Punk & Hardcore

The Late Phoenix Punk Rocker Steve Davis' Final Book Debuts Tomorrow

The late Steve Davis playing his trusty bass.
The late Steve Davis playing his trusty bass. Steve Shelton

When Steve “Stevie D” Davis died of liver cancer on April 14, 2021, he left behind a tremendous legacy of music, art, writing, love, and friendship. While much of his work had already been published in some form or another, there was enough of his unique writing to comprise one more book. Phoenix, A Memoir by Steve Davis will be released on Thursday, April 21, by R & R Press, Tucson.

To commemorate the release, several of Davis’ collaborators will read excerpts from the book in a live Zoom conference at 7 p.m. on April 21. Writer/musician Tim Stegall, who edited the book; musician/artist/radio host Jeremie “Bacpac” Franko; musician Jaime Lamb; musician Brew Kerr; and Davis’ son, Aries, will lend their voices to Davis’ stories, many of which revolve around his life in the Valley.

Stegall met Davis at the Cooler Lounge in Las Vegas when Davis’ band, The Glass Heroes, played a show there. It wasn’t until years later, though, that the two would have a chance to become friends.

“In 2009, I ended up in Phoenix and I needed to get work, and Brew [Kerr] referred me to Steve, who was working in a call center," Stegall says. "Steve later told me, ‘All my life I’ve been working in food or in call centers,’ and that’s where Steve and I became friends. It was very obvious to me that this was another individual whose life had been redeemed by punk rock the same way mine had. He had as deep an association with punk as I did.

“Steve was a very ethereal, very spiritual, very upbeat person, and it attracted me. I wanted to get to know this person a lot, but also a lot deeper. We became fast friends and we kept in touch over the years.”

During their final conversation, Davis disclosed to Stegall that he had been inspired to write because of him, so the honor of editing his book is not lost on Stegall. As we talked of this, Stegall was clearly feeling the emotion of the moment and like many friends of Davis, marveled at how Davis faced his transition process.

“It was blowing my mind seeing my friend posting photos of himself (on social media) taking care of his own funeral arrangements, picking out his burial spot, and all that. I would not have had the balls to do that myself. He was settling everything and going to die with dignity on his own terms. It impressed me,” says Stegall.

As a storyteller, Davis’ unique style allows the reader to get a vibrant glimpse of his world. Friends of Davis will probably hear the author’s voice when they read the work, almost as if their friend is telling them yet another story of his remarkable life. For Davis’ son, Aries, this is an important part of why this book is so vital.

“I think it will rekindle a lot of that fire that he was trying to put into people with his art and music. This is just another part of that legacy. To keep it going, it was a big (goal) for him. Just keeping him in our thoughts and prayers and talking about these stories keeps his spirit alive,” says Davis.

For many who loved and respected Davis, just holding this book in their hands and reading stories of his life will be a wonderful way to get some more time with him. Davis used a kind of street, beat, hip (not hipster) vernacular that made you feel like you were part of something amazing when he spun a tale, and his writing style is very similar. As an editor, Stegall had his work cut out for him, but did an amazing job.

“He was a wonderful raconteur, but let’s just say he had a very interesting relationship with grammar. As I wrote in the forward, Steve kind of wrote in this voice that was part Charles Bukowski and part Mark Twain. It was oddly folksy, you know, even though he was relating some very sordid tales. I constantly wanted to keep in mind that this was Steve’s book, and I wanted his voice to ring because I feel like an important voice has been stilled,” says Stegall.

Davis’ son, Aries, though, had the last word.

“He inspired so many people to go out and accomplish things. I think (this book) can be an inspiration for a lot of people. They can just see, word for word, how we walked through everything, especially towards the end.”

To join the Zoom meeting, please use this link at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/78375112127?pwd=N8f7ZLUa6v0ODq98F35qnmK-K8frSs.1
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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon