Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Hunter on Classic Sessions: Going Professional, Part I

Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Hunter on Classic Sessions: Going Professional, Part I

Article excerpt

I THOUGHT I MIGHT GO A little off topic this month, just to give you a little history as to how it all began for me-- at least professionally. And, in next month's column, I'll fill you in on what it was like the first time I was in an actual recording studio environment.

Not long after my discharge from the Army in January 1970, I began playing in a number of local bands in my hometown of Decatur, Illinois. I knew I had to do that in order to figure out how to become a musician. One of my favorites was a band called the Light Brigade. I think it was a pretty good band, and we had a lot of fun, although we didn't make a lot of money. I got a phone call one day from a friend of mine--a great bass player named John Sauter--who told me he was with a band called Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder. Of course, I knew who Mitch Ryder was--I was a huge fan of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. He said they were auditioning guitar players, and that I ought to come up to Detroit and give it a go. My gut told me this was a chance of a lifetime, so I threw my Gibson SG into the back seat of my beat-up Ford Falcon, and I hit the road for the six-hour journey to the Motor City. (Throughout my career, I've learned to rely heavily on my gut, and it has never let me down.)

I arrived at a condemned building on Cass Avenue near downtown Detroit. It was in a not-so-good neighborhood, and I really thought I had come to the wrong place, but the door was open, so I went in. As I was climbing the stairs of this cold and dreary building, I started hearing people talking. As there were no cell phones back then, I arrived unannounced. There was a lot of activity, and I later found out this was the headquarters of Creem Magazine. I told somebody who I was and why I was there with a guitar in my hand. That somebody made a couple of phone calls and came back to inform me that Mitch, Johnny Bee (the original drummer for the Detroit Wheels), and my friend John Sauter would all be in the building for rehearsals in a couple of hours. …

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