John and Steve
There are probably very few people that will know the significance of these 2 guys together. Those who do know though.......are very lucky. Meeting each other in 1979 through mutual friends in Manchester, NH, this marked the beginning of a musical friendship and collaboration that is described by me as "magical". They met in the Manchester area, but when Charlie and John (and friend Mark "Vic" Desmarais) decided to head out west to set their sites on a musical band career, and after ending up in Flagstaff, AZ, and then finally in San Diego, Steve followed with friends to begin playing music and collaborating on new songs.
The photo on the left below is John with his buddies at his going away party in ManchVegas and on the right is the trailer in Flagstaff that Charlie and John lived in before finally settling in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA.
These photos were taken of Steve and John back in 1980. John is at the San Diego Zoo and Steve is at Del Mar Island where band members lived and various and many other visitors came and went, but where the music was first happening.
Below is Del Mar Island which was the band's residence in San Diego, with also a picture of Sunset Cliffs which was one house over, and the last picture is Del Mar Island later on in years.
As the idea of Lichen was forming, there were many jams and lots of songwriting
happening with different combinations of band members. Playing and learning music/songs was the focus. However, in 1981, John's father passed away suddenly while John was visiting his family in NH and he needed to stay and be supportive for his mother. Quite a turn of events, but everyone pulled up stakes in California and came back to NH to begin a new strategy and during 1981 Lichen was actually formed.
Steve and John both write the music and lyrics for their own songs, but some songs they work together on and it usually means great musical structure, strong lyrics and a catchy, memorable lick to make the songs stand out. They definitely inspire each other and their chemistry can be heard when they play together. Steve was never actually in "Lichen", but his songs are a big part of our originals.
John has always played with Lichen, but makes it a point to periodically hook up with Steve and play old originals and work on new ones. During a trip back to NH for the holidays in 1980, John and Steve played a gig in Goffstown, NH at Jayson's.
They wanted to be called Blue Goose, but Jayson's put John's full name and Steve as "The Blue Goose", pretty funny. So, Steve titled the songlist as Johnny & Blue Goose.
They also did a radio show on December 27th, 1999 (John's birthday) at WSMN Radio in Nashua, NH. Now....Steve is a huge personality and really a comedian of sorts and all through the radio show are one one-liners after another and, in-between the jokes, are great songs (primarily originals). Here is the setlist and to hear a couple of songs from that performance, click on the setlist for the Lichenarchives audio page.
(The Leaves on the Trees/The Train She'd Be Leaving/The Man Across Town (I'm Waiting)/Let's Get A Little Closer/Time To Breakaway/ Crusin' (I'm Ridin')/All Along The Watchtower/Alligator Alley/Lost All My Money, Mommy's in the Kitchen/Big Lazy River/Ain't Nothing No Good No More/ Double Bind/Right On Time)
Here are 2 examples of Steve Cook's songwriting. The video above was written solely by Steve and is titled 1980 and the video below was written by Steve and John and is titled Double Bind. The videos have still photos of the band, etc. to go with the music. For 1980 the photos are mainly earlier ones and Double Bind has a longer range of years ending fairly recent.