The Kingmakers Rockabilly Kingmakers Music

Steve on bassBiography

Stephen K. Donnelly a.k.a. Standup Steve

Steve first started performing in Ottawa in the late eighties singing and playing guitar in Ten Miles High, a short-lived band that played mostly his original songs and a few covers by the likes of REM and The Who. He then continued playing lead guitar and doing backing vocals in seminal alt-rock band Mystic Zealots. The Zealots performed tons of shows including the Pogo-A-Gogo-Rock-A-Roo festival at Porter Hall in front of close to a thousand moshing fans, as well as releasing 2 albums and a 7" single.

Soon after, Steve joined Jimmy George, a well-known Celtic/punk/rock band in the vein of The Pogues, Waterboys, Spirit of the West and Great Big Sea. Jimmy George played over a thousand shows over 10 years, headlined the Tulip Festival in front of a few thousand fans, busked in the streets of England and Ireland, released 3 CD's, toured Canada twice, had 2 videos in rotation on MuchMusic, and appeared on many television programs, most notably to millions of viewers on Rita & Friends on the CBC with Cowboy Junkies and Carole Pope of Rough Trade.

Steve has also played in (or with) Dude Ranch (lap steel & electric guitar), Bible All-Stars (pedal steel), Detonators (electric guitar), Volga (electric guitar), The A-Tease (electric guitar), The Lowbellies (electric bass), The Hinckley Jr.s (electric guitar), Eric Eggleston (guitar, mandolin), The Sawdogs (mandolin), Lefty McRighty (guitar, pedal steel),

After visiting Graceland and seeing The Dempseys in Memphis for the first time, Steve got the upright bass bug. He found the cheapest one he could find, and has been pounding away on it ever since, citing such influences as Slick Joe Fick (The Dempseys), Bill Black (Elvis Presley), Lee Rocker (Stray Cats), WIllie Dixon and Marshall Lytle (Bill Haley & The Comets).

Steve currently plays the same cheap plywood bass (sponsorships welcome!) which was dubbed "Battlescar Galactibass" after some gaudy epoxy repairs to the hole made by Clark's foot in the side of the bass, at the CD release show in 2009. He uses some cheap gut strings that are falling apart, the Six Rounds Rockabilly Recoil pickup, an Ampeg Portabass 2x10 cabinet, and a Peavey Maxx 400 watt tube/solid state head, with a Sennheiser wireless unit to avoid cable tangle issues and give him the freedom to wander the venue while playing. He also has used weed-wacker strings and will probably switch back to them once the guts disintegrate. He also needs a new bridge as the current one is warped, and is waiting for the sound post to fall down again.

Steve could be considered the "primary" songwriter in The Kingmakers, having penned the majority of the original songs on all three Kingmakers albums. Other songwriting credits include all the songs on the Friends of Steve and two Laguna CD's, a song on each of the two Jimmy George and Mystic Zealots albums, and various others.

In addition to The Kingmakers, Steve plays upright bass in Ninety Pounds of Ugly and with Ray Harris and the BSOB's, Uncle Sean and the Shifty Drifters, Lefty McRighty and the Shameless Bastards, and has also played with Lynne Hanson, Trevor Alguire, Huntley Slim, Sherwood Lumsden, Jill Zmud, Slo' Tom, Steve Stacey and several others at full-on gigs and in songwriter circles.

Steve's other current projects include Friends of Steve (just-released CD on which he played all the instruments and wrote all the tunes) and Laguna (working on their 3rd album). He continues to work on his chops on the upright bass as well as on pedal steel, lap steel, guitar, mandolin, accordion, and whatever else he can get his hands on.

In addition to performance, Steve has been honing his production chops. His recent engineering & production credits include: The Kingmakers "Last Night In Nashville" (some recording, all mixing, mastering, bass, backing vox); Uncle Sean & The Shifty Drifters "Drinkin' Ramblin' Honkytonkin'" CD (recorded, mixed, mastered, did all harmony vox and played upright and a bit of lap steel), The Kingmakers "Tupelo To Memphis" (recorded/mixed/mastered), Ninety Pounds of Ugly "Richmond Hotel Room #3" (won 2009 Best of Ottawa award. Record/mix/master); The Kingmakers "Live at SUN Studio" (mix/master/some recording); Ray Harris "East End West End North End South End" (mastering, recorded/mixed 3 songs); The Lowbellies CD (recorded except drums, mixed, mastered); Laguna "Looking Forward To Trying Your Stupid Idea" (mixed, mastered, co-engineered). He has also done live sound duties in dozens of venues over the years.

Steve has also had a long-time interest in graphic design and web design. Recent graphic design work includes both Kingmakers CD's, Friends of Steve CD, Ray Harris CD, Ninety Pounds of Ugly CD, Uncle Sean CD, Otown Hoedown poster, and many more.