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Stevie Coyle (late of the whiz-bang string band The Waybacks) is one lucky bum. His dad ran a radio station in southern California and brought home all the promo LPs that didn't fit the Spanish-language format. The Ventures’ Guitar Freakout, The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett, and Alvin and the Chipmunks Play The Beatles's Hits all came home on a single fateful day.
It didn't hurt, either, that string-meister David Lindley played in a bluegrass band that rehearsed right next door and gave Stevie his very first lessons, or that his dear Granny was a pianist in the heyday of vaudeville and that his sainted mother was a whiz in mandolin orchestras during the 1930s.
Not even several years of playing Folk Masses every Sunday could quash his musical spirit, and in high school he began fingerpicking, inspired—as so many were— by the first Hot Tuna album.
After securing degrees in Theatre and Theology at Santa Clara University he hit the road for three years with the Royal Lichtenstein Circus, doing comedy, magic, wire-walking, sword-swallowing, unicycling, juggling, and rola-bola and working with dogs, cats, birds, bears, monkeys, horses, and even house-cats.
Once back home, he signed on as actor and stage manager/actor for the San Jose Repertory Company, and announced orca, dolphin, sea lion, water ski, lion, tiger and elephant shows at Marine World/Africa USA.
He and his dear satirist friend Roy Zimmerman have worked closely in several collaborations over the past 25 years, including folk tribute/parody band the Foremen and comedy duo the Reagan Bros. That chapter took him to Los Angeles, briefly, and while there, Stevie appeared on Cheers and in many television commercials and voiceovers, and had a regular role on the Young and the Restless, which was utterly subsumed by the then-daily broadcasts of the interminable Iran-Contra hearings.
Safely back in the Bay Area, he continued his acting career, doing commercials, radio, voiceovers and films and played in folk duos The Frontmen and The Back Room Boys. In 1998 he co-founded The Waybacks with Wayne "Chojo" Jacques and Glenn (Pomianek) Houston. Soon the acoustic trio were joined by drummer Peter Tucker and bassist Chris Kee. This is the band that established and developed The Waybacks' considerable reputation in California. Peter, Chris and Glenn eventually moved on Chuck Hamilton, Joe Kyle and James Nash came aboard. Stevie fronted both versions of the band and toured steadily with the latter configuration from 2000 through 2007. The band released 4 albums in that time, played major festivals like Merlefest, Grey Fox, Floydfest, Great Waters, Old Settlers, Bumbershoot and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, toured Australia, and collaborated with Lloyd Maines, Michelle Shocked and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead.
Learn Fingerstyle Guitar with Stevie on Peghead Nation!
One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month
Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!