Photo: Mathew Scott
Slave front man Steve Arrington to release album on Stones Throw produced by Dam-Funk
Known for his innovative vocals on such classics as "Watching You" and "Just A Touch of Love," with Slave, as well as his solo work like "Weak at the Knees" and "Nobody Can Be You", Steve Arrington is one of those “what ever happened to” stories from the soul/funk movement of the 1980s. His songs have been sampled by the likes of Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Snoop, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, and N.W.A. His music also helped create the blueprint of 90’s west coast g-funk music along with Zapp and George Clinton.
At age seven, Steve’s grandparents bought him his first drum set and by high school, he was gigging regularly in the Dayton, Ohio area. In 1977, Steve moved to California to play with the Escovedo family (Coke, Pete, and Sheila) which led to a tour w/ Carlos Santana. He returned to Dayton in 1978 to join Slave as drummer and eventual lead singer for four albums. Steve witnessed the birth of hip hop first hand, as artists like The Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash opened for him in the early 80’s.
In 1982, Steve left Slave, releasing five more albums for Atlantic Records with a new lineup, peaking with the top 10 R&B hit “Dancin’ In The Key Of Life”. He was nominated for the 1986 NAACP Image Award. By 1991, Steve stepped away from the recording industry altogether, to devote his life to his serving God. During this time, Steve continued to study different genres of music, from gospel to jazz, classical to blues, electronic to world music, and Latin to hip hop. This fusion of spirituality and musical study resulted in the 2009 self released “Pure Thang”, Steve’s first album in over 20 years. In it, you hear the discovery of new ideas mixed with the musical legacy of those that came before him.
This led to Dam-Funk reaching out to Steve to propose collaborating on an album for Stones Throw Records. It only makes sense as Dam and Stones Throw creator PB Wolf originally met through Dam giving Wolf a rare bootleg DVD of a Slave live TV performance.
With Dam on the tracks and Steve on the vocals and lyrics, something inter-generational has been born. While finishing touches on his LP with Dam-Funk, Steve is jumping into this full steam ahead, practicing hard with an all new band and starting to do spot dates around the US with artists like DJ Quik and Q Tip who are more than up for the idea of sharing the stage with someone who influenced and inspired their careers. New chapter is upon us.