Steve Ellis


Name, where are you from?
I’m Steve Ellis, singer, from Finchley, London.

Describe your style in three words?
Scruffy, casual, smart.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
It was at Nelson Ledges, Ohio in 1976 - the Nelson Ledges Freedom Festival. I was with Widowmaker, and we were there with ELO, J Geils Band (who were f*cking brilliant), Elvin Bishop, Roy Buchannon, The Outlaws and Steve Miller. I flew in by helicopter, and it was a magical day and night, a total blinder. We went on first and kicked it off. We were on fire that day.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
James Brown and The Famous Flames and Booker T & The MGs. I saw James Brown and The Famous Flames live at the Walthamstow Granada - in ‘66, a show so good it was quite simply unbelievable.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Mod because I was in a gang - the Finchley Boys - circa ’65. We were teenagers known as ‘peanuts’ because we couldn’t afford suits, but we looked up to the Mods who could. We had to make do with Levis and button-down shirts. Every Friday we would go to the Conservative Hall in Finchley to see bands play - particularly Tony Rivers and the Castaways who would do these brilliant covers of the Beach Boys and Four Seasons.

My elder Sister’s friend Brian Carroll would introduce me to new tracks - great soul tunes on the Sue label etc. You were either a Mod, rocker or beatnik. We were mods because we liked the music and the clothes.

I also liked punk when it came along because punk kicked the old guard up the arse. I wasn’t in love with the tunes so much - I’d describe some of them as “Amphetamine thrash” - but the punk attitude that “anyone could a get a band together and go f*ck everyone else” was bang on.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Muhammad Ali, I don’t do heroes, but I loved the guy since I was a kid, because he was funny. He broke down racial barriers. He could do anything.

Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Glasgow Apollo and City Hall. There’s always something about playing Glasgow that’s a bit special. This goes back to when I first played in the 1960’s. The crowd are just up for it, no pretensions. I’ve always loved playing to Scottish audiences; I’m back there later in the year.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Terry Reid - Aside from being a great friend, he will never compromise his music, he even turned down the mighty Led Zeppelin.

Steve Ellis was the vocalist with Love Affair, the English band that formed in 1966 and by 1968 had a British number one hit with 'Everlasting Love'. Cited by the like of Paul Weller as icons of British Mod culture. Steve Ellis' new album, 'Boom! Bang! Twang!' Produced by Paul Weller, Steve Ellis and Charles Rees is slated for release on 20th April (2018).

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