He trick-or-treated at Liberace’s house, planned a two-day stay in Amsterdam that ended a month later with him escaping the city under the cover of darkness, and was Bob Hope’s favorite altar boy. Alone, these anecdotes go well with a fistful of peanuts at a cocktail party. But on top of these add that this person also co-wrote the longest-running song on the Billboard Top 100, had a debut solo album that earned three and a half stars in Rolling Stone, and was awarded the title of “San Diego’s Most Influential Artist of the Decade” at the San Diego Music Awards. What you end up with is one of the most engaging, twisted, and prolific songwriters of our time – Steve Poltz.
“Paying dues” is certainly not a foreign concept to most successful musicians, but Steve seems to have single handedly redefined what that phrase means. Born among the hearty, seafaring folk of Halifax, Nova Scotia, his parents up and moved him to Palm Springs, where he was raised.
He started out playing bars and coffee houses around San Diego, eventually forming the college radio favorite band, The Rugburns. The Rugburns are well-known and appreciated by DJs and played sold out clubs all over the country. Steve would write a song onstage in one city, and two nights and two time zones later, there would be people screaming for that very song at another show.
Here’s a good time to mention that Steve Poltz is the guy who stumbled upon Jewel. Yes, Jewel Kilcher. By “stumbled upon” we’re saying that he beckoned this plucky Alaskan waitress in a San Diego coffee house- “hey, come up on stage with me and sing a song.” A few months later, there are limos pulling up in front of said coffee house, ferrying in record company moguls who have come to hear the babe in swaddling tube tops. Around that time, Poltz thought it a capital idea if he and Jewel absconded to the Yucatan peninsula for a bit of creative R&R, as they say. Whilst on a beach in Mexico, the two of them sat over a guitar and wrote “You Were Meant For Me,” which, as referenced earlier, ambled its way on to becoming the longest running song on the Billboard Top 100.
In his career, he soon found himself touring the world with Jewel, pulling double duty as her opening act, and then playing as a member of her band. Ever hear of a folk musician play a stadium show solo, armed only with his acoustic guitar? Indeed, the list is short. But he pulled it off, and ended up with a fervent, near-maniacal fan base stretching all over the world. Want proof? Check out his web site (www.poltz.com), where you’ll not only read the pained applications of American fans, clamouring for the next tour and the next album, but Australians, French, English, and Irish people posting for information on when they can get their next fix.
Steve has recently spent time in Halifax recording his latest album, Dreamhouse, produced by singer-songwriter and multi award winning musician Joel Plaskett.