"Still friends after all these years"

Playing drums with Steve Stevens!

 drummer Gregg Gerson
This photo was taken the day I met Steve Stevens (on top stage, right)... during soundcheck at Privates. Steve was still unknown at this point. The Doug Rock Show (featuring Carlos Alomar, guitar player for David Bowie; John McCurry, who played with Julian Lennon & Cyndi Lauper; and myself) were playing opposite Steve and his band, The Fine Malibu's.

That night, after hearing each other play, we became life-long friends! And soon after this photo was taken, Steve & I spent the next 3 years on stage together... with Billy Idol

The first time we both saw each other play, we knew we were destined to play together. That was on Wednesday, April 22, 1981

I first saw Steve while I was setting up my drums at this club uptown. Privates was definitely the place to play! It was one of the bigger clubs in town for live music and had great sound. It was on the upper eastside of Manhattan and was owned by Leber & Krebs, who at that time was one of the biggest music Management Companies. On their management roster were artists like Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Scorpions, Michael Bolton, and plenty more.

Getting back to our first encounter... I was playing with this band called "The Doug Rock Show" which had this amazing line up of players (Carlos Alomar, guitar player for David Bowie; John McCurry, who played guitar with Julian Lennon & Cyndi Lauper; and myself). I had just finished setting up the kit and was standing next to Carlos when all of a sudden we heard this incredible guitar coming from the stage. Steve had started sound checking with his band, "The Fine Malibu's". Now the Malibu's were a good band, but Steve was mind blowing to hear. After their first tune sound checking, Alomar looked over at me and said, "I quit" with a big smile on his face. I said, "Oh man, who is this guy?" I continued to watch this sound check to the very end. At the end, I walked over to Steve and said, "Hi, my name is Gregg Gerson, you sound great!" Steve looked at me with this almost childish grin and said, "Gee Thanks" and put out his hand to shake mine. With that first meeting, I knew we were going to become friends.

Then it was time for us (The Doug Rock Show) to do our sound check. Well, I was pretty jazzed about the sound we were getting on stage. It just sounded great! I don't want to forget to mention that Night Bob Czaykowski (veteran sound engineer and road warrior) was doing sound that particular night... and was responsible for that great sound we were all getting! Both he and I are still good friends to this day. He is one of the best in the business! He had just finished touring with Aerosmith, and was doing freelance live sound around town. Because Bob did sound for Aerosmith, and Leber & Krebs being their managers and owners of the club, that was the connection for him doing sound that night.

After our sound check, Steve walked right over to me with that same grin on his face and said, "YOU sound great! Can I have your number?" I just looked at him, smiled right back and said something like, "You betcha". We all went on to have a great night.

Both he and I stayed in touch from that point on. Then I got the call from Steve about the Billy Idol gig. You can read all about that in the Idol interview on my website. To make a long story short, we did Idol for over two years together. Once I stopped playing with Idol, he and I lost touch with each other for about four years.

In 1988 I started doing gigs around town with this band called Skin & Bones. They (Skin & Bones) were originally based out of Baltimore but had moved up to New York City six months prior to me meeting them. I started doing gigs with them around town and it was a really good band with good songs. And most importantly, I was having fun. The Bones signed a small record deal and as a result, we ended up going to England to record an album with Andy Taylor from Duran Duran producing it. We (Skin & Bones) were playing one night at the Cat Club, which was also a great club to play in NY in the late '80's, and Steve's girlfriend Marlene was there. After the gig, she walked over to me to say hello and was telling me how great it was. It was great seeing her. We started talking and she began telling me about Steve's new project and of course I was very curious. Then other people started talking about this same new project of Steve's... with Hanoi Rocks lead vocalist Michael Monroe. This was in early '89. Later that summer I got a call from Steve asking me if I wanted to get together and talk about shooting a video in LA with his new band, "The Atomic Playboys". I remember hanging the phone up so psyched about the prospects of playing on stage again with one of rocks greatest contemporary guitarists of our time! I met Steve over a cup of coffee and we spoke about the new band. As it turned out, Steve and Michael had finally come to realize that they had different ideas musically and decided to part ways. After that, Steve spent six months looking for a lead vocalist for the Playboys and ended up using singer/vocalist Perry McCarty of the band Warrior, which was an LA based band. He had already recorded the record using assorted players. I flew out to LA and we shot the video for the title track, "Atomic Playboys".

Then it was time to start touring to support the new record. The lineup Steve ended up using for the touring band was Bruce Turgon on bass (Lou Gramm, Foreigner); Phil Ashley on keyboards (Mick Jagger, Cher); Perry McCarty on vocals and myself, Gregg Gerson on drums. It was an amazing band, although Steve wasn't really happy with Perry and neither were the critics. We did a thirty-city tour of the US and were preparing to start touring Japan when Steve called me. He told me he was disbanding the group. I told him I understood and that was it. Steve's living in LA these days with his wife Marlene and is as creative as ever. I'm still happily based out of NY. I can honestly say that Steve and I are better friends today than we've ever been. I'm sure we'll end up playing together again sometime in the not too distant future. The most important thing of all, as far as I'm concerned, is... we're still friends after all these years.

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