New here. Well, I tried to join some months ago, but a glitch (on my end, I guess) kept me out; now it works. I'm not a fellow musician, and only happened on to this site because of a reference to it in, of all places, an Australian hot-rodders' forum. Mention was made of Stephen Owsley Smith. My little brother.
I am gratified to find that Steve is well thought of as a craftsman and artist. He got much of the musical talent and all of the artistic talent in the family, leaving my sister and I to grope along in our cloddish way, dang him! When he was a young kid he was already airbrushing tee-shirts in the manner of Big Daddy Roth (hot-rod artist and customizer).
I am sorry, however, to see that he has got on the wrong side of, or is misunderstood by, a few of you, because of his neglect of ordinary business communication, not to mention social communication. Some here have understandably been led to think that Steve is less than ethical, or that he is a snotty artiste who can't be bothered with the social graces, and I want you to know that neither of these is true . . . rather the opposite, in fact. A better image of Steve would be something like the stereotypical absent-minded professor who has to be led back to his house by townsfolk after being discovered wandering the streets in his pajamas, tracing advanced mathematical formulas in the air with a finger, utterly oblivious. Steve is not quite that bad, but he gets absorbed in the immediate task to the exclusion of all else including emails, phone messages, notes on the wall, hunger and thirst, and guilt over not having contacted you, or his family. I once contacted Roger Landes, Steve's friend and a good man that I did not know at all, to see if he knew if Steve was alive, where located, means of contact, because none of us had heard from him in a good while (BTW, thanks again, Roger!). And Steve is in no way a prima donna; rather too much the opposite, too often down on himself. He considers himself a good listener but a poor conversationalist, with no facility for small-talk, but I think he makes too much of that. If you were to visit him, you'd see that he really is good company, with a particular enjoyment of dry ironic humor (actually, YOU guys would find him to be wonderful company, being that you have the particular common interests!).
Steve has been living on "the Big Island" of Hawaii, southwest corner, for the last several years. In a cave. Well, that is a bit of exageration for effect. What happened is that his girlfriend had some property and they had cabins built on it to rent to tourists. "Cabins" is a weak term; I visited Steve two years ago, and they are really nice! Anyway, Steve and the girlfriend (very nice gal) drifted apart, though on good terms, and she moved back to the States while he stayed to caretake the place and build instruments. Since he couldn't live in one of the rental units, and didn't feel like buillding another cabin, he moved his bed into the overhang of a big lava tube on the property (if you're a fan of igneous geology, you'd love the Big Island!). Brought in running water and power. It never gets very cold, and Steve is a man of simple needs anyway, so he's all set, with minimum time and effort.
For a shop, he bought and equipped an old school bus, as he had done when he lived near Taos. He does whatever maintenance is needed on the property and rental units, makes further upgrades to the bus, and builds instruments. Frequently he gets together with pals for jam sessions in which he attempts to emulate Joe Venutti on jazz violin. He also snorkels, and goes for hikes, recently to procure (legally) some variety of wood I never heard of. On this hike he also contracted some hideous intestinal parasite, the treatment for which brought him very low for several months this spring and summer, but at last report he was back to 80% of normal energy level and function.
Steve is even more computer-clueless than I am, which is saying something, but he has some old hand-me-down rig that might even be working now that somebody cleared the viruses for him. I don't think he will object if I divulge his email address:
Thanks. Oh, I hope those of you who helped Steve with his old web-page might get it up and running again. I'm proud of my brother, and want to be able to refer people to photos of his work.