Bill Steer

Last updated

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
Carcass
Firebird
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.

Biography

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]

Related Research Articles

Anthrax (American band) American thrash metal band

Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group is considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene from the 1980s and is one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer; Anthrax is the only one of the four from the East Coast, and often credited as one of the early thrash metal bands to emerge from there, along with Overkill and Nuclear Assault. The band has released 11 studio albums, several other albums, and 26 singles, including collaborating on a single with American hip hop group Public Enemy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Anthrax sold 2.5 million records in the United States from 1991 to 2004, with worldwide sales of 10 million.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Overkill (band) American thrash metal band

Overkill is an American thrash metal band, formed in 1980 in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist D. D. Verni and lead vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth as the only constant members. In addition to Verni and Ellsworth, Overkill's current lineup includes Dave Linsk on lead guitar, Derek Tailer on rhythm guitar and Jason Bittner on drums. Along with Nuclear Assault and Anthrax, whose one-time lead guitarist Dan Spitz was also an early member of Overkill, the band is one of the most successful East Coast thrash metal bands, and they are often called "the Motörhead of thrash metal". The band has a notable mascot named "Chaly", a skeletal bat with a skull-like face, horns, bony wings and green eyes, who has appeared on most of their album covers.

Judas Priest British heavy metal band

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.

Coal Chamber was an American nu metal band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1994. Prior to Coal Chamber, Dez Fafara and Meegs Rascón formed the band She's In Pain in 1992. The two decided to create Coal Chamber. They disbanded in 2003 after ten years together, but announced a reunion in September 2011. Their first drummer, Jon Tor, was eventually replaced by Mike Cox. After bass guitarist Rayna Foss joined, the Coal Chamber lineup was complete.

<i>Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious</i> 1991 studio album by Carcass

Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious is the third album by British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released on October 30, 1991 through Earache Records. This album is the first to feature guitarist Michael Amott. Many of the tracks describe economical ways to dispose of dead bodies. Necroticism continues the move towards a predominant death metal sound which was started in Symphonies of Sickness, featuring songs with longer sections and complex structures, more akin to the then-burgeoning technical death metal subgenre.

Arch Enemy Swedish melodic death metal band

Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band, originally a supergroup, from Halmstad, formed in 1995. Its members were in bands such as Carcass, Armageddon, Carnage, Mercyful Fate, Spiritual Beggars, Nevermore, and Eucharist. It was founded by Carcass guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, who were both originally from the death metal band Carnage. The band has released ten studio albums, three live albums, three video albums and four EPs. The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva, who was replaced by German vocalist Angela Gossow in 2000. Gossow left the band in March 2014 and was replaced by Canadian vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, but remained as the group's manager.

<i>Scum</i> (Napalm Death album) 1987 studio album by Napalm Death

Scum is the debut studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death. It was released on 1 July 1987 through Earache Records.

Possessed (band) American death metal band

Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's growled vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre. The band is also notable for featuring Larry LaLonde, who was the guitarist of Possessed during the mid-1980s, and went on to join Primus.

Testament (band) American metal band

Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1982 under the name Legacy, the band's current lineup comprises guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, lead vocalist Chuck Billy, drummer Gene Hoglan, and bassist Steve Di Giorgio. Since its inception, Testament has had numerous lineup changes, leaving Peterson as the only constant member. Billy replaced original singer Steve "Zetro" Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since. He and Peterson are the only members to appear on all of Testament's studio albums.

Angel Witch English band

Angel Witch are a British heavy metal band which formed in London, England in 1977 as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. They are well known for having inspired Lars Ulrich to form Metallica.

The Berzerker was an extreme metal band from Melbourne, Australia and was formed in 1995. The band's music, heavily influenced by older death metal and grindcore, can be characterized as a fusion of these with speedcore, and gabber. The band's founding member Luke Kenny described the band's style as industrial death metal.

Grim Reaper (band) heavy metal band from the UK

Grim Reaper are a British heavy metal band from the new wave of British heavy metal era. The band was formed in 1979 in Droitwich, England, by guitarist Nick Bowcott.

All That Remains (band) American heavy metal band

All That Remains is an American heavy metal band from Springfield, Massachusetts, formed in 1998. They have released nine studio albums, a live CD and DVD, and have sold over a million records worldwide. The group currently consists of vocalist Philip Labonte, rhythm guitarist Mike Martin, former Diecast drummer Jason Costa, bassist Aaron Patrick, and lead guitarist Jason Richardson, with Labonte being the last remaining original member. In spite of this, the band's line-up had remained consistent from the release of 2008's Overcome until 2015's The Order of Things, spanning four albums. This line-up changed, however, in September 2015, when long-time bassist Jeanne Sagan left the band, with Patrick taking her place.

<i>Surgical Steel</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Carcass

Surgical Steel is the sixth full-length album by British death metal band Carcass. The album was released on 13 September 2013 in Europe, 16 September in the UK, and 17 September in North America, via Nuclear Blast. Surgical Steel is their first album since Swansong (1996). The album features the first songs Carcass has recorded since reforming in 2007. Surgical Steel is their first album with drummer Dan Wilding and their first to reach the Top 50 in UK album charts.

Bill Hudson (guitarist) American musician

Bill Hudson is a Brazilian-American heavy metal guitarist, currently serving as the lead guitarist for power metal supergroup NorthTale. He worked with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as well German heavy metal bands U.D.O. and Dirkschneider, both fronted by former Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and American death metal band I Am Morbid, featuring former Morbid Angel frontman David Vincent and drummer Tim Yeung to name a few.

References

  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". Blabbermouth.net . 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. voicesfromthedarkside.de
  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". Metal-Rules.com. 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.