Steve Macdonald

"Have guitar, will jam!"

by Mary Ellen Wessels (1993)


It's hard to believe that it has only been a year since I met Steve at OVFF! It seems like we've been friends and singing together forever. So when I was asked to write his biography for ConChord I confidently said "Sure!" Then I began to panic... as I realized that there were lots of things I didn't know about him. Like how he discovered fandom (and WHY we hadn't met him sooner!). So here's what I learned about Steve:

Steve Macdonald was born in 1961 in Vicksburg, near Kalamazoo Michigan. (Yes, there really *is* a Kalamazoo, my family is from there too!) He lived in the Kalamazoo area all his life until recently he moved to South Lyon. This is a very, very good thing since it means he lives closer to me now!

He has a very nice (patient!) wife, Susan, who can occasionally be seen wandering convention halls wearing intriguing lace oufits. Susan and Steve have 2 children - Renee (2), and Luke (5) and one more on the way.

When he isn't filking and singing in bars his mundane job is "using whiffle bats on people." I think the actual title is "Mortgage Counselor" (Kind of like Sanitation Engineer = Garbage Collector?) Gosh, I suppose I can't think of anyone I'd rather have trying to collect on my past due mortgage than Steve (fortunately for our friendship I don't own a house!)

He occasionally does other things than read SF and sing. His other hobbies include: sex (well he does have two kids and one on the way!), reading and gaming (which he says family obligations don't allow him to do nearly enough of) he is a reformed (broke) comic collector.

The first SF Steve read was Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein in 1974. He's been a hardcore SF reader ever since. His favorite author "hands down" is Heinlein (though he confesses that he hasn't read anything written later than 1975). His second favorite author is: McCaffreyAsimovLackeyHoganChalkerAspirinCardNivenPournelleDocSmith.

In February of 1992 a friend "hogtied and carried" him to Capricon. She told him he had to bring his guitar. He wondered why he needed his guitar for a literary convention but she convinced him. He found out about filking at the con but didn't really see any. He did stay up singing all night in a lobby with Steven Brust however. In June 1992 he went to Conamazoo where he really discovered filking. He was then told by Thom Mattingly and Harry Smothers (thanks guys!) that he had to attend a house sing party at Tim Ryan's and that he *must* attend OVFF 1992. bum bum bum bum bum bum... And that's where I met him!

Steve has been "doing" music all his life. He's been in choirs since 3rd grade. He plays a "smattering" of organ, piano, percussion, and recorder. Instrumentally he is best known in filk circles for his powerful rhythm guitar! Steve attended Western Michigan University twice. The first time to have fun. The second time to try to get a music degree. He majored in Bassoon! But decided that he couldn't become a professional Bassoon player unless he was gifted with $10,000 to buy an instrument, didn't want to teach and what the heck was he spending his money on college for anyway!? While at Western he had 3 years of classical voice training. (Filk Bassoon!? Cool! I say we take up a collection and buy him one! ) In 1980 he toured Europe with the Blue Lake International Choir.

The first thing I noticed about Steve's music was that his originals were somewhat reminiscent of Jethro Tull. I later found out that he is a big Tull fan. (lucky guy! he even had his picture taken with the band!) Other musical influences include: The Beatles, John Denver, Queen, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Saint Saens, Indigo Girls, Peter Paul and Mary...

Upon discovering filking his first reaction was "I'm not alone--- I'm not alone? -- I'm not alone!!???" His second reaction was "They like MY music!????" He plays professional bar gigs but never plays originals since "classic rock" standards are more popular with crowds. In his words "I sold my soul - to stay employed!"

He began composing in 1977 and has composed 103 songs at the time of this writing. He hadn't written anything for three years before he discovered filking and since has written 17 new songs! A funny Vampire song "Addicted to Blood", "Rennaisance Melody", "Carriage Ride", "Seducing the Unicorn", and others that can be found on his tape "Songspinner" which he has just finished the pre-production work on. The tape is produced by "Thin Ice Productions". He plans to have a mixed down master that people can listen to at the con.

The thing I love most about singing with Steve is the ENERGY he puts into his music! He's a great person to have at a jam session. He is such a silly, talented, huggable, fun person to know that when I spend an evening singing with Steve I always identify most strongly with his song"I wish I didn't have to go!"

 

Copyright ©2004 Steve Macdonald