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Post new topic Steel,players in the U.K. ?
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Author Topic:  Steel,players in the U.K. ?
Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 13 Jun 2017 5:14 am     Reply with quote

I have been wondering about something for years about steel players in England.

Back when I was making my living touring I would have steel players show up at every gig all over the world. I met hundreds of players and made some lasting friendships with forum members. I took lessons, shared tips on gear and playing and where to find a good meal. Band memebers would always laugh about "the steel guitar mafia" that seemed to always be there.

Except the United Kingdom.....

Over the coarse of around 8 years and close to 80 concerts with 3 bands I toured with over there not one English steel player from the forum ever came to a show or introduced themselves to me. I did meet up with one player in London that I had an email conversation going on with. I faithfully posted my gigs. It seems odd to me. I go to anywhere else in Europe and I can't get away from them Wink !

I love the U.K. It's one of my favorite places in the world and some of my best friends live there. I wonder is my experience unique ?
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2017 10:12 am     Reply with quote

Huh. That's surprising Bob.

I play in a steel-heavy band that has a decent following in the UK. But you know the drill: the band is new enough that it can't afford to carry steel on international tours. At one gig (in London, I think), some guy got up between songs and screamed at the band "Where is the pedal steel??" That dude was probably part of the mafia... so there is at least one. Shocked Maybe you'll meet him someday.
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James Kerr


From:
Scotland, UK
Post Posted 13 Jun 2017 11:53 am     Reply with quote

A post from April when someone said they were coming over the Pond and asked for info on Steel Players in London, I replied "This will be interesting" there followed a "yes there is, no there isn't" argument so you are not the only one to notice.

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=315785&sid=a3ebea27144adf0fbe7239b6c8a1b866

James.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2017 1:22 pm     Reply with quote

Tucker Jackson wrote:
At one gig (in London, I think), some guy got up between songs and screamed at the band "Where is the pedal steel??"




I love it!
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 13 Jun 2017 9:05 pm     Reply with quote

James,
Interesting thread. I think it some sort of some sort of social decorum issue. Like how in Germany there is at least one guy at every show who wants to give you a detailed account of how he thinks your concert could be improved.

Tucker,
I meet plenty of enthusiastic steel guitar fans over there. That's not it. I just have never gotten a chance to put a face with a name in that part of the world.

Man it sucks to lose a great trip someplace because of budget issues. It happens all the time...
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Alan Bidmade


From:
Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 4:38 am     Reply with quote

Maybe it's that well-known British reserve?
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 7:18 am     Reply with quote

Bob Hofnar wrote:
Quote:
Like how in Germany there is at least one guy at every show who wants to give you a detailed account of how he thinks your concert could be

Please stop picking on this habit, I have to live here and this makes it harder for me. The Germans are mostly good people, but the their musical taste sucks. I love Elvis Costello but when he said that he likes to travel through here with the shades drawn, I hated him for that remark.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 12:47 pm     Reply with quote

Joachim,
No worries. It is an aspect of Germans that I appreciate. By being willing to engage on that level they are being open and inviting me to a real conversation. In a way it is better than the just tell them they were great no matter what American thing. At first I was taken back a bit but after a while I realized it is kinda cool.

When I noticed NYC was about to spit me out I was getting ready to move to Berlin or Oslo before I got high jacked into a road gig that landed me in Texas.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 12:53 pm     Reply with quote

Alan Bidmade wrote:
Maybe it's that well-known British reserve?


That must be it. For all you British guys keep in mind that steel players love to talk shop and that the other guys in the band think we are nerds. They just want to talk about fuzztones and drum heads with each other.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 6:46 pm     Reply with quote

I have noticed the British are a bit reserved when they are at the bar too -- especially when it's their turn to buy a round of beers Laughing
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Greg Milton


From:
Melbourne, Australia
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 11:27 pm     Reply with quote

Paddy Long wrote:
I have noticed the British are a bit reserved when they are at the bar too -- especially when it's their turn to buy a round of beers Laughing


Nice one, Paddy!
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 11:44 pm     Reply with quote

Point taken Bob Smile
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John Roche


From:
England
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 11:56 pm     Reply with quote

where did you play I the UK?, if you were on USA airbases then it would be difficult for UK steel players to go as you needed clearance to get in. I used to go and see Jeff Wilson on one of the airbases but I was invited... just a thought
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Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 16 Jun 2017 2:52 am     Reply with quote

As I remarked in the other thread I get the impression UK steel players are either too busy gigging themselves to get out to other gigs, or too busy moaning about the old days to find out about the current bands touring with steel players.

I’ve played well over 100 gigs in and around London with my band. Not once have I met a random member of the steel guitar mafia, only other steel players on the bill. Maybe they researched the band and found out I wasn’t worth hearing…?! Shocked

We’ve just had the South of England Steel Guitar Festival, a very successful event, although not well attended by the public. Pics here: http://www.thebritishsteeliessociety.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8193&start=60 I can tell you from the weekend that UK steel players are definitely very interested in talking shop!

The touring players I’ve talked to have all been very friendly and glad I made the effort. Perhaps there is an inclination among us “not to be a bother”. Maybe we’re not the most outgoing lot but all my favourite people are introverts so I only see that as a plus Smile

I will say that there is no sign of the steel guitar diminishing or going away in the UK, from what I’ve seen and the players I know there is a resurgence of interest, and more young players than at any time since the early-mid 70’s.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 16 Jun 2017 5:41 am     Reply with quote

People are the same all over, their customs vary.
We get our behaviors largely by watching others. In the UK, they've been doing so for many centuries more than in the US.
I think that British reserve is something worn with pride, and rightfully so, but I'm a madman across the water and don't know firsthand.

Yeah, places spit you out, sometimes right away. On 7th Ave near Penn Station, I asked a young woman where the Trade Center was. "You're crazy! Get away from me!" and another sentence or two in a Puerto Rican accent.
She may have thought she was spitting me out, but perhaps it was she who'd been chewed up.

Manhattan has a population density of 27,000 per sq. km. Dense places aren't looking for more people.
Puerto Rico, the size of New Jersey, has similar density (400-500 / sq. km),
and England falls within that range, 413. Density is a major part of behavior; there are more examples to observe and mimic.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 16 Jun 2017 2:39 pm     Reply with quote

John Roche wrote:
where did you play I the UK?, if you were on USA airbases then it would be difficult for UK steel players to go as you needed clearance to get in. I used to go and see Jeff Wilson on one of the airbases but I was invited... just a thought


I played clubs, concert venues , outdoor festivals, community art centers and even did a tour of refurbished historic theaters. We are talking lots and lots of shows over years. But I have yet to play a military base. I'm hoping I get the chance some time soon.

Charlie, your musings are interesting but have nothing to do with the subject. It was the same in rural settings and nobody ever got chewed up. People are very nice all over and I love the whole thing. I met plenty of steel players from other bands just nobody from the forum. Maybe you could talk about all the steel players you have met at shows. If you haven't met any players by going to see them play you could explain why you don't go out. That might be a better perspective on why I don't meet forum guys in the UK.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 17 Jun 2017 5:07 am     Reply with quote

"Well I've never been to England ♪..."

You're right, Bob, my musings weren't really germane to the topic, or even musicians in general, and UK steelers in particular.
I don't know what I was thinking about population density. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I should get out more.

But.. it is a sociological matter. People do what other people do, even within the subset of musicians, who are unique.
England is old. Custom is old. The States are still new. The fabled British reserve seems to rule, altho I confess to little personal experience. I found your topic interesting.

Does somebody have a Hankey?
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Olli Haavisto


From:
Jarvenpaa,Finland
Post Posted 18 Jun 2017 11:31 pm     Reply with quote

Joachim Kettner wrote:
Bob Hofnar wrote:
Quote:
Like how in Germany there is at least one guy at every show who wants to give you a detailed account of how he thinks your concert could be

Please stop picking on this habit, I have to live here and this makes it harder for me. The Germans are mostly good people, but the their musical taste sucks. I love Elvis Costello but when he said that he likes to travel through here with the shades drawn, I hated him for that remark.

Joachim, I've done a few tours in Germany lately and I can assure you that the audiences have been great, among the best anywhere! No worries, man....
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Malcolm McMaster


From:
Beith Ayrshire Scotland
Post Posted 19 Jun 2017 12:06 am     Reply with quote

Bob, to an extent there is not as much work for Steelies in U.K. , the country scene is now filled with single/duos/trios using backing tracks( some times miming or faking playing of instruments), so not as much work.Having said that there is work in other genres, e.g. Americana, folky type gigs, singer songwriter types, do some of these myself. There are several group meetings for steel players, The Scottish Steel Workshop, The North East Steel Club, London Steelies, British Steelies Bristol steel meeting, etc. Over the years I have met a lot of fellow steel players at gigs I have played, both in audience and with other bands at gigs, as well as non players who were interested in steel guitars. Have had pleasure of meeting a few American players , Ricky Davis, Don Herron, Chris Scruggs, Kevi Hatton, all at gigs I was playing at , and of course many of the Big names at the Festivals run by Gerry Hogan,and at the Irish Steel Festival. There is a very healthy steel presence in both The North and South of Ireland, Irish Country Music is very popular. I would say that there is a new load of youngsters coming through, not necessarily in the Country Scene, but in a load of new genres.
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