LIVE Stepa Performance
LIVE Stepa Performance in the West Bottoms
Stepa is performing live in the West Bottoms on September 21, 2002. A FREE concert kicking off the FULL MOON FESTIVAL next to The Edge of Hell haunted house. There will be hayrides between The Edge of Hell and Beast haunted houses, bonfires, food, drink and lots of fun. Also performing... local bands AKA and THRUST. A fun evening for all ages to join KQRC "The ROCK" in a "live" broadcast of the bands 7PM-11PM and gaze at "The Full Moon". For Immediate Release
September 19, 2002
Contact: Amber Arnett-Bequeaith
LIVE Stepa Performance in the West Bottoms
Stepa is performing live in the West Bottoms on September 21, 2002. A FREE concert kicking off the FULL MOON FESTIVAL next to The Edge of Hell haunted house. There will be hayrides between The Edge of Hell and Beast haunted houses, bonfires, food, drink and lots of fun. Also performing... local bands AKA and THRUST. A fun evening for all ages to join KQRC "The ROCK" in a "live" broadcast of the bands 7PM-11PM and gaze at "The Full Moon".
Stepa... Say it. It just sounds urgent. If the word were in the dictionary, it would probably be defined as "forward momentum." That invented definition is also a pretty accurate description of the music created by the young band who chose Stepa as their moniker. Perhaps the name just sounded right because the six bandmates are all full of boundless energy and zeal--the kind of dynamism that only the young and fearless are truly capable of maintaining. Stepa is high-intensity, high-adrenaline sound.
"We came up with about 150 names, but none were right. Chaz came up with the name Stepa pretty much by accident," says drummer Mark Thorley, gesturing toward Stepa DJ/keyboardist Chaz Kindschi. Kindschi grins and shrugs. "I was walking around the studio one day singing 'Hot Stepper' by Ini Kamoze. It goes 'I'm the hot stepper,' but it sounds like he says 'hot stepa.'" The vibrant bounce of the reggae groove in that tune somehow fit with the forceful punch packed by Stepa--a sound vocalist Blake Beckman describes as, "very heavy and aggressive, but still thoughtful. It's listener friendly, really intended for all types of people." Thorley sums it up more succinctly: "Sexy," he says, only slightly joking. Kindschi nods his head and adds rather ominously, "Be ready."
At 22, Kindschi is one of the band's elders, second only to guitarist Brendan Oates, who checks in at the ripe old age of 23. The two are actually the only members of Stepa who've cracked the double-decade mark--the remaining four are all still finishing out the very last of their teenage years. Beckman is the youngest, although few would guess it. It seems amazing to many that his passionate, emotive lyrics could come from an 18-year-old brain. "I just write what's on my mind," he says modestly. "I sing the stuff I want to listen to." And, it's the stuff that so many like him want to listen to, as well.
Stepa has been creating a powerful buzz in Southern California since they finalized their line up and began tearing things up throughout the region in 2000. But, the group's roots go back much further than that--all the way to elementary school in a small town northwest of Los Angeles called Newbury Park. "Me and [bassist] Jessie [Krapff] met in fourth grade," Thorley remembers. Even at such a tender age, the two knew they shared a similar love of music. "He got a bass and I got a drum kit. We just started jamming--Green Day songs and stuff like that." It wasn't long before the two outgrew their limited jam sessions, however, and knew they needed a frontman. "Blake joined when we were in ninth grade and he was in eighth," says Thorley. "We started playing more covers--Korn, Limp Bizkit... But soon we realized that we wanted to do it for real. We wanted to make a living playing music." It was a time when most of their peers were having difficulty deciding who to take to the next school dance, let alone make major decisions about their future, but Stepa knew in which direction their opportunities lay and which path they had to take.
"We played our first show in the summer of '98," Thorley recalls. "It was at a place called the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park. We thought we rocked, but we probably really didn't. I remember my dad dropping me off at the show, with my drums packed in the mini van." From that show on, things just kept getting bigger and bigger for Stepa. Soon the music industry just couldn't ignore what was happening. Major labels came calling and deals were offered, but Stepa declined and instead chose to sign with a new indie label called Locomotive Music. "At an indie like Locomotive you're more of a priority," relates Krapff. Thorley agrees. "Majors are out, indies are in," he says nodding seriously.
Stepa recorded their debut at one of the most well-known and storied studios in LA--NRG in North Hollywood. NRG has housed the likes of Korn and 311; and now Stepa is added to the ranks of those who've recorded there. Their self-titled debut was not only created in a legendary studio, a recording master was also at the helm. Jay Baumgardner, whose credits include Coal Chamber, Godsmack, Hoobastank and Papa Roach, also produced Stepa. The result is a piece of edgy sonic tapestry like no other. But, as fiercely exciting as the album is, and as much as it's bound to move all who hear it, there's much more to come from Stepa. Guitarist Shane sums it up like this: "It's not as good as the second album," he says laughing. Cocky? Well, yeah, but what would you expect from six young punks just having a blast making music that they love? "We're really nice guys, you'd love to meet us, really..." Thorley says with an angelic smile, which only prompts a punch on the arm from Shane and these soon-to-be-immortal words: "Less talk, more rock!" That is Stepa.