Two Jersey boys on different paths to success, one metal to guide them
This picture is the first time that I met a rock star.
It was 1992 and Trixter was playing a hometown show at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey. They were opening for KISS on the "Revenge" tour. It was my first time seeing both bands so I was really excited.
A few things stand out in my mind from the show. Trixter had mic issues during the first song, which meant vocalist, Pete Loran, spent most of the verse hitting the mic against his hand to get it to work. Eventually, it did and the show proceeded with high energy. I also remember that I had never heard that opening song - "Rocking Horse" - before. That was because their new album, Hear! had not been released yet. I had been regularly calling the record store every Tuesday (record release day) for weeks before the show hoping that it would be there but it never arrived. That meant that I would have to hear the new stuff as they played it which was fine but I felt a bit like a fraud going to see a band whose new album I hadn't even heard. But, it was out of my hands!
Right after their set, I bid farewell to my mom and sister who had accompanied me to the show. They would get to see Faster Pussycat but I would get to meet Trixter! I got to flash my pass to get to the area in the arena where the party was going to be. I had gotten a pass courtesy of the Trixter fan club so I felt like a VIP.
I don't remember much about the party but I do know that I got to meet their guitar player, Steve Brown. It meant a lot to me for a few reasons. Trixter was cool to a Jersey guy like me not only because of their music but also because of what they were. Like me, they were from New Jersey. In fact, they went to school a few towns over from me in Paramus, NJ - I was from Wayne. Plus, they were only a few years older than me - their marketing hook was that they were a band of high schoolers who were playing at the highest level of metal. They gave me hope that I too could do something amazing with heavy metal music. Finally, Steve was a monster player who could shred with the best of them. Getting to meet him was a thrill because it also showed me that he was a normal guy
Not too long after the show and this picture was taken, the glam metal scene fell out of favor and many of the bands broke up - including Trixter. What struck me in the years that followed was how Steve still kept at it. He started another band called 40 Ft. Ringo that made some great music but didn't really take off. Even so, he continued to play all the time - even if it was just him doing a 1-man show up and down the Jersey Shore. The dude just kept the metal dream alive. And eventually it all came back around. In recent years, Trixter reunited and put put some great albums on Frontiers, Steve filled in on guitars for Def Leppard for a bunch of shows and even recently, he's been gigging with the Wizards of Winter. Bottom line is that he is still bringing it when so many of his contemporaries called it quits decades ago.
So, now when I look at that picture, I also see that perseverance and ability to find a way to keep the metal spirit alive against all odds. In Steve's case, he managed to do it while remaining in the music world. In my case (and like I describe in my book), I applied the inspiration and lessons of metal to my profession until I finally found a career that fits with my personality, skills, and passions.
Who would have thought when we took this picture years ago that metal would take us both to where we are now?