“Fourth of July” was written with one of my favorite songwriters of all time, from one of my fave bands – Andy Partridge of XTC. I feel blessed to be writing with one of my heroes…and to be recording for Little Steven Van Zandt’s label, Wicked Cool Records,” says Conte.
“With a title like “Fourth of July” I knew I didn’t want to make this song lyric at all patriotic American or about Independence Day – I wanted it to be about the sparks that fly, the fireworks that go off in a relationship. One with intense chemistry…love, fulfillment …bombs bursting in air, ya know? Explosions, yes – but no stars & stripes.
The chorus of the song is one that I’ve had kicking around since the 90s. I wrote the hook while getting ready to leave my NYC apartment for some July 4th event – I just started singing about what was happening that day. The hook was all there; chords, melody, the title lyric, the phrasing – complete with that odd timing. I thought it could be something special because I never forgot it.”
On Working With Partridge, he says, “When I presented the idea to Andy, we had already written 4 songs together, so we were on a roll. I played it for him and without hesitation, he knew exactly where to go for the verse. That was exciting, after having this baby lay dormant for decades. He rattled off the verse melody, we came up with most of the verse chords together and then after we left the Zoom session, I tweaked some of the chords & melody a bit to fit my vibe. AP came up with the very cool guitar interlude and gave me some great arrangement ideas, as did my ‘remote’ co-producer Andrew Hollander.”
Long known for his memorable guitar work as a member of New York Dolls, as well as former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe’s band (with whom he still performs), Steve found international fame in recent years via his collaborations with Japanese composer and artist Yoko Kanno on the soundtracks to several hit anime series, including Cowboy Bebop.
Over the years he’s also worked with Peter Wolf, Eric Burdon of The Animals, Willy DeVille, Billy Squier, Willie Nile, Maceo Parker, and even been Paul Simon’s tour rehearsal vocal stand-in.
Conte first met Wicked Cool founder Stevie Van Zandt when the Dolls played Van Zandt’s Underground Garage Festival in 2004. “But my connection with him goes back to Jersey,” he says. “I grew up with his cousins in Matawan [near the Jersey shore], so I had been hearing about his legend for years.”
“Fourth Of July”
Music & Lyrics By Steve Conte & Andy Partridge
Published by Thunderdog Music / Teosto (Worldwide), ASCAP (North America) and Warner Chappell / PRS
Produced by Steve Conte (Additional remote production by Andrew Hollander & Andy Partridge)
Tracks Recorded at Renegade Studios, NYC by Geoff Sanoff
Players – Steve Conte – Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Percussion, Prairie Prince – Drums, John Conte – Bass, Andrew Hollander – Piano
Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio, NY
Video Created By 12 Inch Media / David Provan
SC Green Screen Footage Filmed At DCity Studios By Don Chaffin (Thanks to Danny Stanton & Don Chaffin)
Fourth Of July Lyrics (Conte/Partridge)
I’m liberated, I’m soaring high A flying fortress dropping flowers in your sky I’ve levitated, Above the crowds You are the rainbow slicing through their thunderclouds Fourth of July Fourth of July The spark in your eye made the skyrockets fly On this diamond of days I’ll hang a flag out, You’re coming back Your love, the matches for a pyromaniac I’m really smiling, We got through the war Instead of fighting now we’re kissing on your floor Fourth of July Fourth of July The spark in your eye made the skyrockets fly On this diamond of days Fourth of July Fourth of July The carnival starts Now our two heavy hearts Can go flying again
Raised in a musical family – Steve’s mother Rosemary Conte is a noted NY/NJ jazz singer – Steve started spending time in New York City as a kid, his father bringing him to his first Madison Square Garden concert, by none other than Chuck Berry. Some years later, Conte found himself playing an entire show onstage in Berry’s band. His own music first gained notice when his band Company Of Wolves signed to Mercury Records, releasing a self-titled album on the label in 1990.
What others have said:
“Bronx Cheer simply oozes cool and is an album full of attitude, energy and above all else, a real heart and soul, deep from within the bowels of New York’s rich musical heritage. A magnificent collection of songs, full of great melodies and fuzzed-up guitars, ranging from hard edged rock ’n’ roll to a heartfelt and soulful beauty. “- Louder Than War
“…as rowdy and raucous a collection of rock and roll as any you’ll hear this year. Not only are the songs quintessential New York City, they are the epitome of the city’s black leather clad heart and soul. “– Blog Critics
“The best rock and roll has the power to lift the sedentary from their chairs and make even the most blasé sing along. That’s a good description of what happens when you crank up Steve Conte.”- Elmore Magazine
“A bright, fuzzy sounding slice of American pop rock suitable for all.”- Backseat Mafia