Very little is known about Seasick Steve. Most people may not even know his name. Today, we take a closer look at one of Oakland CA’s blues champions.
Born as Steven Gene Wold, he is commonly known as Seasick Steve. He is also a rather talented American blues musician. When Steve was young, his father played boogie-woogie (a popular offshoot of Blues) on piano. As much as Seasick Steve would have loved to learn the same craft, he was not able to do so. He thought that maybe he didn’t have the talent or the aptitude to play. However, that impression changed when a worker in his grandfather’s garage taught him the guitar.
This worker was no one else than the very talented K. C. Douglas. This was when the young Steve would realize that he did have an affinity for Blues—just not with the same instrument as his father.
In his teens, he left home to escape an abusive stepfather. It is this time of his life that he credits for most of his passion and inspiration for Blues and his latter songs. He lived on the road until the latter part of 1973. He travelled by sneaking unto freight trains and survived by taking odd jobs all over the country. It was probably these experiences that fueled much of his material.
It was around the 60s that Steve had begun to really practice his music. He toured and performed with some other blues musicians. Most of his time was spent in San Francisco, a city with a large Blues following.
It was not until 2001 that he released his first ever album entitled “Cheap”. The album was recorded in Norway and had The Level Devils as his rhythm support, Jo Husmo on bass, and Kai Christoffersen on the drums. His solo album did not grace the world until 2006.
Popularity in the UK
It was on a New Year’s Eve BBC TV 20016 special that truly helped to launch Seasick Steve’s career. He had performed a live version of “Dog House Boogie”. It was only after this show that his popularity truly came around.
He was generally well-liked in the UK and even won the 2007 MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act. Following that, he went on to perform in large UK festivals. The following year, he kicked off a massive UK tour schedule. Continuing his initial success in the UK, all of his tours were sold out.
To this day, he enjoys success in the UK.
The Three-String Trance Wonder
Arguably, the most well-known of Seasick Steve’s equipment is his trusty old guitar named The Three-String Trance Wonder. While there are many versions of the tale about how this guitar came into his possession, there is no doubt that it is his most iconic possession.
Present Day Activities
Seasick Steve is still in the United Kingdom. While it may be a little odd that he has yet to return to the USA for long-term durations, it does not stop him from being one of Oakland’s beloved blues figures.