of San Francisco, California, the Zip Records imprint is laying down
some mighty fine pop / power pop style discs of late. Back in the
90s (remember then?) Oglio Records released several CDs including
reissues from the power pop group 20/20 featuring guitar ace and singer-songwriter
Steve Allen. So, its taken a while but Allen reappears
as if by pop magic with a fine solo album called Thinline.
He names the ten track CD after the Fender Tele style guitar he
bought new in 1972. Anyway, the album is really fine. Nine toe-tapping,
road-running pop jewels that linger long are offset by a pair of cool
instrumental tracks that mix rock, prog and soundtrack soundsone
called Oklahoma Sky and another "Crawlin Back Up."
No offense to Sir Paul, but he could learn a trick or two from our
man Steve, who not only plays outstanding electric lead guitars and
most of the instruments but has recorded the whole thing quite impeccably.
That said, Allen employs some fine backing players, like three bass
playing cohortsBrad Jones, Allens former 20/20
bandmate Ron Flynt and Springsteen bassist Gary Tallentalong
with a bunch of drummers. Commenting on the album Steve adds, I
wanted this record to have tighter songs and to feature more of my
guitar playing. It was written and recorded over a few years and when
it came time to look for a title, that guitar tied it all together.
WEB EXPRESS 3000
presents STEVE ALLEN
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
I got my first guitar when I turned 12 back in 64 after the
English Invasion hit. It was an old brown Silvertone U1. I could not
wait to learn how to play! I went to my first group lesson at the
Guitar House in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the teacher was a really cool
guy who turned out to be Eldon Shamblin one of the worlds greatest
rhythm guitarists and my mentor.
We learned from Albert's Basic Guitar Book but Eldon showed me a lot
of jazz standards like "Misty" and I also spent a lot of
time trying to learn from records. The day I learned "Day Tripper"
by myself was huge. The family got a piano soon after and I would
take my guitar knowledge and learn piano chords. That led to being
in various garage bands until I went to college to study music theory
and began playing the bar band circuit 6 nights a week. After my first
year of college I bought a Fender Telecaster Thinline new in '72.
The band I played in the most, Sweet Virginia, began doing some of
my originals. Then I was in a art rock band called Mondo Combo and
we did lots of recording demos. Ready to chase the big dream and having
played all over the state, I did the Okie move to Los Angeles in '78
and soon after formed the band 20/20 with my musical partner from
the sixth grade, Ron Flynt.
The new record is called Thinline after the Fender I bought
back in '72. It's got a lot of character and miles on it. Also, there's
a thinline between many things. That guitar seemed like the glue of
to Nashville from LA back in '92 and opened a studio in the basement
to produce other artists, do production music, and make my own records.
My first solo record In + Out Of The Light was released in
2001. Thinline came out in January of 2010, this year. I chose
songs I had written over the last few years. I wanted to play most
of the instruments myself on this one. I played all guitars and keyboards
and even drums on two tracks. Bill Lloyd, my partner in the Longplayers
here in Nashville played some crazy guitar with me on "No More
War". Garry Tallent from E Street Band and the Longplayers played
bass on a few, Ron Flynt my sixth grade 20/20 partner played on a
few, and Brad Jones on the rest. Paul Griffith, Steve Ebe, Rick Schell
played the drums. All worldclass players. Nashville has some amazing
I recorded the record on ProTools here in my basement and mixed it
in the box as they say. With this record I wanted to let the guitar
stretch out some but still keep tight song writing.
Art Herman with Zip Records in San Francisco wanted to release the
record and I'm eternally grateful. It was mastered at Yes Master here
in Nashville by Jim Demain.
main instruments I played on this record are the '72 Telecaster Thinline,
a 70's Martin D-35, and a Wurlitzer electric piano. I mainly used
a '64 blackface Deluxe Fender amp. I've collected a ton of pedals
over the years but the main ones are the boss tuner, echo, and bluesdriver.
I also use a new one by ZVex
called the box of rock, a Line 6 echo, a Memory Man, a small stone,
a fat-boost, and too many others to list them all. I use Daddario
strings on electric 9, 11, 16, etc.
At this time I'm playing a 2006 Goldtop Les Paul an awful lot. It's
so solid. I also use an SG Jr., a Jimmy Vaughn Strat, a Traveling
Wilburys guitar, a Silvertone U1, a Jerry Jones 12 String, a '67 Hofner
bass, a Fender classical, and a few other guitars. How many guitars
does a guitar player need? Just one more.
I bought a '65 Bandmaster head that never quite worked right and I
just got it fixed up by Kye Kennedy and it is a jewel. I had a 2-12
Fender cabinet and I just put two Vintage 30's in it yesterday. Love
that big sound. I also use a Marshall JCM 800 50 watt amp.
Well I always loved lots of different kinds of music and some
of my first records were by Dion and the Ventures in the
early 60's when I was around 7 years old. Then the Beatles and the
English Invasion hit and it had a deep and profound effect on me.
Those years from '64 to '70 are still unbeatable. Throw in Eric Clapton
with Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck,
the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, it's freakin' amazing. I must
mention Bob Dylan. Of course the 70's had Bob Marley, Neil Young,
David Bowie, Mark Knopfler with Dire Straits and a lot of cool stuff
that all influenced me. Then the late 70's and the new energy of the
New York scene and the English scene and I was lucky enough to be
part of in the LA scene with 20/20.
Some favorite albums would be all the Beatles records, esp. the Beatles
white album for some reason, Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland,
Cream's Disraeli Gears, Who's Next, Beggars Banquet
by the Stones and so many others from that time. I was also really
influenced by Roy Buchanan's second album in the early 70's. What
a guitar player. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still one of
the best. Just heard two tracks from their new album, Mojo and they
Thinline just came out and I hope to do some shows playing
those songs this year. I actually play quite a bit live with the Longplayers
here in Nashville and Mystery Trip, a Beatles band. I also play with
other artists like Steve Forbert, Jonell Mosser, a Native American
artist Arvel Bird, and others. I have a band called Agent 86 that
plays a few weeks a year down in Key West. And every so often 20/20
gets together again. We played in Japan for the first time in 2009.
It's great to play with someone who you first learned how to play
with in the sixth grade, that being Ron Flynt. Also, 20/20 is putting
out a vinyl and CD release of unreleased songs and demos later this
year. I always play on a variety of sessions here in Nashville. I
love music and the guitar and I'm very lucky to get to do that for