Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve, (born 1941) is an American blues musician. He plays (mostly personalized) guitars, and sings, usually about his early life doing casual work.
Steve was born in Oakland, California, USA. When he was four years old, his parents split up. His father played boogie-woogie piano and at five or six years old, Steve tried to learn but could not. At age eight, he learned to play the guitar (he later found out that it was blues) from K. C. Douglas, who worked at his grandfather's garage. Douglas wrote the song "Mercury Blues" and used to play with Tommy Johnson. Steve left home at 13 to avoid abuse at the hands of his stepfather, and lived rough and on the road in Tennessee, Mississippi and elsewhere, until 1973. He would travel long distances by hopping freight trains, looking for work as a farm labourer or in other seasonal jobs, often living as a hobo. At various times, Steve worked as a carnie, cowboy and a migrant worker.Of this time he once said:
Hobos are people who move around looking for work, tramps are people who move around but don't look for work, and bums are people who don't move and don't work. I've been all three.
The Three String Trance Wonder
Steve plays several obscure and personalised instruments, including:
* The Three-String Trance Wonder This is a normal guitar that resembles a Fender Coronado or a Teisco EP-7, but with only three strings. It has an old Harmony pickup added (with duct tape) and is tuned to G, A and B using an E string in the A position, a D in the G position and a G in the B position. At his gigs, he often tells the story that he bought it for $75 in this condition in Como, Mississippi from a man named Sherman, who later told him he only paid $25 for it the day before. Steve vowed never to add another string, and that he would tour the world telling his story of how Sherman ripped him off. All in good fun as Sherman Cooper is a good buddy, who gave him the guitar having had it nailed to the wall as a decoration. A lot of the time he also adds (while picking up or putting away the guitar) that it is the "...biggest piece of shit in the world, I swear." On a BBC interview Steve claims that the guitar was found by a friend, just with the three strings on it. So he decided to keep it that way
* The One-Stringed Diddley Bow This is a one stringed string instrument played with a slide (He uses an old screwdriver for this purpose). It consists of a 2-foot-long (0.61 m) 2x4, with a semi-loose piece of broom wire nailed to it at both ends. It was made especially for him by James 'Super Chikan' Johnson.
* The 'MDM' (Mississippi Drum Machine) A small wooden box that is stomped upon, providing percussion. It is decorated with a Mississippi motorcycle license plate , and a small piece of carpet.
* Roland CUBE Amplifier Placed on a chair to his left and set to the 'tweed' setting.
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