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INTERVIEW WITH...
STEVE GRIMM



 
 
 
 

STEVE GRIMM is the leader of both THE STEVE GRIMM BAND and the recently reformed band BAD BOY. A story on BAD BOY was pubslihed in our Past-issues and we also did a review of the new CD of THE STEVE GRIMM BAND. Reviews of both the new BAD BOY and STEVE GRIMM BAND CD on our Reviews Old Issues Page. Anyway, the CD of THE STEVE GRIMM BAND was titled ďHeavenís in your heartĒ and received 9 points. The music on the CD was great A.O.R. that sounded like the 80ís in the style of bands like PRISM,early NIGHT RANGER, JIMMY DAVIS, BRIAN MCDONALD GROUP ...

BAD BOY recorded 5 albums and more recently released a 'Best of' CD including 4 new tracks. I had an interview with STEVE GRIMM about all this, let's see what Steve Grimm has to say about the past and for things to come for both bands.

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Please first tell us everything about what you did before The Steve Grimm Band?  

Way back in the mid-70ís, I formed a band name Crossfire - myself, bassist John Marcelli, drummer Lars Hansen and keyboardist Joe Luchessi rounded out our AOR sound. Eventually, we changed the band name to Bad Boy. We played plenty of gigs around the Midwestern USA and were eventually courted by United Artists - the recording company in 1977 for two albums. So UA released The Band That Milwaukee Made Famous in 1977 and Back to Back in 1978. United Artists closed its doors not too long after the second album became successful. Joe Luchessi and Lars Hansen were replaced then by guitarist Scott Stephan and drummer Hector ďJackieĒ Ramos. Streetwise, a Milwaukee label, released our third album Private Party with the new Bad Boy members, which was mildly successful in the Midwest, but we experienced a tragedy when Scott Stephan was involved in a near-fatal car crash. He survived it, but we had to replace him so we auditioned guitarists/vocalists for a number of months and finally decided to hire former Cheap Trick vocalist Xeno to fill the open slot. And soon after that, drummer Billy ďFridayĒ Johnson entered the picture, too. So after still another roster change, we recorded Electric Eyes, our fourth album. Thatís the line-up that remained for quite a number of years - Xeno, Friday, Marcelli and myself. Lastly, we released an EP Girl On The Run containing five songs which generated a good amount of interest. But then, as you know, alternative hit the music scene..... so the story goes.

Have you had many successes with your previous band Bad Boy?

After signing with United Artists, where there was airplay in the USA, the record company financially contributed to touring - so with those first two albums, we were on a roll! The band was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and local radio stations were quick to jump on the ďLocal Lads Make GoodĒ campaign! Then the three releases on local recording labels Streetwise and Legend followed with moderate Midwestern USA success. The first album seemed to generate the most amount of sales. Thinking of You was a real popular song and so was Last Rock N Roller. The Steve Grimm Band still does a rendition of the song Machines which is on the first Bad Boy album. Then the song Girls, Girls, Girls (not the Motley Crue song) from Back to Back hit real big, too, so we were flying high. The songs Thunder & Lightning and Cheat on Me from Electric Eyes received lots of airplay here in the USAís Midwest. She Can(Drive You Crazy) and Midnight Love were most popular from Girl on The Run, One song that was never released on an album Mama, Mama got some airplay. Many thought that would be the song to break us into the major market again.

Bad Boy recorded 5 albums. Which one do you think is the best and do you have a favourite Bad Boy song?

Iíd have to say that the first album The Band That Milwaukee Made Famous is the best Bad Boy album. It certainly was the most fun to make! My favorite Bad Boy song-hmmmm- probably Cheat On Me from Electric Eyes, but I definitely prefer all the songs on The Steve Grimm Bandís Heavenís In Your Heart CD to any of the Bad Boy songs. The songwriting is much more complex and I put much more time into Heavenís In Your Heart than any of the Bad Boy albums.

Why did Bad Boy split up?

Different chemistries and beliefs in musical direction, but thatís a day in the life of the band that Milwaukee made famous!

Tell us everything about The Steve Grimm Band?

Months after the initial break-up of Bad Boy, I started The Steve Grimm Band with talented local musicians - Ron Kalista on drums, guitarist Dave Christopher, and bass player Buzzy Ouellette. We recorded the album Prisoner of Passion a few months later to tap the energy of the new group. Once again, after more roster changes, we recorded the follow- up EP cassette Turn The Key. The lineup on that EP featured Bad Boy drummer Billy Friday and Bad Boy guitarist Scott Stephan along with Gordy Wayne on bass. After a few roster changes, I decided to focus the most time on the new CD Heavenís in Your Heart. The work ethic of The Steve Grimm Band is to work continuously. Now the market dictates gigs in clubs. If you donít play cover material and get the patrons to dance, you donít work - especially in Wisconsin. We still open for touring acts when they come to Milwaukee. Technically, I work in three bands now - The Steve Grinun Band where I prefer to play my original music; Steve Grimm and the Thrill Cats which is my cover band consisting of the Grimm Bandís last guitarist Matt Schroeder and bassist Randy Paul Jones and Bad Boyís original

In our last issue we reviewed the CD of THE STEVE GRIMM BAND.

The CD was titled ďHeavenís in your heartĒ and received 9 points. The music on the CD was great A.O.R. that sounded like the 80ís in the style of bands like PRISM,early NIGHT RANGER,JIMMY DAVIS, BRIAN MCDONALD GROUP ...
Leader of the band is STEVE GRIMM , who recorded 5 albums with the aor/poprockband BAD BOY. In next past-issue I will do a complete story on BAD BOY and STEVE GRIMM BAND, but first we had a very long interview with STEVE GRIMM.

Please first tell us everything about what you did before The Steve Grimm Band?

Way back in the mid-70ís, I formed a band name Crossfire - myself, bassist John Marcelli, drummer Lars Hansen and keyboardist Joe Luchessi rounded out our AOR sound. Eventually, we changed the band name to Bad Boy. We played plenty of gigs around the Midwestern USA and were eventually courted by United Artists - the recording company in 1977 for two albums. So UA released The Band That Milwaukee Made Famous in 1977 and Back to Back in 1978. United Artists closed its doors not too long after the second album became successful. Joe Luchessi and Lars Hansen were replaced then by guitarist Scott Stephan and drummer Hector ďJackieĒ Ramos. Streetwise, a Milwaukee label, released our third album Private Party with the new Bad Boy members, which was mildly successful in the Midwest, but we experienced a tragedy when Scott Stephan was involved in a near-fatal car crash. He survived it, but we had to replace him so we auditioned guitarists/vocalists for a number of months and finally decided to hire former Cheap Trick vocalist Xeno to fill the open slot. And soon after that, drummer Billy ďFridayĒ Johnson entered the picture, too. So after still another roster change, we recorded Electric Eyes, our fourth album. Thatís the line-up that remained for quite a number of years - Xeno, Friday, Marcelli and myself. Lastly, we released an EP Girl On The Run containing five songs which generated a good amount of interest. But then, as you know, alternative hit the music scene..... so the story goes.

Have you had many successes with your previous band Bad Boy?

After signing with United Artists, where there was airplay in the USA, the record company financially contributed to touring - so with those first two albums, we were on a roll! The band was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and local radio stations were quick to jump on the ďLocal Lads Make GoodĒ campaign! Then the three releases on local recording labels Streetwise and Legend followed with moderate Midwestern USA success. The first album seemed to generate the most amount of sales. Thinking of You was a real popular song and so was Last Rock N Roller. The Steve Grimm Band still does a rendition of the song Machines which is on the first Bad Boy album. Then the song Girls, Girls, Girls (not the Motley Crue song) from Back to Back hit real big, too, so we were flying high. The songs Thunder & Lightning and Cheat on Me from Electric Eyes received lots of airplay here in the USAís Midwest. She Can(Drive You Crazy) and Midnight Love were most popular from Girl on The Run, One song that was never released on an album Mama, Mama got some airplay. Many thought that would be the song to break us into the major market again.

Bad Boy recorded 5 albums. Which one do you think is the best and do you have a favourite Bad Boy song?

Iíd have to say that the first album The Band That Milwaukee Made Famous is the best Bad Boy album. It certainly was the most fun to make! My favorite Bad Boy song-hmmmm- probably Cheat On Me from Electric Eyes, but I definitely prefer all the songs on The Steve Grimm Bandís Heavenís In Your Heart CD to any of the Bad Boy songs. The songwriting is much more complex and I put much more time into Heavenís In Your Heart than any of the Bad Boy albums.

Why did Bad Boy split up?

Different chemistries and beliefs in musical direction, but thatís a day in the life of the band that Milwaukee made famous!

Tell us everything about The Steve Grimm Band?

Months after the initial break-up of Bad Boy, I started The Steve Grimm Band with talented local musicians - Ron Kalista on drums, guitarist Dave Christopher, and bass player Buzzy Ouellette. We recorded the album Prisoner of Passion a few months later to tap the energy of the new group. Once again, after more roster changes, we recorded the follow- up EP cassette Turn The Key. The lineup on that EP featured Bad Boy drummer Billy Friday and Bad Boy guitarist Scott Stephan along with Gordy Wayne on bass. After a few roster changes, I decided to focus the most time on the new CD Heavenís in Your Heart. The work ethic of The Steve Grimm Band is to work continuously. Now the market dictates gigs in clubs. If you donít play cover material and get the patrons to dance, you donít work - especially in Wisconsin. We still open for touring acts when they come to Milwaukee. Technically, I work in three bands now - The Steve Grinun Band where I prefer to play my original music; Steve Grimm and the Thrill Cats which is my cover band consisting of the Grimm Bandís last guitarist Matt Schroeder and bassist Randy Paul Jones and Bad Boyís original drummer Lars Hansen - the same lineup as the Steve Grimm Band; and we also do Bad Boy reunion gigs every six months or so in different Wisconsin cities.

Have you had much success with The Steve Grimm Band since you formed the band? And how are the reactions so far on the CD Heavenís in your Heart?

Although success has been tough to equate with Bad Boy, this experience has taught these musicians to survive and create a different ďvibeĒ. Dig deeper, find and create music. Most reviews of Heavenís in your Heart have been quite favorable.

I read you have won some awards. Can you tell us about that?

Throughout the years, there have been many songwriterís awards, personal vocal awards, but probably the best award is a WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) award which placed Bad Boy into the Wisconsin Hall of Fame. The accolades are definitely always present and appreciated. My walls are filled with award certificates - all arrogance aside.

Have you done other things besides your work with Bad Boy and later with The Steve Grimm Band?

I teach at the local Music Conservatory and enjoy a songwriters class. I also give private music lessons and I teach at the Milwaukee Public Schools. Iíve recorded with many other musicians and still enjoy recording local commercials. Then thereís my cover band Steve Grimm and the Thrill Cats. We gig two or three nights a week.

Your music is 80ís type AOR, which is great. Which bands and/or artists influenced you?

The Who and the Beatles used to be my favorite bands. Now I listen to everything!

Do you still play old Bad Boy songs?

Yep, we still play a few Bad Boy songs like Machines and Cheat on Me along with new originals and selected cover tunes. Bad Boy still does reunion gigs, too.

Has the line-up changed since the release of ďHeavenís in your HeartĒ?

Yes. We have a new guitarist Matt Schroeder who replaced Dave Dettlaff. Dave was going in another direction musically. And the original drummer from Bad Boy Lars Hansen now drums for us. This new line-up is working out quite well for us.

Do you think your musical style AOR will become as popular as it was in The States in the 80ís?

Good songs will stand the test of time. The 80ís style will be utilized, but the songs will be hybrids, I think. There are some people who think AOR is coming back. I know one USA recording label CMC is releasing Cds only by the popular AOR 80ís groups. They seem to be experiencing moderate success, but I think they are marketing to only a small group of people who are still interested in that style of music.

Can you tell us more about the lyrics of your songs? Are there any stories behind them?

Every good song has a story. Sometimes you may have to look deep into our songs, but thatís your job. Let the stories relate to your own life. There is always a story behind every song - too many stories to list here!

Do you have any contacts with record labels in Europe?
 
Yes, but only through people I am working with here in the USA.

Are you working on new material and can we expect a new CD?

I am always working on new material - it is a continuous process for me. Sometimes an idea will just jump into my head.
I donít always have the time to develop that idea right then and there so I save it for later. Yes, I do expect to release lots more Cds.

Can you tell us more about possible new songs you have written since ďHeavenís in your HeartĒ?

I spend a substantial amount of time lately searching for different sounds to incorporate into my melodies. Hopefully, these new creations will be refreshing. Most are AOR soundinghey, thatís my style! But some may have a bit of a new twist to them. Youíll just have to wait and see!

Hopefully no musical changes

No drastic changes - I promise!

Are there any touring plans (in Europe)?

We would love to tour Europe and we have something on the horizon that may bring us over there - maybe even within the next year. Youíll be the second to know - after us!

Have you had any airplay with songs from ďHeavenís in your HeartĒ?

Yes. All of the songs have received some airplay, primarily in the midwestern USA.

How would you describe your own music?

Thoughtful, positive, powerful, MELODIC - no out of tune alternative for me!!

Finally, what are the plans for the next coming months?

Writing, playing live, and Iíll be teaching music to those who want to listen. Weíve also got something brewing in both the Bad Boy vein and The Steve Grimm Band vein ... weíll let you know.

Thank you very much for answering the questions and lots of success in the future with your music and I hope to enjoy lots of great music from you for always!

Hey, Iím not going anywhere. Iíll always be active musically. I really enjoyed the interview and Iím glad you like the CD. Thanks! Keep in touch!


LINE-UP:

Steve Grimm              -Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Matt Schroeder           -Guitar,Vocals
Randy Paul Jones        -Bass,Vocals
Billy ďFridayĒ Johnson -Drums,Vocals

DISCOGRAPHY:

Steve Grimm Band:    Prisoner of passion                               (Legend/1989)
                                 Turn the key                                        (Legend/1992)
                                 Heavenís in your heart                         (Legend/1995)

Bad Boy:                  The band that Milwaukee made famous   (United Artists/1977)
                               Back to back                                          (United Artists/1978)
                               Private party                                           (Streetwise/1981)
                               Electric eyes                                            (Epicenter/1984)
                               Girl on the run                                         (Legend/1986)

CONTACTADDRESS:

The Music Label Connection
PO Box 672216
Marietta
GA 30006-0037
USA

A special thanks goes out to Sandy Serge and Steve Grimm for making this interview possible.

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