Steve Werges is a Colorado singer/songwriter in the FTP Band. He's also the Vice President of the Colorado Music Business (aka COMBO), a nonprofit that assists the local music scene with education and networking opportunities. Steve recently answered a few questions about his past and present...
Q: When did you first start playing & what kind of training have you had as a guitarist?
Steve: I first started playing guitar 45 years ago from a man named Howard Hughes...no, not the Howard Hughes. This HH had a shop in Lakewood and he taught you folk songs and how to build a guitar from peach crates. I took the classes with my little brother who got a lot of help building the guitar from my Dad and playing guitar was my strong point...at least as long it was Red River Valley.
Played in High School in a number of bands. We never giged but would play in people's garages and basements. It was a lot of fun. I took an audtion to play for the Rick Holiday Band and landed the lead singer spot. We went into a twice a week rehearsals. Rick had won the local JC Battle of the Bands. This was a big deal back then. Unfortunately, before we got our first gig Rick was diagnosed with brain cancer at the early age of 19 so we never made it out of rehearsals. I was really bummed about the whole deal and decided to give the band thing up. Which I did for 30 years.
My inspiration to start again came from a friend of mine, Sven Upsons. He had a bunch of friends that would put together these CD's of orginal music. They had funny band names like the "Denver Pile Drivers" or "Costly Soapy Sexy" but the music was very cool. I thought what they were doing was cool so I started talking to my buddy who was a drummer who wanted to start playing again. He knew a bass player so we started to jam. It was a lot of fun - we played beach parties and birthday parties and we even had an offer to play for a YMCA spin class but we were never taking it too seriously.
Q: Who is in your current band & what other bands did everybody come from?
Steve: FTP Band is a collection of dedicated guys with a collective 100 years of playing between the five of us. My bass player has been playing bass his entire life - started playing bass in his front living room while his mother and father, who were professional touring musicans, would get together on Sunday afternoons and jam with their friends.
Doc tells of a story of when Doc Watson had come to their house and playing with his Dad. Doc played in a number of bands in Illinios and Wyoming. He moved here about five years ago. We share Doc's skills with the Kate LeRoux Band, and the Side of the Road.
John Friedman (lead guitar) had toured with many regional country bands playing banjo. He had always played guitar and he is a part time instructor at Acoustic Music Revival. John's style of guitar really reminds me of Scotty Moore. We share Jeff Ingram (Sax and Flute) with a number of projects around town. Jeff plays with Jackamo, Canyon Ratz and a Gypsy Jazz band. Our Drummer George McMahon played in a number of Jazz fusion bands in college in Indianna and brings some great vocal skills as well.
Q: You've been compared to Roy Orbison. I heard a little Neil Young too. Who are your idols?
Steve: Yes, I have had the honor of being compared to Roy. However, I do not have his range. I do not think many people on the planet do. However, when I hear people tell me this I am very proud. My idols for singing would include Roy but would also include Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash and of course Elvis.
Q: How would you describe your music? Is there a certain sound you're going for?
Steve: We are an early sixties cover band that puts groove on rock and roll as well as country. We do about 10 orginal songs in a full night of music.
Q: How many total originals have you written and which ones do you think are your best? Have you ever tried to plug one of your songs?
Steve: I have written about 16 songs. I think the strongest are She's Just my Baby and Baggage. I have not tried to sell them yet.
Q: Any advice for other song writers?
Steve: My approach to song writing is that you have to feel a need to say something and then it will come. I try not to force it. If it is going to come it will come very fast.
Q: What would be your dream venue & lineup (locally)?
Steve: Dream venue? Only 1: Red Rocks. We would open for the Allman Brothers.
Q: You are currently the VP of COMBO - how long have you been with COMBO? What would you say are the strongest benefits of being a COMBO member?
Steve: I have been the VP of COMBO for 2 years. I think the best part of COMBO is getting the opportunity to work with some very talented and dedicated people. The best benefit to COMBO is all of the information that is available that you need to know to be a musican that extends beyond the music.
Q: How would you describe the local music scene right now?
Steve: I think that Denver is amazingly talented. I run a monthly showcase for COMBO at the D Note and it is amazing the quality of music we get. It seems like there are 60+ venues for music in town on any given day and you will find inspiring music. To me it is no surprise that more and more local bands become national, even international acts. [The COMBO showcase is the first Tuesday of every month at the D Note in old town Arvada. If you are interested in playing contact steve here: firstname.lastname@example.org].
Q: What advice would you give to local bands & local venues?
Steve: Pay the bands more money - they are worth it.
Q: How is your new CD coming - is there a theme to it?
Steve: The CD songs have been written. It is just a matter of working in the time for the gigs - we have practice, my real job, family, but it is coming. No theme as of yet.
Q: What does the future hold for Steve Werges?
Steve: I hope to continue to play and grow as a musican.