Steve Stevens reveals Steve Howe (Yes) is one of his biggest influences:
“Interestingly enough, one of my biggest influences was Steve Howe from Yes. He’s not known for divulging a lot, and I told the Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp people, ‘Send me. I really want to see his sessions.’ And he was fantastic.”
It’s interesting that he’s one of your favorites. Were you big into progressive music growing up?
“Huge… The thing was, I had started on acoustic guitar, had a flamenco teacher. A little bit of classical, little bit of jazz. I didn’t get an electric guitar until I was 13. So when I heard Steve play, he was the first guy in a rock band, whether it was progressive or whatever, that utilized all these other styles that were tapping into a little bit of classical.”
“When I bought that  ‘Fragile’ record, ‘Mood for a Day,’ things like that. And he is really good at orchestrating his guitar parts, a bit like Jimmy Page, whereas somebody like Eric Clapton had this more blues-based thing.”
“I love Clapton, but he doesn’t really paint with the colors that these guys do, so I really gravitated towards early prog guys – [King Crimson leader] Robert Fripp – and just the way they arrange their guitars like a mini-orchestra.”
The irony of that – it’s just funny because you’re so known for playing with this punk-rock icon, and punk and prog couldn’t be two more different worlds.
“That was the thing. Because when Idol and I met, I wasn’t aware that the punk thing was such a socio-economic thing. They were really rebelling against a lot of these big rock stars living in their castles and all of this.”
“I’m talking about prog in the early days; obviously, the first King Crimson records, there’s something else about it. Growing up in New York, I didn’t put my music taste in boxes, I loved the Ramones and Heartbreakers, the Dolls…”
“I didn’t put it into categories. When I met Billy we had common ground – fortunately we did. I always felt that if he had had another punk guitar player. Well, he already did in Generation X, I felt he really didn’t need that. He needed somebody who would bring in some other elements.”