January , 1983
By David Huff
Steel Breeze Going through a Mid-Band Crisis
Imagine you are a local group of five musicians that have gained a bit of notoriety in your home town because of a hot single you released with your own money that has become the No. 1 requested song in town.
Now try to imagine that in less than a year, you are going to be opening for legendary group called The Who that began playing music when your entire band was merely eight years old.
Now realize that you really are a band and you have signed with a major label, RCA, and you have one of the hottest singles in the country called “You Don’t Want Me Anymore,” one of the strongest debut albums ever released, and that you opened for your boyhood idols, not once, but twice. Oh yes, the name of your band is on the lips hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
Welcome to Steel Breeze back to earth from the lofty perch of cloud nine they once occupied.
“It’s pretty exciting what’s happening to us right now,” commented guitarist Waylon Carpenter as a myriad of RCA reps scamper into the band’s dressing room to congratulate the group for a job well-done opening for The Who at the venerable Cotton Bowl in Dallas that also featured Billy Squier on the bill.
“I consider us very fortunate to be here,” he continued, “since we only have one record out, and it has only been in stores for about four months.
Life moves quickly in the music business when you are a hot commodity. Steel Breeze is finding that out. A year ago, they were just another struggling local band in Sacramento, California opening for most of the major rock groups that toured the area. Today, they are headlining small clubs up and down the East Coast as they gradually make their way out West in support of their debut.
“Our hit single,” explained keyboardist Rick Toner, “that’s actually the fifth time it has been released. Fortunately, the last time it became a nationwide hit for us. A lot of times, I have wondered why it has taken us so long to get to the position we are in right now. But when you break it down, Steel Heart has the right people in it. Since I joined the band seven years ago, we have gone through 31 people and a dozen lead singers.”
Steel Breeze’s current smash, “You Don’t Want Me Anymore” has done more for this band than they could ever imagine, but the members still feel they are suffering an identity crisis.
“The whole idea behind us headlining small clubs,” said vocalist Rick Jacobs, “is simple. When people hear our hit song, they usually follow it up with the question, ‘Who does it?’ We’re touring from coast to coast so that when people hear us perform ‘You Don’t Want Me Anymore’, they will connect the name Steel Breeze with the song. ”
With the band redoubling its efforts to get the word out about Steel Breeze, they see it paying off at various concert venues across the country.
“We realize,” said Toner, “you have to have more than one hit song to have any sort of credibility. Yes the band has gotten a lot of national exposure and credibility because of the song, but we don’t want to end up being some sort of one-hit wonders. That can create an identity crisis within a band and literally break you up.
“We figure that breaking ground now with our own tour will not only solidify the band, but prepare us for the road ahead. This will give us the opportunity to establish a connection with real fans of the band that will hopefully result in more exposure on down the road. When you have people calling in to radio stations requesting your music, it’s the only way you’re going to be remembered, especially with all the music that’s out here today. “