Stevie Salas is a guitarist known for his work on George Clinton’s albums, his collaborations with Koshi Inaba of B’z, and Hardware. He was in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, providing the fingerwork for George Carlin’s guitar solo.
He has worked with many giants in the industry of music, including Steve Vai, Rod Stewart, Sass Jordan providing guitar for several of her albums, T.M. Stevens, Justin Timberlake, among others. He helps create studio bands for American Idol and continues to tour in Europe and Japan, as well as release his solo albums.
Stevie attended high school in San Diego, where he played in a rock band called This Kids, which toured the Southwest and released two EP’s. In 1985, Salas moved to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician. He lived there for a year without much success, almost starving to death through poverty induced hunger.
In 1985, he received a job as custodian for a small recording studio in L.A. where one night at 3a.m. he was awoken by George Clinton, who was looking for someone to play some chords on a song he was making. Salas offered his services. When he went into the studio, Salas said he began to play all sorts of weird stuff on the guitar to freak George out, which it did, and in turn, Salas was hired to play some tracks on George Clinton’s 1986 release, R&B Skeletons in the Closet.
In 1987 Stevie moved part-time to the United Kingdom and Holland to work on guitar and production sessions. That same year, he co-produced Was (Not Was)’s album Out Come the Freaks. In 1988, Salas wrote the guitar score and appeared in the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, playing Rufus’ guitar solo. That same year, he joined Rod Stewart as lead guitar player on Rod’s world tour. Salas then received the biggest record deal in Island Records history (at that point in time), as a solo artist. In 1989, he moved to New York City where he began to explore Native Music and recorded guitar on Ronald Shannon Jackson’s album Red Warrior. Finally, in 1990, Salas released his first solo album Stevie Salas Colorcode, opening for Joe Satriani and his record Flying in a Blue Dream.
In 1992, Stevie recorded the album, Third Eye Open, with one-off power trio Hardware, consisting of Bootsy Collins on bass guitar, Buddy Miles on drums, and Salas on guitar. In 1993, Stevie became music director for Terence Trent D’Arby and toured with Duran Duran. That same year, he released Stevie Salas Electric Pow Wow, a cover album featuring celebrity guests playing covers of songs that Salas was influenced by growing up, to much critical acclaim. Then in 1994, Salas released Back From the Living. He was instantly thrown to international stardom, especially in Japan, where his single “Tell Your Story Walkin” became a Top-Ten hit. During this time he also produced and co-wrote the album Rats by Sass Jordan.
In 1995, Stevie entered a bidding with Polygram Records and ended up winning his own label. In that year, he produced and self-released the album 12 Hits and a Bump with Bernard Fowler of the Rolling Stones under the name Nicklebag. He then released his fourth solo album Alter Native. In 1998 Salas released The Sometimes Almost Never Was. In 1999, Salas retired after a final performance at the Fuji Rock Festival.
In 2001, Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame asked him to play lead guitar for his tour. Salas credits this tour as one of the reasons that he began to write music again. In 2001, Salas released Shapeshifter: The Fall and Rise of Stevie No-Wonder, to many eager fans. In 2003, he released The Soulblasters of the Universe, and in 2006, he released Be What It Is.
In 2008 he became the host and executive producer of the Canadian Music TV series Arbor Live. Stevie became music director for American Idol stars Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, and Allison Iraheta.
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