Brian Stepien. That’s me, the author of this site. The writer, the vocalist and lyricist. The wannabe poet. The self taught songwriter with no clue what the rules and mathematics of written music are all about. Never learned them. I just always wanted or needed to sing out all of the crap that fills this head. The isolation, the observations, the home grown off-kilter dime store philosophy, the humor and hope. Dale and I started writing together and eventually he just wanted to play the piano. Can’t fault that logic. I was on my own for coming up with new material. So here it is.
Dale Schmitt. Our keyboard player. Piano, wurlitzer, organ, horns, strings, bass, plus whatever effects we can dream up. Dale was our version of a child prodigy. Organ lessons from the toddler stage. Piano as a teenager. Surrounded by crate after crate of pop records from the sixties and seventies. All of those sounds and melodies crowding his head. I think he could learn to play any song he wanted to in a matter of minutes. I was completely and utterly jealous of his ear, his fluidity, and his musical recall. When you are stuck on who performed a particular song from long ago, Dale could recite the artist, label, chart info, and so much more than you asked for.
Jim Monica. Our guitarist. Lead and rhythm. In the early days and once again at the time of this writing. He has, over the years, perfected the art of defying the numerous doctors who at various life stages have told him we would never play guitar again. He has proven a veritable Houdini, escaping injury, surgery, the occasional stray sharp object or full sized vehicle. Always bouncing back to solo another day. He is the only one of us that never stopped performing live, in various projects in Cleveland. His depth of style and substance continually grow. Just like his vinyl and guitar collections.
Mike Docy. The engineer. He has pretty much always been. Certainly not exclusively, he has recorded countless bands and sessions over the years. He is a scientist, an engineer, a multi-instrument musician. He hears things the rest of us cannot hear. We are forever grateful for this amazing ability. He is blunt when he needs to be; he will tell you if something we just did stinks without offending. This is yet another very useful skill. His long hours of listening and tinkering have been a godsend. When he is working with us on a recording we simply stand back and watch while he multitasks us through another session.
George Hart. George was gracious enough to sit in on drums for our latest set of recordings. He worked tirelessly to come up with a solid, tight, fitting arrangement for each of the songs he was given. We are humbled and grateful.
Jim Wall. Amazing, talented, journeyman drummer, teacher/guru, studio engineer. Playing on (We Are) Vagabonds and Switzerland (coming soon). Check out him work and his offerings at Blue Buddha Studios in Cleveland, Ohio.
William Fox. William spent his formative early gigging years playing bass within the Florida circuit (as leader of multiple bands as well as backing up the likes of jazz singers Fred Johnson and Theo Valentin) before relocating to North Carolina with his family in the early aughts. Since then he’s been the lead guitarist in the now-defunct Raleigh band Flimsy, played keys and rhythm guitar for the Chapel Hill-based glam-rock band Arrow Beach, and his original synth-based compositions can be heard via his YouTube channel: Pleathervictim.
So many more contributed throughout the years and through the various iterations of the project. We are grateful to every one of them. This is by no means the entire list or in any particular order:
Peter Bury (bass)
Mo Degley (drums)
Guy Brooks (bass)
Dave Gill (drums)
Cindy Catalano (drums)
Kurt Felgemacher (bass)
Avis Gilmour (drums)
Carey Mathews (guitar and vocals)
Matt Cole (guitar and trumpet)
Norm Tischler (sax)