The music of Liquid Blue is an exotic blend of western pop melodies with ancient and modern eastern sounds. Lyrically, the band challenges the listener with thought provoking commentary on many crucial issues confronting the nation and the world. The band’s debut cutting edge CD, “Supernova”, was produced by David DeVore, (12 multi-platinum LP’s) and mixed by (two-time Grammy winner) Joe Chiccarelli. The album was recorded at the legendary Western Recorders on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.
Vocalist and chief songwriter Scott Stephens spent three years as a professional Roller Derby skater with the Los Angeles Thunderbirds. He also founded “Raw Power”, the world’s only punk/metal magazine.
The multi-ethnic band features the renowned BlueGirlsｩ (singer/dancers) including Nikki Nova, Layla Loxa and Devonne Dawn.
Layla finished third at the US Surfing Championships in 2003 and won the World Bodysurfing Championship in 2002! In 2004 she once again made the finals in the World Body Surfing Championships, where she finished third. Her surfing career has taken on a new meaning both in the water and on stage. She is the highest ranked Filipino surfer in history. Does being onstage interfere with her surf time. NO WAY! She is committed as ever and her record shows it.
Guitarist Michael Vangerov has his own signature guitar model produced by Neal Moser. A talent agent recently stated: “The bands long time phenom guitarist is in our opinion, the best lead guitarist to come along since Steve Lukather”.
Drummer Jordan “Funky Cold” Medina is endorsed by Silver Fox Sticks and Nativity Clothing. Drumming legend Zoro calls Jordan “the most promising young drummer on the scene today”.
On the bass guitar is the multi-talented Rocket Rodriguez, who is also an accomplished sax player as well as a DJ.
Liquid Blue was recently awarded Hottest Contemporary Act at the National Music Awards.
We decided to ask Scott Stephens about the music that is so layered , ethereal, spacy, textured, environmental. It is like Ravi Shankar meetsFrankie goes to Hollywood and does it with a beat. Good Stuff!
Scott, Your message is decidedly pro-environment. How did you focus on that as a theme for your music?
I have been active on environmental issues most of my life. We have two songs on the CD that are specific to the environment: Supernova and Rescue.
Supernova deal with the root cause of the problem, over-population. The world is growing by more than 76 million people a year. At the current rate of growth, even accounting for a continual decrease in the growth rate, the world population is headed for double digits within 50 years. Every 20 minutes, the world adds another 3,500 human lives but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life – at least 27,000 species per year. The world population has doubled in the last 40 years. It took just 12 years to leap from 5 billion to 6 billion. It took about 18 centuries for the earth to reach its first one billion inhabitants. The world is adding a city the size of Los Angeles every two weeks.
Rescue is a plea to save the ocean environment. Ocean pollution is a problem that directly affects sea life. It indirectly affects human health. Healthy oceans are vital to sustaining all life on Earth. Covering approximately 75% of the earth’s surface, our oceans provide food, natural resources, recreation and precious life-saving medicines for many people. Care of the oceans protects the survival of not only land dwellers, but also maintains the well being and biodiversity of the inhabitants of the ocean as well. Sustaining and preserving the ocean’s unique organisms and habitats protects all life on earth for future generations. Ocean artist Wyland is using this song for his new video and as his theme song.
These are other subjects we tackle on the album:
I find that each of the songs has a texture or layer to it that is perfectly complimented by the words and voices. It is a unique sound that you don’t find in popular music. What’s next musically? How do you top Supernova?
We plan to promote this CD for a while before embarking on the next project. I don’t always find that more is better. We want the follow-up to Supernova to be just as strong musically and lyrically. We will continue to blend western pop with Middle Eastern instrumentation. The band has vowed never to write a human love song. There are so many of those already. We will continue to focus on serious issues facing the world, and put them to music. For us, success is not just selling a bunch of records, with all the fame and fortune that can bring, but it’s making a difference in this world.
Liquid Blue supports peace, justice, equality, the environment, human rights, fiscal responsibility, education, the arts, civil liberties, and the right to party!
What doesn’t it support?
Political corruption, torture, injustice, etc.
This appears to be a huge operation? Logistically how do you move all of this around and still stay focused? I mean Layla, not surfing, alone must be a huge endeavor to keep her on her game musically. How do you guys stay fit on the road?
You’re right; it is lots of work. But, it’s exciting and rewarding and there’s nothing else I’d rather do. Layla is still competing in surfing, but due to our schedule she misses many events and really can’t get a ranking due to the frequent travel. She finished third (last Sunday) in the World Bodysurfing Championship. On the road we spend our days like tourists; we try to take in as much as possible of the places we visit. We don’t take any of this for granted.
Liquid Blue was founded in 1996 by vocalist/songwriter Scott Stephens, who envisioned the band as a vehicle to express his passion for music, politics, human rights, environmental protection and other issues. It was Scott’s belief that much of today’s music promoted the same trivial, mind numbing messages again and again. He felt there was a need and a legitimate market for pop music with a deeper message. It was these ideals and ideas that drove him to create Liquid Blue.
Prior to forming Liquid Blue, Scott was immersed in the L.A. music scene as the editor of a punk magazine (Raw Power) and also in the dark violent underground of the sports world as a skater with the L.A. T-Birds Roller Derby team. Between the editing and skating, he found time to sing with “Electric Warrior”, a five-member rock outfit from the San Fernando Valley. The guitar player in “EW” was Michael Vangerov, a crazy, off-the-wall rocker known for circus style acts such as climbing Marshall stacks and diving to the stage. The band toured the U.S. and Canada with their aggressive brand of metal/punk and angry lyrics about the state of the environment, politics, etc. The group eventually broke up, just as a buzz was starting to build. Michael joined “Rhythm Tribe”, who were quickly signed by a major label (Elektra) and Scott bolted the L.A. scene for Alaska, where he joined a local band and completed college where he received his degree in the Performing Arts. An avid surfer, Scott eventually came back to Southern California and settled in San Diego. Without waiting much time he called his old buddy Michael to see if he would be interested in joining forces in his new project, Liquid Blue (see also “Vision” section). In less than a couple days Michael packed his bags and headed south to join Scott in surf city (Encinitas).
Liquid Blue started out with a bang in 1996, as they were hired by Arnold Schwarzenegger to perform at his Planet Hollywood establishment in San Diego on August 10th, for the Republican Convention kickoff party. In those early days the band had only four members and gigged at just about every bar and club in San Diego, performing mostly covers from artist like Nirvana, Live, the Stones, etc. The band’s sound was dominated by the power guitar of Michael Vangerov and the “vocal chameleon, Scott Stephens, who had the “sound alike” ability to cover artists from Prince to Johnny Cash, but still retain his own unique sound on the bands original music.
By 1997 the band was on it’s way to learning over 600 songs! One night it was four hours of rock, the next night, four hours of country and the following might be a full night of R&B, Blues or Reggae. In January the band embarked on their first overseas tour, performing in Asia for two months.
In 1998 the band added a 5th member, vocalist Nikki Nova, and was working close to 100 shows a year in bigger and better clubs, building a sizeable following. Nikki was green and barely out of high school when she stepped into the role of lead vocalist in 98′, but she quickly established herself as a vocal powerhouse and was highly respected in the San Diego music scene. At the time, Nikki had no idea she would soon become one of the original “BlueGirls” and travel the world.
The band steadily progressed every year and by 1999 were known by many as the “hardest working” band in Southern California, both on and off stage. Liquid Blue was always on the cutting edge of technology and set the standard for band web sites at a time when few bands had ventured onto the web. During these first few years there were many personnel changes, as the band tried to define it’s vision and sound. The three constants were always Scott Stephens, Michael Vangerov and Nikki Nova.
The year 2000 was a turning point for Liquid Blue. A decision was made to add a third female vocalist to the band and incorporate high-energy choreographed dance moves. The trio was nicknamed, “The BlueGirls” and the local buzz they created was unprecedented. These “BlueGirls” were young, gorgeous (they even had their own bikini calendar) and immensely talented. While Nikki was still the primary lead, all three girls sang lead and background vocals as well as danced. The band was now also better than ever; a powerhouse working behind a sensational front line. Fans lined up to see the band at clubs like the Boar Cross’n & Fogerty’s, as well as numerous other venues. In 2000 the band performed over 100 shows and that number seems to grow each year.
In 2001 the U.S. government (USO) thought Liquid Blue would be the perfect antidote for it’s military troops stationed overseas and was correct. The band quickly became the most popular act in the AFE program (Armed Forces Entertainment) and was called upon to perform in 23 countries. The air was electric for every USO show and the troops REALLY showed their appreciation. From the moment the BlueGirls walked on stage, there was pandemonium. In between the many tours the band found time to film a promotional video that featured glowing endorsements from the mayor of San Diego and baseball great Tony Gwynn. In July the band was awarded “Best Dance Band in the USA” at the National Music Awards. In August, the band was invited to perform at a NATO conference in Belgium. Later that month, the BlueGirls released their 2002 bikini fashion calendar. Later in the year, the band received several more awards. With so much attention, several music companies choose to sponsor the band. There were shows in Alaska, the Bahamas, Africa, Europe, South America, Central America and Vegas. In San Diego the band was a favorite of the professional sports teams and did shows at Qualcomm Stadium for both the Chargers and Padres. 2001 was a magical year for Liquid Blue and the start of the heavy touring schedule that continues today.
Throughout 2002 the band was kept busy with more USO shows overseas and local events. In February the group performed for a week at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Once again, everywhere the band appeared, crowds were large and lively. Early in the year, Layla Loxa became the newest member of the band. The exciting and stunning Asian quickly established herself as a fan favorite, receiving loads of fan email. Layla was also a very talented surfer and bodysurfer and shocked the surfing world when she won the World Bodysurfing Championship in August in her first contest! In the summer the band toured the Mediterranean and released their first EP of original music, entitled “Making Up”. The four song release quickly became popular in Asia and French Polynesia (which were the main areas it was promoted) and the band traveled to China in September to perform several shows.
The band was excited when it was announced that two of the shows would be in large arenas holding up to 30,000 people. When the band was taken to the sound check the day of the 1st event, they were shocked to find out that their concert was not being held in a sports arena, but instead in a 65,000 seat stadium! By 8:00 the stadium was overflowing with as many as 70,000 in attendance. There was no room to maneuver in the aisles. The band played songs from their new EP as well as one popular Chinese rock song, (Pong Yo) sung in perfect Chinese by Scott, to the delight and screams of the Chinese audience (view video of performance).
The following night was also a sell out and shown live on Chinese television (CCTV) as well. It was estimated that an audience of 700 million witnessed Liquid Blue’s performance, one of the largest TV crowds for an American band in the world, up to that time. The following day the band was recognized in the streets everywhere they went as they headed to interviews and press conferences. This was a time and a year that the band will never forget.
In July the band was hired to perform on a Cruise ship for a special “inaugural” 1st cruise for the Island Princes, headed to Alaska. On October 14th the band performed at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia at an event that also featured former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. The band picked up several additional sponsors during the year and Moser Guitars released a Michael Vangerov signature guitar, designed by Michael himself. It is a strikingly unique rock guitar. Throughout much of 2003, Scott Stephens was writing and putting together the material for the band’s debut full-length album, Supernova.
The making of Supernova is truly is story itself and cannot be adequately covered here in this short history. Two of rock’s very best producers agreed to work with the band to help create what has now been called a “breakthrough” recording by critics. Joe Chiccarelli (two Grammy Awards, many platinum LP’s) engineered the effort and David DeVore (12 multi-platinum albums) produced it. The recording was done at the legendary Western Recorders on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood (also known as Cello), where the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones and other legends recorded. While Liquid Blue worked on Supernova, simultaneously Tom Petty, Helmet and Madonna worked in other studio rooms on the premise. Scott Stephens co-wrote a track with Cher’s drummer, Marc Schulman called “Arms of Love” and Marc also recorded in the studio on the song “Making Up”. It was a magical time for the band and you can hear that magic on Supernova.
With the release of Supernova in January, 2004, the band has been busier than in any prior year. The 2004 Supernova World Tour includes 200 shows in 34 countries! In February and March it was down under to Australia and then Asia. It was a big year for the city of San Diego as a brand new ballpark was opened downtown. In April the BlueGirls were invited to sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthem at the new park prior to a Padres/Expos game. In April and May the 2004 presidential campaign was in full swing and the powerful message music from Supernova attracted responses from the Kerry Campaign (Democratic Party), John McCain (Republican) and Ralph Nader (independent). Nader connected with the song “If You Gotta Ask” and selected it as his campaign theme song.
In May and June the group headed for a two month tour of Northern Europe to countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. On May 29th the band received word they had been named “Hottest Contemporary Act” at the NMA (National Music Awards) for the 2nd year in a row. Throughout the year the band received loads of positive reviews from fans and media. DJ Andre of San Diego remixed the albums three dance songs, Rhythm of Love, Arms of Love and Show Me Love, and the three songs became popular club tracks worldwide. Earlier in the year the band had met Wyland, the well known ocean artist, at an show in which Liquid Blue performed after a Wyland event. In July Wyland informed the band he would be using the song Rescue in his upcoming video and that it would also become the theme song for the Wyland Foundation. This same month Jagermeister offered the band a sponsorship. In September Liquid Blue heads back to Europe for shows in the British Isles and then more shows on the east coast of the USA.
Liquid Blue ™ USA, China, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Philippines, Australia, Denmark, Italy
™©Shades of Blue, ™©Aqua Blue, ™©Acoustic Blue, ™©Out Of The Blue, ™©Two From Blue ™©BlueBrass, ™©BlueGirls, ™©Music To Move You