I started playing Music seriously when I was 18 years old. While in college in Gainesville Florida I met John Vilardo who was the first person that I ever jammed with. At that same period I had a new roommate by the name of Ben Andrews. Ben was a country blues ragtime guitarist from Washington, DC. Ben turned me on to the great country bluesmen like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, and Leadbelly just to name a few. When I first heardLeadbelly it seemed my whole life changed. Ben really was my first big influence into the blues. He showed me how to fingerpick and got me into playing bass. Another person from Gainesville and an early influence was Barrelhouse Chuck. Chuck had a large record collection and was playing in theRobert Hunter Blues Band. Robert Hunter was a blind saxophone player who hadworked with Bobby “Blue” Bland in the sixties. Eventually Chuck moved out toSeattle and Ben and I formed another band to back up Robert Hunter. The same year Bo Diddley moved to Gainesville from New Mexico and the Robert Hunter Band ended up backing Bo Diddley.
|Steve with Bo|
Arvey eventually returned to Chicago, where he worked as a sideman on the Chicago Blues scene playing bass guitar, guitar, and drums behind such Blues Legends as Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Big Smokey Smothers, Homesick James,Andrew Brown, Lefty Dizz, Big Moose Walker, BB Big Voice Odum, Detroit Jr,Lovie Lee, Carey Bell, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr, Frank Frost, Lester Davenport. Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay, Eddie Clearwater, Sugar Blue, Abb Locke, HipLinkchain, Sammy Lawhorn, Jr Wells, Sammy Fender and others.
Then Arvey formed a band called West Side Heat and Released his first Album. Theband was very active between 1981-1991 and toured all over the world,sometimes backing up Notable blues artists. The Highlight of the Group was their Performance on The Crossroads Stage at the 1990 Chicago Blues Festival.
I guess I just got burned out on that after a while, and shortly after the band quit, I started up with Kraig, Arvey said. We would basically go and play acoustic sets all day at Blues Fests, and on the streets.
While I really like playing on the Crossroads stage and all, it was justa lot more fun to be on the street. It’s a lot more relaxed atmosphere.
In that time period, Arvey was also approached by the publicists for theIrish beer, Harp Lager. And while he had never performed Irish music, hetook the opportunity to perform for them.
It was sort of unfortunate at first, because they told me they didn’t reallywant someone to play Irish ballads and slow songs, and I had told themI didn’t play Irish music, Arvey said. But then when I showed up at theclubs they sent me to, the people were shocked, and wondered where theIrish band was.
So I went to the Old Town School of Folk Music, and totally immersed myselfin everything I could. I found all these folk guys, like (Tommy) Makemand Tommy Clancy, and I really fell in love with it. Steve spent two years performing Blues, Rock, and Irish music, sponsored by Harp, at almost 150 dates a year at clubs throughout the Chicagoland area.
Steve is again playing the Blues and Rock music!