Tag Archives: Steve Hunter

Steve Hunter Releases New Tone Poems Live DVD

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Steve Hunter has truly left his stamp on some of the most beloved rock and roll tracks of the 1970s and beyond.

Not only did Hunter play on five Alice Cooper albums, but he also performed on Peter Gabriel’s debut solo album that included the classic “Solsbury Hill” and was featured on two of Lou Reed’s live albums (Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live).

As one of the top session artists in the game, Hunter has also worked with David Lee Roth, Dr. John, Julian Lennon, Glenn Campbell and several other luminaries.

Last but certainly not least, Hunter, a.k.a. the Deacon, also boasts several solo albums, including 2013’s The Manhattan Blues Project, which featured cameos from Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Joe Satriani and Marty Friedman.

Hunter’s latest initiative Tone Poems Live is a live CD/DVD that was recorded in the studio in Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, Hunter wasn’t even sure he wanted to move forward with Tone Poems Live.

“It wasn’t really my idea,” he explained. “One of the guys that had contacted us when I was doing the Kickstarter for The Manhattan Blues Project came to us later with the idea of doing a live video. When we first started talking about it, I wasn’t crazy about the idea. But it evolved into something where we could record it live, kind of like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.”

Hunter recruited a veteran list of musicians to help with the sessions in bassist Tony Levin, pianist Phil Aaberg and drummer Alvino Bennett.

“I’ve worked with these guys before, and they’re all brilliant artists,” said Hunter. “That made things move quickly once we rehearsed for a couple of days.”

Tone Poems Live was actually filmed in a single day, as the collective ran through each song twice, with the best version landing on the compilation.

“That’s the way they used to be done,” Hunter said. “I remember reading about groups like the Animals recording their entire album in a day for like $35. That’s the way things were done back then. As much fun as technology is to play with, sometimes it’s good just to get guys in the room and record it. It’s a different ballgame.”

For the session, Hunter used a trio of Gretsch Custom Shop CVTs built by longtime Gretsch Master Builder Stephen Stern.

“He’s a true master,” Hunter said of Stern. “They are absolutely superb guitars. His craftsmanship is a real art; it’s almost scary. You can inspect those guitars with a magnifying glass, and they’re perfect – all three of them.”

The trio of Custom Shop guitars have mahogany bodies and necks and rosewood fingerboards. One boasts a Black finish, one is in Lake Placid Blue and the other is in Sea Foam Green. Hunter said he is still making adjustments to some of the pickups, however, and he even asked Stern to put a Kahler tremolo on the Sea Foam Green CVT.

“I know there are Gretsch players out there who get all annoyed when you change something on a guitar, like you’ve committed the ultimate sin, but I’ve always personalized my guitars,” Hunter said with a laugh. “Brian Setzer did that, so have many others, whether it’s the pickups or knobs or whatever. That’s kind of what I did with the three that Steve made me. I’m still experimenting with pickups, but the ultimate piece of wood that Steve put together is just beyond words.”

Click here to preview or purchase Hunter’s latest offering, and check out a promo video below.

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Steve Hunter Releases New Album

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The Manhattan Blue Project

With support from a Kickstarter campaign, Gretsch guitarist Steve Hunter released his fifth studio solo album, The Manhattan Blues Project, on April 30.

After recording and touring with Alice Cooper in 2011, Hunter decided to get off the road to write and record this latest effort, which is an ode to his love of the Blues and New York City.

“Most albums that I hear in regards to New York are generally jazzy, which is cool,” said Hunter. “But I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something in a bluesy way because I kind of saw the more soulful part of Manhattan, and I wanted to bring that to this album.  Each of the songs that I’ve written are about some piece of Manhattan that I’ve looked at in kind of a different way.”

The album also features two instrumental covers. The first is “What’s Going On” by one of Hunter’s favorite artists Marvin Gaye. He also does an instrumental version of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill,” a song he had played the guitars on for the original album version in 1977.

Hunter, whose other tour and album credits include working with Lou Reed, Tracy Chapman, David Lee Rother, Julian Lennon, Aerosmith and Glen Campbell, had several artists willing to guest on this latest effort.

Joe Satriani and Marty Friedman lent solos to “Twilight in Harlem,” while Johnny Depp and Joe Perry teamed up on “The Brooklyn Shuffle.”

“I told Johnny and Joe to plug their guitars in and have a blast, and it sounds like they did to me,” shared Hunter.

Other artists who contributed to the album include Tony Levin, Michael Lee Firkins, Phil Aaberg, 2Cellos and Tommy Henriksen.

Order the album here.

The tracklisting for The Manhattan Blues Project is as follows:
Prelude to the Blues
What’s Going On
222 W 23rd
Gramercy Park
Solsbury Hill
Ground Zero
A Night at the Waldorf
Twilight in Harlem
Daydream by the Hudson
Flames at the Dakota
The Brooklyn Shuffle
Sunset in Central Park

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Steve Hunter Rocking His Gretsch Across the Globe

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Photo Credit: Cari Paige

Legendary rock guitarist Steve Hunter is currently ripping it up around the globe with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Alice Cooper. Hunter is seen in the photo above playing a Gretsch Custom Shop CVT model guitar made for him by Gretsch Master Builder Stephen Stern. The guitar features custom Seymour Duncan pickups, 22 jumbo frets (that completely clear the body), and a stop-tailpiece.

Get tour dates here.


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