Those days in Woodstock for me, from ’70 to ’71, were actually quite rough, especially being so young. I mean, I didn’t even drive yet (real city kid), so, I always depended on hitchhiking and friends to take me everywhere, which got old fast. Still, the recognition was really starting to take hold, and it seemed as if every good thing I did led to yet another. One good show, next day a phone call…….it was amazing how this all started to fit together.
I can remember in my earliest days of Woodstock, I was still going to school at the Philadelphia College of Art, and me and my band, who were living with me at the time, would take weekend trips up to Woodstock, to investigate the scene, and to hopefully be heard.
We heard about this club called the Sled Hill Café, which was kind of a “dive”, but a lot of great groups would play there, and folks like Paul Butterfield, who I really wanted to impress, would sit and drink at the bar. We came in and sure enough, there was a band called “Bang” playing, featuring the great Buzzy Feiten on guitar, who had been playing with Butterfield at the tender age of 18. When they took a break between sets, I went up to him, and boldly asked if my band, Steel, could actually sit in and play their instruments, doing a couple of songs. Buzzy said “sure..just be careful!” So, we launched into 3 of our best numbers, got a great hand, and then that seemed to be it. I did notice Butterfield say to his barstool neighbor, “hey, did get a listen to this kid?”, which was worth it all to me right there!
Needless to say, all three of us left feeling a little dejected, because it seemed that the club owner paid it no mind, and we’d never hear from him again. So, a few weeks passed, and our depressions soon turned back to optimism again, so we figured we’d give the old Sled Hill another shot this time, armed with a demo tape. As soon as we walked in the door, there was the owner, and he started screaming “oh my god! Steel! I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a hold of you ever since that last time you played here! Everyone loved you! Just shows……..you gotta keep trying…………
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