Poppa Steve Mutimer began his musical career at age eight with his first set of drums. He took lessons from Benny Goodman’s noted big band drummer, Ray Mann, until age twelve. Over the next fifty years he has worked in various disciplines of music expanding his creative talents into film and video production plus digital music composition.
The Band Years 1958 - 1970
At fifteen he formed his first band, The Rhythm Kings, in hometown, Rockford, IL in 1958. The group was the first rock ‘n roll band in the city and became a huge local success for the next 3 years during high school. Even at that early age, Steve’s band worked with songsters Brenda Lee and Frankie Ford. The Rhythm Kings traveled to Memphis in 1959 and recorded six demo tracks for Sun Records with Sam Phillips and Snuff Garrett engineering. Sun didn’t sign the band, but they went on to cut two records, both regionally successful, with one tune, Maj, reaching the local Top 10 and earning a “bullet” in Billboard Magazine.
While serving with the US Navy, Steve formed his second group, The Brother’s Anthony, a folk singing trio in which Steve played standup bass and sang backup at clubs, colleges and theaters all over the Pacific and the US West Coast. The boys sold an original tune, “Bossa Nova Joe” to Tommy LiPuma of A&R Records (which was never published) and eventually broke up when members were discharged.
The Daze & Knights was Steve’s third group, a Rock, R&B and Pop group that played clubs, bars and private parties around Rockford. The band was one of the first “mixed” bands at the time with two white and two black members (hence the group’s name). Steve was bandleader, played drums and was the lead singer. The group’s high note was being picked up by the William Morris Agency, Chicago office, working with their hit vocalists and vocal groups of the time such as The Four Tops, Bobby Goldsboro, The Chiffons, Jim Nabors, The Crystals, Jimmy Clanton, The Vogues, Brian Highland, Dee Dee Sharp, Len Barry, Dick & Dee Dee … and they were the touring warm-up band for The McCoys, Johnny & The Hurricanes, The Outsiders and The Reflections. This group lasted from 1965 to 1968.
Leaving the road after 3 years and newly married, Steve went to work in local radio in Rockford at WROK and played drums in an immensely popular club band, The Exceptions, in South Beloit, Wisconsin until the mid 70s when he finally hung up his sticks.
The AV Production Years 1970 - 1995
For the next 25 years, Steve owned his own advertising agency in Rockford and later San Diego where he wrote and produced hundreds of musical scores, client jingles, AV shows and television programs. During this time, Steve produced and directed such notable celebrities as Eddie Albert, Kevin Costner, Vanna White, Ronnie Schnell (Gomer Pyle), James Avery (Fresh Prince) and sports Hall Of Famers Ernie Banks, Dick Butkus, Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow and more. This was a very productive time for Steve as he garnered over 100 awards for creative excellence including three TV EMMYs, one for music composition presented by Stephen Bishop. Steve moved from San Diego to Tucson in 1992 and retired from the advertising/promotional business in 2000 to concentrate on his first love … music.
The Jazz Recording Years 2004 - Present
With the advancement of digital music production and distribution, Steve’s personal “hobby” turned serious and keeps him busier than when he was in the ad game, compiling sixteen CDs over the past few years including fourteen original works plus two compilations titled “The Good Stuff” and “Now Playing”.
Steve draws heavily on his early Rock, R&B, Blues and Pop background, which he lovingly wraps together with contemporary, and fusion jazz grooves. As he developed his “sound” over the years, he found it difficult to categorize his work among the many, many recognized genres out there … so he coined his own, calling his work Groove Jazz.
Steve’s music is a collective effort involving pre-recorded sound loops from studio musicians, computer generated background fills, percussion that he lays down himself, and live solo tracks from fellow musician friends, some even going back to Steve’s band days when they played together decades ago.
Producing an average of two CDs a year, Steve’s work is now heard on over 120 radio stations and is being sold and downloaded worldwide. “This new digital musical direction is incredible for those of us old enough to have experienced recording, distribution and airplay in ‘the good old days’, which is really a misnomer because from my perspective ‘the good old days’ of producing music are here and now. How lucky we are to be able to experience and work in this musical revolution.”