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Stephen Monroe (Omaha, NE)

Solo performers Interview


Age        59

Date        June 6, 2013

Are you an instrumentalist only? No. Sing and play

What instrument do you play? Acoustic Guitar

Where do you reside? Omaha, NE



What inspired you to start singing and Playing?

When I was in junior high my brothers
were in a band. We had always loved music, listening to records in our bed
room. It was the upstairs of the house and there was 4 of us, big room. They let
me come to practice and go to their gigs and help set up and tear down. I
played on stage the first time with them, Satisfaction on drums while the
drummer went out front to sing. I was hooked

How long have you been performing publicly?

I have been performing since ’71.
There were some years I didn’t but most of the time I was playing in a band.
Lately as a solo act probably over 10 years

How long did you play before you stated gigging?

Just a few years. I learned the bass when
my brother left his EBO. A couple of years later I was in Ben Tover playing
college gigs.

How long have you been playing guitar?

Bass since about 69-70 and I started
teaching myself 6 string around 70/71

How did you learn to play guitar?

By ear and tablature books. I always
sang as long as I can remember.

Have you taken lessons if so do you take lessons now?

No never took lessons just listened to
people play and hacked it out myself

Where was your first gig?

As a solo artist, The Blue Jay in Downtown
Omaha opening for 3 Day Meat Sale

How did you get it?

Mary Lichtenwalter was friends with my
now son-in-law Johnny Brown. She needed an opener and Johnny suggested me. She
bit and we are great friends and she had me open for all kinds of cats and

How scared were you?

I was real scared but I said to
me…Look! This is what you have always wanted to do. You should be pumped and
ready to go instead of fearing a problem that may never show up. Oh they show
up but your attitude wins the day every time. PS – Still am to some degree….just means you care

How do you get gigs?

I usually drum them up myself. I send
you emails, make phone calls. I see where other people are playing and I
approach them about playing some music for them. I do get some online from
GigSalad but I have had to hack my way through the forest to get to the
clearing myself mostly.  Mary used to
call to have me do shows but she is out of the biz these days. I get a few
calls from referrals.

Do you use an agent, if so how did you get that rolling?

I wish I had an agent. I hate drumming
up business. I love the people. I love playing but it’s a DIY world.

What do you use for equipment?

I just purchased a Martin DCPA4 this
year….got it in April. I have 2 Fender acoustics at home that I used to use.
The oldest one has a logo of mine on it and was the go to guit for many years.
I bought it off an old girlfriend for $100 and slapped a pickup in it. Tough to
play. Then about a year ago I switched to a Fender that my ex brother-in-law
gave me cuz the action was better. Now they both have pickup problems and I’m
usin the Martin exclusively…YEAH!!

For a PA I have a Yamaha Powered mixer
and 2 12” JBL PA speakers. I have a monitor with a Peavey speaker in it

Do you use a monitor?

Yes I do….whenever I can. Hate playing
without one. Its on the floor…12”

Do you have any tips you can share as far as setting up your equipment for a gig?

Get there plenty of time ahead incase
there is a snag of some kind. Try not to rely on other people’s sound systems
unless it’s known to be solid. Back yourself up with cables…PA and Mics.

I have my own chair, table for the PA.
Bring replacements for everything if at all possible. Do a sound check without
the jukebox/radio going. Point your PA speakers at you first and then set the

How long was you longest gig?

5-6 hours for a regular gig with a run
afterwards. I’ve done plenty of 4 hour gigs solo…that’s why the guitar is tuned
a full step down

How long was your shortest gig?

I got paid $200 not to play one time.
The NE women were winning in the tournament and the bar was sports bar and
expecting a load of people….I took it and walked!

How do you choose what songs to learn?

I get intrigued by a song and try it.
I think of the audience once in a while but I’m not that weird of a dude that
would freak people out. I have to link up with the tune either through playing
it or singing it or both. Its like acting in a play. If you believe in the part
you are playing then its worth watching, if you’re phoning it in….people will
know but some songs…they just wanna hear them so you give to them and realize
there must be something in this song that connects…so you seek.

How do you learn new songs, by ear, YouTube, books?

I use my ear and tablature mostly. YouTube
has really helped in certain situations I couldn’t figure things out as long as
they show the sucker’s playing hand on the video!

When you practice do you go through a P. A. or just you and your guitar?

For years I have gone out into my car
at my lunch break and played guitar in the front seat of my car. I have a
clipboard that can hold the music if I’m learning a new tune but my car is by
far the place I practice most. Where I live too but ALWAYS at lunch in the car,
even when I worked 3rd shift at the plant…that ain’t easy

Who are a few of your favorite artist?

Stuart Davis, Charlie Robison, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, ZZ Top,
Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers,         John
Prine, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winters, Bob Dylan, Hank
Williams Sr, Don Gibson, Jimmy Buffet, Junior Brown, Voodoo Method, Cream, Eric
Clapton, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Lyle Lovette, Bonnie
Raitt, Mavis Staples, Janis Joplin, Robert Randolph, Susan Tedischi, Warren
Haynes, Derrick Trucks

How often do you play out?

5 or 6 times a month. Almost every

Do you have any CD’s out?

Yes I do..”Travelin at the Speed of
Steve”. Been out a while and I’m to release” Drivin the Sky Highway” early July

Traveling has done me well. I had to
do something so I found this guy with a PC and mics in his basement and we put
it together. Later got the graphics done by my daughter. The next one I
recorded, played , sang and wrote everything as I moved from place to place
during a rather transitional time in my life all on a Boss BR-600

Do you have any aspirations to take you music further than your current success?

Yes, I want to be a song farm for
entertainers. I want to play, write, perform and get to the point people can
know to check my stuff out and play It themselves. I love playing and singing
but I want to be a success…how ever that plays out…as a song writer.

How far will you travel?

If there was a legitimate opportunity
to go and play anywhere, I would do my best to pursue it. I have always wanted
to play Colorado….Red Rocks but really Telluride..its dream…I do that

I am an 8-5 M-F guy

How far have you traveled to do a gig?

I have traveled to Cincinnati  for a festival before ( I live in Omaha)

Can you recall your best show?

I always hope its my last show. I
really can’t recall a specific show…there have been some beauts.

How about your worst show?

Technical problems, breaking strings,
no one there. I try very hard to play the same all the time now. No matter
what…that alleviates the problem somewhat

Do you have any advice for a person just getting in to gigging that you would like
to share?

Be prepared. No half assed half
hearted performances. Realize it’s a learning process. Listen to trusted
people. Stay away from drugs and alcohol and smoking. Cherish your gift and
also know you are fallible  and the only
thing that makes you a failure is if you quit. There is no bet of anything. The
only thing you can ever be the best of is being yourself, realize what it is
you are bringing to this table inhabited by all types and quantities of people.
If you’re happy…you can make others happy too. That’s the why.

Anything else that you would like to share?

Music is the reason I have gone nuts
and been happier than the majority of people on this earth. It is who I am,
it’s what I love to do. Other people enjoy what I do and I see joy and
appreciation on their faces and I hear good things from them to justify my
obsession. Be careful, it is a floozy sometimes, tempting you to go where you should
not but it is also an adventure you can have in your own living room….or at
lunch in the front seat of your car! Peace and Happiness to one and all



Contact information/Press Kit


Underwood Avenue #9

Omaha, NE