Reflections On The Death Of Prince.


R.I.P. * P.R.N. One of my few heroes who was of my own generation. I’m flooded with feelings and memories right now. He was always the standard I held myself to as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, musician and performer. This album changed my life. In 1986 I got the gig as Guitarist/Musical Director for Jill Jones, one of the singers in The Revolution. Prince had produced, written & played most everything on her debut album and the word was that we’d be opening for the man himself in the USA on his “Sign ‘O’ The Times” tour. But then he decided not to tour America and only played shows in Europe (he filmed a Paris concert and released the “Sign ‘O’ The Times” movie in the US instead of touring.)


The Jill Jones band rehearsed 8 hours a day, 5 days per week for 2 solid months at Top Cat studios on West 28th St in Manhattan. It was a killer band with members who went on to play with Little Steven, Meatloaf & Joe Cocker – and we had a back-up singer who was just starting out by the name of ANGIE STONE!! Every night video tapes of the day’s rehearsals would be sent out to Prince for approval. The players got critiqued and some got fired but I remember Jill saying that Prince told her, “The guitar player’s cool, keep him”. I had all these visions of being out there on tour with him, maybe at some point even getting to make some music with him, but the closest I got was meeting him at Nell’s on 14th st one night. He was standing by the dance floor in a white suit and platform heels and I swear the top of his head still only came up to the middle of my face. The band ended up playing 2 gigs with Level 42, (one in Sag Harbor and the other at the old Ritz on E 11th St) and then, the band dissolved.


But before that, I went into the studio for a remix of one of the album’s songs with Jimmy Destri of Blondie doing the honors, and got to hear the genius shit that Prince had laid down at Paisley Park; the funkiest bass, backing vocals & keyboards plus a gorgeous string arrangement that was never used on the original record and a a weird noisy guitar that he had only brought in right at the fade. I learned a lesson in restraint at that moment.


This album is a logical choice to be my favorite Prince album because it is the most like The Beatles White Album; a double album full of different styles & genres all done to perfection. The poetry of “The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker”, “If I was Your Girlfriend” and “Starfish And Coffee”, the melodicism of “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” and “Slow Love”, the dirty funk of “It” and “Hot Thing”, the heart and soul in the title track and “The Cross” and the general weirdness of it all, even in the single “U Got the Look”.


Man, you will be missed by millions – but it really stings for someone like me who always looked to you as some kind of beacon in this dark business of music. I guess there’s nothing to do but carry on and to keep holding you up as an example of true talent – old school. The Real Shit. I can barely believe I’m typing these words…but as I reflect on all the greats who have left us too early; Bowie, Michael Jackson, Jeff Buckley, Willy DeVille, Chris Whitley, etc. I wonder…what kind of cruel coincidence is it that the greats are taken from us so early and that we are left with a whole lotta crap music and marginally talented artists?

New Project – STEVE CONTE & BLUES DELUXE: The Musical Tree of Classic ROD STEWART, Performing music from: The Jeff Beck Group, Faces, Rod solo & more…

The Musical Tree of Classic ROD STEWART
Performing music from: The Jeff Beck Group, Faces, solo Rod & more!
featuring, Andy York, Rich Pagano, Andy Burton and John Conte


Friday, June 3rd
Doors: 7PM – Show: 8PM
The Cutting Room, NYC

The Musical Tree of Classic Rod Stewart:

An evening of music devoted to the British blues and prolific songwriting period of Rod Stewart and his musical career from ’68 – ’72. This was the era where Rod forged his way as a compelling frontman and vocalist with the masterful ability to react with the band and its groove, while lyrically being on par with the likes of Bob Dylan and John Lennon.

From The Jeff Beck Group to The Faces and onto an incredible run of solo albums, his material includes some gigantic hits that still sound fresh today because of the loose nature, breath and honesty of the performances.

Steve Conte (New York Dolls) and Rich Pagano (The Fab Faux) have assembled an extraordinary and impressive group of players featuring Andy York (John Mellencamp), John Conte (Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes) and Andy Burton (John Mayer) to realize the sway and pulse of tunes like, “Beck’s Bolero,” ”Maggie May,” “I’m Losing You,” “Stay With Me,” “Gasoline Alley” and early influences like “Twisting The Night Away,” to name a few.

Steve branches out on the tree a bit further by acknowledging the fruit of the Small Faces (the group that eventually morphed into Rod’s ‘Faces’) led by another incredible vocalist, Steve Marriott. When Rod replaced Marriott in that band he brought along his pal Ron Wood from the Jeff Beck Group, adding their formidable presence to the remaining Small Faces and – voila – The Faces were born. You can expect to hear a few classics from that era as well, such as “Itchykoo Park” and “My Mind’s Eye.”

Classic Rod. It doesn’t get much better, especially with Steve Conte & Blues Deluxe tuning in the musical picture and telling the story.

Thoughts On The Passing Of David Bowie….


We think these artists are gonna be around forever – because they’re a part of our daily lives & so important to us. Even though you might have never have seen them perform live, you just know that they are with us – and it’s comforting. But when they leave us there’s no chance for new music from them or an opportunity to see them perform live ever again. There’s a hole left in our lives – like when Lennon left. But after 30 years we have somewhat gotten used to the reality that John isn’t here and are just happy that he left us all the music, the films, the cultural events, etc. And that’s the place we’re going to have to get to with Bowie – eventually. But for now….


But Bowie has been with me since my adolescence; It was his shag haircut – not Keef’s – that I was always after in high School…Rebel Rebel & Suffragette City were a staple on the setlist of every rock n roll cover band I was ever in…Ziggy Stardust & Diamond Dogs – the soundtrack to my rock n roll teenage years…


More memories – I was thrilled to get a hello and a smile from him when opening 2 shows on the Glass Sipder tour in ’87…back when I was 16, New York Dolls drummer Billy Murcia’s brother Al told me how David mentioned his bro in a lyric as “Billy Doll” on the Aladdin Sane album…and there’s my brother John’s story of hearing that voice right in his ear when playing bass for him in the studio w/ producer Tony Visconti…. 


He is a part of the world – like the Eiffel Tower…the Grand Canyon….the Red Sea…the Empire state building…the Twin Towers. RIP David.

Happy New Year!

Our 1st show of 2016 is gonna be a good ‘un…



The Steve Conte NYC Band: SC – vocals/guitar, John Conte – bass, Phil Stewart – drums

Supporting Richard Lloyd, founding member/guitarist of Television


At Bowery Electric – Saturday, January 16th

Steve Conte NYC @ 8:00 PM Richard Lloyd Group @ 9:15 PM

This will be some serious New York Guitar Rock y’all – don’t miss it! 


Click here to purchase tickets:

We hope to see some of you there! And thanks again for all of your support over the past year – may your 2016 be happy, healty and prosperous…


Steve Conte