Memories of a Legend.
Thoughts and comments from other people & sources about Steve in their own words.
“Def Leppard’s Steve Clark once said something to me that to this day has helped me as both a player and an educator. In talking about the development of one’s style, he suggested, “Rather than copy the fashionable hero of the moment, find out where his influences come from and start from there. Then put in your own ideas and bring it up to today’s standards.”
From an interview with Tony Iommi & Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) from May 94 issue of Guitar for the Practicing Musician.
- [On Retroactive] “Overall, this is an interesting release which marks the end of a long chapter in the band’s history, following the death of guitarist and guiding force Steve Clark. While casual fans might find it confusing, Leppard fanatics will revel in its diversity and informative liner notes.”From the AMG by Ed Rivadavia.
“[Phil] Collen joined after the sacking of original guitarist Pete Willis in 1982 during the Hysteria [actually the Pyromania] sessions, and the former member of the NWOBHM also-rans Lucy and Girl quickly formed a solid relationship with original guitarist Steve Clark, always the blues-based ice to Collen’s technique-strong fire (singer Joe Elliott presumably the lukewarm water)…”
“…the enigmatic Clark, easily the coolest man to have ever wielded a Gibson Firebird in anger…”
From an interview with Phil Collen from Guitarist magazine – June 2002.
“I last went to see them [Def Leppard] at Leeds and I couldn’t take my eyes off Steve all night, because he looked so great on stage. I switched to Gibson Les Paul guitars after seeing him.”
From Metal Hammer magazine, Jan 28 – Feb 10 1991.
- Origin & MeaningMale, English, Biblical, Pronounced: STEEV-en
STEPHEN: Steven, Steve.
From the Greek name Stephanos which means “crown”. Saint Stephen was an early Christian martyr who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. Another Saint Stephen is the patron saint of Hungary, the first Christian king of that country (10th century). As well, this was the name of kings of England. [as in King Stephen Maynard Clark perhaps…]
- Collectible photo cardSTEVE CLARK: A founding member [of Def Leppard]from Sheffield (where he was also a lathe operator), Steve has been the group’s musical backbone since inception. His guitar pyrotechnics have earned him the name “Steamin’.” He splits the lead guitar chores with Phil Collen. Steve also co-wrote nine of the ten songs on “Pyromania”.
From a collectible photo card published by Freezz Frame in 1984.
- TeslaTheir cover of the Five Man Electrical Band song “Signs” became their second top-10 hit and helped solidify Tesla as a top rock act. The next album “Psychotic Supper” was followed by a headlining tour and included the song “Song and Emotion” in tribute to Def Leppard’s guitarist Steve “Steamin’” Clark who had died after years of substance abuse.“It was devastating,” Tommy recalls. “Steve was really one of the main focuses for me. From their first record on, he was a f**kin’ rock star, with the attitude and everything. And I like playing guitar and being creative, but I also dig the attitude of the rock star trip. Not being an asshole or any of that stereotypical thing, but just some kind of suave coolness, and Steve had it. We were really bummed out, so we wrote that song.”
From an interview with Tommy Skeoch – Music Morsels October 2001.
- Def Leppard“He is pretty unique and I’ve learnt a lot from playing with him, especially on the second guitar thing ‘cos we do a lot of harmony chords and things. With other bands I’ve been in, the chord stuff was really basic, but with him it’s anything but that. He taught me a lot about chord progressions, inversions and that sort of thing. He’s great at orchestrating chords and it’s a real pleasure to be in a band with him.”
From Guitarist magazine interview 1988
- A-Z of 80’s GuitaristsCLARK, STEVE: Moreso than even vocalist Joe Elliott, it was Clark who defined the Def Leppard ideal for a majority of fans. Having been with the band from its well-documented school-daze, all the way to stadium-toppling success, his tragic death was a shocker to all.
From December 1998 issue of Guitarist magazine.
- 101 Unsung Guitar HeroesSTEVE CLARK (Def Leppard): Unsung as much as a songwriter as a player, the hard-living Clark lent early Leppard some great riffs as well as punchy, economical solos. He tragically died in 1991, aged just 30.
Guitarist pick: Pyromania (1983)
You say: ‘Always melodic, and packed with feel and tone. Def Leppard lost their edge when he was gone.’ – Jonathan Bradbeer
From October 2004 issue of Guitarist magazine
- Dave Bower & Bryan Dray:
If Willis was unsure of Clark’s value to the band, Joe Elliott had no such reservations. A couple of days after his meeting with Willis, Clark bumped into the two of them in the bar of the City Hall prior to a Judas Priest gig. Following Joe’s rather warmer encouragement and impressed by his hopes and dreams for Def Leppard, within a matter of days, on 29 January, Steve was rehearsing with them. Almost at once he became an integral part of the band, sharing their vision of a glorious future together
We’re forced to return again and again to this incredible self-belief that surrounded Def Leppard, a belief that far outstripped their ability as musicians. They worked tirelessly, trying to play some numbers of their own, always ready to fall back on the classics for a little relief, but as 1978 wore on, rehearsals began to become stale and musical progress was painfully slow. Steve had been in a number of groups that had talked a good game but then failed to do anything about it and it was starting to dawn on him that perhaps Leppard were just another in the long line of time wasters.
By the end of June he had had enough and taking refuge in the Dutch courage offered by several pints of bitter, he told the band that if they didn’t start looking for gigs, then he was leaving.
This came as something of a bombshell to the rest of the band who had been content simply to work hard in practice. Joe admitted that ‘I panicked because I knew if Steve left, it could be the end of the band’. Less naturally gifted performers than Clark, they were understandably nervous about making the next leap forward onto the concert stage and there was a general feeling that they weren’t ready yet, having been together for just a few months. Steve’s decision to quit backed them into a corner and, despite their individual anxieties, they realised that they couldn’t take the risk of him leaving the group for he was beginning to show promise as a songwriter too.
Clark’s game of Russian roulette had paid off and on 18th July, DefLeppard played their first ever concert.
- Dave Bower & Bryan DrayThe other three tracks on High n Dry were especially important, each in their own distinctive fashion. Steve Clark’s ‘Switch 625’ made it clear that here was a guitarist and writer of real distinction. Although it didn’t really fit into the overall concept of the album, it demanded inclusion. The lead guitar line was excellent and the track
could have been taken from the soundtrack to a European thriller. It was clear that Leppard’s horizons really were broadening.
- Dave Bower & Bryan DrayEqually interesting was Steve Clark’s “Gods Of War”. Musically, in similar territory to Switch 625 at times, the brooding introduction and spellbinding guitar figure made it clear that here was a more mature work, dark and intense. The anti-war statement ‘Why are we fighting?’ was scarcely new, but it’s a sentiment that bears repetition. The song marked Clark’s emergence as a major writer and offered such promise for the future, promise that would never be fulfilled.From “Two Steps Ahead” unofficial biography of Def Leppard by Dave Bower & Bryan Dray.
- Def Leppard“All of his [Steve’s] song writing things, really, just the way he done the versions of chords and stuff, it was not typical of all the other rock guitarists – it was defiantly unique to see. It was different things, it was very different. I have played with a lot of different guitar players, go and jam, there’s a certain amount of thing they all kinda blend in.But Steve had something that was different, and that was really cool. That you can really hear in the songs, especially, more than anything, Pyromania and Hysteria. I remember when I joined the band, I was like, they said go have a listen to this and learn this stuff. I was like WOW, I never heard anything like that.”
From a Q & A session with Brooks Burton of Brooks Guitar World 2004. (Thanks to Brooks) http://www.brooksguitarworld.com/questionstophil.html
- Queen“And Steve Clark, for God’s sake! He’s the originator of riffs, you know. He’s the lynch pin, you know, he’s one of the great writers and riff-makers of our generation…”From Brian May’s speech when Def Leppard were inducted into Hollywood’s Rock Walk on Sunset Boulevard, CA in Sept 2000.