Interview with Steve Gibb, November 1, 2003

By: Kim Ashley Arnold 

On Saturday, November 1, 2003, I met Steve Gibb, his wife Gloria, and their 10-month-old daughter, Nina at their home in Miami Beach, Florida. It was indeed an honour and a privilege to meet them for the first time.

Since I'm by no means a professional journalist who is accustom to doing interviews, what transpired was more like a casual conversation with questions thrown in here and there. Steve was very friendly and approachable.

We walked to the front porch and Gloria came out holding Nina. She was also very kind and thanked me for the little Scottish teddy bear I'd brought for Nina earlier in the week. Nina is a precious little girl who does seem to favour Steve in appearance but when you look at her closely you can see both parents reflected in her features. She is a perfect little cherub-cheeked angel.

Before going in we took a couple of pictures in front of the house. It was nearly high noon and so I had them pivoting around trying to find the best direction to face to keep the sun out of their eyes.

Here are the highlights of the conversation:

KAA: What instruments can you play? I know you play bass and guitar.

SG: Guitar, bass, I can sing... banjo, pedal steel, piano a little bit. Pretty much, hand me anything and I can play it. Drums I have a hard time with.

KAA: It's been written that you went to some sort of music school here in Miami. Can you tell me about that?

SG: I went to a place called The Career Institute, which is like a music business program, a technical school. It has since closed down. So, I mean, I went there and got my degree. I learned a lot and it was fun. I made some good friends.

KAA: That was back in '91 right? Right out of high school?

SG: I didn't graduate high school. I dropped out.

KAA: I did read somewhere that at 16 you went out and did your own thing.

SG: I was my dad's guitar tech for two years.

KAA: It's nice that you got a job where you could go and do something in the field.

SG: Well, he (Steve's father) taught me a lot about the business and touring. By the time I was out there with Zakk (Wylde) I was really no stranger to any part of the lifestyle.

KAA: This band Skillethead, what was that about?

SG: That was a band I put together with a couple of friends of mine from the tattoo shop.

KAA: You wouldn't believe what I chased down on that. I searched it on the Internet and found this band by the same name in Las Vegas.

SG: No way.

KAA: Yeah, the guy was really pissed off that someone else had thought up the same name. (laugh) I actually got the CD not knowing if you were involved, but in my opinion they were… well total crap.

SG: Well, what we were doing wasn't much better but we had a couple of tunes that were kinda all right.

SG: I even saw you had some info about one of the singers we had in that band for like a second.

KAA: I did?

SG: I think it was, yeah. Maybe it was another site.

KAA: Who was it?

SG: Deniz Kose.

KAA: Oh yeah. That's information I got out of a book on your dad. You can find out a little bit of information about you from those sources. I think in that book they gave you a page and a half write up which is more than ... well, Spencer (Steve's cousin) got as much.

SG: Spencer's been very busy. He's doing well. He's doing really good for himself.

KAA: Yeah, I've heard some of his work. It's good, not bad at all. I definitely prefer his voice to his dad's.

SG: Really? I'll tell him you said that. He'll get a kick out of it.

KAA: Somebody said you did some of these yourself.(Indicating the tattoos on his arms)

SG: No. (laughing)

KAA: I didn't think so. That would have been difficult.

SG: My best friend, Emerson (Forth) did a lot of them. He was one of the members of Skillethead.

KAA: And he owns Tattoo Circus, does he not?

SG: Yes, he does.

SG: Have you checked out the Motley Crue book, The Dirt?

KAA: No, I haven't.

SG: I think I'm in there somewhere. (Actually I bought this book, read it cover to cover, and I found no mention of Steve.)

KAA: Hmmm, well thanks for the tip. (laughs)

KAA: So were there a lot of wrong things on the site? (At this time was not in existance. The site I'm talking about was a homepage site, a precursor to this site.)

SG: No actually it was pretty right. I thought everything was surprisingly accurate.

KAA: I was a little concerned that ' Well, he's going to think I’m stalking him.'

SG: I thought ‘is somebody following me’.

KAA: Yeah, (laughing) that's what I was afraid of. The only reason I knew about things… like your high school buddies, was because of an article printed in the Herald from way back and that’s where I got a few quotes and that article about you being in the Underbellys.

SG: Yeah. There was the Underbellys. That’s who I was with before I went on tour with Pat. (Dinizio, of The Smithereens)

KAA: I think I know what you did on the 58 CD; I mean basically what? Guitar and sing, right?

SG: Yeah.

KAA: So you knew Nikki Sixx for a while and you just…

SG: No, actually I got a phone call. Allen Kovac, who was the manager for the Bee Gees, gave Nikki my number and when Nikki was looking to put the band together he just called me up out of the blue, and I didn’t believe it was him. I kept hanging up on him. Finally he was like ‘Hey dude, I need to talk to you.’ I said ‘Is this really Nikki Sixx?’ Because I’d watched enough Behind the Music and shit like that I recognized the voice and went ‘Oh shit, it is him.’ So I said ‘Okay, Nik what do we need to talk about?’ We just talked for a while and I guess ‘cause I was sober and had gone through similar problems to what he had- (drug addiction)

KAA: Yeah I read about that on the 58 website, back when there was one.

SG: Yeah, so he basically asked me if I wanted the gig and I said yeah. So we went in and did the recording, did a couple of photo shoots, did the Internet video thing and that was it. I thought we were maybe going to do at least some promotional stuff for the band.

KAA: I got the impression that this was an Internet only sort of thing.

SG: Yeah, like they wanted to throw a piece of shit on the wall and see if it would stick.

KAA: Yeah I think it was something nobody had ever really done. To me, I would think you’d miss performing before a live audience.

SG: It was just a little before it’s time, really.

KAA: Well one day it will come around maybe.

SG: Yeah maybe, you never know.

KAA: I have to ask you about the nickname.

SG: Which one?

KAA: The S.O.B. nickname.

SG: Zakk came up with that because he didn’t want anybody knowing that I was Barry Gibb’s kid.

KAA: And nobody does, believe me. Not many in that group (SDMFs – Black Label Society fans) know about that.

SG: Yeah, I was surprised at how well it got kept a secret. I was really shocked. The name stood for ‘Son of Barry’. Zakk thought it was funny because if we didn’t want to tell anybody it stood for ‘Son of Barry’ we could say it meant ‘Scumbag on Bass’ or ‘Sick on Booze’.

KAA: I remember you saying ‘Sick on Booze’ in an interview.

KAA: You still got your band going?

SG: Yeah, actually I was on the phone with the drummer when you showed up.

KAA: I’m sorry about that.

SG: No, no, that’s all right. He’s going on tour for a month with the Afghan Whigs. (He's referring to Bobby MacIntyre and the band was The Twilight Singers)

KAA: Okay, lets see. Someone wants to know: Do you have a preferred type, make, or manufacturer of guitar and are your guitars custom made?

SG: Yeah, this guitar right here, that’s custom made. It’s the only one of its kind. It was made by a guy named Phillip Ralph in California. And that guitar right there, I made. (The guitar Steve made is on the far right in the picture along with a few others that belong to him.) KAA: Really? Wow!

SG: That’s my main guitar, well those two.

KAA: I recognise it from a picture a friend of mine took.

SG: That one’s been everywhere with me.

KAA: So you made that!

SG: I made it out of parts. I didn’t carve the wood myself, but I bought parts and put it together.


KAA: Yeah, but that’s really cool. That makes it all yours.

KAA: Okay what other things do you like to do? You can’t just play music all the time.

SG: Really just spending time with my family and I like going on the gambling boat. But I don’t do it that much.

KAA: My brother does that too. Every time he goes he wins.

SG: Emerson is like that. I’m not like that. I lose every time. I think I’ve been too lucky in life to have luck in that as well.

KAA: I think that's about it for now, Steve. I don’t want to keep you guys. You have a right to your privacy and I know you’ve got somewhere to go right now. I don’t want to ask you anything you might not want to answer.

SG: No, you can go on, I mean, whatever.

KAA: Well, I know you’re a bad ass.

SG: (laughs)

KAA: I don’t believe all this bullshit, a lot of people who say ‘he’s so sweet’. I think to myself, I know he’s nice but he’s not some pussified little, you know-

SG: No, that I’m not. I’ve been to some dark places that maybe I should have avoided. But you gotta be tough to get your way out of that.

KAA: That’s right.

KAA: I’ve been interested in what you were doing, not only because of the music itself, but also that being the son of someone whose been successful you went on and did a different kind of thing, your own kind of music.

SG: Yeah.

KAA: I know you were a big KISS fan, Van Halen and stuff like that when you were younger. Were you into Star Wars? I know you’re of that generation.

SG: Oh yeah, totally.

KAA: I bet you had all those little toys.

SG: I had ever little action figure you could imagine.

KAA: I noticed that you thanked ‘the Force’ on the 58 CD so I thought; oh I bet he was a Star Wars kid.

SG: Yeah, my Mom gave away all my Star Wars collection. As a kid I was really mad about that.

KAA: Well, Steve that’s it. I really appreciate you talking with me.

SG: Well it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.

This is where the tape ends. It was a rare opportunity that few people get, to actually sit down and chat with a person they admire greatly.

Again, my thanks to Steve, Gloria and little Nina for giving me that chance.