“I heard the term ‘sonic chameleon’ to describe my playing, and thought that was the biggest compliment a bass player can get. Today’s players have to adapt and move, and get great tones on any genre record or any live show.” – Steve Cook
Being a bass player is one thing. Being a bass player that fits in to any musical situation is another. Steve has been called ‘A bass player’s bass player’ for his solid, uncompromising groove, taste, and energy. Steve got his musical career off the ground at 8 years old, when he took up violin. After also learning the saxophone and guitar, a schoolmate convinced him that the world didn’t have enough bass players. At age 13, clenching $100, Steve went to the local pawnshop and purchased his first bass. He hasn’t looked back since.
Steve’s pursuit of music took him from his home in Virginia Beach, VA to college in Hattiesburg, MS. At the University of Southern Mississippi, Steve spent four years in the highly acclaimed 12 o’clock Jazz Lab. Armed with a new degree in Marketing, Steve headed to Nashville for almost two years as an intern at MCA Records, in addition to playing showcases and recording demos for various artists. He was then called back to Hattiesburg to join former classmates who had forged a decent name in a new band called King Konga.
King Konga was an acoustic-percussion based pop group with comparisons to Dave Matthews and Edwin McCain. The band was a four-piece with a percussionist rounding out the quartet. “I had to find my place quickly” remembers Steve, “there was a lot going on musically, so I was the foundation, playing simple, yet melodic lines to compliment the two percussionists”. Steve performed with King Konga for seven years, logging over 1200 shows all over the U.S., including Woodstock ‘99, a USO tour, and countless opening slots for national acts. Not being able to capitalize on their independent success and sign label deal, King Konga separated to pursue various projects.
Steve didn’t have much down time, joining the hard rock band Course of Nature (Atlantic/Lava) in October 2003. Course of Nature was a new musical direction for Steve, albeit a welcome change. Steve muses, “I was raised on The Police, went to school for jazz, got paid for country demos, and made a name playing pop rock. Hard rock seemed like the next logical step. Look for me in a polka band 6 years from now”. In 2004, Steve and the band parted ways, forcing yet another jump for Steve. This time his path turned into full circle and he started the next chapter back in Nashville.
A tour with indie songstress Jen Foster was the catalyst for his move to town. The day Steve signed his first apartment lease, he had a recording session at famed Ocean Way for a major motion picture soundtrack. A fine welcome to town indeed. “Nashville is such an energetic place to be”, says Steve. “There are so many talented people here, and I have been lucky enough to make some really great music with some of them.” Steve has shared the stage with many luminaries in the music world, with styles ranging from rock to rap to R&B. He has recorded or performed with Luke Bryan, Frankie Ballard, Keb’ Mo’, Sarah Bettens (of k’s Choice), Megan McCauley, Sister Hazel, Steve Cropper, Trent Tomlinson, Bucky Covington, and Edwin McCain. He currently tours and records with award-winning singer/songwriter Phil Vassar and maintains a busy studio schedule as well, both playing and producing. Steve’s latest recordings include 2 solo releases, slated for a 2018 release, as well as Phil Vassar’s International and US record, American Soul, released in May of 2017.
Steve’s ‘side’ projects include contributing columns and videos to Premier Guitar Magazine, directing and editing videos including ‘Just Might Have Her Radio On’ by Trent Tomlinson and ‘Ol Kentuck’ by Bucky Covington, as well as ‘Don’t Miss Your Life’ by Phil Vassar. Steve’s original music has been featured in TV shows in the US and in Canada, and he has made appearances in the ABC-TV show ‘Nashville’. Steve has also done voiceover work for various TV and Internet features.
Steve continues on with his mantra – Love life, and play every note like it is your last.