First/Last-Stephen Kellogg

June 11, 2012

“On Gift Horse, their second album for Vanguard and fifth studio effort overall, Stephen Kellogg and his bandmates- Kit “Goose” Karlson (keys, bass, vocals), Brian “Boots” Factor (drums, vocals) and Sam “Steamer” Getz (guitars, vocals)-bring the rich legacy of American rock & roll into the present tense. This is thrilling music, muscular, immediate and life-embracing, steeped in tradition but addressing the present moment boldly and eloquently. Gift Horse stands as an unambiguous statement of belonging and persevering during these times-the record is as straightforward, and as resonant, as that. “I’ve been putting out records for 10 years now and I’ve made plenty of mistakes, Kellogg says. “They say you get one shot, but I don’t believe that for a second. You get as many shots as you’re willing to hang in there and go for. We’ve learned a lot, and that’s worth something to me. I’m trying to focus on the things that are real and within my grasp: the people who come to our shows and listen to the music, my kids and my wife and my friends.”

SK6ERS bring their ‘Stripped Down and Fully Clothed’ Tour Club Cafe this Wednesday with special guest Taylor Carson. My appreciation to Stephen for participating in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

Ratt, “Out of the Cellar”.

Your last album bought?

Like most of the population I’ve forgotten that artists make an important part of their living by people purchasing their music. I’m so used to getting it free or streaming it, which does very little beyond the umbrella of ‘exposure’ (which I think is a bit over-rated)…so I don’t know the last time I spent money on a record. The last album I got my hands on though was Coldplay’s most recent album (which I have no idea how to pronounce) and I think it’s great.

Favorite album of all time?

Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

I was bummed by the time The Black Crowes got to “Lions” because I had hoped they would keep making music I loved forever, but hey they don’t owe me anything and they are still a great band.

First concert attended?

Whitesnake/Great White at the Hartford Civic Center. AMAZING!

Last concert?

Taylor Swift. She is incredible, she really is.

Favorite concert ever?

Grateful Dead, 4/4/93 OR Ryan Adams at the Calvin Theater in 2002. Both life changing events for me.

Least favorite concert?

Oh man, dunno. There have been plenty but it’s hard to focus on being negative about other people’s art because then when I’m playing, I find myself thinking that there are people thinking those things about me.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

I’ve loved playing in Pittsburgh. It’s always struck me as a scrappy (in a good way) town full of hard working people. I’m comfortable playing music to that sort of crowd. Some highlights are playing with my friends The Clarks the day before New Year’s some years ago, opening for O.A.R. the day after the Steelers won the Super Bowl, inviting my daughters up to sit in recently at The Altar Bar and a whole bunch of magic nights over on South Street doing what we do.

Thanks, Stephen. I dig your perception as Pittsburgh being a ‘scrappy’ town.