A BRIEF SUMMARYSteve has been a member of The Dixie Grits, The Dixie Dregs (later 'The Dregs'), Steve Morse Band, Kansas, Biff Baby's Allstars and is now the resident chopmeister for that obscure bunch of old pommy gits known as Deep Purple. He has played with all the following bands/artists: Dregs, Deep Purple, Steve Morse Band, Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Albert Lee, John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, Paco De Lucia, Manuel Barrueco, Eddie Van Halen, John Petrucci, Jimmy Herring, Jon Finn, Jerry Peek, Dave LaRue, Van Romain, Rod Morgenstein, Jordan Rudess, Carlos Santana, Narada Michael Walden, Jaco Pastorius....., Steve Vai, Joe Satriani.
THE FIRST YEARSSteve Morse was born on 28th July 1954 in Hamilton OH. He studied at Academy of Richmond County and, later, Aguinas High as well as Augusta College, both in Augusta GA, playing guitar on the side. Worth noting is that he and his brother Dave became local celebrities during the sixties.
While Steve was in the 10th grade at the Richmond Military academy, they gigged occasionally and the lineup included Steve's brother Dave on drums, Andy West on bass, a singer/guitarist by the name of Frank Brittingham, and a keyboard player named Johnny Carr, and they named theirselves Dixie Grits.
THE DIXIE DREGSAfter the breakup of the Dixie Grits - while at the University of Miami, where they were studying in the schools music department, Steve and Andy met up with the superhuman drummer Rod Morgenstein and the nimble fingered ex -Miami Philharmonic violinist Allen Sloan and formed The Dixie Dregs. The band played local bars, mixing Allman Brothers and Mahavishnu Orchestra covers with their own originals until they signed a 3 album deal with Capricorn records in late 1976. This produced the albums 'FreeFall', 'What If' and 'Night Of The Living Dregs'. After this, the band signed with Arista records for three albums, dropping the 'Dixie' from the bands name and becoming 'The Dregs'
The band lineup remained unchanged for the first Demo and 5 albums, with the exception of the Keyboard player. For the final Dregs album 'Industry Standard' violinist Allen Sloan was replaced by Mark O'Connor who was a several time winner of the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship and Nashville's Grand Masters Fiddle Championship.(Mark played guitar live on "Rock And Roll Park" and "Bloodsucking Leeches")
Frank Josephs played keys on 'The Great Spectacular', Steve Davidowski tickled the ivories on 'Freefall', Mark Parrish(A former Dixie Grit) played the keyboards for 'What If' and 'Night Of The Living Dregs' while T Lavitz played on the three albums for Arista Records, 'Dregs Of The Earth' , 'Unsung Heroes' and 'Industry Standard'. By the time 'Industry Standard' came around the band were under pressure to sell more records and even had a couple of vocal tunes on the album. After touring behind this release the band split up, with Andy West becoming involved in the computer Industry and Allen Sloan becoming an Anesthesiologist.(He had already been replaced for the album and subsequent tour by Mark O'Connor). Rod Morgenstein went on to join the 'Steve Morse Band'
The Dregs first reunited briefly in 1988 to re-record 'Take It Off The Top' for an ensoniq promo CD and played a handful of gigs. They were then out of action again until they reformed in 1992 for a tour sponsored by Capricorn records. The lineup this time around included Morse(of course) Rod Morgenstein, Allen Sloan, T Lavitz and Dave LaRue(From The SMB) on bass.
This lineup played 7 gigs together and then at the behest of Capricorn records decided to put out a live album to commemorate the occasion. "Bring 'Em Back Alive" was the album and it showed that the Dixie Dregs had lost none of their old spark. Mixing classic Dregs material with well known cover tunes, this album was a breath of fresh air in a rather bleak musical landscape dominated by the anti technique bands of the time.
In 1994, the incredible musical journey continued a step further with the release of "Full Circle" on Capricorn records. A studio album of all new material + 1 cover tune('Shapes Of Things' by the Yardbirds) this modern sounding version of the Dixie Dregs proved that they still had plenty of tricks up their collective sleeves. The lineup this time around included Steve Morse, Rod Morgenstein, T Lavitz, Dave LaRue and former Mahavishnu Orchestra violin player Jerry Goodman.
The band was fairly quiet again until late 1999 when they played a handful of gigs that were recorded for a live album 'California Screamin'. It featured an extended Dixie Dregs lineup with Morse, Morgenstein and Lavitz playing on every song and Andy West, Dave LaRue, Allen Sloan and Jerry Goodman rotating throughout the album.
The Dixie Dregs are continuing to tour from time to time but according to Steve they won't ever be doing another studio album.
THE STEVE MORSE BANDAfter the breakup of 'The Dregs' Steve formed the inventively named 'Steve Morse Band' in 1983 with 2 relative unknowns - Doug Morgan on drums and a young hotshot bass player by the name of Jerry Peek.
Morgan and Peek both came from a band called 3PM. Several gigs were played with Morgan on Drums (a few bootlegs of this lineup exist) but Morgan was soon replaced by Dregs mainstay Rod Morgenstein.
After a period of touring and rehearsals the new group recorded their first album 'The Introduction' in 1984. Featuring a more guitar heavy approach than The Dregs( a fact necessitated by being a three piece) 'The Introduction' was a masterwork of heavy rock guitar with elements of country, jazz, blues and classical thrown in for good measure. The following year, the group recorded 'Stand Up', a commercial sounding record with a variety of guests and even some vocal oriented tunes. After touring behind this album the first version of 'The Steve Morse Band' broke up, with Morgenstein going on to join glammy pop-metal poodlehairs 'Winger' and Steve going on to join Kansas. (After which he temporarily quit the music business)
In 1989 Steve returned to the music industry full time, recording his first solo album 'High Tension Wires'. This album featured solo Morse with occasional help from his old SMB and Dregs chums. He enlisted jaw dropping bass player DaveLaRue and the amazing drummer Van Romaine to tour with, and these two subsequently became full time members for the new incarnation of the 'Steve Morse Band'.
This, the latest version of the 'Steve Morse Band' is still active today and to date has produced five very fine albums. The sound is much more polished and even more guitar based than the first 'SMB' lineup, with layered guitars left, right and centre as well as a' heavier' sound. Steve still leads the band off on tangents occasionally with country and classical pieces, but overall they are less stylistically diverse than The Dregs. This doesn't make them any less exciting however. With enough intricate playing to satisfy the most ardent technique freak and a 'rhythm' section as dynamic as this one, Steve has never sounded so good.
Rumour has it the Steve Morse Band will be recording a new album some time in 2001. (Only 5 years since the last one!!)
BIFF BABY'S ALLSTARSThis band was put together in the early 80's as a vehicle to promote MusicMan guitars and it featured their roster of hotshot guitarists at various times.
When they came to Australia the lineup included Steve Morse and Albert Lee but has at other times included Steve Lukather(a regular along with Morse and Lee) and even Eddie Van Halen at one stage (Apparently miffed that he wasn't asked to jam, Van Halen insisted that he would jam with them and proceeded to embarass himself in such stellar guitar company that it was his one and only jam with them.) Sterling Ball provided the drunken bass playing antics with John Ferraro on drums, Jim Cox on keyboards and a host of session musicians rounding out this playful jamming group..
Current versions of this all star band have included Vinnie Moore and John Petrucci.
When I saw them they were performing mostly Alberts tunes, with Albert on vocals. They did however do a couple of old classics as well as Steve Morse getting an unaccompanied solo spot. They never recorded anything unfortunately, which was a shame as it was great to hear Steve and Albert trading licks all night..
KANSASSteve joined this band back in late 1985 and performed on the album 'Power' as well as being involved in the tour.. After this tour Steve decided he was sick of the music business and removed his long hair to become a pilot for a regional airline. He did however contribute to various sessions during this period as well as playing on 'In The Spirit Of Things' a 1988 release by Kansas. Kansas broke up briefly after this album was released but reformed for a tour a short while later(without Steve Morse). After touring for a while Morse was added to the band again for a brief tour in 1989 which resulted in the much heralded bootleg "Down The Road" as well as a recently released live album on King Biscuit records. He also toured for a couple of months at the start of 1991 with Kansas before leaving for good to concentrate on the recently formed new version of the Steve Morse Band.
DEEP PURPLESteve joined this classic rock band in 1995 after Ritchie Blackmore buggered off yet again. It was a great move for Deep Purple as Steve has definitely rejuvenated their sound and breathed some life back into a dying beast. Listen to Deep Purples efforts in the 6 or 7 years before Steve joined and compare them to the two albums with Steve for an example of this(Anyone Remember 'Slaves And Masters? ha, ha)' .
Steve also has made a great difference to the live sound of the band, managing to convey a great sense of enthusiams and fun to proceedings. Although having said that it does get a bit boring as the less intricate song writing of Deep Purple doesn't stand up to repeated listens too well.
Steve is currently in the process of making another album with Deep Purple and continues to tour with them to this day.
See The Links page for more Deep Purple.
Borrowed with Permission from the Steve Morse / Dixie Dregs Tribute Site http://members.tripod.com/~godsize1/frames.htm