A Few Minutes With… Steve Katz

May 7th, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg

Steve Katz

Interview and story by Don Wilcock

Steve Katz has been on my wish list to interview for almost half a century. This former Schenectadian returns to Nippertown to play Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday night (May 9), on his 69th birthday. In a recent phone interview I told him his name had cropped up in conversation for decades. Another now deceased Steve Katz was our jam master for years with the Northeast Blues Society, and I felt a little weird talking to him.

“You feel weird talking to me now,” he answered. “Maybe you’re coming down with something.” I knew right then that I was in for a Coney Island roller coaster ride of an interview. And, boy, was I right. Katz has a razor quick wit and an incredibly varied background turning him into Forrest Gump with a Jon Stewart attitude.

As a singer/songwriter he’s been associated with everyone from the Greenwich Village movers and shakers Rev. Gary Davis and Dave Van Ronk to the Blues Project. He wrote hit songs for Blood, Sweat & Tears and produced two of Lou Reed’s career defining albums, Rock and Roll Animal and Sally Can’t Dance. With his band American Flyer he worked with Beatles producer George Martin and helped mold Mercury Records’ catalog during the New Wave-era as one of their vice presidents.

Read the rest of this entry »


LIVE: Steve Katz @ The Linda, 9/7/13

October 1st, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg
Steve Katz (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Steve Katz (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Steve Katz isn’t the first rock-era performer to offer an autobiographical concert. Musicians from Ray Davies to Dionne Warwick to Roger McGuinn, to name just a few, have all served up performances that were equal parts music and memoir. But while each of them were closely associated with a single band (or in Warwick’s case, a single songwriter), Katz’s career has taken him all over the map as a kind of musical Zelig – from jug bands to psychedelic blues to jazz-rock to country rock and beyond.

So his show at The Linda last month offered a considerably wide range of musical styles – or rather, it would have if he’d had additional musical support. But it was a solo show, so Katz shined brightest early on when he was playing his folkier stuff, including the back-to-back opening volley of the saucey jug band gem “Take Your Fingers Off It” (which he recorded with the Even Dozen Jug Band) and the sweet blues “Candy Man” (which, as he explained, he learned first-hand from two different musical masters, Dave Van Ronk and Reverend Gary Davis).

Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Katz Remembers “Teenage Barn”

September 6th, 2013, 12:00 pm by Greg
Steve Katz

Steve Katz

By Greg Haymes

Steve Katz ended up with a long, illustrious and very successful musical career – including a Grammy Award for Album of the Year – but it was almost derailed before it got started.

Back in the 1950s, Schenectady’s Steve Katz was just another local 12 or 13-year-old kid when he began performing on WRGB-TV’s “The Teenage Barn,” a live, half-hour music and variety show that featured the talents of Capital Region teens. Katz sang the hits of the day – songs by the likes of Pat Boone and Frank Sinatra – and he soon became a regular on the show, which aired from 1948-1966.

When the WRGB-TV studios moved from Scotia to Niskayuna in 1957, the producers wanted to make the first “Teenage Barn” from the new studio an extra special event. Katz was invited to perform, and the producers assigned him “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from the movie “State Fair.”

His penchant for procrastination made that night less than grand, however…

Read the rest of this entry »

Five Firsts: Steve Katz

September 4th, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg
Steve Katz

Steve Katz

NAME: Steve Katz
INSTRUMENT: Guitar and Vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WASHugo Winterhalter Plays Great Music Themes of Television (1952)

Read the rest of this entry »

Cartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaHolly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!The Sanctuary For Independent MediaAustralian Cattle Dog Rescue Association