Steve Stevens

Steve StevensSteve Stevens
The Viper Room
The Sunset Strip
West Hollywood, California
By Victoria Joyce

Recent wonderful shows at the Viper Room have brought big loving crowds; Warner Drive and Saigon Kick come to mind. But tonight’s show starring Steve Stevens blows those out of the water. Tonight this club is packed solid like White Albacore. Like scary crowded. Like Fire Marshall-shutting-this-thing-down-dangerous. “I ain’t moving again!” panted a panicky Brent Mendoza (Viper Promoter) as he squirmed and squiggled and barely made it back alive to the DJ booth in time for this much-anticipated performance. Cue T-Rex.

Squeezed nicely between the bar and the booth, unfortunately we had some lady whipping her extensions in our face every time she knocked back a shot, hit send or giggled with her girlfriends. Arrrgh.

Unfortunately, shows of this caliber bring out “industry” types who are there only to be seen. Not that we have anything personal against these bloated Schwein-Hund and their harpies from hell who tried to kill Rock and Roll. It’s just they don’t pay any attentionSteve Stevens to the show, constantly yapping and texting and it’s just a damn distraction not to mention disrespectful. Where is Geordie Pleathur when we need him? OK, end of rant. Back to the show.

For the uninitiated Steve Stevens, famous for his collaboration with Billy Idol, is one of the greatest guitar players ever, living or dead.  Period. Right up there with Keith, Jimi, Eric, Jeff and Paige. And tonight’s show featured works from almost all of the them, i.e. no Stones.

“This is a f*cking Rock and Roll show!” announced Stevens as he took the stage around 11pm with Franky Perez, Peter Thorn, Jon Button and Erik Eldenius and it did not let up for nearly two hours. Early April Spring weather meant a cool California evening and no AC yet. Result – the crowded club was a sweat box. Just like God intended.

“We’re gonna be playing the stuff nobody else plays!” And Steve & Co. delivered. There is no time or space in the Miraculous Universe or the stage of the Viper Room (same place, really). Set list went pretty much came in chronological order, and included works from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and the Double Nothings – obviously selected for their glorious guitar virtuosity. Like any Viper show – the audience was 75% musicians who ate it up.

Evil Woman Blues (Fleetwood Mac)
White Room (Cream)
21st Century Schitzoid Man (King Crimson)

Wearing a leopard-print shirt, open to the waist and his big, bouffy black hair that easily adds 8 inches to his frame, the Brooklyn-born RockThe Viper Room God did little between-song banter and smoked through most of the show. All business. Franky Perez was pristine with his lead vocals.

VooDoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

With it’s stirring signature wa-waa opening that soars to the stratosphere-a stunner. “Well, I stand up next to a mountain and chop it down with the edge of my hand.” Franky continued to nail each song perfectly.

It’s A Man’s Man’s World (James Brown and The Famous Flames) “It don’t mean nothing without a woman or a girl.” They DO NOT write ‘em like this anymore.

Here’s a modern complaint: So many cel phones were lifted into the air for picture-taking it obscured the view. A virtual wall of iPhones and Galaxies.

“I’d like to bring to the stage Billy Morrison!” Didn’t think this could get any better but it did.

Highway Star (Deep Purple) Reputedly the first Speed-Metal song.
“Nobody gonna take my car 
I’m gonna race it to the ground.
Nobody gonna beat my car
 I’m gonna break the speed of sound.
Oooh it’s a killing machine. 
It’s got everything.
Like a driving power big fat tires and everything.
I love it and I need it. 
I bleed it yeah it’s a wild hurricane.
Alright hold tight I’m a highway Steve Stevensstar.”

Good guy Matt Sorum and fellow Camp Freddy member(along with Morrison) sat in on the drums for a few songs. And Steve did his his heavenly classical Spanish guitar bit and wow’ed us a little bit more.

The crowd was getting a bit yancy for the promised super special guest. Steve decided to have some fun. “I have no idea what you’re waiting for! More screams. “Sebastian Bach??!!” Roars. The good-natured Bach leaped on the stage ready for the ride of his life.

Monkey Business (Skid Row)

Very annoyed with the hot steamy temperature of the stage and it’s effect on his coif, Sebastian bitched like a little girl. “When I walked in this venue, my hair was straight!!” Very frizzy head banging ensued.

There was some discussion regarding the Steve Stevens logo and possible reference to the Third Reich. Quite silly.

Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin) Nearly caused a riot.
Hot For Teacher (Van Halen) How do we say this? Better than Dave.
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin) Even the bartenders were taking phone pictures.
I Remember You (Skid Row) Way tooViper Room Sign much fun.

Sebastian hugged Steve, towering over our hero by a foot and a half, bowed and left the stage. The buzz about the next special guest was anti-climatic. Almost. Hello Billy Idol. You know, Steve’s old boss.

Eyes Without A Face (Billy Idol) And he forgot the words. Thank Billy Morrison for looking them up on his phone. Not kidding.

Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)More. More. More.

Old Bill was in fine voice and stripped his shirt off (as did Morrison) due to the heat. Ever the imp.

Next day, Steve posted to his FaceBook page: “A huge thank you to everyone that came down to the Viper Room as well as the singers that helped make the nigh a success. Franky Perez, Sebastian Bach, and Billy Idol…you guys are the absolute best. I can only play so many notes.”

Not bad for a band that only did cover tunes.

Set List:
Evil Woman Blues (Fleetwood Mac)
White Room (Cream)
21st Century Schitzoid Man (King Crimson)
VooDoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Highway Star (Deep Purple)
Monkey Business (Skid Row)
Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin)
Hot For Teacher (Van Halen)
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
I Remember You (Skid Row)
Eyes Without A Face (Billy Idol)
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)