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Steve Balbi

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Also known as  Vern

Name  Steve Balbi
Steve Balbi The Rock Pit Hard rock Metal and Blues Interviews news
Associated acts  Noiseworks, Electric Hippies, Jenny Morris, Move Trees, Rose Tattoo
Music groups  Noiseworks (Since 1986), Mi-Sex (Since 2011), Rose Tattoo (1984 – 1985)
Albums  Noiseworks, Love Versus Money, Touch
Similar People  Justin Stanley, Jon Stevens, Jeff Duff, Steve Gilpin, Angry Anderson

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Stephen Vert "Steve" Balbi is an Australian musician and record producer. He was the founding bass guitarist in pub rockers, Noiseworks (1986–92, 1999, 2004, 2007–08, 2011, 2015-present). He formed a psychedelic pop group and production duo, Electric Hippies (1993–96) with fellow Noiseworks member, Justin Stanley. Balbi issued his debut solo album, Black Rainbow, in October 2013.

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Biography

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Steve Balbi was born in the mid-1960s and grew up in a Maltese family in Newtown, Sydney. He first performed publicly, with his uncle's band, at age 6, on a tambourine. In 1976, at the age of 12, he was in a band, the Apaches, with his cousins, which performed "Fox on the Run" on a TV talent quest, Pot of Gold. He performed in Rufus Red. During the mid-to-late-1970s he was a bass guitarist for a blues, funk rock band, Rupert B. Other members were Mick Buckley on drums, Rohan Cannon on guitar and vocals, Guillermo Mayer on saxophone and Mick Thornton on slide trombone and trumpet.

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In mid-1982 Balbi, on bass guitar, joined Kevin Borich Express alongside Borich on lead guitar and lead vocals, John Annas on drums and Andy Cowan on keyboards (ex-Madder Lake, Ayers Rock). By 1984 the line-up of Balbi and Borich were joined by Adrian Cannon on drums (ex-Full Circle). At the end of that year Balbi also joined hard rockers, Rose Tattoo, and left both groups in 1985.

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Back in 1984, while still a member of Kevin Borich Express, Balbi had guested on bass guitar for fellow Sydney-based band, the Change's single, "Forever Young", alongside that group's Stuart Fraser on lead guitar (ex-Feather, Smith), Kevin Nicol on drums (ex-Dial X) and Jon Stevens on lead vocals.

Early in 1986 the pub rockers, Noiseworks, were formed in Sydney with the line-up of Balbi on bass guitar and backing vocals, Justin Stanley on keyboards with the Change's Fraser, Nicol and Stevens. Stanley explained to Simon Moy of The Canberra Times how the group had formed "[Balbi and I] heard [Stevens], [Fraser] and [Nicol] were doing a little writing and playing around so we just got together one day down at the pub, got pissed and got on and that's how it went."

For their debut album, Noiseworks (July 1987), Balbi wrote or co-wrote three tracks: "Welcome to the World", "Only Loving You" and "It's Time". "Welcome to the World" was released as their fourth single in November 1987, which peaked in the top 50 of the Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Noiseworks released two more studio albums, Touch (November 1988) and Love Versus Money (July 1991). Balbi described their writing style, "it's a real band thing for us. It's really funny, like the other night, on the way from Mildura to Adelaide, there were three of us in the car and we just wrote these lyrics — we finished three songs in that four-hour drive." The group had provided three multi-platinum albums, as certified by ARIA, before disbanding in March 1992.

In 1993 Balbi snd Stanley formed a psychedelic pop group and production duo, Electric Hippies, which issued their debut extended play, It's Cool, in October of that year. It included the track, "Jonny Courageous"; according to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, it "was reputedly a swipe at former Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens." They followed with a top 30 single, "Greedy People" (June 1994), and their debut album, Electric Hippies in October. For that album, Balbi provided lead guitar, bass guitar and lead vocals. McFarlane opined that it "mixed Revolver-era Beatles melodies with a Ziggy Stardust-period David Bowie glam rock aesthetic. There was also a limited edition version of the album which featured three-dimensional artwork à la The Rolling Stones' 1967 psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request."

As producers, Electric Hippies, worked on material by Pearls & Swine, Vincent Stone (singles: "Sunshine" and "Best of My Love"; album: Vincent Stone, all in 1993), Juice, Jenny Morris and Nikka Costa (who was married to Stanley). Costa and Stanley returned to the United States in 1996 and Electric Hippies disbanded.

Balbi, on lead vocals, formed a new group, Universe, in 1997 which consisted of Jim Denley on flute, Cathy Green on bass guitar (ex-X), Matt McCormack a.k.a. Big Bird on guitar (ex-Starworld) and Cath Synnerdahl on drums (ex-Wrecking Crew, Mother Hubbard). The band released an EP, Above Water, in September 1997. Balbi, Green and McCormack were joined by Angus Diggs on drums and Ilan Kidron on flute for their single, "Be My Gun" (October 1998), and the related album, Present.

Balbi has also worked with David Bowie, Tom Jones, and Michael Hutchence, among others. He was a voice double in the film Moulin Rouge! as well as the voice of "Magic Carpet Ride" for Network Ten's 2003 station ID.

In 2006 Steve began a new original project— Move Trees — with Scott Aplin, Pete Skelton and Doug Aplin. In 2007 Move Trees joined Noiseworks on the road during their tour.

26 October 2009 saw the latest Solo release from Steve, "I Found You", out on UK label Foundry Records.

Since 2011 he is fronting a newly reformed Mi-Sex, reunited for a fundraising concert following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. As of 2014 they were back in the studio working on new songs, 30 years since their last release.

Since 2003, Steve has also been a founding lead vocalist with the CCEntertainment series of concerts that celebrates the music of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles and Led Zeppelin.

References

Steve Balbi Wikipedia


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