Welcome to Steve Stransky's Music website. The whole purpose of this web is just to make some of the music i have recorded over the last 30 years, available to my family and friends, strictly to enjoy.
On the left are links to the different Eras, Bands or Genre's of my music that are available online here. You can navigate from one recording project to another.
All these songs are free to download or listen to, several from the Strange Syrkas album are copyrighted, but i retain all copyright and publishing rights, so download anything you want! Just right click the file and "save as" to your hard drives music folder. it's easy to drag the hard drive files to your Ipod too!
New at Youtube, July 2011: "Live Together" - Stransky, Taylor, Hazen: Here are Sarge Stransky, Hugo Taylor & Bruce Hazen, in our original song, "Live Together"-. Sarge just mixed and digitized it with HD 1040p video,/C.D quality audio. It's a musically attractive vocal song, with awesome guitar parts. "The Wizard" Bruce Hazen on Electric guitar, acoustic guitar and harmony vocal. Hugo Taylor on Bass & Acoustic Guitar. You all know Sarge by now, he is Singing all the rest of the Vocal parts. Please chime in with comments! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzDhkPGoUjg
Ok, Here's my Story...
My musical journey started in summer, 1956, my step dad was in the Navy and we were stationed for a year, in Tennessee. The first time i realized i wanted to be a singer, was in a Tennessee Baptist Revival church, the choir was so powerful, i had an epiphany. A year later we were living back in the Oakland/Alameda Bay Area and i remember my older sister getting a 45rpm record player. The first record to knock me out was Elvis' EP HEARTBREAK HOTEL (US) RCA EPA 821, Released: May 1956. She bought every Elvis 45 she could and i memorized them all. I would sing along with Sis's records until she was ready to throw me out the window.
In 1961, my parents realized that all this energy should be harnessed, so they entered me in (Alameda California's) Haight School's 5th grade elementary band. I'd also been listening to my sisters Fats Domino and Coasters 45's and loved the sax, so sax became the first musical instrument i would learn.
In 1963, we moved again, to Chula Vista Ca. and right about then my sister started playing rock records by her new favorite band, The Beatles! I was smitten and begged my Mother for a guitar. She was supportive and went to a weekend swap meet at the National City Drive In, found me a $3.00 Stella acoustic and the next phase of my journey began.
Subsequently, i would beg for a harmonica, then lessons, which were for sax, but included some piano as well, then drums and more. Eventually, i became a fairly well rounded all around musician and vocalist.
Bands were the next big phase. i was playing Alto, in the 7th grade, at Hilltop Jr. high, when i caught the notice of some of the older guys who had started up a group and needed someone to play sax on Honky Tonk. I was willing, but hesitant, as i expressed my desire to be a singer, with instruments taking a secondary role. I played briefly in a group called The Ordeals, but being the kid in the band was tough, so i left, but i did meet Chris Drake who would later form a band with me called "The Kyds" which placed high in a CV Battle of the Bands and so Chris Drake and I got our faces on the cover of the CV Star... but first, the Ordeals had me frustrated, so in the 8th grade, i started my own band, with some local friends, we called "The Leaves of Grass" , i remember some of the guys in the band, one was Rob Law, lead guitarist and another was David Purdy, our first bass player. We did really well right off the bat, were hired for "Gym dances" and school functions, like the Hilltop High, Junior class assembly, where we played as part of the entertainment and to break up the tedium of an assembly....
We morphed into "The Kyds" when a manager tried to spiff us up, but then back into The Leaves of Grass after that. We participated in many "Battle of the Bands" culminating with a top ten placement in the "big event", the San Diego Community Concourse: Battle of the Bands!
Memories are hazy, so i could be off with some of these details, But i recall the next summer i met some new players, Wayne Lacina, Ken Larsen, George Butts and Bill Reed, John Palmer, Dale Roesel, Reid Webb, Dave Montgomery... we starting playing in garages at our folks homes, and learning more psychedelic tunes, it was a blast! Recently Wayne Newitt and I were polishing up some old memories and Wayne recalled that we played together in "The Motley Crew" (and there were a few versions of the motley crew), along with Reid Webb, Jeff Opydyke and Ken Larsen (Jeff and Ken were former Leaves of Grass II members). Our regular drummer George Butts, had come down with a "mysterious illness" and Wayne sat in for a few gigs, when he wasn't playing with "The Generations". I believe this was in the summer of 1968. Great little band... funny story, the name came about as we were practicing in my folks garage on 28 East L st., Mom pops her head in the garage and proclaims, "Boy, this is a Motley Crew! and a new name was immediately applied to the group.
In 1969, my years at Hilltop High were complete and i began to play for money, or "become a professional musician" That just started to work out, when i got my Draft Notice! Well, i had a 2 year hiatus from playing before i finally landed up in the Seattle, Wa. area. The first paying gig i could find was playing harmonica, mandolin, acoustic guitar and washboard, with a Bluegrass band, called Whisky Ridge, who played at Pioneer Square's "Inside Passage Tavern" and made enough money to squeak by until i could make some good contacts, and start a band of my own, which we called "Stumblin' Gold" This was a super fun band , doing Bob Seeger, The Eagles, Steve Miller and Beatles covers... and eventually even writing some of our own material. We played constantly, until 1977, when i left to go on the road with a Tacoma, WA road band called "Canon". I shared the vocal chores with Emi Canyn, and doubled on sax and whatever was needed.
I played constantly, for the next 10 years, in road bands, refining my voice, learning to mimic the singers in the tunes we covered, getting better on my instruments and seeing the world. Canon only lasted about a year and i gravitated to a hard rockin' Seattle band called Dillinger. (photo totally photoshopped, my bad ; )
I was to make some lifelong friends in Dillinger, including Steve Erickson, Bruce Malmberg, Joe Brown, Lloyd Poole and Mark Hibbard ~ Sound. After Dillinger, Bruce and I started a new band called the "Bad Bees" with Mike Crocker, Marty Kona, Steve Mc Cowen, Kenny Verver, Ernie Calleo, The Bee's were a super high energy band, that rocked hard, and had a blast everywhere we traveled to.
The Bad Bees ran out of steam about a year and a half later.
Steve Erickson had started up a new road band and gave me a call. We
ended up forming a new group called
"Tight Shoes". It included Erickson, Mel Mandeville, Lloyd
Poole , myself and sound man Dean "Awesome" Onsome. After a couple
years and a trip to Alaska and Canada, Mel and Dean had enough and quit.
The "Shoes" probably worked more often and stayed on the road more, than any band I'd ever played with. Towards the end of our 5 year run, we were averaging about 40 weeks a year on the road.
I finally retired from the road after "Tight Shoes". I was in my mid 30's and too old to play that many weeks a year on the road. So, i got a job managing a music store and started to play around Seattle, on weekends with the bass player from "Tight Shoes", Hugo Taylor. He and his buddy Vlad were terrific players and really dug the oldies, so we called it "GET BACK"
and played lots of Beatles and Classic Rock. That band lasted about 5 years and was a whole new level of fun.
Later about 1992-93, i played with Rudy and the Tubeshakers: All great guys and a very professional group. Doug Pratt lead the band and kept things together. Doug called it a day in '94 and i talked a couple Tubeshakers, Doug Hirsch and Mark Black, into some other projects, "The Circus" and Strange Syrkas, with Hugo Taylor and Bill Dodge. So this would comprise my "Original Music" project, which i called "Strange Syrkas". I had been writing music and recording demo's for some time and a local Seattle record company signed me, to put out my material. The first of my music C&M put out was a compilation of Seattle area groups, that had been featured on Public Access TV's favorite music show, "Swine before Pearls". We had been on the show twice, so my song "Diametrically Opposed" was included on the compilation and it was getting pretty good airplay on Seattle College radio stations and promoted several top notch bookings for Strange Syrkas, including Seattle's prestigious club, The Backstage and further TV spots. Sadly C&M records went broke and everything ground to a halt a year later, as grunge music was picking up steam and singer-songwriter fare was waning.
So, then, I was playing in an acoustic blues duo, with Bob Nelson, we called The Phantoms, when a phone call from my old pal Steve Erickson convinced us to form an electric version of The Phantoms. We've were together 10 years... now Bob Nelson and i play occasionally for benefits and what not, as The Acoustic Phantoms,
and we also sit in with "Third Train Running" at benefits and gigs.
I'm singing the lead and usually the harmonies too, on all these songs. All the instruments are being played live, no sequencers, although a few songs have a drum machine, instead of a real drummer, for effect. Sax sections are me, overdubbing, as are the stacked vocal harmony parts. So now, why don't you click on a link, on your left and hear some of my music? I hope you enjoy it!
I really hope you have your computer hooked up to a nice set of speakers, or headphones! One last thing, i have noticed the software i use to turn cd recordings into mp3's sometimes does weird things to the mix, or solo's, or? i will be perpetually improving things as i notice them.
thanks for visiting,
steve "sarge" stransky
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