"Have guitar, will jam!"
by Mary Ellen Wessels (1993)
It's hard to believe that it has
only been a year since I met Steve at OVFF! It seems like we've been
friends and singing together forever. So when I was asked to write his
biography for ConChord I confidently said "Sure!" Then I began to panic...
as I realized that there were lots of things I didn't know about him.
Like how he discovered fandom (and WHY we hadn't met him sooner!). So
here's what I learned about Steve:
Steve Macdonald was born in 1961
in Vicksburg, near Kalamazoo Michigan. (Yes, there really *is* a Kalamazoo,
my family is from there too!) He lived in the Kalamazoo area all his
life until recently he moved to South Lyon. This is a very, very good
thing since it means he lives closer to me now!
He has a very nice (patient!) wife,
Susan, who can occasionally be seen wandering convention halls wearing
intriguing lace oufits. Susan and Steve have 2 children - Renee (2),
and Luke (5) and one more on the way.
When he isn't filking and singing
in bars his mundane job is "using whiffle bats on people." I think the
actual title is "Mortgage Counselor" (Kind of like Sanitation Engineer
= Garbage Collector?) Gosh, I suppose I can't think of anyone I'd rather
have trying to collect on my past due mortgage than Steve (fortunately
for our friendship I don't own a house!)
He occasionally does other things
than read SF and sing. His other hobbies include: sex (well he does
have two kids and one on the way!), reading and gaming (which he says
family obligations don't allow him to do nearly enough of) he is a reformed
(broke) comic collector.
The first SF Steve read was Have
Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein in 1974. He's been a hardcore
SF reader ever since. His favorite author "hands down" is Heinlein (though
he confesses that he hasn't read anything written later than 1975).
His second favorite author is: McCaffreyAsimovLackeyHoganChalkerAspirinCardNivenPournelleDocSmith.
In February of 1992 a friend "hogtied
and carried" him to Capricon. She told him he had to bring his guitar.
He wondered why he needed his guitar for a literary convention but she
convinced him. He found out about filking at the con but didn't really
see any. He did stay up singing all night in a lobby with Steven
Brust however. In June 1992 he went to Conamazoo where he really discovered
filking. He was then told by Thom Mattingly and Harry Smothers (thanks
guys!) that he had to attend a house sing party at Tim Ryan's
and that he *must* attend OVFF 1992. bum bum bum bum bum bum... And
that's where I met him!
Steve has been "doing" music all
his life. He's been in choirs since 3rd grade. He plays a "smattering"
of organ, piano, percussion, and recorder. Instrumentally he is best
known in filk circles for his powerful rhythm guitar! Steve attended
Western Michigan University twice. The first time to have fun. The second
time to try to get a music degree. He majored in Bassoon! But decided
that he couldn't become a professional Bassoon player unless he was
gifted with $10,000 to buy an instrument, didn't want to teach and what
the heck was he spending his money on college for anyway!? While at
Western he had 3 years of classical voice training. (Filk Bassoon!?
Cool! I say we take up a collection and buy him one! ) In 1980 he toured
Europe with the Blue Lake International Choir.
The first thing I noticed about
Steve's music was that his originals were somewhat reminiscent of Jethro
Tull. I later found out that he is a big Tull fan. (lucky guy! he even
had his picture taken with the band!) Other musical influences include:
The Beatles, John Denver, Queen, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Saint Saens,
Indigo Girls, Peter Paul and Mary...
Upon discovering filking his first
reaction was "I'm not alone--- I'm not alone? -- I'm not alone!!???"
His second reaction was "They like MY music!????" He plays professional
bar gigs but never plays originals since "classic rock" standards are
more popular with crowds. In his words "I sold my soul - to stay employed!"
He began composing in 1977 and has
composed 103 songs at the time of this writing. He hadn't written anything
for three years before he discovered filking and since has written 17
new songs! A funny Vampire song "Addicted to Blood", "Rennaisance Melody",
"Carriage Ride", "Seducing the Unicorn", and others that can be found
on his tape "Songspinner" which he has just finished the pre-production
work on. The tape is produced by "Thin Ice Productions". He plans to
have a mixed down master that people can listen to at the con.
The thing I love most about singing
with Steve is the ENERGY he puts into his music! He's a great person
to have at a jam session. He is such a silly, talented, huggable, fun
person to know that when I spend an evening singing with Steve I always
identify most strongly with his song"I
wish I didn't have to go!"