Judges, politicians, entrpreneurs and spivs. Debutantes, working girls, uni beauties working their way and the rising ranks of the self-made woman. All would stand outside the door waiting to join the wild and crazy atmosphere of Rogues front bar, join Stephen around the piano and enjoy hearing an old favourite or a recent hit, sing along in tune and out, meanwhile checking out the room and the people in it.
That same atmosphere can be found at Minsky's in Sydney north, where Stephen has performed and entertained the late-night revellers around the piano on a number of occasions.
Some say the art of Piano bar isn't seen as much these days, and you'd be hard pressed to find as many as there once were, but whichever ones in Sydney you can think of, he has played them, including a long stint at that old standby, the Bourbon & Beefsteak Bar. The Bourbon was, and is, a landmark entertainment room in Sydney, famous since the '60's with intrenational travellers, and especially with the visiting US servicemen who frequent its many bars.
Rogues, Jamison Street, Williams Niteclub... the list goes on as Piano Bar was and is a poular form of entertainment.
Having been raised on a diet of swing and showtunes, Stephen was well equipped, even as a young performer starting out, to entertain audiences with Fats Waller, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter and Gershwin standards. With every Billy Joel and Elton John record to be released, his repertoire increased to include the new hits, but Piano Bar likes its standards and few nights would meet the morning without "New York, New York", "My Way" or a host of other worldwide hits being cranked up and out to a responsive audience.
While he enjoys playing pubs as a guitarist-singer or with his partner, Roxanne as "Cover Me", Stephen feels most comfortable behind the eighty eight keys of a grand, with a few patrons or a packed room sitting around requesting favourites or sitting back and allowing him to take them somewhere they may not have travelled previously.
Drop in some time if you see him advertised at a Piano bar gig. Tell him Joe sent you... he won't know what the hell you're talking about.
Taking a break from Australia, Stephen travelled to Europe and made a stopover in Berlin which turned into an extended engagement at one of that city's most exclusive niteclubs, the Warsteiner Botschaft.
What began as a back packing holiday, turned into a great opportunity to entertain and be entertained in one of the most colourful, hedonistic and energetic cities in the world.
Once again, Stephen was in his element as music is an international language and he interprets well.
THE BOURBON & BEEFSTEAK BAR!
Stephen entertained there during the week and weekends for a number of years, building a solid reputation and proving to be a regular crowd-puller and popular entertainer in a room that liked to be entertained.
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He's a prolific songwriter and uses his own songs to entertain as often as he can. "Insist On Love", "Passion", "Walking With My Best Friend" or "Soup" that gets requested.
Check out his original songs.