Steve Baldino-Bio Steve Baldino grew up in the bustling metropolis of Wilmington, DE. A lover of old-school blues and classic rock from an early age, the lad first picked up a guitar in the attic of his grandparents' house when he was ten. Noticing his fascination with the instrument, his Aunt Susan bought him a five dollar dreadnought for Christmas that year, and he immediately began writing songs and learning to play. The following summer Steve began taking lessons from local a guitarist named Chris Braddock at the Wilmington Music School. A highly accomplished composer and performer of classical pieces, Braddock began by teaching his new pupil some simple rock songs and then slowly integrating classical music into the repertoire, which sharpened the boy's technical skills and gave him an appreciation for a whole new aspect of composition. After two years of playing some simple classical pieces and classic rock tunes, Braddock had to break the news to Steve's parents that his five dollar guitar was flat-out unplayable. Shortly thereafter, the seventh grader met his first love. She was a red and white Hohner ST-Special, with a hot set of EMG pickups and a rosewood fretboard. Though the instrument may not sound all that impressive to a seasoned guitarist, to Steve it was the Excalibur of the modern world. With the new guitar came new styles and new lessons from the instructor. Braddock began teaching old jazz standards, and with them a number of the intricacies of jazz chords and theory. To keep Steve's attention, Braddock would throw in songs and bits of theory from the works of his favorite heavy metal bands, and from those lessons the boy learned a number of techniques seldom heard outside of the genre, like finger tapping and the use of wammy bars, phaser effects and the like. Once high school rolled around, Steve joined the school jazz band and was later asked by the school's band teacher, Brian Cox, to join a jazz quartet, playing his first few paying gigs as a fifteen-year-old. Cox was an old friend and bandmate of Chris Braddock, so Steve learned at an early age the value of having the right friends in the right places. The quartet played at country clubs, banquets and charity events, and performed for a number of VIPs, including a few senators and professional athletes. The jazz quartet was Steve's first opportunity to experiment with improvisation in live performances and helped to shape the style of his lead guitar parts for years to come. On his way to wrestling practice one day after school, Steve heard a couple of guys jamming in one of the classrooms. When he poked his head in, he found Honest John Grenda, then a history teacher at the school, giving a quick guitar lesson to a couple of students. After hearing the newcomer play a few riffs, Grenda quickly took Steve under his wing and began to instruct him in the ways of the blues. Honest John was the stage name Grenda used when he played with his five-piece blues band in a number of venues around the area. After a few jam sessions in Grenda's basement, Steve was invited to sit in with the band on a Saturday night at a local bar. Steve played with the band on several more occasions whenever the band's lead guitar player, Joe, wasn't around. Playing with Honest John gave the teenager an appreciation for Chicago style blues that rings through just about every song he records in some form or another. The song 'Compensatin' is written about Grenda's advice at that bar after Steve had opened for Honest John's Blues Band with a couple of his original songs. High school was a bit different for Steve than it is for the typical teenager. If he wasn't spending time with old friends from grade school he was playing, writing, recording or listening to music. A party meant the extended family was coming over for dinner, and a wild party meant just the Irish half of the family. Girls came in and out of the mix, but Steve spent a lot more time writing songs about them than dating them. The song 'Placebo' was written during Steve's junior year of high school, and while Steve remembers the names and faces of all the girls he was thinking of when he wrote it, he still doesn't know for sure which one it's about. Such is the case with a number of those songs. On one uneventful weekend during high school, Dan O'Connor, one of Steve's best friends from early childhood, introduced him to The Blues Brothers, which engendered some of Steve's unusual habits of dress and most of his religious convictions about music. The film struck a chord with Steve because he had always viewed religion as mildly ridiculous and quite impractical, but nowhere near as ridiculous and impractical as his beliefs about music and how it should be made. He wrote the chorus and several verses of 'Elwood Blues' later on that week, and then rewrote and recorded the song after being pulled over for speeding twice in one day in two different states several years later. During his senior year of high school, Honest John introduced Steve to a local musician, studio owner and engineer named Brett Stewart. From Stewart, Steve learned the basics of studio recording and music production. Steve recorded a number of songs at Stewart's Deep Groove Studio in Wilmington, including 'Placebo.' Steve heard the final mix of that song for the first time in the back of his parents' station wagon on the way to college in Annapolis. It was at Annapolis that Steve met Grant Wanier, who would become his long time friend, mentor and manager. Wanier heard Steve playing in the bathroom of their dormitory, and immediately decided to put together a group of musicians to play Steve's music in an upcoming battle of the bands held at the school. A gifted networker with a great ear for music, Wanier had no trouble at all bringing in the talent. Keeping the talent from killing each other proved to be a much more daunting task, but somehow it worked out. The band went through a slew of names , most of them only lasting for one show, and finally settled on Subject To Change, which unfailingly confused anyone who came across the posters they put up to advertise their shows. Steve's counterpart in the band was fellow guitarist Brent Oglesby, a free thinking Texan with an appreciation for cheap whiskey and a gift for womanizing. Steve and Brent disagreed about almost everything during rehearsals and performances and became fast friends. The band's original singer was Pat Karalus, Brent's roommate during freshman year. At school pep rallies, football tailgaters, house parties and one last gig on the back of a multi-million-dollar yacht, Pat's impressive stage presence never failed to drive the crowds wild. Still, after nearly two years without a paying gig, Pat decided he was thinking about quitting the band. Steve Scarver then quit the wrestling team took over as lead singer, with an impressive vocal range, an incredible sound and a wardrobe that makes GQ jealous. The band got a little nervous that they would be down one member when Tool announced that it was accepting auditions for a new lead singer and Scarver sent in his submission. In addition to being a talented singer, Scarver was often the mediator between the bickering guitar players, and was always the designated driver, which proved to be crucial for a band that tended to start it's after-party midway through a show. The band's first paying gig came along just before Pat quit the band, and Scarver filled in for that show with just the two guitarists as accompaniment. The band was hired to play at a going away party for Major Brian Webbinger, United States Army, who was a friend of Grant Wanier. It turned out that Scarver was just what they needed, because the owner of the local bar Sean Donlon's heard the trio and booked the band for a gig the next month right there on the spot. Judy Buddensick, who worked at the local radio station, also heard the band for the first time at the Major's party. She became a huge part of the band's success, and her house became a regular weekend get away spot for Brent and Steve to hash out playlists, write new songs and indulge in the juice of the barley. Judy helped to advertise the band and spread the word through the radio station, and eventually became like a second mom to them. With Judy's connections and support, the band picked up more and more prestigious gigs in Annapolis, eventually getting hired by the city to play gigs on the dock downtown. During Steve's senior year the band picked up Evan Seyfried, who had been a friend of Steve and Grant's throughout their time in Annapolis. Seyfried is one of those frighteningly intelligent people who tend to learn everything they do faster than everyone around them. By the time he started playing with Subject To Change, he had been learning all about keyboards and pianos and music theory for around ten years. The addition of Seyfried's knowledge about doubled the band's repertoire, and his keyboard parts filled out the band's sound perfectly. Subject To Change's most frequent changes were it's bass players. Not one member of the band is sure of the names of all the musicians that filled in the lower register of their sound. Mainstays on the bass were Jacob Yanofsky, who was a high school friend of Brent's and continues to jam with Steve on occasion, Mark Lewellyn, who left school to go back to Alabama and pay off some debts, and Zach Robinson, who performed with the band for a number of gigs during their senior year. Ross Miller also appeared at a number of gigs, most notably the booze cruise that the band played from Annapolis to Baltimore. The band's original drummer, Ryan Karpowicz, was an energetic and talented musician. He could sing, play guitar, bass drums and a couple of other noise makers as well. About midway through Steve's sophomore year, Karpowicz ran off with one of the band's numerous bass players to do a few shows in downtown Annapolis and so Steve and Grant went in search of a new drummer. Grant somehow found out about Bill Lipstreu through his numerous connections, and Steve found their new drummer sitting next to him in class one day. Steve and Lipstreu began to work together shortly thereafter. Lipstreu is an amazing drummer as well as an excellent producer, and so he began to record some of Steve's originals. They later brought in Scarver to do the vocal tracks and Mark Lewellyn, who was currently playing bass with the band, and by the middle of their senior year the band had finished the bulk of it's first album. During Christmas break that year, Steve drove the seven hours from Wilmington to Lipstreu's home in Hudson, Ohio to finish recording the last tracks of the CD. Scarver drove in from Columbus to finish the vocal work one day and by mid spring the band independently produced and released All Roads Lead To Nowhere. The album got it's name from the understanding by all those involved that once they graduated the band would have to split up. Steve ended up in the Mojave Desert, Scarver and Yanofsky in or around San Diego, Brent in Florida, Seyfried in South Carolina and Lipstreu back home in Ohio in graduate school. Steve went on recording his own tunes, recording a number of the tracks for the album, Compensatin', at Lipstreu's home in Hudson, OH on the way out to California. 'Unspeakable Things' was written during that road trip and recorded at Steve's studio in the desert. 'Must Be Midnight' was written about four months afterward and was the last song to be recorded for Compensatin'. Since completing the tracks for the first album in February of 2009, Steve has moved on and continued writing and recording in preparation for his next release, which will likely take until the Spring of 2010.