"The central theme of Feed The Fire," says John Kay, "is,
'don't let the bastards get you down!'" Lyrically, songs such as "Rock & Roll
Rebels" and "Hold On" focus on the resiliency of the human spirit in spite of
life's many setbacks.
The title song speaks to the needs of the inner flame that
burns in all of us and drives us in our quest for fulfillment. Other tracks,
such as "Man On A Mission", "Rock Steady" and "Rage", are songs of defiance and
passion, while "Bad Attitude" and "Give Me News I Can Use", rely on
tongue-in-cheek and at times sardonic humor to make their point.
With "Feed The Fire," their most potent album in years, John
Kay and company have written the newest chapter of the Steppenwolf legend.
John Kay has certainly lived the life of a rock and roll rebel himself. After a
perilous midnight escape from post-war East Germany as a child, he grew up with
a steady diet of Armed Forces Radio and became inspired by the likes of Little
Richard and Chuck Berry. At age 13, John decided to make rock and roll his life.
"Considering I was only 13, legally blind, spoke the wrong
language and was on the wrong side of the ocean, maybe I was a little
optimistic," he says.
In spite of these considerable adversities, by his 14th
birthday John Kay miraculously found himself with guitar in hand on the other
side of that ocean in Toronto, Canada. John Kay learned English from the speed
rapping disc jockeys and music from the artists of the day, and he began to
perform on amateur radio shows in his mid-teens.
After high school, John Kay roamed the American continent
performing acoustic blues in coffee houses and bars. He soon met and joined the
Canadian band "The Sparrow" while playing in Toronto's Yorkville Village in
1965. The group, migrating from Toronto to New York and later to San Francisco,
became part of the Bay Area music scene.
The Sparrow broke up in 1967, after several unsuccessful
attempts at recording for Columbia Records. A couple of months later, John Kay
formed Steppenwolf in Los Angeles. Powered by his gritty vocals, the band's
blues-based rock burst upon an unsuspecting public in the summer of 1968,
creating timeless classics as "Born To Be Wild"; "Magic Carpet Ride"; "The
Pusher"; "Rock Me."
Following John Kay's decision to break up the band in the mid
70's, he embarked on a solo career that saw the release of albums such as:
"Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes"; "My Sportin' Life"; "All In Good Time".
In the late 70's John Kay learned that several bogus groups,
using the name Steppenwolf, were touring and trashing the very reputation of the
band that Kay had created. In 1980 he decided to act and the John Kay Band
quickly became John Kay and Steppenwolf.
Several years of intensive touring followed and resulted in
the rebuilding of the name. Since the early 80's, the group has featured the
considerable talents of John's coproducing and writing partner, Michael Wilk
(keyboards/bass/vocals) and long time drummer/vocalist Ron Hurst. Recently, they
were joined by newest member, lead guitarist/vocalist, Danny Johnson.
Since re-establishing the name, John Kay and Steppenwolf have
released five albums and have toured annually on a worldwide basis. In 1994,
John Kay returned triumphantly with the Wolf to play concerts in the former East
Germany, where he was reunited with friends and relatives he had not seen since
he was 4 years-old. With sales in excess of 20 million units worldwide (and
increasing annually) and songs licensed for use in 37 motion pictures and 36
television programs (as of this writing), the group continues to focus on the
future. Recent projects and activities include:
• May 1994 saw the first annual Wolf Fest which draws the
Wolfpack Fan Club from all parts of North America and Europe to celebrate a
weekend of special events and activities with their favorite band.
• John Kay's autobiography entitled, "Magic Carpet Ride"
released in 1994.
• John Kay and Steppenwolf, Live at 25 (The Silver
Anniversary Tour Recordings), a double CD, released February 1995. The album
contains 23 tracks including many of the hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's along
with two new songs.
• John Kay was inducted into the Canadian Academy of
Recording Art and Sciences (CARAS) Hall of Fame, in March, 1996.
• "Feed The Fire", the first single and video (from the album
of the same name), was released in August, 1996 and continues to be supported
through special promotions, and John Kay & Steppenwolf's 1997 concert tour.
"Looking back, it has always been my inner fire that has
pushed me to overcome life's obstacles and allowed me to realize my dreams,"
says John Kay.
Contact Grabow for more information or to book John Kay &
Steppenwolf for your next corporate or private event.