Childhood & Early Life
Steve Augeri was born on January 30, 1959, in Brooklyn, New York City, USA, as the son of Joseph and Emma. He was raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn.
He attributes his love and passion for music to his father, and many years of listening to Sinatra, R&B, Soul, and Country music on an old Emerson clock radio. He also shows gratitude to his grammar school music teacher, Fredrick Torregrossa, who recognized his talent for music, and encouraged him to develop his potential for singing.
For some time, he studied woodwinds at New York City’s High School of Music and Art. Soon he realized his love for classical music, and switched to bassoon. He also attended the summer camps of the French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts, which he stated was a great experience. There he supervised children of the Rock Band classes.
He dropped out of college due to financial constraints, and started a rock and roll band. “I had a music addiction, and I had to do everything to feed it,” Steve Augeri later stated in an interview. So he did everything from bartending to waiting tables while working on developing his career in music.
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Steve Augeri worked as a session vocalist for some time during the early years of his musical career. In 1984, he was hired as a background vocalist for the renowned hard rock guitarist, Michael Schenker of UFO and Scorpions fame.
While Steve was looking for a new guitar at Manny’s Music on NYC’s 48th St., he met guitarist Jack Morer, and together they formed Tall Stories, a band that consisted of Steve as the vocalist, Jack as the guitarist, Kevin Totoian as the bass guitarist, and Tom DeFaria as the drummer.
A few times a week, Tall Stories performed at The Bitter End on Bleeker Street, where notable musicians like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and George Carlin have also performed. In the meantime, they worked on their upcoming album.
In 1991, Tall Stories released their eponymous album on Epic Records, an American major record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, and rose to prominence. The group changed the rock scenario with their innovative music which was influenced by diverse sounds ranging from Blues to Rock, Funk to Punk, and Country to Reggae. As a result, their music was unique and different from the standard rock genre.
Despite receiving overwhelming response from fans and critics, the evolving musical climate in the US forced the band to take a backstage and hibernate after its last performance in Paris on New Year's Eve in 1995.
Augeri bonded with Brooke St. James of the hard melodic rock band Tyketto and wrote songs for the band. The band soon invited him to join as their lead vocalist. The group released the album ‘Shine’ in 1995 and went on a tour of Europe which eventually resulted in the release of the album ‘Take Out & Served Up Live’ in 1996.
In 1996, after his son was born, he decided to stay closer to home and accepted a position in with the clothing retailer GAP as a maintenance manager for their network of stores in New York City. He was with GAP for one year.
After leaving GAP in 1997, Augeri once again ventured into the musical scenario. Following an introduction by guitarist Joe Cefalu, Steve received a call from Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon who offered him an audition for their rock band Journey.
In 1998, Steve Augeri was named Journey’s fourth lead vocalist. He became the first lead vocalist when Steve Perry left the group. For the next eight years, he toured with the band, making it one of America’s premier rock bands. The song ‘Remember Me,’ marked his recording debut with the band. The live DVD of their Las Vegas concert, titled ‘Journey 2001,’ was released in December 2000; it acquired platinum status.
The group’s album ‘Arrival’ was released in 2001 and the EP ‘Red 13’, in 2002. The album ‘Generations’, released in 2005, was his last studio album with Journey. In 2006, he had to quit the group due to his vocal problems from which he had been suffering since 2003. Before the departure, there were rumors that Steve had been lip-syncing during live performances for years.
Around this time, members of ‘Tall Stories’ regrouped and the band’s rebirth in 2008 was termed as the band’s second chapter by its fans. It performed at Firefest V in Nottingham, UK in October 2008. Their performance included songs from their first album, as well as new songs from their upcoming album, ‘Skyscraper’, which was released on January 23, 2009 by Frontiers Records.
The album ‘Skyscraper’ featured music and songs that were melodically rich and diverse. From the opening track, ‘Tomorrow’, to the final song, ‘You Shall be Free’, the album is “a musical tapestry of different colors and textures,” wrote critics. Steve Augeri concluded that, “Although there was too long a gap between the first album and the second, fate and timing have allowed us to come back together and create music that inspires us individually and collectively.”
Over the next few years, Steve Augeri released a number of singles. The single ‘Riverside’ was released in 2010, followed by the single ‘Photograph’ in 2011. Another single ‘Hours in the Day’ was released in 2012, and ‘For The Rest Of My Life’ and ‘Behind The Sun’ were released in 2013. In 2014, he released ‘Home Again.’
In 2014, he formed the supergroup Ünderwörld, along with guitarist Kee Marcello, bassist Svante Henryson, and drummer Virgil Donati.