From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Steve Conte has toured the world with big name acts, particularly the infamous rock band, the New York Dolls, but he’s never forgotten the city he’s always called home—New York. The rocker was recently inspired to write a song about a little beach town in the big city, our very own, Rockaway.
“Tough is life, back on the beach again, just a sunny day. Got no tan, rockin’ my leather man, New York to LA. Surf is up, we’re pounding the pavement, tonight we’re gonna play. Ooooh gimme, gimme Rockaway,” starts the new fun, catchy rock tune, “Gimme Gimme Rockaway” by longtime rocker, Steve Conte.
Conte’s resume boasts big acts like the Company of Wolves in the early ‘90s, The Conte Brothers, and six years and four albums as the lead guitarist for the infamous New York Dolls starting in 2004, before joining former Hanoi Rocks front man Michael Monroe’s new band, which has become a bit hit in the Netherlands. In recent years, Conte has also put focus into a solo career, and began working on his first solo album, Steve Conte NYC, released in 2014. And he hasn’t stopped recording despite still touring the world.
Although having spent much of his life living in Manhattan, and now the Bronx, Conte’s latest single, “Gimme Gimme Rockaway” is all about the name of a place in Queens.
“I never lived in Queens, but I used to play out there at bars in Sunnyside. A lot of the guys from the New York Dolls, like the late Johnny Thunders, grew up in Queens. I’m also familiar with The Ramones, of course, our boys from Forest Hills,” he said. However, Conte admitted that he had never been to Rockaway when the inspiration struck for his song. “The way I write songs, sometimes it comes from a lyric and you write a song around that, and sometimes I just have a chord and melody in my head, but I don’t have the words. I had this great melody floating around in my head for this strong, fun song and at one point, I just started singing Rockaway and it fit well. I didn’t have the gimme, gimme yet, but I started to think about the Ramones,” he said.
Some may be familiar with a little Ramones song called, “Rockaway Beach.” The Ramones also had another hit called “Gimme, Gimme Shock Treatment.”
“I put it together and it just felt right. I knew that this was the fun concept that this song needed and it gave me the ability to write about how much I appreciated growing up on the East Coast. I wanted to pay homage to the city and started thinking about driving around in the summer, cruising in your car, and this just kind of turned into a summertime adult-teenager anthem. Once I knew Rockaway should be in the title, the rest of the song just fell into place and that’s how it happens sometimes,” Conte said.
"Gimme Gimme Rockaway" was recorded with Conte on vocals and guitar, drummer Clem Burke of Blondie, bassist Andy Rourke of The Smiths, and D Generation front man Jesse Malin on backup vocals, and released on the label, Wicked Cool Records, owned by Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist, Steven Van Zandt, in November 2017.
The single, which was voted as the “Coolest Song in the World” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage Radio, is currently available on digital download sites like iTunes and on pink vinyl. The “A” side of the vinyl record features “Gimme, Gimme Rockaway” and the “B” side features Conte’s cover of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz.” Limited vinyl copies are available. Details can be found at www.stevecontenyc.com.
After the record officially dropped, Conte started recording scenes for the music video and finally made his way to Rockaway. Filming began in November when the beaches were cool and quiet, and the video wasn’t released until January of this year. The video, now on YouTube, features some scenes shot in a fantasy nightclub, but some may recognize more familiar spots like Rockaway Freeway, the iconic bus shelters along Shore Front Parkway, the boardwalk, and of course, the beach, where Conte rocks out in a beach chair.
“When the Ramones wrote about Rockaway back in the day, they were singing about its great, beautiful beaches, while in the late ‘70s, it was kind of a rundown, rough place,” he said. “When I went to do the video, I got to see that everything is new and beautiful. If only the Ramones were around to see what it’s turned into. It was really cold when I shot the video in November and no one was on the beach, but I had never been to Rockaway before and I thought it was really nice. I’d go back,” he said, adding that he’d love to play a show in town. “I’ll be touring in Europe for most of the summer, starting in late June, but I’d like to play a show out there in Rockaway Beach at the beginning of summer.”
Any local venues that would be open to hosting Conte can find contact information at www.stevecontenyc.com/site/contact.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS