Bill Steer

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Bill Steer
Bill Steer.jpg
Bill Steer performing with Carcass at Gods of Metal.
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Geoffrey Steer
Born (1969-12-03) 3 December 1969 (age 49)
Origin Stockton-on-Tees, England
Genres Death metal, heavy metal, melodic death metal, blues rock, stoner rock, grindcore, goregrind
Occupation(s)Guitarist, musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, harmonica, drums, triangle
Years active1985 – present
Associated acts Disattack
Napalm Death
Angel Witch
Gentlemans Pistols

William Geoffrey Steer (born 3 December 1969) is a British guitar player, and co-founder of the extreme metal band Carcass. He is considered a pioneer and an essential contributor to grindcore and death metal due to his involvement in Napalm Death and Carcass, two of the most important bands of those genres. [1] Presently he plays with Gentlemans Pistols, the reactivated Carcass and appeared as a live second guitarist for Angel Witch from 2011-2015.

Carcass (band) British extreme metal band

Carcass are an English extreme metal band from Liverpool, which was formed in 1985. The band have gone through several line-up changes, leaving guitarist Bill Steer and bassist and vocalist Jeff Walker as the only constant members. They broke up in 1996, but reformed in 2007 without one of its original members, drummer Ken Owen, due to health reasons. To date, the band have released six studio albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, two demo albums, one video album, and six music videos.

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.


Born in Stockton-on-Tees to a Scottish mother and English father, Steer spent his teenage years in the Wirral. According to various interviews, it was at this time he was exposed to hard rock and heavy metal in the form of Motörhead, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin and so on, followed by lesser-known NWOBHM artists such as Raven, Tank and Venom. These years saw Steer begin playing electric guitar and also becoming one of the earliest tape traders in the UK, immersing himself in the embryonic underground death metal scene. During this time, an early incarnation of Carcass was formed. [2]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Motörhead English rock band

Motörhead were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.

Steer appeared in Guitar magazine's "Best Ten Guitarists You've Never Heard Of" in 1996, featured in Metal Hammer's "Greatest Metal Guitar Players" and was ranked no.3 in Decibel Magazine's "Top Twenty Death Metal Guitarists" as well as No. 92 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World [3]

<i>Metal Hammer</i> periodical literature

Metal Hammer is a monthly heavy metal and rock music magazine, published in the United Kingdom by Future and in several other countries by different publishers. Metal Hammer articles feature both mainstream bands and more unusual acts from the whole spectrum of heavy metal music.

Decibel is a monthly heavy metal magazine published by the Philadelphia-based Red Flag Media since October 2004. Its sections include Upfront, Features, Reviews, Guest Columns and the Decibel Hall of Fame. The magazine's tag-line is currently "Extremely Extreme" ; the editor-in-chief is Albert Mudrian.

<i>Guitar World</i> magazine

Guitar World is an American monthly music magazine for guitarists, published since July 1980. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews, and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year. Formerly owned by Harris Publications, Future US bought the magazine in 2003. In 2012, NewBay Media bought the Music division of Future US. The latter company also published a spin-off title, Guitar Legends, each issue of which typically combined past articles from Guitar World under a specific theme. The first Guitar Legends was on Eddie Van Halen. In 2018, Future acquired NewBay Media, returning Guitar World to Future US.

He was guitarist for Napalm Death from 1987–1989, appearing on their first two albums as well as the BBC Radio One John Peel Sessions. Throughout this period the group toured across the UK and Europe, only for Steer and vocalist Lee Dorrian to quit immediately after a tour of Japan. He played in Carcass from 1985–1995, the only guitarist to feature on all five of the band's albums and perform throughout their live career. After the demise of Carcass he moved to Australia and developed a passion for blues music, teaching himself harmonica and slide guitar. Upon returning to the UK, he started his own band Firebird, which was mainly inspired by 1970s rock. Firebird split up in late 2011. Steer now plays guitar in the band Gentlemans Pistols and with new wave of British heavy metal veterans Angel Witch. Steer currently resides in east London. [4]

Napalm Death British grindcore band

Napalm Death are a British extreme metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group since December 1986, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent of the band's career since 1992's Utopia Banished, although, from 1989 to 2004, Napalm Death were a five-piece band after they added Jesse Pintado as the replacement of one-time guitarist Bill Steer; following Pintado's departure, the band reverted to a four-piece rather than replace him.

Firebird was a British blues-rock power trio founded by Bill Steer in 1999. The music style, reminiscent of 1960s rock bands such as Cream, is a radical departure from Steer's previous work with grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and Carcass.

Gentlemans Pistols are a British rock band based in Leeds, England, formed in 2003.

Steer also appeared along with Jeffrey Walker (bassist/vocalist of Carcass) in an episode of the Sci-Fi comedy Red Dwarf. He performed as the drummer of the band Smeg and the Heads named Dobbin in series 3 episode 5 "Timeslides". [5]

<i>Red Dwarf</i> BBC science-fiction comedy drama television programme

Red Dwarf is a British science fiction comedy franchise which primarily consists of a television sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave since 2009, gaining a cult following. To date, twelve full series of the show plus one "special" miniseries have aired. The most recent series, Red Dwarf XII, started airing in October 2017.

Timeslides 5th episode of the third season of Red Dwarf

"Timeslides" is the fifth episode of science fiction sit-com Red Dwarf Series III, and the seventeenth in the series run. It premiered on the British television channel BBC2 on 12 December 1989. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye, the plot deals with Lister's desire to change his life by going back in time and changing his past. The episode was re-mastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998.

In addition to Steer's guitar prowess, he is well known for Jeff Walker's naming of his solos on earlier Carcass albums (example: "Maim to Please" by W. G. Steer from Tools of the Trade).

<i>Tools of the Trade</i> 1992 EP by Carcass

Tools of the Trade is an EP by British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released through Earache Records on 23 June 1992.

In 2008 Steer reunited with his Carcass bandmates (except for drummer Ken Owen, who suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in 1999; Daniel Erlandsson was tapped to play drums in his place) to play at several European festivals such as Wacken '08. In an interview, Steer mentioned that a new Carcass album could hardly be possible. [6] The Carcass reunion show schedule continued through to 2010, playing festivals and headlining a small US tour in 2009. [7] In 2010, Steer briefly hosted a show at the Internet radio station, TotalRock. [8] Since then, besides playing in various bands, including Angel Witch, he has been involved in the "Friday Night Powerhouse" club in London.

Carcass started rehearsing again in May 2012, and played at the Maryland Deathfest XI music festival in May 2013. [9] In mid-2013, the band released Surgical Steel , on which Steer played lead guitars with some backing vocals. [10]

Steer plays old Gibson Les Paul guitars (primarily Juniors and Customs), and uses vintage fifty-watt Marshall amplifiers. He has used a white Schecter Strategy on the first two albums and black Ibanez RG500 on Necroticsm, and on the Heartwork album he used Marshall SL-X and anniversary heads as well as the Peavey 5150. Steer has also used ESP Eclipse model guitars. In recent years he has avoided endorsements. [11]

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  1. Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 1988. ISBN   9780857125958 . Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. "Collide Art & Culture Magazine". Collide Art & Culture Magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  3. "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". . Roadrunner Records. 23 January 2004. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  4. "Carcass Guitarist Bill Steer Discusses Scottish Separatism, "Yorkshire Swagger," And His Rock Band, Gentlemans Pistols". Noisey. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  5. "CARCASS interview, Jeff Walker & Bill Steer on their cameo roles in Red Dwarf". 21 August 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  6. Carcass interview at Voices from the Darkside.
  7. Carcass 2009 US tour dates- Vile Noise
  8. "CARCASS/FIREBIRD Guitarist Is New TOTALROCK RADIO DJ". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  9. Rosenberg, Axl. "Next Year'S Maryland Deathfest Already Looks Great". MetalSucks. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  10. Syrjala, Marko. "Carcass – Guitarist Bill Steer". Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  11. "Carcass Guitarist Bill Steer Discusses Upcoming North American Tour + More". Metal Assault: Interviews. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2018.