With his sharp guitar and punkish attitude coupled with a wide range of influences, Steve Eaton took Frenzy to a new and higher level of quality. His skills at songwriting made of him an unvaluable partner to Steve Whitehouse. When Frenzy is now encountering a second youth and ready to conquer the American market, we thought it was necessary to talk to him.
by Fred "Virgil" Turgis

  What is your musical background?
I first got into guitar through bands like Iron Maiden, then i swiftly turned my attention to the blues. Guitar players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and B B King floated my boat for years. After a while i got bored with it, it just felt like only a few people could really play the blues, yet everyone and his wife was making out like they could do it. There's so many weekend players out there with an Eric Clapton fetish, it made the whole thing so sour. Up and down the country, every weekend there's pub bands doing Clapton and Hendrix covers and reciting the solos note for note. No fun. Punk became a breath of fresh air. It was the done thing NOT to solo, and that really appealed to me. It made me think playing guitar could be fun again, rather than showing off your latest licks to people who probably think they could do it better. Like that old joke about how many guitarists it takes to change a light bulb.......25. 1 to do it, and 24 to say they could do it better. Who needs attitude like that?

So you are also playing in a Punk band, right?
Yes i play in a punk band, Far-Cue, who have been together for over 10 years now. It was very important for me to have done that, otherwise i'd never have had the confidence to approach Steve about playing with Frenzy. Far-Cue gave me the song writing confidence, and also the stage confidence to do something like the Frenzy gig. Far-Cue are still going, but its totally different to Frenzy. WIth Frenzy gigs the musicianship is insanely high and you really have to be on your toes. We still laugh off mistakes on stage, but i think we'd all personally rather not make them.

How and when did you meet Steve Whitehouse then joined Frenzy ?
My history with Steve is one littered with odd co-incidences. If you believed in fate or destiny, you'd say i was always meant to play in Frenzy. My Dad ran an engineering business with Merv Pepler's Dad, and i remember my Dad bringing home the Robot Riot 12 inch one day. I remember being taken aback by the cover, but i wasnt into music at that time, i was old enough to ' get ' it. Frenzy would rehearse in the unit that the business operated out from, and occasionally i'd hear it.
When i got my own guitar, it was Merv who first tried to teach me. It didnt work out, so i went to one Kev Saunders who was doing lessons. That didnt work out either, but it illustrates the link through the years. My punk band supported Frenzy at our local one Xmas, and Frenzy to me were local legends. They'd been there, done it, got the t shirt and goodie bag. It was a cool thing to do, especially since they always pulled a big crowd. One year i heard that Carl was leaving Frenzy after God knows how many years and that to me meant the guitarist job was going begging. I didnt know that at that point Steve was considering wrapping it all up. As soon as the last note rang out at Carl's last gig, i approached Steve as he stepped off the stage and said ' Im your new guitarist '. A bold, brassy, fuelled by alcohol move that shocked me as much as him im sure. Steve knew who i was through the strange history, and also the Far-Cue thing. He told me if i could learn......12 songs i think it was......in time for the next rehearsal and play them through without fucking up, the job was mine. In the end we played the whole set, and were ready to gig after a couple of rehearsals. I knuckled down learning the Frenzy stuff, opportunities like that dont come along very often. It was tough going though, a polar opposite to what i was doing in Far-Cue. I had to learn my chops again, remember how to solo and........God forbid.......back off the distortion that usually hides my mistakes. It was a great thing for me to do as a musician, and im still kept on my toes today.

Have you heard about Frenzy and Psychobilly before that?
As i said above, Id heard about Frenzy, but psychobilly as a genre was alien to me. It hadnt yet been accepted by the punks as it seems to be now. My first psychobilly festival with Frenzy was in Leicester, we were headlining and it was very nerve wracking for me. The pyschobillies struck me as elitist, and at the time i had hair down to my shoulders. Not too cool. I understand their elitism, if you're not elitist you dont have a scene, but the seriousness of it all was striking. They lived, breathed and bled for this music. It was a real eye opener. I'll not forget the first gig i did with Frenzy in Germany, the wrecking for I See Red was a spectacular sight, so much more violent than the punk gigs id been attending. It made me wonder how psychobilly had seemed to remain so underground. Psychobilly seems to be more accomodating now, and it can only be a good thing. I think its whats helped it get to the level its at, and it seems to be only getting bigger. Certainly our experiences in America testify that.

On stage beside the songs you wrote and recorded since you joined the band, you also play tunes that are considered as Frenzy classics like I See Red or Clockwork Toy. How did you “approach” this songs?
I was positive that the fans wouldnt want me to mess around with their songs. If you love a song, it does feel like its yours and i didnt want to spoil anyone's enjoyment of a tune just because i could insert a diminshed fifth chord or whatever. As the years have gone on and the band is tighter as a unit, there are little things we do that are different and we keep them in. I hope people prefer the way we play these songs now, more than any other Frenzy line up. I try and keep the guitar solos roughly the same as the record, i think thats what people would like to hear. And they're the ones buying the tickets so its important you cater for them.

You said that since you joined the band you have seen various drummers but Adam gives something different to the band. Could you explain?
Adam is just an awesome drummer. He hits the snare with a ferocious crack. One time at rehearsal i was unfortunate enough to be leaning down by his drums when he did this. Ears were ringing for a week. Joe Strummer once said ' Youre only as good as your drummer '. And he's dead right. Adam is totally reliable, totally on the money. The beat is THERE, and he pile drives it in. If you're on stage and not worrying about your drummer ( ive been in many a band where i had to ) it gives you free reign to have FUN. Theres nothing worse than a song slowing down when you want it to keep rockin along. With Ads theres no worries, and he's one of those few drummers that are musicians too. No offence to anyone, but its rare to find a musician who plays the drums. Theyre usually just drummers. What more can i say? I just like the angle of his dangle.

A good memory you’d like to share with us?
The Key Club gig in Hollywood tops the lot. It was a magical night. Theres no particular incident, it was just the whole night. The crowd loved every note, we all loved playing. Its a hard thing to describe, it just all came together at the right moment. There are loads of good memories, you cant fail to have them when you tour America and Europe with your friends, but that Key Club gig........That'll take some beating.

Thanks for answering this questions, do you have a last word?
I always want the last word! It comes from being a guitarist. All i want to say is watch out for our next album, it's going to take your head off.