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In the Mix Honoring Steve Sage

Feb 27, 2017 12:48PM ● By Paul Cotruvo

In the Mix - Honoring Steve Sage

The best part of writing this article is being able to feature local musicians who not only possess amazing musical skills but also give back to the community. Steve Sage was one of those rare people who did both. It is with deep regret and profound sadness that I inform you that Steve passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.


I first met Steve back in the ‘80s. He was tearing it up back then in the local music scene. One of my favorite guitarists for sure. Over the years, Steve had performed as a Coaster, a Drifter, and an Imperial with Little Anthony. You may have also seen him playing in the area with the likes of Carlos Reyes and the Tongue and Chic Orchestra. But I think my favorite thing about Steve is that he championed the idea of grooming aspiring performers and bands. For the last 26 years, Steve created the “Rock, Rhythm & Blues” programs at Diablo Valley College. He not only taught his students the tricks of the trade but also booked them in local clubs to get their feet wet and let them share the stage with some professional musicians. He touched the lives of 8,000 students and helped form 2,500 bands.  He walked the walk and talked the talk, making sure that live music continued in our community. On top of all that, Steve was just a great human being. A few years back, he was gracious enough to answer some questions despite his busy schedule. I thought I’d run this interview in his honor, knowing that his legacy lives on through his students and friends. He will me missed.


PC: How old were you when you first played guitar?

SS: I started playing the guitar when I was 13 years old.


PC: Do you remember the name of your first guitar?

SS: Yes, it was a 1969 Epiphone Caballero with a DeArmond pickup mounted in the sound hole. It’s one of the last of the American made Epiphone guitars. Oh, and a big Standel amp too.


PC: Do you play any other instruments?

SS: Yes, trumpet and piano.


PC: Who are some of your influences?

SS: I try to stay very open-minded, with no stylistic boundaries. As for electric guitar, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix opened up my ears. George Barnes was a wonderful jazz guitarist who gave us lessons in Concord. Jimmy Bryant just floored me with his playing. Joe Pass & Les Paul were both so melodic and any of the Miles Davis family tree, like Tony Williams, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Mahavisnu Orchestra.


PC: Do you have a favorite moment in your career so far?

SS: Every show is my new favorite moment!



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