Coyote may be the front man, composer, and leader of American Zen but Steve is the band's ruler. When someone shows up for rehearsal late, Steve's got something to say. He also makes sure they don't look like lumberjacks or surfers on stage.
"Coyote's got the music and visions, but you can't paint a picture with crayons," says Steve. "Coyote's too nice a guy at rehearsals. Sure, sometimes he's very demanding of us, but when it comes to drawing the line -- that's my job."
Steve's drumming has simplified in recent years. Searching for a drum style to fit Coyote's "folk rock" songs and suit his own personality, he's developed a very sparse drumming style similar to Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, Ringo Star of the early Beatles albums, and AC/DC. He uses whatever he can get his hands on when they're recording. "During rehearsals I play my set. But when we record -- well, I like to get creative. Rather than use a high hat, I might beat on a coffee can. I like to collect things that sound cool when you hit them."
Unconventional drumming for an unconventional band? It make s sense.
Steve's training comes from playing to records. "I can't read a note of music,"says Steve. "But you know, I spent a couple summers playing in Top-40 bands when I was in high school Those guys would set up their music stands, get their charts and sheet music out. Bozos! Yeah, they'd play the song good, but then you try jamming some blues with these guys and they act like it's the first time they've played guitar. Rory and Coyote can read music, but even they don't write songs on paper. They hear the music in their head then they figure out how to make it real with their eyes closed. Music comes from the heart, not a piece of paper."
The Zen of rock according to Steve.