Iconic rock band STEPPENWOLF and frontman John Kay will release the definitive career retrospective, "Steppenwolf At 50", a 3-CD collection featuring 41-tracks, to celebrate the band's half-century of music.
Set for release Friday, March 16 via Los Angeles-based Rainman Records, the collection includes five rare or never-heard-before tracks. Guitar World premiered the recently-unearthed song "Compared To What", proclaiming, "The song features the classic STEPPENWOLF sound — authoritative, scooped-but-solid guitars, growling vocals and-in this case — a satisfying jam section that's punctuated by tight drumming and pulsating bass."
"Steppenwolf At 50" covers the band's storied career, from their 1968 debut through 13 studio albums — billed both as STEPPENWOLF and JOHN KAY & STEPPENWOLF — as well as their Top 10 hits "Born To Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Rock Me". The group's "16 Greatest Hits" album is certified platinum and they have earned nine gold records. The band's music struck a true counter-culture note in the 1960s, and two songs — "The Pusher" and "Born To Be Wild" — were featured prominently in the 1969 Dennis Hopper/Peter Fonda film "Easy Rider". "Steppenwolf At 50" was personally overseen by Kay and longtime manager Ron Rainey.
In his liner notes, Kay thanks band members, both past and present, as well as their loyal "Wolfpack" fan base. "That was 50 years ago as of this writing and much transpired during that time of course," says Kay. "In between seemingly endless tours at home and abroad, we somehow managed to write, rehearse and record numerous subsequent albums, but the hectic pace sometimes took its toll; not only on the band but also on our home lives and families... it is particularly dedicated to those who never stopped being there when we needed their support the most. Every band member past and present, who is heard on these recordings, played an important role as musician, fellow singer or songwriter in the WOLF's recording history and is accordingly acknowledged in the credits."
Born during World War II in Germany, Kay and his mother escaped the advancing Soviets, eventually settling down in Canada in the late 1950s. A longtime affliction with color blindness and poor vision led the youngster to devour the pop music he heard on Canadian and nearby Buffalo, New York radio stations. Kay started playing guitar in his early teens, in 1965 he joined Canadian band THE SPARROWS. Kay has been married to his wife Jutta for 50 years.
In 2004, John and Jutta formed the Maue-Kay Foundation which is dedicated to wildlife, the environment and human rights. Kay donates the net proceeds from all STEPPENWOLF shows to various NGOs that support their mission. "In recent years, whether at home in North America or through travels in other parts of the world, we've increasingly come in contact with people whose efforts to protect wildlife, the natural environment and human rights are an inspiration to us," he says. "Providing financial assistance for their various projects is the primary mission of the Maue-Kay Foundation. However, we also hope to enlist additional support for their exemplary work, through the information, images and video clips, featured on our various projects."
After taking a few months off, STEPPENWOLF will kick off its 2018 touring schedule this Friday (March 10) in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
"Steppenwolf At 50" track listing:
01. Screaming Night Hog
02. From Here To There Eventually (alternate version)*
03. Angel Drawers*
04. For Ladies Only
05. You Win Again
06. My Sportin' Life
07. Drift Away
08. Straight Shootin' Woman
09. Caroline (Are You Ready For The Outlaw World)
11. Hold Your Head Up
12. Hot Night In A Cold Town
13. Give Me News I Can Use
14. Ain't Nothin' Like It Used To Be
15. Magic Carpet Ride (Performed With Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five)
01. Hold On (Never Give Up Never Give In)
02. Rock & Roll Rebels
03. Give Me Life
04. Rise & Shine
05. The Wall
06. Rock & Roll War
07. Feed The Fire
08. Rock Steady
09. Down In New Orleans
10. Business Is Business
11. Compared To What*
12. Labor Of Love*
13. For The Women In My Life
Disk 3 (All Tracks Recorded Live: 1992-1995):
01. Move Over
02. Rock Me
03. I'm Movin' On
04. Sookie Sookie
05. I'm Your Hootchie Cootchie Man
06. Hey Lawdy Mama
08. Ride With Me
09. Snowblind Friend
11. Magic Carpet Ride
12. Born To Be Wild
13. The Pusher
* indicates previously unreleased
Photo by Albert Normandin / Courtesy of Paradise Artists