Steve Katz: Rock-N-Roll Bloodline
Steve Katz is a guitarist and record producer who is best known as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Katz was an original member of Even Dozen Jug Band, The Blues Project and American Flyer. As a producer and musician, his credits include albums of the Irish band Horslips, Lou Reed, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Elliott Murphy. Steve Katz’s professional career started in the late fifties on a local Schenectady, New York television program called Teenage Barn. At 15, Steve studied guitar with Dave Van Ronk and Reverend Gary Davis. It was at this time that he met and befriended guitarist Stefan Grossman. Steve & Stefan would sometimes act as road managers for Reverend Davis and, in so doing, met many of the great “rediscovered” blues men of an earlier era, like Son House, Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt.
Photo by Leon Steele
After the demise of the Blues Project, Steve, Al Kooper, Bobby Colomby and Jim Fielder decided to work up a set, mainly of Al’s new songs, for a benefit concert whereby enough money would be raised to send Al to London where he wanted to live. Thus, the formation of Blood, Sweat & Tears, a Columbia Records contract, and the album Child is Father to the Man. Of course, all the rest is always a big chapter of music history…
Interview by Michael Limnios
Special Thanks: Nikos Syllas (audio engineer, producer)
Steve was offered an opportunity to get closer to the business of music in 1977 with his appointment as East Coast Director of A&R and later as Vice President of Mercury Records. As a New York A&R executive in Dublin, Steve had also passed on a young group by the name of U2, a decision that Steve would regret for the rest of his life. It was during his visits to Ireland that Steve became enamored with all things Irish, especially the traditional music and Irish literature. This awareness turned into obsession and in 1987, Steve became Managing Director of Green Linnet Records, the foremost record label of traditional Irish music in America. Steve stayed on at Green Linnet for five years, during which time he married his one true love, Alison Palmer, a ceramic artist. Steve still performs, is a professional photographer, and released a book with his memoirs, “Blood, Sweat & My Rock and Roll Years” by Lyons Press.
Photo: The Blues Project