The Floyd Rose artist relations team had a chance to speak with the legendary Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Bozzio Levin Stevens, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil) while in quarantine:
-What have you been doing during this crazy unexpected press of the “pause button” in the music industry?
I finished my last live show with Billy Idol in March of 2020. We then quarantined and were able to record new music with producer Butch Walker who had also quarantined. The three of us successfully finished our new songs.
-Tell us about your signature model with Knaggs guitars. How did it come about? Why Joe’s guitars? Do you spec the FR on all your personal guitars when you speak with Joe or his guys about a new build? Etc…
Peter Wolf is the artist rep for Knaggs Guitars. I worked with Peter back in the 80s when i was a Hamer guitars artist. I always liked Peter. He contacted me a number of years ago and explained he was now at Knaggs Guitars. It turns out Joe Knaggs was head of the PRS custom shop and had built me one of favorite guitars. It’s been an amazing collaboration and we now offer three different SS guitars. One is an acoustic. Anytime I have a guitar with a tree system I request the Floyd Rose. I got my first Floyd equipped guitar in 1984 and never looked back.
-When did you first start using FR bridges?
I got my first Floyd equipped guitar in 1984 and never looked back. That bridge is a featured element to the Rebel Yell album.
-What do u prefer about FR bridges over other hardware brands?
Floyd’s just feel solid and I love the fact that the company now offers many options to really customize the bridge.
-Do you have any special setup tricks or tips?
Although not always possible, I do like having the Floyd bridge sit flat against the body. That connection really allows the strings to vibrate on the guitars top. The other advantage is breaking a string does not put you out of tune. That said, there are many effects that are only available if the bridge is floating….flutters, and subtle vibratos.
-Have you tried the FRX (surface-mounting) bridge???
I did have a guitar built with it.
-Are their any tentative live shows planned for post Covid-19 touring? With Billy? Or other projects?
Our new record will be released the first half of 2021. There are rumblings that touring for bands may return around September 2021 in some capacity.
-Were you close with EVH?
I got to really know Ed when I supported Van Halen while playing in Vince Neil’s band. I have jammed with Ed previously and he’d join Billy Idol onstage when he’d come see us. I loved the guy. Obviously his musical output is legendary but he was just great fun to hang with. Generous to a fault and had none of that bullshit rockstar attitude.
-Any projects or causes you would like us to help raise awareness on?
I have a signature overdrive pedal “The Rockaway” with J Rockett. 20% of all proceeds go to St. Judes Children’s Hospital. You can donate here.