Interview with Steve in 2002

In The Spotlight - Eddie And The Tide
Interview with - Steve 'Eddie' Rice
Written by: George Thatcher (Jan 30, 2002)

    A band not often mentioned in the melodic rock history books is San Francisco based Eddie And The Tide. At the beginning of 2003, their name is on everyone's lips, thanks to the re-release of three of their previous hard to get albums. Stepping up to the plate is German CD retailer Target Records to deliver an eighties triumvirate: 1984's "I Do It For You", and the double-pairing of 1988's "Dig Down Deep" and 1989's "Stand Tall". These three albums were released on the independent label Spin Records, traversing the middle period of 1985-1987 when the band were actually signed to Atco Records.

Enter Steve Rice, the voice and focal presence behind Eddie And The Tide. He was in fact the "Eddie" in the band, even if there was no one else with that actual name. It was some surprise then that these three albums made it to the digital domain, much to the loud cheers of long time fans. Steve explains how it all eventuated. "Hello George. Yes, it was a nice surprise to see our music back out there. Robert (Pancur) from Target Records tracked me down through Eddie and the Tide's website. The band was thrilled to see what a great job Robert did with the whole package. He did a classy job!"

The band apparently retrieved the masters from the vaults of Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, and had them re-mastered by Alan Goldwater at Magic Sound. "We also pulled three songs from those sessions that were not on the original 'I Do It For You' album and tacked those on as bonus tracks" adds Steve.

    Starting life as far back as 1979, the band was originally called something else. "Yeah, actually, we all started as The Suburbs, but because of another band in Minnesota with the same name, they threatened a lawsuit, so we became Eddie and the Tide" says Steve. "I started the band up by placing an add in the local paper and just finding some great players who also had great attitudes, and wanted to have fun but were also serious about getting a record deal and touring etc. We worked really hard and it took about five years of playing the clubs before Atco/Atlantic Records approached us."

    There is a wee bit of a story as to how the band eventually ended up with their name. A band called "Eddie Something" with no "Eddie" - how the hell does that work? "The band and I were searching for the right name" says Steve, "and at one rehearsal we wrote about 30 names on a piece of paper and I went home and was looking over all of them, and nothing sounded right. That night I fell asleep and had a very vivid dream about a band called, Eddie and the Tide, I took it to the band the next night, and we all agreed and had a beer!" 

That simple huh? Well, if you weren't actually living in San Francisco at the time, not many people would have known about the band. In retrospect, they were a institution on the Bay Area club scene. "That's right," confirms Steve, "we started out in Santa Cruz, about an hour south of San Francisco, and we would drive all over the Bay Area playing clubs. Eventually Bobby Corona who ran the biggest rock club in San Francisco - The Stone, noticed us. He decided he wanted to manage us, and got us playing all the great clubs. Bobby also got us into the studio to record 'I Do It For You' and we released that on our own Spin Records label." 

    The unusual thing about the buzz being created for Eddie And The Tide was the fact they were an independent act, in a sea of acts based in San Francisco who were on mainstream labels. The list is significant: Journey, Nightranger, Y&T, Starship, Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis And The News are just some names mentioned. "The local radio got excited about us and started playing us, which was rare for an independent act to get radio play next to Huey Lewis And The News and Journey etc" says Steve. "We got a good following built up by just working all the time, which led to us getting the award for Best Bay Area Club Band two years in a row at the Bay Area Music Awards. Huey Lewis and the News, and The Greg Kihn Band had won that award previously, so we were in good company."

    As many readers of HOTR-ONLINE already know, the glory-days period of 1981-1984 was indeed a vibrant one, and the Frisco/Oakland/Bay Area location in particular was a hotbed of activity at the time. Eddie And The Tide was right in the thick of it. "It was a very diverse scene," recalls Steve. "you had The Mabuhay Gardens (a famous punk club) across from The Stone (the rock club) and we were opening a lot of shows for Huey Lewis And The News (who were still at the club level - before 'Sports' broke big), Greg Kihn Band, Eddie Money, Starship, there was just a lot of great clubs, a lot of great music, and some of the best fans anywhere. It was very much a happening time in the clubs. We were having a blast, playing music, and living on Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. Broke, but happy."

    Another irony for the band, they were all from back East. Somehow they all ended up in Frisco. "It was kind of weird how we all got together" remembers Steve. "Scott Mason our drummer, and myself, grew up together back in Nashville Tennessee, and neither of us was into country music so we packed up his V.W. and headed West, ended up in Santa Cruz, and after a short while unpacked the drums and guitars, put an ad in the paper and ended up with The Tide."

Defining their sound, it's easy to hear other Frisco notables in there. Huey Lewis, Greg Kihn, and even further afield, the likes of Rick Springfield, The Police, Springsteen, Mellancamp who were all popular at the time. Trying to integrate personal preferences into the bands overall sound could've been a bit of a mission. "All those bands you mentioned we were into" agrees Steve. "I grew up influenced a lot by Todd Rundgren, and got to sing with him once on a Greg Kihn session. Our bass player George Diebold was heavily into Rhythm and Blues - that whole Stax/Memphis scene. Our lead guitarist Johnny Perri was into The Grateful Dead, while Scott was really into The Police, Aerosmith. Jeff 'Cazz' McCaslin our first keyboardist was a big Springsteen fan, so it all kind of merged together from there really."

    Ever mention the band name Eddie And The Tide and the aforementioned Bobby Corona is right in there behind them as a "back-stop". He was a virtual jack-of-all-trades for the band. "He saw us in his club one night in San Francisco. At the time we were struggling trying to rise up a bit in the club scene, and he saw us and immediately asked if we had management, and that he might be interested. Now for any struggling band in San Francisco, to have the owner of the biggest rock club in the city, want to manage you, was a dream come true. So he helped us take the next step up in the music business. Plus it didn't hurt that he was a great guy."

So Bobby put Spin Records together, and got the band into the studio for the 'I Do It For You' album. A milestone in their career to that point which Steve explains: "Yes, we had been playing together about three or four years and had a few records labels show a little interest, but not enough to sign us to a deal, so Bobby said 'Screw it - let's make our own record'. So we went into Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, which was a thrill for me because I'm a big Credence Clearwater fan. And we made 'I Do It For You' in about three weeks. It went on to be one of the biggest selling independent records in the Bay area."

    Soon after Atco/Atlantic came on the scene. They must have liked what they heard, to sign the band not long after. In many cases it's quite a painful process having to showcase for labels, and 'do the dance' so to speak. Not so with The Tide reckons Steve. "Actually, by the time Atco/Atlantic came to see us, 'I Do It for You' was selling really well, and the clubs were filling up with people. We played a thousand seat club in Palo Alto, just south of San Francisco, and it was packed the night Atlantic came up. I'll never forget after all the hard knocks and nights of playing to some empty clubs etc, and just paying our dues, it felt like that night our time had come. It was wild, after we played our show, which went pretty well, we walked backstage, and Paul Cooper, the A/R guy from Atlantic, met us back in the dressing room, and asked us if we'd like to make a record for Atlantic. It was a great night indeed!"

    The relationship with Atco/Atlantic generated two albums: 1985's 'Go Out And Get It' and 1987's 'Looking For Adventure'. I've read elsewhere that the label didn't help matters by trying to make the band something that they weren't. I asked Steve what his take on the matter was the relationship between the label and band/management. "We did have some difficulty with people trying to change us. Looking back now I wished we'd stood up a little more for what we wanted. But at the time we just wanted to make music and get it out on the radio. We figured Eddie Money who produced our first Atlantic record knew what was best. I think a lot of bands when they sign with a major label, tend to get a bit lost trying to please everyone."

    As an aside, I wonder if we'll ever see Atco/Atlantic putting out re-releases of those two albums. "I really have no idea. Maybe Robert at Target could twist their arm, and get those master tapes. There are some great moments on those records, and I'd love to see them out on CD."

    The aforementioned 1988 and 1989 albums are a superb 'back to basics' collection of songs. By then, changes were in the wind. A return to Spin Records, still playing gigs, but no mainstream label support, and of course the changing attitudes in music. "I remember a sense of relief within the band. Going back into the studio with Bobby Corona and just having the freedom to make music how we felt it, which is what music is all about to me. Yeah it was hard to not have major label support, but we basically looked at each other, and said, 'are we still having fun?', do we want to go on? And everyone said yes, so we put out two more records. It all came down to how much we all as a band loved music and rock n' roll, and we got back to that."

    The band went their separate ways in 1990 though they have not completely disappeared off the face of the earth. "Yes, I'm glad to say I'm still in touch with all the guys" says Steve. "All the guys are doing well, families, work, and no rock and roll casualties. Life goes on."

    Even though the Tide separated more the ten years ago, music is still in the blood for most of these guys, Steve included. "Yes, my wife and I write songs here in Nashville, we have a song on the new Duane Jarvis CD. And every Friday night we have a jam session over at my friend Stewart's living room, just a bunch of people, with guitars and harmonicas and bongos, just out for a good time, which when I look back was how Eddie and the Tide started out."

    Through their ten-plus years hiatus, there must have been particular moments or highlights that stood out for the band during their heyday. "I must say, and it may sound corny" mentions Steve, "but Eddie and the Tide was a family. We were truly a team, and it was a great feeling, driving home from a show, at 3am in the morning all of us crammed into a van, talking about the show, how to make it better, and knowing the power of a song with a guitar and a backbeat - making someone smile or dance away their blues, that was what it was all about. It was a blast!"

    With Steve being a Nashville boy and all, I couldn't resist a wee bit of lament for the Tennessee Titans losing out to the Raiders the other day in the AFC championship game.  Still the best team won on the day so no complaints there. Being an ex resident from that area, I suppose the Raiders would have been your second best pick? lol.. "Yeah, it was a tough loss, but now I say Go Raiders!" (well by time this article went online, the Raiders got a spanking at the hands of the Buccaneers!)

    Well, we sign off here, and thank Steve "Eddie" Rice (better get the full name in!) for his participation in this interview. Who knows what this exposure might lead to. Perhaps a one-off reunion back in the Bay Area for all the locals. Thanks Steve!

"Thanks George, it was good for the soul to go back and re-live those days! Thanks!" - Steve "Eddie" Rice.