VOLUME 57, also sent March 11, 1997

Topics in this issue:
  1. General thoughts on SW
  2. Re:  All-Star Garage Band
  3. Is Steve wearing hearing aids?
  4. All Star Jam Review
  5. Need Garage Band concert
  6. Garage Band
  7. Re: hearing aids?
  8. Garage Band thoughts exchange


Date sent:        Fri, 28 Feb 1997 10:25:07 +0100
To:               bobbieg@azstarnet.com
From:             Istituto Cervantes Napoli 
Subject:          General thoughts on SW

I think true musicians are professionals and people who want to see their work
and expression recognized and FELT not to be idolized and regarded as
fetishes: I'm a musician's daughter and I know it. Steve is very serious and
professional and never liked the commercial side of the biz.  He can't avoid it
now cause this is how it works these times, and I think his lyricist Will
Jennings is very corny and artificial compared to Capaldi, for instance but he
reaches much more public in his corniness. As Steve said in 1981: "I used to be
an artist, but I'm an entertainer now".  I always loved and admired Steve as a
musical genius, but I'm not seeing him as a spotless person. In his official
biography Roll With It there's much denial and hypocrisy, there's lots of people
to witness it and other SP subscribers think the same. That book was a puff
piece assembled to counterattack his unofficial biography Back In The High
Life by Alan Clayson which was also inaccurate and imaginative but at least
amusing and historically accurate. Steve took it badly and said that this was a
good book to read if one likes fiction.

I've got many scrapbooks on SW and his groups starting from 1966 and so lots
of information there apart from my human sources. I felt a bit of an alien
though: I'm first and foremost a Woodian: somebody who believes Steve was
the bulk, but Chris was the magic in Traffic, Mr. Fantasy. I'm not the only one,
now I know, but certainly the first. Winwood is not a saint, he's a human being
with lots of defects.


From: 8.ball@spotcom.com
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 1997 21:57:46 -0500
Subject: Re:  All-Star Garage Band

It seemed readily apparent to me that the majority of musicians were in awe, or
deferred to Steve (as well they should) in the concert, by the number of songs
he got to sing (at least of those that made it on the air).

I don't think anyone will ever confuse Steve with Sam Moore, but their vocal
ranges are VERY similar, even though Steve didn't wail as much as I thought
he would in the Henley duet of "Hold On I'm Coming"

I really like the Winwood/Tony Rich combination, I was hoping they'd do
something together.  I'm not a fan of Rich's work, but he does have the chops.

It also seems obvious to me that Sheryl Crow, despite a lot of flack she takes for
her music, does have a genuine respect for Steve Winwood.  After her
appearing with him on the Grammys and holding her own with Steve on
another Sam and Dave tune "When Something is Wrong With My Baby" I
guess I can have a little respect.

Maybe since Ms. Crow is dating Eric Clapton, and since Clapton, Crow and
Rich are doing a project...maybe Sheryl could whisper "Do another
collaboration with Winwood" in his ear.

Jeff Hawkins

Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 00:54:09 -0800
From: Steve Tidwell 
Subject: Is Steve wearing hearing aids?

I just watched the All Star Garage Band on VH1.  It looks like Steve is wearing
some kind of hearing aids in both ears.  Anybody know anything about this?
He's also cut his hair and looks like he's put on a few pounds, too. Starting to
show his age, I guess.  (I'm one to talk!)

He did look a little strange to me, in other ways.  Something besides the weight
gain and the gray at the temples (hey, even I'm doing that now and I'm only a
couple of years younger) and the short hair (about as short as I can recall him
ever wearing it).  He's always had kind of an odd look about him, from what
little footage I've seen.  Like the video of the Santa Monica concert--there's
something almost ...disconnected, something strange about his eyes, though the
MTV-type videos don't show it.  Reminds me of what people used to say about
David Byrne.  When his eyes were closed, he didn't seem at all exceptional--but
when his eyes were open, everyone said there was something odd and intense
and almost otherworldly about him.

Steve sounded pretty good, though, no matter how he may have looked.  I really
liked him singing "Soul Man".  His voice isn't as dark as it was when he was a
teenager (I used to play the Spencer Davis version of "Georgia" from the "I'm A
Man" album for friends and before I told them who it was they *invariably*
identified it as Ray Charles singing) but he's still got the R&B touch.  I think he
got his due, all in all, and yet he was content to play the sideman.

Anyhow, after hearing Steve do that, I'd *really* love to hear him with Van
Morrison.  Those two have more in common than most people realize.

Steve and Sting sounds good.

And on a totally unrelated note, I got a big kick from Melissa Etheridge doing
"Stay With Me".  It was a perfect choice for her.

From: LesterJake@aol.com
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 23:46:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: All Star Jam Review

Steve Winwood fans got a wonderful treat on Saturday March 8 as Steve was
featured prominently on organ and vocals throughout the VH1 telecast of the
City of Hope All-Star Jam concert.  While reviews of the concert, originally
held last fall as a charity benefit for the City of Hope hospital, gushed over
Steve's performance, only on Saturday did we get a chance to experience the
great selection of songs and musicians that music director Paul Shaffer (a great
admirer of Steve's) pulled together, and see how ably and effortlessly our star
boosted the program, clearly the All-Star of All-Stars.  Best of all, VH1
rebroadcast the concert all day long, giving fans the opportunity to savor the
many highlights again and again.

John Mellencamp kicked off the show with an extremely hot version of I
Fought the Law, followed by Melissa Etheridge doing her (very convincing)
Rod Stewart imitation on the Faces' old tune, Stay With Me.  Shaffer's hand
was evident in the wonderfully tight sound he produced leading the band from
his piano, as well as a songlist of R&B and rock 'n' roll classics from the '50s
and '60s.  Sheryl Crow was up next to contribute a rousing  Bitch, even
strutting a little like Mick.  Don Henley is not a great vocalist but he did a
creditable job with Wilson Picket's Midnight Hour, featuring a very dapper
Max Weinberg on drums and an excellent horn section led by  Bobby Keys on

The surprise of the night (for me) was the terrific vocals and rhythm guitar
work of Bryan Adams, whose Come On Everybody was certainly a highlight.
 Adams' raspy baritone sounds like a cross between Springsteen and Johnny

Steve stepped out for the first time with a very flavorful Shotgun,
demonstrating his lifelong appreciation of Memphis R&B, and providing
exceptional organ accompaniment.  Then Tony Rich followed with another 4-
star performance on Curtis Mayfield's wonderful Get Ready.

From then on, the night belonged to Steve.  Sheryl Crow accompanied Steve on
an old R&B ballad, Something is Wrong With My Baby, with Steve picking up
vocal steam on every chorus, and even displaying a rare show of passion as the
song neared the end.  It seemed the only thing he couldn't do was give Sheryl a
decent hug--can someone show this boy how to grab a woman convincingly?
Then Steve descended from the keyboards to join Don Henley on stage front for
a stupendous duet on Hold On I'm Coming.  Steve's vocals were unbelievable,
and he seemed so charged up it appeared he was going to levitate.

Next Bobby Keys offered the nifty instrumental Tequila, which might've
afforded the band members a nice opportunity for extended solos if the songs
weren't kept so tight.  Mellencamp returned with another 4-Star vocal on
Gloria, and then Steve topped off the evening with Gimme Some Lovin, which
Shaffer described as "the anthem of all garage bands."  An unrehearsed and
patchy version of the Beatles' Get Back, featuring some screeching guitar
breaks by Eddie Van Halen, closed out the show.

It was a wonderful concert and perhaps the harbinger of a return to stardom
and recognition for Steve.  Here's hoping the All Star Jam is a good omen for
1997; with a new solo album being released this spring and a tour likely to
follow, maybe this is The Year We've Been Waiting For.


From: SayOnceMor@aol.com
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 04:21:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Need Garage Band concert

OK, I missed it.....sad, but true.... :-)  I'm in desperate need of a tape of the VH1
concert and the interview thing.   I would be willing to do some trading of some
sort.  I don't have much Winwood to offer, but e-mail me and we'll work
something out.

thanks a lot,

From: Shaft51@aol.com
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 08:24:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Garage Band

I caught Steve on the VH-1 special Saturday. It was great to see him again, and
I must say I was surprised to see how involved he was with the show. It was
also great to be reminded of what an incredible voice he has, live or recorded.
Something I observed, though, and it's very trivial, but I just felt like sharing.
I've always admired Steve's fashion sense and while the velvet suit was pretty
slick, what kind of bet did he lose to get that haircut!?!?

Anyhoot, thanks for the updates -- can't wait until May!

Chuck from Pennsylvania

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 09:58:38 -0700 (MST)
From: Melle D Starsen 
Subject: Re: hearing aids?

The question of what was in Steve Winwood's ears came up as I watched the
Garage band special on VH-1 and here is my (for what it's worth) opinion.

I have worked in television for almost 14 years, much of it live television, and
have worked with a variety of what are called "bugs." "Bugs" are small devices
which are placed in the ear of a news anchor or entertainer which allow that
person to be in direct contact with the director of the program or event.  In the
case of musicians, the bugs are often used to allow the performer to hear
playback, monitor the overall sound, or as with a news presenter, receive

As soon as I saw the devices in Steve's ears, I watched carefully to see if any of
the other performers were wearing bugs.  I didn't notice anyone else wearing a
bug, much less a bug in each ear and of the large size that Steve had.

Also, the devices Steve was wearing were different than most bugs I've ever
worked with in terms of size and shape. They filled his ear cavities completely.
And while they did have the trademark coiled cord running from them down
his back, the devices themselves were equipped with screwholes which looked
like they were for a battery.  Most bugs I've worked with are phantom powered,
i.e., they do not use batteries.

Finally, there is the fact that Steve wore two devices, which is unusual.
Normally only one bug is worn.

Based on my observations, I concluded that perhaps what Steve wore were
either hearing aids or clarification devices, which are what I myself need to use
in rooms full of noise to distinguish individual sounds.  It doesn't surprise me if
these were hearing aids -- musicians are at risk -- e.g., Sting is reported to have
suffered a hearing loss from years of playing music at over 40 db.

Perhaps there's someone on the list who is a musician and has experience and
can verify or dispute my observations.

When Steve Winwood and Sheryl Crow did their duet, their voices blended so
nicely and yet maintained their individual styles -- they should record a duet for
release. Somebody let them know.

Remember back in the 1980s when a fan re-recorded Neil Diamond's and
Barbra Streisand's individual versions of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" -- the
singers like it so much they did an "official" duet of the song and it made
millions. [I wonder if the enterprising fan got a commission?]



The following is an exchange between myself and Les.  He had written with a
few thoughts about the concert; what follows is my response, and his response
to me:

From:                 Self 
To:               "Les Jacobson"
Subject:          Re: Concert Chat
Date sent:        Mon, 10 Mar 1997 12:03:01 -0700

Hey, Les,

> I'm not ready to stop talking about the concert!!

I can tell!  ;-)  I'm awful glad that we all now have other people  who
understand and share our obsession!

> What was your assessment?  Did you agree with my list of high
> points: the 2 Mellencamp numbers, the Bryan Adams song, and Steve
> singing Hold On I'm Coming with Don Henley?

My personal problem is that I don't care for Henley, try though I  may, and I
found it difficult to get beyond that.  I was VERY  surprised at how much I
liked Adams, though, and when Paul Shafer  said he thought Adams and
Winwood were the stars of the show, I got a  little tingle of pride.

Steve's singing style has become a little more idiosyncratic, I  think.  He's
bugging his eyes out more, and although he's always  lifted his chin to his left
to hit the higher notes, he seems to do  it much more often nowadays.  I wonder
if those notes are getting  more difficult for him?  Didn't you think there was
something almost  Stevie-Wonder-ish about him?

>  My only complaints were that it wasn't longer (I'd guess less than
> an hour of actual playing time; they must have cut some numbers)
> and the endlessly repeated Tommy Hilfilger commercial.

Agreed.  Plus they used Gimme Some Lovin in the ad, and I didn't care
for that.

BTW, did you notice that none of the artists, except our hero, sang  their own
work?  Kind of interesting, and a subtle salute to the  man's iconographic status
among musicians.

> Also I missed most of the interviews. Was there anything
> interesting about Steve's segment?

Nah, it was just a clip from an interview he did in 94 when Far From Home
came out.  It may have been a previously-unseen segment of that  interview, but
it certainly wasn't current.

> Didn't Weinberger quote from Billboard saying Steve was the star of
> the show--what did he/it say?

I believe it was Mellencamp who said that originally.  They used that  to segue
from the Mellencamp interview, which was first, to the Winwood interview.


From: "Les Jacobson"
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 13:16:55 -0500
Subject: Re: Concert Chat

Yeah, Henley's no earth-shaker (in fact he looked comatose) but the harmonies
on their duet and the way Steve put the song over were outstanding.  I
absolutely agree about Bryan Adams, and I've always liked John Mellencamp
and thought he was very strong.

I also agree with you that Steve started out looking a little strange when he
sang at the organ, and it took a few choruses  for his voice to "warm up."
Maybe it's a bit of a struggle at the organ, where he's got to concentrate on
singing and playing at the same time--especially on unfamiliar tunes.  He
looked much better dueting with Henley at stage front, and I loved how spirited
he got.  I do think he strains sometimes for high notes and can sing a little flat.
This isn't new though; he's always pushed his voice high (listen to Blind Faith
bootlegs).  I wonder at some point why he doesn't simply sing a little lower and
in a different key--especially because he's got a wonderful lower register that he
rarely exploits.

As for looking Stevie Wonder-ish, I'd say Steve looks (and has always looked)
vacant when he sings; even his emotive numbers seem unemotional and painted
on by the numbers.  I don't mean this to sound harsh--the results are still
wonderful--but he's incapable I think of false passion or insincerity, and also
because singing/playing come so (seemingly) easy for him, he can appear
almost mechanical in performance.  I think that's one rap against him in the
mainstream press--that he sometimes "phones it in."

But I did notice the "bug-eyed" look and, combined with the greying temples,
the veiny forehead and the thinning and short hair (someone said it was a lot
longer at the Grammy awards) he appeared almost frail.  The effect was
disconcerting.  I've never thought about Steve Winwood's mortality before (and
have always been thankful I was alive to hear the whole body of his work,
almost from the start, like living in Vienna with Beethoven), but for the first
time you could see an old Steve Winwood. That's why when he powered
through the numbers--one successively better than the next--it was all the more

I liked Shaffer's  explanation about Steve being permitted to sing Gimme Some
Lovin--the garage band anthem--but I think the real reason was that Shaffer
loves and admires him, adores the song and wanted to give him the extra
exposure.  I really think we SW fans owe Shaffer big time for this one.  Did you
notice that Steve's picture was not in the illustrated invitation (I don't think); I
wonder if he wasn't a late addition engineered by Shaffer?  At any rate, we
should be especially vigilant about a Letterman appearance some time in May
or June.

By the way, why didn't you like the use of GSL as a promo--it was a