Hi, I’m Steve – freelance Creative Director and creator/host of Sweet Ride USA. I’ve had a wild ride through the entertainment business as you can see from my WikiPedia page. My specialties are digital creative ideas, entertainment marketing, design and WordPress sites. Have a look at some of my work here.
All told, I’d rather be on my bike. I live car free in Los Angeles and channel my love of bicycle culture into Sweet Ride USA, my web series about riding bikes and searching for a city’s best desserts while burning off all the calories in the process. Check out an episode here.
Do you need creative direction, a website or a place to find a great donut?
Give me a shout and let’s see if I can help you out.
I grew up a Walt Disney and Beatles obsessed kid about a mile from the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. On my 18th birthday, I moved to southern California to work at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Hey, I thought Disneyland and LA were the same thing. Once I got the geography down, I went to music school in Hollywood to work on my rock n roll dream. After being romanced by the burgeoning coffeehouse scene a friend and I co-opened a little joint called “The Mad Hatter’s Espresso Bar” and met a ton of great artistic kids and hosted the coffeehouse’s open mic night.
A talent scout from MTV saw me hosting and asked if I’d like to audition be a VJ. I got the job and moved to New York City. For two years, I worked at MTV hosting a variety of shows like Hangin’ with MTV, The Top 20 Countdown and doing loads of fun man-on-the-street shoots all over NYC. One time I got in trouble for saying Michael Jackson’s skin was getting so light that one day he’d be fluorescent, and MTV had to do a whole “Michael Jackson Weekend” to make up for it.
MTV was an amazing experience because back then MTV actually played music (contain your shock). This was right at the start of the whole Nirvana/Seattle thing, and the music scene was amazing. I got to travel, interview bands and never had to pay to see shows! When I talked on MTV about music I liked, my excitement was obvious. Unfortunately the reverse was also true, so they fired me.
In an odd turn of events, I found myself playing the lead role of Tommy in The Who’s Tommy Broadway Touring Company, and working with The Who’s Pete Townshend. The national tour lasted for a year and half, and I did over 500 performances including one at the Kennedy Center for President Clinton.
During all those nights in hotel rooms around the country I became obsessed with my laptop, graphic design and the Internet. I’ve always had a sense about the web, and that sense has always proved to be pretty right on. Obsession can lead you in the right direction sometimes.
After the Tommy tour, I moved back to Los Angeles and started a band called Skycycle. I sang, wrote songs, played guitar and did the website and artwork. Skycycle signed a record deal with MCA (The Music Cemetery of America) and released an EP Breathing Water produced by one of my favorites, Failure’s Ken Andrews, and recorded a full-length album, Ones and Zeros.
MCA saw fit to allocate our marketing budget to Tommy Lee’s hip hop group and dropped us two months before our album’s release, which fucking SUCKED. Five years of my songs and four guys’ hard work all gone in a phone call. After that, I was pretty over the whole music business, as you can imagine. Awesome side-note – recently, the album’s rights shifted over to Geffen, and Ones and Zeros all of a sudden appeared. After 13 years, our baby was finally released.
By this point, my digital design game had gotten really solid, so I transitioned into the world of the day job, landing a gig with an entertainment marketing shop called Mostasa and building Flash movie sites and ad campaigns (Hannibal, Moulin Rouge, James Bond.com). It felt pretty nice not worrying about rent anymore, I won’t lie. Next I moved to a great shop called Real Pie Media, where I was an Art Director and did a ton of design and animation work for Disney, Fox Searchlight and Vegas Casinos.
To keep my head screwed on straight, I played acoustic shows around LA. Out of the blue, I found myself in a band with three quarters of the recently disbanded Jane’s Addiction (one of my favorite bands) who were looking for a singer to go in a fresh direction. We signed a deal with Capitol Records and put out an album called (One), and had a blast touring the country.
Feeling the wanderlust for New York City, I moved back in 2007, and got a gig as a Creative Director at a wonderful digital shop, Deep Focus, where I came up with campaigns for HBO, Calvin Klein and AMC – including the viral hit Mad Men Yourself, and a campaign for Flight of the Conchords, which won two Webby awards.
Missing the sun and complete lack of seasons, I moved back to LA for a position as Creative Director of the digital department at BLT Communications and did a bunch of work for Disney/Pixar, HBO and A&E.
A couple of years ago I had a personal transformation that involved falling in love with the bicycle and the LA bike culture. This morphed into my dream project, Sweet Ride USA, my web series where a group of friends and I ride around exploring a city trying out different desserts – and burning off all the calories in the process. It’s a home-grown operation – I host the show, do the graphic design and branding, social media and also wrote and sang the theme song. Bicycling Magazine recently featured us in an eight-page spread. As we keep working to grow the show, we’re shopping the show to get it on broadcast TV or an online network. Hey, there are plenty of redneck beard shows, there’s definitely room for Sweet Ride USA.
Recently, I sold my car and am living the carfree life. I hit a point of maximum frustration with sitting in a metal box for hours every week and spending money to keep a machine chugging along that’s just burning off our planet’s resources, when I could be burning off fat and enjoying my commute with an unequaled sense of freedom.
Far be it from me to accurately tell you what’s next, but if I have anything to do with it, it involves moving to Maui and opening up a breakfast/dessert cafe in the not-to-to distant future.