Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rock Veteran Sheds Some Blood, Etc

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rock Veteran Sheds Some Blood, Etc

Article excerpt

As a founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, guitarist Steve Katz helped launch a new sound in the late 1960s and early 1970s that fused rock with horns and jazz arrangements, as heard on standout tracks like "Sometimes in Winter," "Spinning Wheel" and "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know."

Blood, Sweat & Tears' unique instrumentation appealed to a wide demographic. The band topped the charts twice and won a Grammy Award for album of the year for its self-titled, 1968 sophomore effort.

Katz, a New York native who began his career as a folk musician, chronicles his years before, during and after Blood, Sweat & Tears in his new book, "Blood, Sweat, and My Rock 'n' Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?" Katz, who also played with the Blues Project and American Flyer and produced albums by Lou Reed and others, will sign copies of his biography on Saturday in Ridgewood.

Q. You got your start playing folk and blues. What drew you to those genres of music?

I started out as a folkie and playing acoustic guitar. That's why I would go into Greenwich Village and then took lessons from [noted folk singer-guitarist] Dave Van Ronk. I became interested in blues from going to a record store and seeing a Robert Johnson album with old recordings from the 1930s. I thought, 'This is pretty interesting.' That opened up a whole new world.

Q. When you started Blood, Sweat, & Tears and decided to build upon a rock foundation with jazz horns, did you have any doubts in the back of your mind whether it would work?

I thought it was going to work and I was really excited about it. The first time that I was singing and the horns came in, it was a great feeling. I didn't expect to have any hit records. I just knew that what we were doing was good. I wanted it to be good and commercial as well. I thought, and still do, that there's nothing wrong with commercial music. …

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