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.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.