Eric McFadden, Reflections on Steve Maase and On the First Inaugural Guitar Summit

Eric McFadden, LA-based guitarist and longtime friend and colleague of the Maase family.

Eric McFadden, LA-based guitarist and longtime friend and colleague of the Maase family.

Today, March 17th, I have the honor and pleasure of performing in memory and celebration of the great Steve Maase. Steve was very important in my development as a young musician and human being. He was a great teacher and mentor to many, and positively impacted many lives, including mine. When I turned 18, Steve gave me a job at his music store, "The Music Factory" in Albuquerque, and also let me use one of the studios to teach in. It would take too many words to effectively explain Steve's importance in my life.


I will have the pleasure of performing with Steve's daughter, Lily Maase, who has followed in her extraordinary father's footsteps, a has become an exceptional guitarist in her own right. I'm thankful to Lily for inviting me to be a part of this special event.


I also get to share the stage with my life long friend and mentor, Mikey Wright. I met Mikey when I started hanging out at the Guitar Shop on central everyday after school when I was 10 years old and Mikey was 16. I'd stay till closing everyday playing the guitars and absorbing whatever was being said or played around me.


I met Tim Pierce through Mikey and Steve and he became another significant influence and inspiration to me. Another important friend and mentor from this era was Stan Hirsch, who will only be present in spirit for this show. I'm grateful for all of the support and inspiration I've received from these badass mofos, and looking forward to our first gig together after 40 years.

 

Little Wing

A note from the engineer:

A note from the engineer: "One of the most meaningful experiences I have had at OTS, is the Great Blue Whales album project that we worked on over a 2+ year timeframe. All due time was taken so that nothing was ready before it was time. I adhere to that essential principle with every project we’ve done, because it makes ALL the difference in the world. There have been a couple of projects where we were rushed, and it always sounds like it, so I resist almost exclusively when there’s a deadline that is too close.

The Little Wing cut on that record is, in my opinion, the very best version of that song I’ve ever heard. Steve blew me away with his approach, technique and interpretation of that cut. I still play it often for prospective clients because it is AMAZING and BRILLIANT!!!! Even the Hendrix estate, Jimi’s sister, said that it was one of the best versions of that song she had ever heard."

 

the Great Blue Whales are...

Pat Houlihan - voice and guitar

Steve Maase - guitar

Jon Griffin - bass

Gerry Greenhouse - drums

Memories of Steve, circa 1970

My name is Gerald Chavez. I just wanted to give a short history of my experience with Steve Maase.

I met Steve in 1972, when he was teaching at K and B music on Central Ave. At the time, I was a big fan of Frank Zappa. I was talking to your father about different styles of music and he said, “You have to listen to this guitarist.” It was John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and their Inner Mounting Flame album. From the opening cut, I was hooked!

He went on to explain what was happening in the music, which was way above my head, but he made it understandable. From that point on I knew Steve was the teacher/mentor I was looking for. I recently found the notes/homework Steve gave me for Birds of Fire, Meeting of the Spirits, Dance of Maya, etc. Looking back at that time now, reminds me of how lucky I was to have been his student.

His teaching skills were incredible, as Tim Pierce stated in his testimonial. A very salient component of his teaching for me went far beyond unraveling the mysteries of odd meters and polyrhythms. In the middle of a lesson he would bring up things that, at first, did not seem connected to music. The information, as it turned out, was more that relevant to learning music and growing as a person. He handed me a large string bound book, made out of paper sacks. It was called the Be Here Now book, by Baba Ram Dass (aka Richard Alpert, PhD). These early copies were floating around the spiritual community and after encountering one and reading it, you passed it on to another person, which is what Steve did. Very life changing in many ways. That was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to information. Steve also introduced me to the books of Carlos Castaneda and Aldous Huxley, along with many others, which became very integral to my musical journey.  

I had moved to California in 1976 to pursue my musical interests with my band Govinda. The experience of being a student of Steve Maase opened my eyes in so many ways. While in the Bay area, I had the opportunity to see John McLaughlin, Weather Report with Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea, to name but a few. It was because of Steve’s influence that the aforementioned players became so important to me.

Lastly, I was fortunate to have purchased two guitars from Steve. The first was an Ovation Artist acoustic he sold me when he had The Shop on Tulane. My favorite guitar, a Moonstone Vulcan, he sold me when he had the Music Factory on Carlisle.  

There are so many things about my experience as a student of Steve’s, I could go on forever. I just want to let you know the significant impact he had on my life.  

I received my copy of Steve’s book. So valuable to anybody wanting to create a foundation for approaching the guitar in a logical, applicable way. Thank you for your editing skills.

Respectfully,

Gerald Chavez, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Follow Your Heart (a note from Steve's daughter, Lily Maase)

At a time when young women by and large did not play the guitar, my father took me under his wing without indicating in any way that my interests were unusual. As a result I developed a confidence in and awareness of myself as a musician long before I was exposed to some of the realities that faced and still face the women in my field.
I owe my father a great debt of gratitude for this, and when I think of him it is impossible for me not to think of this amazing instrument, the miracles that it has worked in my life,
and what the guitar meant to both of us as fans of its music and students of its craft.

Beyond being the tool that keeps a roof over my head, the guitar seems to me a symbol of independence, of self-discovery and self-expression, and of the fact that it truly is possible for each of us to live in the world we create. It has been a solace and source of inspiration to ‘outsiders’ of almost every generation, a voice of protest for those who need to be heard, an expression of unity, for those seeking common ground, and a tool of education that has reached thousands of people whose ways of thought
fall just a little bit beyond the norm.

Above all this, because of the way it is constructed and the varieties of music that it calls home, the guitar truly is for anyone who has the desire to pick it up and play.
The guitar is an instrument that belongs to the people. Every last one of us. As a result it lives and breathes in folk music, in jazz, in pop, in the blues, and at the very heart
of rock & roll.

My father is perhaps the most perfect representation of what the guitar means that I have ever known. Here is a man who never went to music school—a man who taught himself to play beautifully and then, looking at what he learned, figured out how to take this information and share it with others. He did this selflessly, joyfully, and arguably at the expense of his own critical success. Here, also, is a man who came up through the tradition of the instrument as that tradition was created, who had brushes with fame alongside Buddy Holly, who remembered the earliest Fender amplifiers and guitars, who took the time to look at the guitar as it ascended into the pantheons of popular culture and ask an essential question: How does all this really work, and why?

When he was behind his instrument, Steve was a force of nature. But the thing that strikes me most upon reflection is the fact that, in his daily life, he was a flawlessly gentle and giving human being. He is unique, perhaps, in his conviction that the information that led to his successes also belonged to everyone he met along the way.

Below is some rare footage of our time spent together as a musical family, recorded in 2011 in honor of John McLaughlin, who has shaped both Steve's and my playing beyond compare.  I look forward to continuing this journey toward understanding with each and every one of you.