Although Steve Crenshaw has spent more than a decade as lead guitarist with the Groove Hawgs (which features Lewis and Floorwax, from 103.5/The Fox) and he's shared stages with B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Delbert McClinton, he's been a fixture on the scene since the early '90s. In recent years, Crenshaw scaled back his gigging to help raise his two kids, but he's making a strong return and has a new album in the works. We recently caught up with the guitar great for a chat about his time spent playing in Denver.
Westword: Can you talk about your history of playing in town?
Steve Crenshaw: I came here in '91 from the San Francisco Bay Area. I started a band called Underground Railroad, and we were all over Denver: Cricket on the Hill and 13th Avenue Grill, which turned into the Snake Pit -- we were the house band there for three years. Played Herman's Hideaway back in the day with Dogs of Pleasure. We were blues-based, so we were hard to fit in with all those heavier bands.
Then I branched out and started the Steve Crenshaw Band, just to go to singing. I lived the rock-and-roll lifestyle, man, up to about 32, and I had to quit because of drugs and alcohol. I quit partying, basically. Then I was sober for about seven years, and then I started drinking again -- no drugs. I'm a casual drinker now, but I had to get the drugs out of my life. They were detrimental to doing any kind of real stuff.
I quit playing from 2001 to 2004, but then I got back together with my old band, which was Steve Crenshaw and the Blues Shop. Then we did another six-, seven-year run just playing everywhere. I played a lot with them and then put a CD out with them, and then that band -- we got into some arguments over recording rights and all this other stuff. They disbanded, and I just kind of went to a "playing when I want to play and play the gigs I want to play" kind of format. Rather than playing every little bar, I wait until the good-paying gigs come around.
Do you have any plans to record in the near future?
Yeah, that's in the works. I'm writing, and I want to get back in the studio and have something to take on the road with me.
Will it still be blues-based?
Yeah, it will be blues-based, but not so much in the traditional sense. It's a little harder-edged, kind of like a mix of [Robin] Trower and leaning toward some of the stuff that Joe Bonamassa is doing -- just a rockier edge, blues-riff-oriented stuff. When I write, I write tons of love songs, but I can't really sing them. I write a ton of material that's appropriate for me, but it might not be appropriate for somebody else.