STEVE BLANCO | BIO
WELCOME! To my web presence area that my friends (James, Louis, & Neal) told me I would need some years ago when i thought “Who gives a shit about the internet?” It turned out they were correct, and I thank them for purchasing my domaine name back then. My musical journey has been intense thus far. I’ve worked with so many incredibly creative people. I don’t participate in any scenes. I DO NOT KISS ASS. I don’t care for compartmentalized genre-specific simple mindedness. I’m equally at home listening to a Bach partita, a Thelonious Monk album, a Ligeti string quartet, a Black Sabbath album, music from Portal, Moroccan belly dance music, Bill Evans – You get the idea. I like all good music that isn’t some pussy shit, and as long as it is coming from a genuine place. I do appreciate musicians who practice, too. I did my time (And am still doing), so laziness isn’t in my life plan. DON’T BULLSHIT ME! If you have something to say, then I’ll probably like it.
I’m also a huge fan of great filmmaking. I’m talking about Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Godard, etc.. Beautiful and SINISTER shit. I’m talking about Taxi Driver, Sunset Boulevard, Persona, Mulholland Drive, Three Women, Bullit, 2001, etc.. I’m talking about shit one actually needs an attention span for. I spent much time as a filmmaker, making short films on super 8, 16, super 16, and HD. I recently watched a 35mm print of a film I was playing live score to, and realized how fucking shitty HD really looks. I’ve been dumbed down to the pursuit of digital garbage.
This is my real (long-winded) bio. Feel free to scroll down for the formal bio.
I am forever indebted to my dad Joe Blanco (RIP 2002) for exposing me to the greatest force I have ever known – MUSIC, which has allowed me to have a wider comprehension of this existence and universal expansion.
IN THE BEGINNING
I’ve been playing music as long as I can remember, with my earliest memory of listening being Stravinsky’s “The Rite Of Spring”, from a record my father had. That music scared the shit out of me at age 4 or 5, but I couldn’t stop listening to it. It was so powerful, imaginative, and downright fucking cool! I would put it on every chance I had, and I listened to it loudly. To this day, I consider it to be the biggest influence & ultimate music school. It is probably still my favorite music. My father had an organ in the house growing up, located in the suburbs of New York City. I would mess around on the organ all the time, and I learned the notes, etc… At age 9 I chose to play the trumpet in school. Thank the gods my school had a music program. I feel sorry for people that don’t. I stayed with it into my sophomore year in High School.
Sometime around age TWELVE, I began playing keyboards. I had all kinds of tape recorders, boom boxes, and other music devices hooked up so that I could multitrack (before I knew what that was), and I would do my own versions pop songs I heard on the radio, as well as improvise and create sounds. My first pro (Thank you dad for buying it) keyboard was an Ensoniq ESQ-1. A very interesting FM synthesis board made in Pennsylvania USA. I grew up post-analog so I didn’t get to the good shit until later in life. This electronic sound manipulation seemed other-worldly, and I couldn’t get enough. Keyboards would become the apex of my musical journey, and eventually the piano. I’ll get to that.
At age THIRTEEN I decided I wanted to play the drums. I begged my mother for some kind of drum set, and she supportively agreed. Thank you to my beautiful mom for seeing value in music, and understanding that some things in life are far more important than the tangible, material – world, left for the dying in loserville. The DRUMS took me into more realms of music than I ever thought possible. I still consider myself a drummer first, and it will always be my first love. Playing drums is an entirely different level of the shed; A spiritual beast of utmost present-moment-existence experience. I discovered so much music. Loud music, with balls. Beautiful, loud music with bravado, intensity, and the sound of my life. All paths lead to making a Rock band. I liked loud, heavy, progressive Rock. I liked metal. I liked so much music. I miss those days of discovery, and enlightenment. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things to do in this life is form & keep a Rock band. Or any band, for that matter!
After practicing my ass off on the drums for some years, I found myself attracted to the sophisticated styles of Jazz. This turned into a decade long journey of intense listening and study. Now in my late teens, (Most went off to college to party and fuck around on their parents’ dime), I was working many different shit jobs, renting shitty rooms in different houses, and quickly realizing that my days of drumming were numbered. I had no place to play, and the police started showing up due to noise complaints. My life at that time wasn’t working with drums. I stuck it out until my early twenties. So many Jazz records were now in my head, along with Glenn Gould, and a shit ton of Classical recordings. The piano was becoming a primary source of listening enjoyment. Goddamn Gould, Monk, Evans, Mingus, Miles, Trane! Shit was so good. Shit was deep. I couldn’t get enough.
While living in a rather large room somewhere in West Nyack NY, I inherited a piano from my boss at a bookstore I was working at. I spent a year teaching myself (like a baby in nursery school) to play this magnificent beast. Quickly realizing I would need some help to speed the process up, I began seeking out private lessons. Fortunately, I connected with a few amazing humans that were willing to take on a guy in his twenties with dreams of becoming a professional piano player. Keep in mind, that most people around me thought I was mad, and suggested I pursue other paths. “You need to start when you’re 8 years old”. I really didn’t give a shit what anyone had to say. So, I pursued the piano then enrolled in conservatory. Fuck it, might as well go for it. The main reason for going to music school was to gain access to real pianos, and real practice time. At the ripe old age of 28 I entered music school. I busted my ass, and became a pro piano player. I played thousands of gigs from the shittiest to pretty shitty. I refused to kiss ass, and pursued my own music. I composed a shit ton, and was always most at home in the trio setting. I got so deep into the piano, the history, and the instrument. A mechanical marvel of the industrial revolution. With 12,000 moving parts, a rich history, and solo sound like no other, I can’t help but continue to try to figure out the puzzle known as the piano…
THE BASS & BEYOND
Sometime in my early thirties I got out of the Jazz bubble, and went back to enjoying all kinds of music again. Back to my Rock roots. Back to my classical roots. Back to my ethnic roots. Whatever the fuck you want to call it – I don’t care. My relentless pursuit of music damn near ruined my life. It destroyed my personal life, but that is all part of the sacrifice as a result of the choices one makes. I stopped playing music entirely for a few years to pursue some other interests. Needless to say, I returned to music. A few years ago I decided to start playing electric bass. I had played a little off and on over the years, but I was really longing for a new shed. I got so into it. I’ve been shedding like a motherfucker, and trying to make myself worthy of the title bass player. It’s been a fascinating part of the journey. I’ve gotten into setting up, repairing, and modifying basses and guitars. I went down the Leo Fender historical rabbit hole. And as always, I’m glad I did. I’m playing in loud ass bands again. Mostly on the professional level. I’m touring again. All made possible by playing the bass.
Let’s see where this all goes before I’m in the grave. I wish you good luck in your own endeavors, creative or otherwise. May grace and elegance be present in your lives. It’s certainly needed in this world of disgusting rotten stinking filth…
Steve Blanco is a multi-instrumentalist (mainly bass & piano/keys), composer, and filmmaker based in NYC. He is well versed in many styles of music ranging from Jazz to Metal to Ambient, etc… Performing, recording, and touring are a regular part of his creative existence, and he is involved in several projects as leader or sideman. Blanco’s resume also includes composition & film scoring, as well as music instruction.
Over the years Blanco has garnered positive press for his work in Jazz as leader of Steve Blanco Trio, SBT, which featured Sunny Jain & Adam Roberts. Their work has been called “Progressive Jazz at its finest” & ”Bill Evans trio at its tightest, combined with the rambling, unpredictable theatricality of Ahmad Jamal at his best, and then increase the intensity quotient five notches.” –All About Jazz
Blanco plays keys in Mark Feldman’s Level 5, an instrumental quartet.
In addition, Blanco has produced and directed nine short films, written two feature-length scripts, and works in a variety of audio / visual fields.