4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Stevie’s no identity thief

Rock ’n’ soul local Stevie Harris talks highs and lows of his showbiz.
Rock ’n’ soul local Stevie Harris talks highs and lows of his showbiz.

The Styletones were paid a one-time fee for the use of their version of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on I’m Comin’” that ran in a Super Bowl TV ad for milk last February.

Steve Harris knew that, as lead vocalist, he and backup vocalist Ben Moore would also get paid royalties each time the ad ran. But there was another benefit.

“They made me become a member of SAG [Screen Actors Guild]. At the time I signed up I didn’t know that, legally, they became my employer. I just found out that SAG covers my health insurance.”

Harris, a ’90 graduate of Hoover High, admits he is in the ranks of “struggling musician” as a front man for the funk/R&B cover band the Styletones, and as the singer/guitarist for Stevie & the Hi-Staxx, an original rock/soul trio.

But, he has insurance. “The only other local musician I know who is in SAG is Erika Davies who did a Toyota commercial.”

Harris says the Super Bowl song’s upside had a downside.

“When the song first aired, people thought it was Sam,” says Harris. “He started doing press about it. He wrote letters to the band, to the ad agency, and to the milk people, at first saying I was doing identity theft. Then he turned around and said it was a horrible version and I was ruining his image. But it’s been a year and it doesn’t look like he’s going to sue anybody. But it did kind of squash the momentum of the song. But it’s a song the Styletones don’t play, anyway. We do the more obscure, raw soul songs. We don’t do the hits.”

Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) made some noise but seems to have dropped the case.

Harris admits that the Sam Moore legal threats have made him apprehensive about the original band name Hi-Staxx, which is an homage to two famed Memphis record labels Hi (Al Green) and Stax (Otis Redding). “I added an x to Staxx, so I hope it’s okay. It’s like naming a band Ford and Chrysler. I keep thinking, Somebody’s bound to say something.”

Harris’s SD music history includes a 1992 band that was the predecessor of the Greyboy Allstars. He then left for L.A. to do a development deal with then-new label Modern Records, owned by Stevie Nicks and distributed by Atlantic. Harris says Modern was paying him $2000 a month and covering recording expenses and pay for his backup band. He recorded some 24 tracks at high-end L.A. recording studios.

“Modern Records’ first two releases were by Foghat and Stevie Nicks. Both of those albums crashed and burned. I was supposed to be the third album, but when they bombed, the guy at Modern couldn’t push my album through.”

Harris says he then took a flat six-figure fee to sign with San Diego’s Cargo label. “I was told that was the most they had ever paid anyone.” Cargo released two CDs by Harris’s soul-rock project Conglomerate.

“Then the whole band moved to Oakland. When I left, I said in a Reader article that San Diego wasn’t supporting me. I regretted saying that.”

Harris became a Muslim and fronted an Afrocentric hip-hop collective called Remarkable Current, which toured the country.

“We would wear our kufis and have beards and pray in the airport at 4 in the morning waiting for our flight. This was right after 9/11. We would freak people out. But for some reason we never got called into secondary.”

A divorce and a new lady prompted him to move to Florida for two years. Harris and family have been back in town for six years.

Past Event

Stevie & the Hi-Staxx

  • Saturday, January 11, 2014, 10 p.m.
  • Seven Grand, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego

“The Bay Area is all about a DJ culture. There was no music scene at all in Florida. So even though it’s a struggle in San Diego, there is a vibrant scene here, and I always have cats I can call to play for a gig.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Gloria’s claims of tackling homelessness seen as cringey

Lou Correa wanted to study China at Kona Kai
Rock ’n’ soul local Stevie Harris talks highs and lows of his showbiz.
Rock ’n’ soul local Stevie Harris talks highs and lows of his showbiz.

The Styletones were paid a one-time fee for the use of their version of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on I’m Comin’” that ran in a Super Bowl TV ad for milk last February.

Steve Harris knew that, as lead vocalist, he and backup vocalist Ben Moore would also get paid royalties each time the ad ran. But there was another benefit.

“They made me become a member of SAG [Screen Actors Guild]. At the time I signed up I didn’t know that, legally, they became my employer. I just found out that SAG covers my health insurance.”

Harris, a ’90 graduate of Hoover High, admits he is in the ranks of “struggling musician” as a front man for the funk/R&B cover band the Styletones, and as the singer/guitarist for Stevie & the Hi-Staxx, an original rock/soul trio.

But, he has insurance. “The only other local musician I know who is in SAG is Erika Davies who did a Toyota commercial.”

Harris says the Super Bowl song’s upside had a downside.

“When the song first aired, people thought it was Sam,” says Harris. “He started doing press about it. He wrote letters to the band, to the ad agency, and to the milk people, at first saying I was doing identity theft. Then he turned around and said it was a horrible version and I was ruining his image. But it’s been a year and it doesn’t look like he’s going to sue anybody. But it did kind of squash the momentum of the song. But it’s a song the Styletones don’t play, anyway. We do the more obscure, raw soul songs. We don’t do the hits.”

Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) made some noise but seems to have dropped the case.

Harris admits that the Sam Moore legal threats have made him apprehensive about the original band name Hi-Staxx, which is an homage to two famed Memphis record labels Hi (Al Green) and Stax (Otis Redding). “I added an x to Staxx, so I hope it’s okay. It’s like naming a band Ford and Chrysler. I keep thinking, Somebody’s bound to say something.”

Harris’s SD music history includes a 1992 band that was the predecessor of the Greyboy Allstars. He then left for L.A. to do a development deal with then-new label Modern Records, owned by Stevie Nicks and distributed by Atlantic. Harris says Modern was paying him $2000 a month and covering recording expenses and pay for his backup band. He recorded some 24 tracks at high-end L.A. recording studios.

“Modern Records’ first two releases were by Foghat and Stevie Nicks. Both of those albums crashed and burned. I was supposed to be the third album, but when they bombed, the guy at Modern couldn’t push my album through.”

Harris says he then took a flat six-figure fee to sign with San Diego’s Cargo label. “I was told that was the most they had ever paid anyone.” Cargo released two CDs by Harris’s soul-rock project Conglomerate.

“Then the whole band moved to Oakland. When I left, I said in a Reader article that San Diego wasn’t supporting me. I regretted saying that.”

Harris became a Muslim and fronted an Afrocentric hip-hop collective called Remarkable Current, which toured the country.

“We would wear our kufis and have beards and pray in the airport at 4 in the morning waiting for our flight. This was right after 9/11. We would freak people out. But for some reason we never got called into secondary.”

A divorce and a new lady prompted him to move to Florida for two years. Harris and family have been back in town for six years.

Past Event

Stevie & the Hi-Staxx

  • Saturday, January 11, 2014, 10 p.m.
  • Seven Grand, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego

“The Bay Area is all about a DJ culture. There was no music scene at all in Florida. So even though it’s a struggle in San Diego, there is a vibrant scene here, and I always have cats I can call to play for a gig.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Guadalupe Valley draws the line at an amphitheater

"They will leave us a ghost town”
Next Article

The battle of the sexes hits the water

Anglerettes versus Fishermen
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close