Steve Roberts is a singer-songwriter from Liverpool, UK, described by The Guardian as an acoustic troubadour. His first proper band 16 Tambourines was a sprawling affair that played gigs as a 3 piece (the ‘angry young men’ set) up to an 8 piece with brass, percussion and on occasions a didgeridoo. The band played pubs and basement bars that usually only allowed cover bands. “We practised in the middle of town at a place called The Ministry, were the Bunnymen and Teardrops used to rehearse when they were dead famous and heard loads of great stories about them that just frustrated us.
Round the corner from The Ministry was a bar called Rudi’s and we used to drink in there a lot and shout at the bands doing ‘Alright Now’ and all that. Obnoxious we were, but we felt like we were on a mission. We kept saying ‘let us play’ and they did to shut us up. “One day a lad we had seen around came up and said ‘I can get you a record deal in 6 weeks’ and we were like ‘oh go on then’ and within 6 weeks we had a deal with Arista, home of Barry Manilow. It was like a Tommy Steele film or something.” The band released their album ‘How Green is your Valley?’ and set off on tour. “They sent us off with Hue & Cry & playing stadiums with Wet Wet Wet. It was all very weird. A tour with Squeeze was great though”.
The band was dropped when Arista decided to concentrate more on dance acts. A couple of weeks later the drummer joined another signed band and that was the end of it. Steve licked his wounds and wrote songs and played in bars and one of them asked him to run a jam night. “The thought of that appalled me so I started an open mic singer-songwriter night the Acoustic Engine “. The Coral, The Zutons, Criss TT, John Smith, Tom Hingley, The Stands and Damien Rice all played it along with hundreds of great songwriters who escaped from their bedrooms onto stages.
In 2001 he put out his solo album ‘It Just Is’ on the Viper Label. The album was a mostly biographical collection of songs written during a turbulent couple of years during which Steve’s oldest friend was murdered and a member of his family was imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit. Steve also got married and became a dad. Martyn Campbell of Lightning Seeds (now Richard Ashcroft) co-produced it. Mike Badger and Paul Hemmings ex the La’s played on it, as did Howie Payne from The Stands. “I then got lucky with some great gigs with the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Ian McNabb, Glen Tilbrook and Martin Stephenson. as well as my own tours. I got a number radio sessions and airplay, so I had fun going around on my own with just my guitar and spare undies.” He also ended up on Ricky Tomlinson’s album.”I played guitar on it and dueted with him on ‘Half The World Away!’” The fruits of this union can be heard, if you dare, on Ricky’s ‘Music My Arse’. “We did Parkinson and Noddy Holder was also in the band. I watched the show in a pub in the Highlands were I played a couple of days later. We stopped the gig halfway through and put the telly on. How odd.”
Steve’s second solo album & ‘Shake It, Make It & Don’t Fake It’ is another largely acoustic based offering but rootsier combining samples, banjos, fiddles and 12 string guitars, but still recognisably classic Mersey-pop. Martyn Campbell, who co-produced ‘It Just Is’, is again present offering his melodic bass lines and vocals. Further assistance is given by Dan Dean guitarist with ex Probe Plus favourites The Onset, Robbie Taylor from Liverpool band The Great North-western Hoboes and Brian Chin who co-wrote a number of songs on It Just Is.
In 2006 Steve recorded an album Shut Up & Sing and released it under the name Captain Pop. The songs were all written by Steve and Brian Chin and the band consisted of Tony MacGuigan, Brian, Chris Roberts, Robbie Taylor and Alan Richardson.
In 2008 Steve wrote and recorded a song every week and posted them to his website from where there were over 75000 downloads. Since 2012 he has released 3 EPs : Cold Wars, When We Dreamed We Dreamed of Dreams and the 2015 release What Would You Die For?