Inducted July 30, 2014
Published in well over 700 articles appearing in major periodicals around the globe, from the United States and Canada to Japan, Germany, France, England, Australia, and even Katmandu, Steven’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Musician, Guitar Player, Guitar World, Musician, US, Creem, Circus, Player, Total Guitar, Classic Rock, Mojo, Drum! and a myriad of others.
At the core of Rock Godz is Steven Rosen, a professional Rock music journalist with an amazing career spanning over forty years. He has published well over 700 articles appearing in major periodicals around the globe, from the United States and Canada to Japan, Germany, France, England, Australia, and even Katmandu. Steven’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Musician, Guitar Player, Guitar World, Musician, US, Creem, Circus, Player, Total Guitar, Classic Rock, Mojo, Drum! and a myriad of others.
He was the West Coast correspondent for Guitar World magazine for four years during the seminal mid-eighties when he wrote seven cover stories (his three lead features on Edward Van Halen are now recognized as pivotal pieces on that artist). As a major contributor to Guitar Player magazine, he wrote a prolific sixteen covers in a six-year span (one out of every four was his). The 1977 Frank Zappa front-cover contribution represented the periodical’s biggest selling issue to that date. Additionally, GP, in two special reprint issues, utilized his stories on Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as cover material (Rock Guitarists published by Guitar Player Productions and Rock Guitarists Vol. II distributed by Guitar Player Books).
gp_77He served as West Coast Editor for Fachblatt, one of Germany’s most respected and highest circulated magazines (typically, more than half of the cover features were Rosen-based compositions). He currently lends his hand to Player, a Japanese periodical employing his services for over thirty years. Recently he became a contributing editor to the Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas. Also, he has recently shared his skills with a number of prestigious English periodicals including Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar, Mojo and Record Collector.
A recognized authority on the eclectic world of rock, Rosen has been tapped five times to write books on some high-profile individuals: There was The Beck Book, one of the earliest (if not the first) biography on guitarist
Jeff Beck. Printed only in Japan, the book required a second printing due to the crazed demand; The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, part of the Rock Lives series orchestrated by Castle Communications and distributed by The Penguin Group (ultimately folded into the Sanctuary Publishing wing); Bruce Springsteen, an eponymous-titled bio also printed by Castle); The Story of Black Sabbath: Wheels of Confusion (now in its third printing); Free At Last: The Story of Free and Bad Company published by SAF Publishing in the UK; and his most recent book titled Randy Rhoads.
Never a creator to involve himself in armchair observations, this traveling troubadour’s work has taken him to distant vistas in search of mysterious stories and elusive sagas. Steven has been hand-selected to accompany numerous bands as traveling wordsmith. Pen and persona have been present on the road with Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Loggins & Messina, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Alice Cooper, The Firm, and others.
His 1977 voyage with Led Zeppelin on their flying fortress “Caesar’s Chariot” in which Steven was eventually escorted off the plane – and as a favor to the publicist who recommended him the plane was not in flight at the time – by an enraged John Paul Jones is movie magic, a story which will be featured here in Rockgodz. Because of his insights as to the inner workings of rock ensembles and able to extract their thoughts and mindsets, he has been cited by other writers as an indispensable source. He is cited in a cross section of texts
and a great number of his quotes appear in countless numbers of reference and biographical works including the Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul (St. Martin’s Press), Hammer of the Gods (Morrow), Robert Fripp (Faber and Faber), Uncle Joe’s Record Guide (J. Benson Unlimited), Secrets From the Masters (Miller Freeman), The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal (Barnes & Noble Books), Jeff Beck: Crazy Fingers (Backbeat Books), several Frank Zappa profiles like Frank Zappa’sNegative Dialectic of Poodle Play (St. Martin’s Griffin), Frank Zappa Companion (Schirmer Books) and a Google gaggle including dozens of other titles.
In addition to his essential journalistic pursuits, Rosen has worked closely with record and management companies, providing them with bios and treatments. This involved working with Atlantic Records, Warner Bros., Columbia Records, and music-related businesses such as Seymour Duncan, Oberheim, Charvel Guitars, Kawai, Guitar Center, C.P.P. Belwin and REH Publications. For this latter company he virtually single handedly originated and developed a line of instructional tapes called ProTalk (Carlos Santana, C.C. De’Ville, and Lee Ritenour, were just a few of the participants). Similarly, in 1991, he sketched out the blueprint for another line of guitar videos titled Hot Guitarist for the ESP Company.
In the past, his audio interviews have been utilized as core content for a number of interview CDs on Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Kiss and others. Passport Video embraced this remarkable archive in order to extract valuable audio for their DVDs on Van Halen (The Van Halen Story: The Early Years), Queen, and Led Zeppelin. In 2005, he licensed a large number of interviews to another highly-regarded audio content company and additionally, provided cover text and extensive liner copy for projects including The Beach Boys and Jethro Tull.
Steven’s understanding of Rock’s long and winding road derives not from reading maps but from traveling them. This native of St. Louis, Missouri draws from a number of sources including his work as a published songwriter. A number of original compositions have been covered by outside artists including Blackthorne (for whom he co- wrote three songs [with esteemed vocalist Graham Bonnet] for their self-titled debut album including the title track “Afterlife”). Additional published works include Sic Vikki’s “Tough Enough” for their first album; a co-write on Cold Sweat’s debut, produced by master knob-twirler Kevin Beamish of REO Hi Infidelity fame. Steven has drafted songs for several cable movies (Scorned featuring Playboy figure Shannon Tweed (Kiss’ Gene Simmons longtime friend) pops up on late night television like clockwork).
In the late nineties, he co-wrote on the recording project “Spirit Nation”, a world music configuration marrying Native American elements with ambient loops, slashing edits, twisted, tangled and tender flute arrangements – which landed a deal on Richard Branson’s V2 Records and in which Steve Jobs chose two tracks to drive major media campaigns for Apple.
Recently, his main focus has been on organizing his incredibly extensive and rare collection of audio interviews dating back to 1973. The entire library represents well over 1,000 hours of content with hundreds and hundreds of classic rock’s most engaging, enraging, and entrancing characters, to be made available to the membership of Rockgodz.
When not on some semantic safari, he retreats to his Laurel Canyon cottage, nestled in the bucolic hills of Hollywood, crammed floor to rafter with books and records, broken guitar strings and miscellaneous incomplete book chapters and song lyrics. Although he earns his keep as a conversationalist and instigator of ideas, Rosen is typically the quietest person in the room. But place him within shouting distance of a guitarist and within ten minutes he’ll have them revealing parts of themselves even they didn’t know existed. And this, perhaps, is his greatest strength, drawing on a chameleon-like ability transforming himself from interviewer to inner-viewer – to simple friend. Steven Rosen is someone with whom you want to reveal your secrets, and for 40+ years a lot of people have been doing just that.
Read the Official Van Halen Press Release here
In 1977, by some strange confluence of the tides and the stars, I met a young Edward Van Halen at the famous Whisky club in Hollywood, CA. He was a 22-year old guitar player from Pasadena, CA who had been carving out a name for himself in a litany of clubs all over town. When I first met him upstairs in a smoke-filled dressing room at the Whisky, he had just signed a big record deal with Warner Bros. Records. The record hadn’t come out when we met and I didn’t even know that much about the band that bore his name or what he was like as a guitar player. All that would soon change in February 1978 when the first Van Halen album came out and Edward Van Halen transformed from a local guitarist into a legendary one.
I spent time with Edward from those early days until 2003 – hanging out at his house, my guesthouse, in his cars, backstage and on airplanes. I wrote about those amazing experiences in my book titled Tonechaser – Understanding Edward: My 26-Year Journey with Edward Van Halen. It is a unique book inasmuch as no other writer was ever friends with Edward nor spent anywhere near the amount of time with him that I did.
My book is now available through my link: paypal.me/Tonechaser.
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The book is also available on Amazon, Reverb and Etsy.
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