Yesterday Steve Ventura, more commonly known by friends as Evil Steve, passed away at his home in Brooklyn. Steve had a tattoo of HUNG on the back of his head. I remember the first time I saw it very clearly… we were performing at Ace of Clubs back when that place was still around. It wasn’t just a show, it was actually a showcase for Chris Adler (Lamb of God), Larry Mazer and a bunch of other industry folk. We were the only band on the bill from New York City and packed the fucking place and a major reason why was the continuous effort by Evil Steve of promoting the band.
Anyway, as we were finalizing things on the stage, Steve ran up to me, shook my hand and yelled, “I just want you to know that I’m your number one fan!” He then turned is head around and showed me the fresh ink. Of course I dropped what I was doing to make sure the rest of the band saw it immediately. He repeated the same sentence to everyone, “I’m your number one fan!” And seriously, the guy was.
Evil Steve was the number one fan of the New York City heavy music scene. This is a scene that didn’t even really exist 5 years ago. Steve is one of the reasons the scene started back up again. The man relentlessly tried to organize and promote. He took pictures of everyone at every possible turn. Not everything he did was successful, but this never slowed him down.
There are promoters in New York City that do it for the money. There are promoters who will take every penny a band makes and not bat an eye at it. Steve would lose money promoting shows. Steve would invest in projects. He never asked for a penny and he did everything he could to see the bands that he supported become successful. The picture I’m trying to paint here is that the guy was a true metalhead who never asked for anything in return.
Tomorrow I’ll be attending the memorial service for one of the most dedicated friends the heavy music scene in New York City will ever have known. I can only hope that we will continue to carry on the legacy of Steve Ventura by investing in the bands here in the city. We need to cultivate what we have and carry on the torch. With every move we make we need to recognize the investments of people like Evil Steve; recognize the sacrifices people make to support the bands that they love.
Evil Steve died too young. It’s not known yet why, though I can’t imagine we could find out anything after the fact that will change the feeling of loss I feel now. Steve used to call me a “rock star” and I would laugh at him. I don’t feel bad for laughing, but looking back, it was always said with a true belief behind it. Even though we aren’t, he always viewed us like we were. The guy lived fast and hard and THAT is a true rock star lifestyle. I’m going to remember Evil Steve the same way he honored me… I’m going to remember him as a rock star. I know he would be honored by it and the impact he’s had on so many people justifies the sentiment.
Life is fucked up. Raise a glass in Steve’s honor whenever you think about him. I’m going to add him to the traditional toast I do after every set. Cheers my metal brother.