Steve Dudas was born on August 29, 1951 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel mill town outside of Pittsburgh. His father loved country music and played a little guitar. When his Dad caught Steve jumping on the bed, at the age of 6, with his guitar, singing Elvis, he started guitar lessons. Steve’s teacher was big band guitarist and Segovia student, Philip Schwartz. Steve studied with him until age 11. At that point Steve’s favorite music was surf instrumentals ala and Dick Dale. Steve would learn the melodic riffs by needle dropping on his record player.
|Dick Dale||The Beatles|
And then the Beatles arrived…………Steve started a band with his junior high friends called The Innovations. This is the first of many bands that Steve would play in throughout high school. It was the 60’s and a rich musical time. Between the British invasion, the San Francisco scene, Motown and Stax’s, it was a great time to be in a band learning how to play those tunes and riffs. This was the foundation for Steve’s playing. At age 14 Steve started taking lessons from guitarist, Bill Clydsdale who opened up two other types of musical worlds, jazz and classical guitar.
|Chuck Berry||Bo Didley||The Coasters|
After graduating high school Steve went on the road with the band, Saving Grace, playing clubs and ski resorts in the northeast. By summertime the band was in New York City looking for gigs and found one as the back up band for Richard Nader’s rock n’ roll revival tour. It was one of the first tours of its’ kind. It featured Chuck Berry, Bo Didley, Bill Haley & the Comets, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Platters and the Shirrels. All the acts traveled on a yellow school bus except for Bill Haley who flew and Chuck Berry who followed the bus in his Cadillac. The tour went from New York City to Los Angeles and back. It was Steve’s first experience in playing large venues. After the tour, Steve enrolled in community college and got an associates degree in liberal arts.
|The Drifters||The Platters||The Shirrels|
While in school he played the Pittsburgh club scene and gave guitar lessons. Steve could read music and play rock n’ roll, which was not common in the 70’s, and he started doing sessions on many local jingles and records. Some were orchestral dates with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
By 1972 Steve was a huge Yes fan and his outlet for progressive rock music was his band, Pyewakcet, which became quite popular in the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia).
|Yes||B.E. Taylor||Steve Dudas|
In 1974 he played a year with local Pittsburgh vocal legend, B.E. Taylor. This was refreshing to Steve because it was just guitar, bass, drums and vocal. They did a lot of Hendrix, Cream, Beck and Zeplin. B.E. Taylor is still playing the tri state area and is more popular than ever.
|Maureen McGovern||Hudson Brothers||Bill Medley|
In 1975 Steve went on the road with Maureen McGovern who had a huge hit with “The Morning After”. Over the next two years, he toured the world playing Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Japan and the Philippines. After playing with Maureen, Steve decided to move from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles to break into the recording scene as a session musician. In 1978 Steve started playing with the Hudson Brothers. They played Las Vegas and the talk show circuits of the time. (The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas) Steve began writing songs with Mark Hudson for an upcoming Hudson Brother record.
In 1979 they recorded “Damn those Kids” produced by Michael Lloyde. Steve co-wrote 4 songs and played guitar on the record. Michael Lloyde started using Steve on guitar on other projects; Bill Medley, Barry Manilow, Lief Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, Helen Reddy, Soloman Burke, movie and tv series, “Joanie Loves Chachi”.
In 1980 Steve formed the band “Combonation” in hopes of getting a record deal. The band featured Steve on guitar, Mark Hart (Crowded House and Supertramp) on guitar and Keyboards, Billy Thomas(Vince Gill) on drums, Rick Moors (Bone Daddies) on bass and Randy Foote on vocals. Steve and Mark wrote most of the tunes and after a year of playing the LA club scene they developed a big following and a buzz among the record companies.
By 1982 they had several offers from major record companies. They decided on Warner Brothers. Ted Templeman of the Doobie Brothers and Van Halen was to produce. They also signed a publishing deal with Chapel Music. The record “ComboNation” came out in 1984 and the single “Girls Like You” received MTV air play with their video featuring actress Robin Wright. The next album was on Atlantic Records. They changed their name to The Dig and in 1987 had a release produced by long time fan of the band, Mark Ross and Executive Produced by Arif Mardin.
|Joan Rivers||Arsenio Hall|
Meanwhile in 1986 Steve became the guitarist for Fox Networks, The Late Show with Joan Rivers. It featured a 16 piece band with some of the best LA musicians. Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jimmy Johnson on bass, Jim Cox on piano, Bob Shepherd and Brandon Fields on sax, and Rick Baptist on trumpet. Steve also co-wrote the theme song. Joan lasted on the show for six months and was replaced by a variety of comediennes until one stood out: Arsenio Hall. He hosted until the end of the show in 1988.
Steve started teaching at Hollywood’s Musicians Institute in 1987. It was a great experience listening and observing literally some of the best guitarist in the world. Some of the classes he taught were Sight Reading, Classic Rock Work Shop, Steely Dan Workshop and his favorite class, Improvising Concepts. This was a two-hour class with guest musicians that would teach their views on improvising. There was a rhythm section and Steve would play with the guests. Some of the musicians featured were Joe Diorio, Howard Roberts, Scott Henderson, Carl Verheyen, Mike Miller, and the MI staff.
Steve continued writing with Mark Hudson who was producing and developing acts. One of the acts was Cher’s daughter, Chastity Bono. Steve began writing with Mark and Chastity and eventually did a record in 1991. On that record, Steve got to play with legendary drummer, Jim Keltner. Steve and Mark went on to write with Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, and in 1994 Ozzy Osbourne. They wrote 16 songs with Ozzy in the fall of that year in London. They demoed the songs with a live band featuring Dean Castranova on drums, Bob Daisley on bass and Steve and Mark on guitar. Two of the songs ended up on Ozzy’s Ozzmosis album released in 1996.
|Alice Cooper||Ozzy Osbourne||Aerosmith|
Shortly after writing with Ozzy, Steve signed a publishing deal with Universal Publishing. His next big collaboration was with Aerosmith; on the Nine Lives record he co-wrote the song “The Farm”. Then in 1997 he got to play on a Ringo Starr track. Being a huge Beatle fan, he was thrilled. Eventually, Steve started to write with Ringo, Mark Hudson and Dean Grakel for the Vertical Man album. To meet and play with Ringo was a thrill of a lifetime, but to get to know him and hang out was and is unbelievable! Steve also got to play with Steve Cropper and Joe Walsh on the record.
|Ringo Starr||Steve Cropper||Joe Walsh|
Upon release of Vertical Man, Ringo did the talk show circuit to promote the single “La De Da”. The band was Steve, Mark Hudson and Gary Burr on guitar, Simon Kirk on drums, Jim Cox on piano, and Jack Blades on bass. He also did a VH1 Storytellers on which Joe Walsh joined the band.
Next Steve got a pleasant surprise when a song that he co-wrote with Mark Hudson ended up on the Baha Men’s smash hit “Who Let the Dogs Out”. All the while Steve was still teaching at Musician’s Institute, which was ending after 11 years. It was there that Steve met singer and student Curtis Skelton. Steve started writing songs and putting a band together featuring Curtis and shopping a deal. The band got signed by Steve’s long time friend, Mark Ross who had a label deal (Abrupt Records) with Universal Records. In addition to producing two Speak No Evil records Steve produced the band The Churchills, and a 16 year old singer, Angela Ammons, on the same label.
|Mark Hudson||The Churchills||Angela Ammons|
In 2001 Steve co-wrote the title track for the Aerosmith release “Just Push Play”. The song was used for the Dodge Ram truck campaign of that year. In 2002 he co-wrote two songs and played guitar on Eagle’s Timothy Schmidt’s solo record “Feed the Fire”. Steve traveled to England in 2003 to write and play on Ringo’s next album “Ringorama”. Ringo had just built a new studio at his house and the Roundheads broke it in.
|Eric Clapton||George Harrison|
One of the most exciting sessions was with one of his heroes, Eric Clapton, who soloed on a tribute song about George Harrison called “Never Without You”. Upon release there was a tour of the TV circuit and an exciting gig at the Bottom Line in New York City.
|Robert Downey Jr.||Jerry Cantrell||Leslie West|
The following year Steve played on Robert Downey Jr.’s album “The Futurist”. Steve played some live gigs with Roberts including Oprah, Ellen and Good Morning America. Robert’s music is as good as his acting. Later in 2004, Steve arranged and played on 9 cover tunes for Ozzy Osbourne’s album “Prince of Darkness”. Steve played mainly rythmn on the album while Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains did most of the leads. Ozzy picked some great songs to do: “Mississippi Queen” featuring Leslie West on the lead, “Twentieth Century Schizoid Man” “All the Young Dudes” and “In My Life” among others. Jim Cox was on piano, Michael Bordin on drums, Chris Wyse on bass. It was like doing a club gig with Ozzy.
Then Steve returned to England to do another Ringo album. This time Ringo wanted the band live without a lot of overdubs. The result was “Choose Love”, released in 2005, which consequently felt more like a live band. There was a television tour and a live concert on the PBS Show “Soundstage”.
On July 25 2005 Steve received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Duquesne University in his hometown of Pittsburgh. The extent of the award was a complete surprise to Steve. He arrived to play a concert, and the auditorium was full of musicians that he played with throughout his career dating back to 8th grade. Friends flew in from around the country and Mark Hudson compiled a video that included tributes from Gary Burr, Ringo Starr, Steven Tyler and Ozzy Osbourne. Steve’s longtime friend Seymour Duncan also received the same honor and they jammed together at the end of this special night.
Then In November 2005 Ozzy released Under Cover, a compilation of some of his favorite tunes by other artists that Steve arranged and played guitar on. Steve also co-wrote a musical with Ozzy and Mark Hudson based on the life of Rasputin. They have written 18 songs that have been well received.
In Jan. of 2008 Ringo released “Liverpool 8” on Capitol records. Steve co-wrote eight of the songs and played guitar on all of the tracks.
Steve is currently writing and recording library music for the production company Extreme Music for the exclusive use in film and television.