Thursday, June 20, 2024

Steven Athanas’ Long and Winding Road

Like many who came of age in the 60s, Steven J. Athanas became a Beatlemaniac.  Despite  growing up in a music loving family, it was John, Paul, George and Ringo who inspired the Toledo native, and longtime lead vocalist of local bands (including, most well known, the Homewreckers) to take to the stage.

“As a kid, I had a Beatles Fan Club with my brother and this guy who looked like W.C. Fields,” Athanas said, remembering his childhood. “My brother and I started playing music. He got the guitar and left me to do the singing— for better or worse.”

Hello Goodbye

Now, Athanas’ musical career comes full circle as he prepares to perform some of the Fab Four’s most iconic songs with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra (TJO), as part of the “Music of the Beatles and More”.

“I was just flattered and honored to be asked by them [to accompany]. They’ve got quite a reputation around town, so it was pretty cool that they asked me,” Athanas said of TJO.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Athanas has had some experience performing Beatles’ music— during his almost four decade run as an area music mainstay, he has occasionally covered some of the Fab Four’s tunes. But Athanas admits to having some butterflies for this chance to perform with a classic, brassy orchestra like Toledo Jazz.

“I have to adjust myself to the aura, if nothing else, of a big orchestra. I’m pretty excited, but there’s an element of fear about that.”

The Beatles won’t be the only group paid tribute to that evening— contemporaries of the Fab Four will also be represented, though Athanas is reticent to reveal the non-Beatles song he will also be performing as part of the show. Harry Connick, Jr.’s lead trumpeter, Roger Ingram, will play with the band, as well, deepening the event’s talent pool.

“I’ve never considered myself a singer, per se, but an entertainer,” Athanas said of his stage presence. “So what I may lack in singing ability, I make up for being a fool onstage. That’s the way it’s always been, from day one.”

Paying Tribute

Now, at the twilight of his performance years, he said Athanas is honored to pay tribute to the band who inspired him– in music, and in life.

“I swear, someday I’m going to write a book about how every facet of my life has been affected by the Beatles,” Athanas said.

 

8pm | Saturday | May 21 | $23-$33/adult or ADA 
seating | $8-$33/student | The Valentine Theatre, 
410 Adams St. | toledojazz.org

Recent Articles