FUN!"