Soul Fantasy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Richard Stepp

Richard Stepp's first taste of fame came when he joined rock group The Northwest Company in 1967. They were often the opening act for visiting groups like The Who and The Byrds. After their lead singer departed, Richard found himself pulling triple duty as drummer, lead singer and songwriter. His songs were also picked for the A side for the groups last three singles.

After the NW Co broke up in 1974, Richard landed a deal with the brand new Mushroom Records and then with Casino Records with veteran producer Andy DiMartino. Fronting a new band, Shakedown, he became a strong draw in western Canada, playing clubs, doing TV, and concerts with Chuck Berry, Trooper, and Long John Baldrey.

Andy DiMartino recognized Richard's obvious talents, and took him to Los Angeles where they recorded an album of strong MOR/AR music using some of LA's top players. The album Holiday In Hollywood was released on MCA's speciality label Infinity Records and the title track was released as a single, doing very well in Richard's native Canada, as well as several European countries, South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand.

Holiday In Hollywood was recorded in Hollywood in 1978 and 1979 using members of Toto and Frank Zappa's group. The producer was Andy Di Martino, who had previously procuded a range of artists like Glenn Yarborough, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, and The Cascades' "Rhythm Of The Rain". The strings were scored by movie great Jimmy Haskell and conducted by Sid Sharp. The backup vocals were handled by the Waters Family singers.
The MCA/Infinity Records release of "Holiday In Hollywood" earned Stepp a Maple Leaf award for songwriting, as well as a Juno nomination for best new male vocalist in 1980. The record was well received around the world, though Infinity's demise cut sales short.
Two songs from the newly remastered CD have recently been released in the UK, where they are dance club hits. They are also available on a compilation CD in the UK.
The "Holiday In Hollywood" CD was remastered from the original master studio tapes, and repackaged with the original cover plus a booklet with full credits and all the lyrics.

Andy Di Martino
Drums: Ralph Humprey, Ed Greene, Mike Baird
Bass: Dennis Belfield, David Hungate, Ray Pohlman
Guitars: Thom Rotella, Ben Benay
Keyboards: Bill Cuomo
Synthesizer: Bill Cuomo
Sax: Pete Chrislieb
Background Vocals: Maxine Willard, Julia Tillman, Oren Waters

Richard Stepp - When we meet again 1979 (Sample)

It was enough to earn him a nomination as "Best New Male Artist" in the 1980 Canadian Juno Awards ,along with Bryan Adams. He won a PRO Canada 'Maple Leaf Award' for songwriting that year. Richard Stepp's self titled second LP was released on Vera Cruz Records in late 1981, in Canada only.

A lot of demos were recorded during the rest of the eighties, and more serious recording was done in 1990 with Bill Cowsill and Prism's Lindsay Mitchell. These recordings have remained unreleased. Richard has performed mostly as a solo for the last 20 years, working on the cruise ships, travelling the world, with extended stops in Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands. A Christmas CD was released in 1997. Currently he is recording songs for an upcoming CD, and playing piano around town to fans of his rockin' piano, strong vocals, and rootsy style.



Time For Everyone/She's A Woman Apex Records 1968

Can You Remember/Sunday Song Apex Records 1969

Rock'n'roll Lover Man (Stepp)/Let It All Coast Records 1971

Everybody's Got To Care (Stepp)/Don't Hear Me Complain Coast 1971

Sweet Suzy (The Bandit) (Stepp)/Ain't Nothing Wrong Stamp 1973

History Of Vancouver R'N'R Vol. 3 Neptoon/VRCA 1983

History Of Vancouver R'N'R Vol. 4 Neptoon/VRCA 1992


Good To Have You/Driving Down The Freeway Casino 1977


Chasing A Dream/You On My Mind Mushroom 1975

Holiday In Hollywood/If I Could Write A Song Infinity 1979

Holiday In Hollywood/Good To Have You Harbour (UK) 1979

Can You Feel My Love/Imagination Vera Cruz 1981

Sooner Or Later/Summer Love Vera Cruz 1982

Holiday In Hollywood Infinity 1979

Richard Stepp Vera Cruz 1981

Hooray For Santa Claus RS Records 1997

Don't Steal My Feel RS Records 2007

Holiday In Hollywood remastered RS Records 2008

All the above information was given to me and Nicolas by Richard himself.

Note: The above posted single is not played in full

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