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Steve Hunter

steve hunter guitarist, steve hunter
Stephen John Hunter born June 14, 1948 is an American guitarist, primarily a session player best known for his collaborations with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper He has been often called "The Deacon"1 Hunter first played with Mitch Ryder's Detroit, beginning a long association with record producer Bob Ezrin who has said Steve Hunter has contributed so much to rock music in general that he truly deserves the designation of "Guitar Hero"2 Steve Hunter has played some of the greatest riffs in rock history3 - that first slamming solo that rings in Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin'", the acoustic intro on Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" and he wrote the legendary intro interlude that made Lou Reed's live version of "Sweet Jane" a first gold record the Rock 'N' Roll Animal live set


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 21 Work with Mitch Ryder
    • 22 Work with Alice Cooper
    • 23 Work with Lou Reed
    • 24 Work with Aerosmith
    • 25 Work with Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel and other artists
    • 26 Solo work
  • 3 Awards
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Solo discography
  • 6 Other contributions
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early lifeedit

Steve Hunter was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois He was first introduced to music when, as a young child, he would listen to country and western music on a Zenith console radio and his father would play the guitar He watched the Lawrence Welk show on TV at his grandparents home where he saw Neil LeVang and Buddy Merrill His grandparents had a Harmonium and his father would sit young Steve on his lap and pump the organ while Steve would work out melodies on the keyboard When he was eight years old he began to take guitar lessons on a Lap steel guitar He saw and heard Jerry Byrd play the lap steel and learned what could be done on the instrument He eventually switched to the standard guitar and was influenced by the music of Chet Atkins, The Ventures and Duane Eddy4

Hunter continued playing guitar throughout high school where he played in a group called the Weejuns, taking their name from a shoe Later he joined the Light Brigade, a rock and soul group that played in the Decatur area

In 1967, during the Vietnam War, Hunter was drafted into the Army, trained as an x-ray technician, and served in an air evacuation hospital in Okinawa, Japan where Vietnam combat casualties were being treated He considered becoming a doctor but he enjoyed music so much he knew he would follow a career in music5

After his service in the Army, he returned to Decatur where he built a reputation as a gifted guitar player One day he got a telephone call from his Decatur friend, John "Polar Bear" Sauter, that changed his life


Hunter has had an illustrious 40-year career as a session musician, band member and as a solo performer

Work with Mitch Ryderedit

John Sauter called Hunter to tell him that he was playing with Mitch Ryder in Detroit and that Ryder was auditioning for guitar players He suggested that Hunter come to Detroit and try out Hunter packed up his guitar and made the eight-hour drive to Detroit Hunter made the cut and became part of Mitch Ryder's new band Detroit Here Hunter met and formed a long-time professional association with producer Bob Ezrin Detroit released one self-titled album on Paramount Records They had a hit with a cover of Lou Reed's "Rock & Roll" Reed was so impressed with Hunter's arrangement and performance on that song that he recruited Hunter to join his band3

Work with Alice Cooperedit

In the 1970s, he appeared on five Alice Cooper albums, all of which were produced by Ezrin His first recording with Alice Cooper was in 1973 as a session musician on the second to last and most successful album recorded by the Alice Cooper group, Billion Dollar Babies When Alice Cooper became a solo artist, Hunter followed and appeared on the 1975 groundbreaking album and live show Welcome to My Nightmare alongside guitarist Dick Wagner as seen in the film Welcome to My Nightmare This was released on home video in 1976 and featured the celebrated guitar battle between Hunter and Wagner that formed part of the Alice Cooper 1975 live show In 2010, Hunter also worked on the basic tracks and solos for Alice Cooper's album Welcome 2 My Nightmare and then toured with Alice Cooper throughout 2011 on the No More Mr Nice Guy Tour6

Work with Lou Reededit

His first collaboration with Lou Reed was for the Berlin album He also played with Dick Wagner in the band captured on Reed's live albums, Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live, including the "Intro" to "Sweet Jane", which was composed by Hunter,7 who plays the solo up to Lou walking on stage In 2006, Reed and Hunter presented a new live version of Berlin, released in 2008 as a DVD and CD Berlin: Live at St Ann's Warehouse

Work with Aerosmithedit

In 1974, he played the uncredited opening-half solo on Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin" from Get Your Wings In a February 2015 interview in Detroit Rock N Roll Magazine Hunter tells how it came about that he recorded the opening solo of Aerosmith's "Train Kept a Rollin": "Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked 'Hey, do you feel like playing' I said sure, so I grabbed my guitar and went in I had two run thru's, then Jack said 'great, that's it!' That turned out to be the opening solos on 'Train Kept A Rollin’'"8

Work with Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel and other artistsedit

In 1974, shortly after his work with the band on the live Reed albums, Hunter played guitar on former Cream bassist Jack Bruce's solo album Out of the Storm

He played on Peter Gabriel's self-titled first solo album 1977 that included the classic single "Solsbury Hill" which was likewise produced by Ezrin9 He also played on tour with Gabriel for the North American leg and a few shows in the UK during March / April 1977, sharing guitar duties with Robert Fripp

Other artists Hunter has worked with include David Lee Roth in the mid-1990s, Julian Lennon, Dr John, Tracy Chapman and more recently Glen Campbell and 2Cellos It was while recording Roth's A Little Ain't Enough that Hunter met Jason Becker Hunter and Becker have remained the best of friends since10 He wrote "Camelia", which is featured on the soundtrack of the film The Rose, starring Bette Midler, and performed as part of the backing band Additionally, he appears in the film Blame it on the Night, a movie co-written by Mick Jagger, featured as one of the guitarists in the band

Solo workedit

Hunter's first solo album, 1977's critically acclaimed Swept Away, was produced by Bob Ezrin11

Hunter opted to leave Alice Cooper's touring band in 2012 to concentrate on solo projects12

His 5th solo album The Manhattan Blues Project was released on April 30, 2013, and features contributions from Joe Satriani, Tony Levin, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Marty Friedman, Michael Lee Firkins, Phil Aaberg, 2Cellos and Tommy Henriksen, with background vocals provided by Karen Ann Hunter13

In Sep 2014 a DVD and Soundtrack CD called Tone Poems Live was released, featuring Hunter, bass player Tony Levin, pianist Phil Aaberg and drummer Alvino Bennett


In 2009 Hunter received an Emmy Award for his contribution to the Detroit Free Press Christ Child House multimedia project1415

In June 2015 Hunter was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame16

Personal lifeedit

Hunter lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Cornish singer/songwriter, Karen Ann Hunter17 He suffers from pigmentary glaucoma, which has rendered him legally blind4

Solo discographyedit

  • 1977 - Swept Away Atco
  • 1989 - The Deacon IRS
  • 2008 - Hymns for Guitar Deacon Records
  • 2008 - Short Stories
  • 2013 - The Manhattan Blues Project Deacon Records
  • 2014 - Tone Poems Live Singular Recordings/Gokuhi
  • 2017 - Before the Lights Go Out

Other contributionsedit

  • 1971 - Detroit Mitch Ryder
  • 1973 - Berlin Lou Reed
  • 1973 - Billion Dollar Babies Alice Cooper
  • 1974 - Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits Alice Cooper
  • 1974 - Rock 'n' Roll Animal Lou Reed
  • 1974 - Out of the Storm Jack Bruce
  • 1974 - Get Your Wings Aerosmith
  • 1975 - Ain't It Good to Have It All Jim & Ginger
  • 1975 - Hollywood Be Thy Name Dr John
  • 1975 - Lou Reed Live Lou Reed
  • 1975 - Welcome to My Nightmare Alice Cooper
  • 1976 - Alice Cooper Goes to Hell Alice Cooper
  • 1976 - Glass Heart Allan Rich
  • 1977 - Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel
  • 1977 - Lace and Whiskey Alice Cooper
  • 1977 - The Alice Cooper Show Alice Cooper
  • 1977 - The Band Milwaukee Made Famous Bad Boy
  • 1978 - Night Flight Yvonne Elliman
  • 1980 - The Rose soundtrack Bette Midler
  • 1980 - Don't Look Back Natalie Cole
  • 1989 - H Factor with Pete Haycock and Derek Holt18
  • 1989 - Night Of The Guitar Live
  • 1991 - A Little Ain't Enough David Lee Roth
  • 1991 - Help Yourself Julian Lennon
  • 1992 - The Best of Flo & Eddie Flo & Eddie
  • 1993 - Fit For A King Tribute to Albert King
  • 1993 - Hats Off To Stevie Ray LA Blues Authority Vol III Lenny
  • 1993 - Dodgin' The Dirt Leslie West
  • 1994 - Your Filthy Little Mouth David Lee Roth
  • 1996 - Perspective Jason Becker
  • 2000 - Telling Stories Tracy Chapman
  • 2002 - Let It Rain Tracy Chapman
  • 2007 - À croire que c'était pour la vie Henry Padovani
  • 2008 - Berlin: Live at St Ann's Warehouse Lou Reed
  • 2008 - Collection Jason Becker
  • 2009 - Lollapalooza Live Lou Reed
  • 2010 - Empty Spaces Karen Ann Hunter Producer
  • 2011 - Welcome 2 My Nightmare Alice Cooper
  • 2011 - Ghost on the Canvas Glen Campbell
  • 2012 - No More Mr Nice Guy: Live Alice Cooper
  • 2013 - In2ition 2Cellos Melody on the bonus track 'Every Breath You Take'
  • 2015 - Tommy! Tommy!! Tommy!!! Tommy Henriksen


  1. ^ Sparks, Ryan "Steve Hunter: Sound & Vision" classicrockrevisitedcom Retrieved March 18, 2015 
  2. ^ "Exclusive Interview with A Real Rock & Roll Animal Steve Hunter" Real Good Time Together Summer 2007 Retrieved March 16, 2015 
  3. ^ a b Conley, Tony July 22, 2013 "Steve Hunter - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview" Rock Guitar Daily Retrieved March 16, 2015 
  4. ^ a b Hernandez, Al Carlos August 27, 2013 "Steve Hunter a Guitar Icon with Some Serious Friends" Herald de Paris Retrieved March 11, 2015 
  5. ^ Derrough, Leslie Michele June 15, 2013 "Steve Hunter" Glide Magazine Retrieved March 15, 2015 
  6. ^ "Alice Cooper Announces Tour and New Band Lineup ::Alice Cooper News" antiMusiccom Retrieved 2013-08-24 
  7. ^ Hall, Russell August 15, 2013 "Steve Hunter: The Gibson Interview" gibsoncom Retrieved March 18, 2015 
  8. ^ "Who Really Played the Guitar Solos on Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin"" Detroit Rock N Roll Magazine 2015-02-16 Retrieved 2015-03-10 
  9. ^ Allen, Rick "Steve Hunter - The deacon Sets It Straight" Vintage Guitar Magazine Retrieved 2015-03-14 
  10. ^ Obrecht, Jas April 28, 2011 "Jason Becker: The Complete 1990 Interview About David Lee Roth, Cacophony " Jas Obrecht Music Archive Retrieved June 7, 2015 
  11. ^ Joe Viglione 1976-08-18 "Swept Away - Steve Hunter | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards" AllMusic Retrieved 2013-08-24 
  12. ^ "Steve Hunter Leaves Alice Cooper Group To Concentrate On Solo Album" Sleaze Roxx 2012-02-11 Retrieved 2013-08-24 
  13. ^ "The Album" Themanhattanbluesprojectcom 2013-04-30 Retrieved 2013-08-24 
  14. ^ Free Press, Staff September 22, 2009 "Detroit Free Press wins 4th Emmy Award for Christ Child House" Detroit Free Press Retrieved June 13, 2015 
  15. ^ Christ Child House Emmy Award winning video
  16. ^ Michigan Rock and Roll Legends
  17. ^ Karen Ann Hunter's webpage
  18. ^ Discogs

External linksedit

  • Steve Hunter's Homepage
  • Steve Hunter at AllMusic
  • Steve Hunter discography at Discogs
  • Steve Hunter discography at MusicBrainz
  • Steve Hunter on IMDb

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