Mr. Steak is in character and out of control
Like any other town, Denver has its share of cover bands, and those bands often tend to get overlooked, because, well, they're playing somebody else's music. Thus, our latest feature, Cover Band of the Week (or, perhaps more accurately, every few weeks, because let's be honest: There's a finite number of bands). This week: Mr. Steak.
See also: Colorado Cover Band of the Week archives
Mr Steak is devoted to bringing fans back to the '80s to enjoy true hair metal. Not only do these guys dress in spandex, big wigs and make-up, they refuse to get out of character (even for this interview) or be called by anything other than their stage names: Flick Meatwood, Sir Beef Swellington, Short Rib, Beef Strokin' Off and drummer, Hebrew National, who recently took time to chat with us.
Westword: So, Hebrew. Actually...I don't know if I should call you Hebrew or if I should call you National? Do you have a preference?
Hebrew National: To be honest, nobody has ever addressed me directly, so I don't know. I will tell you at the end of the interview. How's that?
That's perfect, Heebs. You know, I've been to the restaurant Mr. Steak twice, and both times I got wicked sick, so I'm hoping this interview doesn't make me sick.
Oh! Great. It won't make you sick. We're pretty enjoyable.
So why the name Mr. Steak?
I think it's an illusion. I think it's because of metal. Yeah, that's where it came from. I don't know.
So you have no idea?
So how did you all come together?
We all met as freshmen at Hollywood high school in 1981.
Okay, so tell me all about the music you play; if I go to your show, what should I expect?
Anywhere from 1980 to 1989, no earlier no later. It's pure rock, baby, '80s hair metal. We've got big hair and spandex. The whole nine yards.
You play '80s rock, but the important question is how much spandex is involved here? On average? How much do you go through?
I don't actually wear spandex.
What?! You're crushing my '80s spandex dreams right now. Why?
Drummers are always...well, we're sweating back there. All over. [laughing]
Gross. Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Spandex isn't exactly breathable. It must be uncomfortable beating away back there?
[laughing] Beating away? Yeah. Personally, I've never worn it, but the other guys do.
So what do you wear then? Just nothing?
[laughing] I wish. Nobody cares about the drummer. Nobody sees me -- I just wear shorts.
That's very disappointing, Heebs.
It's true. They don't care! It's always like, "Hey man, can you get the singer's attention for me??"
Oh! So, you're like Mr. Steak's bitch.
Well...I guess. Wait, no! I have a big, giant, '80s drum set, so you can't see me. That's actually the issue.
Sure it is. It's just the drums hiding you.
[laughing] It's the drums.
Do you play a ton of shows in Denver?
Maybe six a year. We don't play too often -- we don't want to burn it out.
Why only six shows? Do you just not like to play music?
Oh, yeah, well we only play six shows here; the reason is because we're in Japan. We're in Europe. You know, we're playing all over the world. We really only get to Denver to see our families a few times a year. We do shows in Denver just for friends and family.
Wow. Impressive. Traveling all around the world? You guys are billionaires then?
I wouldn't say "billionaires," but ummm...we do well. We do really well. We've been doing great. The '80s have been very, very good to us.
[laughing] I love that right now we are actually in the '80s. What '80s song do you rock out to on stage that you love?
We actually just started this last night, and we're going to do "Still of the Night" by Whitesnake, and that is, by far and away, going to be the coolest song we've ever done. Epic.
So you guys have huge hair; are those wigs, or are you really sporting those locks?
The singer, that's actually his real hair, and the rest of us wear wigs.
Does that get hot and sticky?
It's ridiculous, yes.
Do you have a favorite stalker story?
Yes! These two playmates snuck onto our Learjet one time, and we were stuck with them for six hours.
[laughing] Speaking of playmates, you guys sport a ton of hair and a ton of make-up. On average, how long does it take to get all dolled up for your shows?
Probably about an hour and a half, but we have a team of people that do it for us.
So you have a crew of people that set things up for you as well? How do you get around? Tour Bus?
In town, we use the tour bus because the plane...it just won't work.
Yeah, it's just too big to land in the city?
Exactly. Now that they redid Broadway with that median strip, we can't land the leer jet anymore.
[laughing] So why do you love Herman's so much?
Because we played there back in the day! We've been playing there for 25 years -- since '81. We just never stopped.
Of course. Of course. Do you guys only play '80s covers, or do you try to toss in your own stuff as well?
Well, when we're here in Colorado, our friends and family are pretty tired of our originals because we have to play them over and over in Europe and England. We relish the opportunity to play covers.
That makes sense. You need to mix it up a little bit to give yourselves a break?
Exactly. Here it's just kind of chance to relax, to just play small crowds and get back to our roots.
What's the taking off panties song for you guys?
Ugh. My least favorite song, personally, Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me." I can't stand it.
[laughing] Oh. That is a bad one.
Oh and can you throw in that we do drink Jack Daniels on stage, but please don't buy us shots -- we drink it straight out of the bottle.
Of course. Bottles of Jack it is. So I was looking at your site and I started to get pissed off because you don't have any ladies in your band. What the fuck?
Actually, just last night, we met with a female keyboard player, so don't worry. We're going to try it out and see how it goes. We like ladies.
Okay. Good. Now I'm calm. So since you're the drummer...do you do tricks? Throw your sticks? Because if you don't, nobody will come to see you.
Absolutely, 100 percent, yeah. So I have to go because we're heading down to Australia. It's summer there, sooooo...
Oh! Yes, of course. I apologize. Carry on.