steffan may




1. What the heck kind of music is this anyway?

"It's music...either it's good or it's bad...either you like it or you don't!"

   - Gram Parsons.  (Interview from Gram Parsons: Complete Reprise Sessions)


2. Country, alternative country, country-rock, bluegrass, new-grass, jam-grass, Americana… What does it all mean?


Good question, Billy.  I came up with a few new genres myself under the broad category of “Americana."  I’m not certain, but it's quite possible that I may be the first person to categorize these rare and notoriously evasive genres.)





Seriously though, does this seem like it's getting a little silly?  My favorite bands are those that try to play good songs first, and worry about genre second.


I like G. Parsons’ description:  Cosmic American Music


For an intriguing theory on how modern music is devolving into "mono-genre" and "micro-genre" (which includes how popular music genres are coalescing into one super-blob of mediocrity and awfulness), check out this link to a great site,


3. What is country rock?

For a fascinating and detailed historical review, I highly recommend reading:

Are You Ready For The Country?
Elvis, Dylan, Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

By Peter Doggett


4. FYF…  Who, What, When, Where, Why?


Who:  I wrote all the songs except “E. Rose”, written by a great friend and great musician/songwriter, Jerry Ater, who plays in a band called “Tito and the Man” in Austin, TX.  I played, sang, and recorded all the parts.  My brother, Ken, helped with the mixing.  Chris Cunningham (Basecamp Recording, Bozeman, MT) helped with mixing, produced, mastered, and sprinkled cosmic American dust on the whole thing.  I designed the artwork and Chris Cunningham helped out a ton with getting it formatted.


What:  Recording was done in basements and bedrooms with an 8 track digital recorder from 2001 (Boss BR 1180) and a single condenser mic.  80 minutes, 20 songs, 2 parts, 1 album, lots of blood, sweat, blisters, long interruptions due to my day job, and expletives when I screwed up parts at the very end. 


When:  Most songs were written around 2003 to 2004.  Some long ago, when I was first learning to play guitar.  Others more recently.


Where:  The vast majority was written and recorded in Columbus, Ohio. Some of the songs were written a long time ago in Dayton or Boston or Austin.  Parts were recorded in Bozeman, Montana, where the tracks were mixed and mastered.


Why:  Why not? Some people play video games, some lift weights.  I love music.  For me, writing songs and playing music is one of the most enjoyable ways to waste time.   


5. Why is your album labeled 'explicit?' Do I need to be concerned?

There are two songs on FYF that contain a single use in each of the dreaded F-word; track 15 (Wear It Like a Hat) and track 17 (Braver Than Yer Thinkin). After careful consideration, there was simply not another word in the English language to convey the intended effect in either of these songs, so I used it. If you find the dreaded F-word to be offensive, do not listen to tracks 15 or 17. The rest of FYF is clean as a whistle and appropriate for all ages.


6. Why country and bluegrass music?


From a lover of many musical genres, I wonder what makes someone embrace one genre over the others?  I think it might have something to do with robots.


7. I notice in a lot of your songs, the concept of opposites is present.  What’s the deal with that?


It has always been interesting to me that the same entity can have two dichotomous aspects. Especially with entities that have free will. One aspect can’t exist without, and is actually defined by, its opposite. Weird. 


8. Why two parts to ‘Forget Yer Face’?


Three parts didn’t make as much sense. 


Forget Yer Face has been about 10 years in the making.  Forget Yer Face and Cosmic American Heritage (labeled Part A and Part B) can be thought of as companion albums, something like American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead by the Grateful Dead, and Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages by Willie Nelson.  They are meant to compliment and contrast each other.


9. I heard the word “Jesus” several times on this album?  Is ‘Forget Yer Face’ Christian Rock?


If Christian Rock = D.C. Talk, Lifehouse

     Then: No

If Christian Rock = Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley, Gram Parsons, The Grateful Dead

     Then: Yes


10. Sometimes it seems like there are deeper meanings to some of these songs. Tell me... is it the surface meaning that is closest to what you intended, or is the surface meaning just a symbol for another more fundamental concept?




11. Who describes the human condition more completely, the artist/philosopher or the mathmetician/scientist?




12. ‘Forget Yer Face’ has 20 songs. Don’t you think that’s a bit much?




13. This is getting stupid.






Clarification about "Nashville."  For the purposes of this paragraph, Nashville = large record companies that produce and promote popular country music.  Nashville (the City) remains a vibrant source of authentic country music, along with other music towns like Austin, TX and Asheville, NC.


“I should have known better, should have known that the two Godfathers of modern country music know a little bit better than I do what they are capable of, what they want to do, and what they think country music needs.  What country music needs right now, I decided the minute I heard this album, IS this album.  Some of the stuff that's passing for country music these days - no names needed, you and they know who they are - is nothing but a disgrace. I humbly submit that the world needs a lot more of Willie and Waylon right now and a whole lot less of the other crap.” 


--Chet Flippo, Associate Editor, Rolling Stone Magazine, regarding the "Waylon and Willie" album, released 1978


Nashville, you’re no different from any of your fellow music industry comrades (rock, metal, hip-hop, on and on)...but shame on you for bowing to show over substance.  Don’t you understand that if it’s good, people will listen to it?..and even buy it!  Even if it’s not being performed by a boy-band with frosted tips.




Thanks for wastin me yer time:

Rachel, my Mom, Dad, Brother and extended family.  SQ Pup (RIP).  All the musicians I’ve played with.  Anyone who has listened to my music, recorded or in person.  All the musicians who keep at it and give us something to listen to.  The Not-Quites and the Long-Gones.  




The red-winged blackbird has been a symbol for me of leaving the city and entering the country.

"Are you ready for the country, cause it’s time to go!" -Neil Young