Born 1948 – the third child of preacher Harold and piano teacher Jeune – Rick started his musical career singing in the church choir where his father preached. At 12 years of age bought his first guitar for eight pounds after raising the money working at a local shop. His older brother John already had a guitar and, along with other kids from church, they taught themselves how to play.
Rick attended boarding school and upon graduating, he worked in a record department of a store tuning guitars and selling the occasional fridge. He then went on to teachers college – it was ‘in the blood’ with his mother and sister both being teachers. While there, he joined ‘The Vision’ – a four piece band that included his brother John. In 1969, The Vision reached number 9 on the NZ charts with the cover of Carl Perkins song ‘Daddy Sang Bass’.
Rick left NZ to travel the world, starting with Australia. He travelled to Perth and did a stint teaching at Eden Hill Primary School and instantly started picking up gigs around town. In 1977, after marrying Liz, the pair moved to NZ and Rick released his debut solo album ‘Take It or Leave It’.
Around this time, he also released the single ‘Arthur Allan Thomas’. Similar to Bob Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’, the song was about a New Zealand man framed for the murder of two people. Police had falsified evidence and imprisoned Thomas. It was 10 years before the injustice was corrected. The record was banned by the NZ government and all copies destroyed. The song was released while Thomas was still in prison and Rick’s lyrics ‘the man’s been framed, Arthur Alan’s not to blame, the man’s been framed’ were seen to criticise the Government and was deemed libel.
By 1980, and with two sons Jesse and Luke, Rick moved the family back to Perth and went on to release another four albums, touring the country with various bands and gigging regularly. He has toured internationally (NZ, Switzerland, Singapore, USA), is a regular performer at the Vietnam Veterans Club, and also performs regularly to support the fundraising activities of Variety WA as well as Legacy – and has been the president of Perth Blues Club for 21 years.
He is about to step on stage for his 8500th show.
Perth – Western Australia, Australia
Rick Steele – guitar, vocals
Richie Pavledis – drums
Gary Cox – guitar
David Milroy – guitar
John Talati – bass guitar