Alex Shirley traces his involvement with local rock legend Steve Dior as he’s about to come out of hibernation and take the stage of the Fired Up night tomorrow at the Mode Bar/Nightclub
It's summer 2011 and I have arrived at Heathrow and then onto the Ground Floor bar in Portobello Road. My mate Neil is playing guitar with a guy I've hardly heard of, he's been trying to tell me about him but it's all gone through one ear and out the other. All I want is my pint and the rest can go to hell.
So here I am sipping the glass with the jet lag kicking in and slowly I'm paying more attention. Then the band finishes off with song that blows my head off, California Rain whereby he just happens to mention where I've just come from, Ventura. Fate beckons.
Forward a year and Steve is playing the Retro bar with Michael Giri, James Simmins, Neil Anderson (all good friends) and new arrival Elliot Mortimer on keyboards. Now the keyboard player has arrived it's really kicking in, and the audience are dancing till their heads fall off. And the songs, wow, they just won't leave your head.
The last time I saw David M. Allen was at RAK studios when I was working with him on Gianna Nannini, that was over 20 years ago. I was young and certainly naive. I worked with a number of producers and his production style formed quite an impression for me in later life. Now I am at a Members gig in the Retro again and here is Dave. Fate again, I drag him over a few weeks later to see The Steve Dior Band, plead with him that these songs must be documented, and he just nods his head and says 'I get it'. So that was it, we were going to make an album, and for me it was back to the future.. (No tap involved, just the good old days returning).
We finished the album over a year ago, and as albums projects go it was probably one of the most enjoyable albums I've ever worked on, we all poured our hearts into it and it shows. Only later did the blood, sweat and tears arrive, it seems as though giving birth is hard to do.
This is the skinny at my end, I came to regard Steve as a friend, worked on probably the best album I've ever worked on (killer songs, killer band), and better still my friends were in his band (and no coincidence as effectively Neil Anderson brought them into that lineup). Not only that but I was in the presence of somebody whom I regard as a songwriting genius and a performer like no other, and a producer that just gets it. Now Steve is back on the road I guess we better get that disc out and soon. There isn't a week that goes by without somebody asking me about it. And too bloody right....
Alex Shirley 25th November 2014.
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