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Steve Morse Part 1


Alright, in case you are wondering what this is all about: this basically is a tribute to Steve Morse, kind of a portrait of this very unique and remarkable musician. It also is a trilogy... this first part focusses on Steve´s biography, influences, gear and discography.
Part II will focus on Steve´s guitar playing, I´ll present you some of his coolest and most interesting licks, while Part III will deal with Steve as a composer and arranger, plus it will feature some general thoughts on Steve and his music...

I hope I can maybe get some of you to get interested in Steves music... check it out !

Well, why am I doing this? Basically, I have been into Steves music for a very long time, and I´d really consider him an influence on my playing. Since Steve is touring the States quite a lot with all kinds of different bands ( the Dregs, SMB etc ) I had a chance to meet him quite a few times, and I also got to know some of his bandmates at least a bit.

One time, after one of the shows I was sitting with Steve in the lobby of the venue, and we were talking. Right then I realized once again that it is true what many people have said about Steve in the past: he is one of the nicest guys in the biz, who really tries to do everything for his fans, and he never behaves like a rockstar... you know, never seems to have attitude problems. A very nice, humble man. He also is one of the most hard working guys in the biz, playing out almost all the time, constantly involved in several projects.

I personally consider him one of the most versatile players in the world, his technique is just jaw-dropping, his dedication and determination very motivating, and his attitude and outlook on life is at least to me, quite inspiring. So lemme start telling you a bit more about Mr. Morse...

Some biographical information...

This is a rather loose, short biography. There are several great sites on the web dedicated to Steve. If you need more info, go look for them, check them out.

Steve was born and Ohio, but he and his family moved to Georgia pretty soon, where he started to play the guitar and soon formed his first band. His early influences included the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page a.m.o.

He later went to study at the University of Miami´s School of Music, where he studied with players like Juan Mercandel and Pat Metheny while hanging out with Jaco Pastorius quite a few times, too. It was then that he formed the Dixie Dregs (which were mostly inspired by the Mahavishnu Orchestra) and they recorded "The Great Spectacular" there, a demo which nowadays is very much a collectors item.

Throughout the next years the Dregs recorded several albums and soon had a dedicated following. They toured all over the States, and even played the famous Montreux Jazz Festival (where the B-side of the "Night Of The Living Dregs" album was recorded). Their albums became underground classics, and for many music fans they are some of the most important progressive rock- and fusion-albums.

The Dregs never were megaselling acts like other bands from that period, but they infuenced many artists that are very popular today. Players like John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jimmy Herring (Jazz Is Dead, Allman Bros...), Jon Finn, Reb Beach and many others consider Steve and the Dregs as one of their main influences.

However, throughout the late 70´s the Dregs toured all over the place and interrupted those periods of touring only to record new material. They later experimented with vocalists (a short-lived attempt to become more of a household-name, to be heard on the "Industry Standard" album), until they eventually split up due to personal problems and the money-situation. This was the end of that first Dregs-era.

Steve was the musical head of the Dregs, he wrote most of the material (even many of the instrumental solos) and arranged and later co-produced their music, so when he decided to leave the band, the Dregs split up

The music of The Dixie Dregs >>