Judd Steele, Jewel Steele and Lula Steele together form the band Stereo Love. California Rocker’s Donna Balancia sat down for a Q and A with one very musical family.
How did you decide to put together a band?
Judd: It just kind of happened. I am a Dad and a drummer. My little girls always loved seeing their Dad up on stage performing. Then, one day, when the girls were 9 and 10, we happened to be in Guitar Center. I was upstairs in the drum department and the girls headed off in their own direction. When I was done and headed back downstairs, there was Lula and Jewel, rocking it out like true rockstars even though they had never played before, just born to rock. So, I decided, let’s rock it out together! And eight years later, Voila! Three-piece made in heaven!
Was there anyone who told you you should put a band together?
Judd: Nope, just Daddy’s idea!
Did any of you take formal music lessons?
Jewel: Both Lula and I played in our Junior High Orchestra. Lula was the only female Upright Bass Player. And I played Violin. I still love picking up the fiddle.
How did you come to select the instruments you each play?
Lula: Well, I started playing Upright Bass because my Grandfather played and toured professionally in the 1940s and 50s. He shared with us grandkids some of the most amazing and almost unbelievable stories of his16 years of being on the road with big band music. He was so cool and I just wanted to be like him, so I started playing Upright. So, it just made sense for me to be the bass player.
Do you miss going to school?
Lula: I am in my first semester of college now, but I go to school locally so I can still rock in the band. Jewel is home-schooled.
Do you inspire people your own age? What do people say to you after they see you play on stage?
Judd: I have been told by numerous fathers that they want to start a band with their little ones now. People also tell me that I am doing good parenting. I don’t know, I just do what I do and I feel really lucky that my teenage daughters still let me hang with them.
How many years have you been performing in Stereo Love?
Judd: We have been performing as a band for almost five years and have played over 200 shows since then. The girls learned their instruments for three years before we even started as a group. Things take time to grow and come together. We have been working hard.
Dad, do other adults ever tell you the kids should get a “regular” education?
Judd: No, because they are.
What are the benefits of being professional musicians as a teenager?
Jewel: I guess it keeps me out of trouble? I just really enjoy what I do and it makes me happy to entertain people. It’s like an itch and I don’t want to stop.
What was the most fun gig you ever played?
Lula: There are so many, really. Santa Barbara on the beach. Gene Woods Racing Experience in Las Vegas. Vamp’d, the vampire rock club in Vegas. LeStat’s, the vampire rock club in Normal Heights, San Diego. Of course, The Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood. The Coral at Topanga Days. I probably left something out, but those are a few of my favorites.
What was the funniest thing that ever happened on stage?
Lula: One of our fans hand delivered Jewel and I Panda Express on stage… my favorite is Orange Chicken everybody!
What is most embarrassing thing that ever happened during a performance?
Lula: I broke a bass string… when does that ever happen? Now I always bring a back-up bass just in case because you just never know.
Do you think playing music is good to build confidence?
Judd: If my girls had any more confidence they would kick me out of the band. Yes, music builds confidence and character. I am so proud of them.
Do you think playing rock music helps build leadership qualities?
Judd: Definitely. Jewel being the lead singer has really helped her learn how to talk to people. She is now booking her own solo gigs, she is unstoppable.
Do you think it’s rare that girls can rock?
Jewel: I don’t think so. There are so many girl musicians that I am influenced by. Joan Jett, Blondie, Lita Ford, Janis Joplin, Karen Carpenter, Elle King, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Orianthe, Grace Potter… did I mention Joan Jett?
What genre of rock and roll do you consider yourselves?
Judd: Rock and roll radio airplay worthy.
Will any of you ever get a “real job?”
Jewel: Music is a real job and I work hard at it.
Any new CD or projects coming out?
Jewel: New cd coming out soon! Howard T-Man is doing our artwork. Google the name and you will see what he is all about.
Where can I hear some of the music?
Jewel: You can hear STERO LOVE many ways… Reverbnation, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it! We are all over the world wide web!
“Crazy Town” (original) > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMRwndgiXcc
“What Do You Want” (original) live> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOzOOJJ8hBA
“EverMore” (original) > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AzO0CbWE0k