On paper Steve Katz’s career rivals anyone’s except the 1960s’ and ’70’s biggest stars: the Monterey Pop Festival with the legendary Blues Project, Woodstock with Blood, Sweat & Tears, and even producing rock’s most celebrated speed addict, Lou Reed. There were world tours, and his résumé screams “Hall of Fame” — it won’t be long before BS&T are on that ballot. He has three Grammies (ten nominations), three Downbeat Reader’s Poll Awards, three gold records, one platinum record, and one quadruple platinum platter (the second Blood, Sweat & Tears album), not to mention three gold singles with BS&T. All together, he’s sold close to 29 million records. He had affairs with famous female folk singers, made love to Jim Morrison’s girlfriend Pam when Jim was drunk and abusive, partied with Elizabeth Taylor and Groucho Marx, dined with Rudolf Nureyev, conversed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tennessee Williams, hung out with Andy Warhol, jammed with everyone from Mose Allison to Jimi Hendrix, and was told to get a haircut by both Mickey Spillane and Danny Thomas.
But his memoir is more Portnoy’s Complaint than the lurid party-with-your-pants-down memoir that has become the norm for rock ’n’ roll books. It’s an honest and personal account of a life at the edge of the spotlight—a privileged vantage point that earned him a bit more objectivity and earnest outrage than a lot of his colleagues, who were too far into the scene to lay any honest witness to it. Set during the Greenwich Village folk/rock scene, the Sixties’ most celebrated venues and concerts, and behind closed doors on international tours and grueling studio sessions, this is the unlikely story of a rock star as nerd, nerd as rock star, a nice Jewish boy who got to sit at the cool kid’s table and score the hot chicks.
Steve Katz was a founding member of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He became a record producer, working with rock renegade Lou Reed, among others. Now, Katz and his wife, Alison Palmer have a ceramics shop, Alison Palmer Studio, in South Kent, Connecticut.