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STEVE BONINO

Crossover Prog • United States


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Steve Bonino biography
A New York City native, Steve is the son of Roz VALLERO, a professional actress. Steve?s father, Ernesto BONINO, was a famous Italian crooner who was very popular in Europe and who also enjoyed success in America. He was considered the Frank SINATRA of Italy. It was while on tour in America that the famous crooner met the champion dancer/actress and fell in love. Their only offspring, Steve BONINO did not fall too far from the tree. Steve was a professional actor from 1975 to 1985 and is a life-long professional musician.

He attended the High School Of Music and Art in New York, sister school to the high school made famous by the movie FAME, as a voice major. He also attended college at The Leonard Davis Center For The Performing Arts, at C.C.N.Y. as a voice / acting major.

As a professional actor, he starred in the NBC TV series: THE KIDS FROM C.A.P.E.R., a Saturday morning kid's show where he was able to display his acting and singing skills. C.A.P.E.R. was produced by Don KIRSHNER, who also produced the music for the Monkees TV show, which C.A.P.E.R. was emulating. Steve contributed his vocal talents to the show?s album, released on Columbia records.

He was also seen on the big screen in Three Days of the Condor, starring Robert Redford, and the summer camp spoof film G.O.R.P. starring Dennis Quaid. Steve also appeared in the made for television movies Friendly Fire starring Carol Burnett, Tarantulas, The Deadly Cargo and the remake of It?s A Wonderful Life starring Marlo Thomas. He appeared in the television shows Eight Is Enough and One Day At A Time as an actor / musician, playing guitar and bass, and in Phyllis as an actor. In New York, Steve acted in the Off Broadway play FIRE IN THE MINDHOUSE. In California, Steve sang and acted at the Mark Taper Forum Lab in the play SALOME by Kim MILFORD, and at the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera in the plays MAN OF LA MANCHA and I LOVE MY WIFE in which he performed on guitar and banjo as well as acted.

As a professional musician, Steve sang on records by Screaming Jay HAWKINS & Francis X. On television, he has performed as a bassist / vocalist with the popular German band AVTOGRAPH, and as a guitarist / vocalist on KCET with the original band TOMORROW?S GAME that Steve co-founded. He also provided guitar accompaniment for KCET specials featuring Barbie BENTON and a Jacques BREL revue. He has done session vocal work for television shows on NBC, KCET, HBO and The Playboy Channel. Ste...
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STEVE BONINO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Peace Rocks
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Peace Rocks Sessions
2013
3.90 | 2 ratings
Progress
2016
4.40 | 4 ratings
The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer
2018
3.98 | 3 ratings
The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2
2019

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STEVE BONINO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.98 | 3 ratings

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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Coincidences can really be uncanny. Earlier this year I watched a video on YouTube about the Electric Universe Theory and another about the Saturn Theory at the suggestion of a friend. Subsequent visits to YouTube delivered various "theory" videos to my suggested viewing stream, and one such video was about ancient Sumerian tablets that tell us the Sumerian gods known as the Anunnaki were actually extraterrestrial beings that came to earth and delivered agricultural technology to human kind. There was even a thought-provoking video about the true origins of Eden that suggested "God" and "Satan" were actually different Anunnaki overlords and that all of Western religion's mythology is actually based on real events that occurred during the last visit of the Anunnaki alien beings. Not that I believed it, but it sure made for a good story. And hey, what if it were true?

The coincidence was that barely a couple of weeks later, Steve Bonino, whom I knew about through his work on with Bomber Goggles and his appearance on albums by Peter Matuchniak, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing his latest release entitled "Stargazer II". There had been a fair bit of buzz about it on Facebook and so I eagerly accepted. Well, well, wouldn't you know it? The story here in part two of the Stargazer saga includes ancient Sumerian tablets and the discovery that humans beings originated somewhere else in the galaxy. The Anunnaki were indeed alien visitors to earth!

Alright, let's back up a little in the story. The first Stargazer album told the story of an ecologically wrecked earth, and a desperate attempt to ensure the survival of the human race by sending several thousand select individuals off into space on a huge vessel to repopulate to another planet. The planet, known as Proxima B, is described in the story, and the new settlers must deal with a higher gravity, x-ray bombardment, and other challenges. However, the human race survives twenty years into the future and it seems we are going to make it!

In the sequel, a dome is constructed so that people can go outdoors safe from the harmful effects of radiation, and an exploration team discover the remains of an ancient city. Text documents found in the city are brought back for scrutiny and a specialist in Sumerian writing recognizes the alien text as the same as what is found on earth. The album ends with an opening for a third installment in the story.

Aside from the story, which I find compelling and exciting, Steve Bonino and company have created an album diverse in style but without trying to cover all bases and thus they avoid stretching themselves too thin. The music is based on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums with some additional instruments on some tunes. In each song, the story plays out chapter by chapter, sometimes speedy and exciting, sometimes slower and contemplative. There's the folky "Under the Dome" with some enjoyable acoustic instruments and the exciting instrumental "Hyperspeed Overdrive". "Fear" is a personal favourite of mine as well for it's classic heavy prog sound in parts.

Steve has written an album of short songs, some with more lyrics than others, in crossover prog fashion; there's an obvious necessity for songs that tell parts of the story but still no shortage of creativity or range of musical expression. The album moves along at a good pace but with each track having something to offer both lyrically and musically. Short spoken monologues help push forward parts of the story or elucidate events.

I like "Stargazer" quite a lot, but "Stargazer II" sounds like the music has taken a step up. I just find the music to be that much more enjoyable, good though the first album is. One thing I really appreciate is that the music on this album doesn't try to overtake the story. There is a nice balance between lyrics and storyline and instrumental moments.

To conclude, I really like the story here and I can get into the music of the individual tracks. It's obvious the effort Mr. Bonino made to bring his vision to life in the songs. I'm looking forward to hearing what happens in part three!

 The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.40 | 4 ratings

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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US composer and musician Steve BONINO is perhaps more noted as an actor than as a musician, but he has been an active musician for quite a few years by now, as well as nurturing a solo career since 2012. Stargazer is his fourth solo album, and was released through US label Melodic Revolution Records in 2018.

"Stargazer" strikes me as a fine example of an album made in what I'd describe as art rock rather than progressive rock as such, featuring mainly retro-oriented material of an accessible nature given a light progressive rock coating and flavoring. Those who tend to treasure bands described as being art rock from back in the 1970's strikes me as being something of a key audience for this album, and then in particular if a science fiction theme album of this kind is regarded as being of general interest. A CD well worth a look by those who can recognize themselves in such a description.

 The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.98 | 3 ratings

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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars It doesn't take a genius to work out that this is album is the follow-up to Steve's wonderful concept album 'Stargazer', as not only is there a '2' in the title the album art is also a direct follow-up. The story here takes place some 20 years on from where the last album finished, and interestingly has been left so Steve can return for a third album if he so desires. Although it may seem this is a band album, yet again it is Steve displaying his multi-instrumental skills as well as bringing in some friends to help him out. None of these were involved in the other album, but with long-time associates Peter Matuchniak and Jimmy Keegan (both who are in Steve's live band), plus the likes of Marco Minnemann, they all slot right into the groove.

Steve's combination of melodic rock, progressive rock, and damn easy to listen to hook-laded songs always make his albums a delight from start to end. The story is detailing in the fold-out digipak, but the lyrics clearly tell it as well, and the result is something which really does need listening to from start to end, as opposed to being dipped in and out of (and certainly never to be played on shuffle, a concept I have never managed to get my head around). While all those involved are masters of their craft, Steve's albums are always all about the songs as opposed to 'look at me aren't I clever' workouts. He can move from Seventies funk and soul into hard rock, with the bass being as important as the guitar, using dated keyboards, or we can be driven into staccato repeated riffs with piano. The ideas never stop coming, the album keeps moving forward and the listener is taken with it.

I listen to a great deal of music which can be termed intense, from complex prog to technical death metal, improvised jazz, avant garde, and everything in between. Sometimes I want to listen to great tunes without having to work too hard at it, music which is designed for me to enjoy on every level as opposed to feeling I am being shouted at. Steve delivers time and again, and here is yet another album which is a delight from the first note to the very last.

 Progress by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Progress
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Prior to 2018's superb 'Stargazer' album (which has already been followed up by 'Stargazer 2' ? what do you mean you haven't got it yet?), this 2016 release was Steve's most recent solo album, although he had been heavily involved with other bands (including with the wonderful Peter Matuchniak). Again the album is just Steve, apart from Jimmy Keegan dropping in to provide drums on one song. Part of me says, that when playing this for the very first time the listener should listen to the last song first, as "Hard and Fast" is a wonderful tongue in cheek pisstake of what thrash metal would sound like if it was being provided by a pop prog rock artist (wait, hang on a minute?) but why bypass all the other great songs? "Blood Bullet Playground" never seemed more poignant than it does this week, less than 7 days on from the Christchurch attack. Downtuned, with an emotional Korn feel, it drives me to a dark place with a strong emotional, almost visceral response to the words and music. It demonstrates just how much of a complete artist Steve is, as while much of his music is poppy, rocky and with a great deal of fun, this is far more serious. "Will we never, ever learn. The next child could be your own" ? my youngest daughter lives just a mile or so from the mosque, and I used to work around the corner. Steve takes on yet another approach with "Obsidian", with layered vocals and percussive approach which again is very different to anything else on the album, far more progressive and spacelike. It is the sheer variety of material which makes this album again such a delight. I can see I am going to have to seek out the rest of Steve's bands, as everything I have heard from him has been simply superb. Get the 'Stargazer' albums, but don't forget Steve's back catalogue ? you won't regret it.
 The Peace Rocks Sessions by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Peace Rocks Sessions
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars I listen to a lot of music, far more than any sane person should ever put themselves through (it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it). So, when I find myself singing a song during the day, and also waking up with it playing inside my head, then I know I am onto something very special indeed. That song is "Come Out and Play", which in many ways could have fitted in really well on Neal Morse's second solo album, 'It's Late'. Delicate, with picked guitar, delicate keyboards, gentle bass and Steve allowing his voice to go falsetto when the time is right, it is a true poptastic masterpiece which is already one of my very favourite songs. But, what makes this even more unusual is that in many ways this is a song which shouldn't have seen the light of day. Recorded between 2005 and 2012 these songs only feature Steve, with Jimmy Keegan providing drums just on "You Rock My World". Steve views this and 'Peace Rock's as a pair, and this makes sense as musically and lyrically there is a lot in common between them, but given they were recorded during the same period that probably isn't surprising. The drums are far more basic on here than on the other, yet there is still the breadth of styles, and this album even features the title track of the other album as it hadn't made the cut on that one. As a complete album, it must be said that 'Peace Rocks' feels superior (mostly in terms of the drumming), but if you want to hear an absolute classic number then look no further than 'Come Out and Play' for an example of singer songwriter delicate pop rock at its' finest. Yet another great album from Steve.
 Peace Rocks by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Peace Rocks
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars One of the continued delights in writing about music is continuing to make friends and contacts all over the world. One of these is Steve Bonino, whose superb 'Stargazer' album from last year is a delight, and if you haven't heard the debut by Bomber Goggles (of which he is a part) then you are missing an absolute treat. But here we are going all the way back to 2012, the first of three albums he recently sent me to listen to. While I was playing this for the first time I was reading the credits, and while Steve provides much of the instrumentation and vocals he has also been joined by a few guests, and I was intrigued to see that Jimmy Keegan is involved in much of the album (as well as mixing some of the songs), and he has also been joined by Spock's Beard bandmates in Dave Meros and Ryo Okumoto. That may lead people to think that this is another full-on progressive workout, but instead we have an album heavily inspired by the likes of Utopia and The Cars, full of hooks and powerful pop rock with a strong commercial element. Steve has a great voice, and he moves seamlessly through different styles and sounds, always creating something very special. One of my favourites is "Construction", especially the ending where the music stops but Steve keeps singing. Another is the very next track, as the chorus of "Personal Revolution" is just so different to the rest of the song. Polished, packed full of great songs, this is just a wonderful album which I fell in love with the very first time I played it, and it has only grown on me from there. Steve seems to be finally getting the attention he deserves with his recent albums, so get those and then go back in time to hear some truly great songs.
 The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer by BONINO, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.40 | 4 ratings

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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer
Steve Bonino Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Although I have previously heard some albums in which Steve has been involved, most notably the awesome Bomber Goggles and their incredible album 'Gyreland' (if you haven't already bought this then you need to), this is the first time I have come across one of his solo albums. Steve provides guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals, and is joined by Böhn (acoustic and electric guitars and backing vocals) and Bingo Brown (drums, percussion, and backing vocals). 'Stargazer' is a concept album, and is the nickname given to the hero of our story born into a dystopian future in which man's neglect has made Earth no longer habitable. This is a similar theme to 'Gyreland' and the impact of humanity's impact on the earth, and at this point, it is not possible to save the planet so people have to leave.

Steve has a knack of bringing together multiple musical themes and styles and bringing them together in a fashion that is best thought of as crossover progressive rock, with large elements of power pop styles. The songs are all short, with only a couple daring to break the five-minute barrier and are incredibly infectious. In fact, one can imagine quite a number of these being played on the radio to great effect. Take 'Phoenix Rising' for example, here we have find Steve channeling Weezer while with 'In The Darkness' it is much more like Nik Kershaw! The music is fluid, sonorous, and always with stacks of melody and hooks.

It is an incredibly accessible album, one that I knew I was going to enjoy from the very first note, as the title cut opens proceedings with layered harmony vocals. This is a poppy funky rocking number that shows inspiration from Utopia, and I defy anyone not to sing along with the chorus when it returns. Straight away I was smiling, grooving in my chair, knowing that this was yet another to add to my list of albums of the year ' and given that 'Gyreland' is also in the Top Ten, Steve's not doing badly. He has a real knack of producing catchy songs, giving them enough depth so that they have a real presence, but also showing restraint. There is the impression that 'Stargazer' could have been a lot heavier, it wouldn't have taken much in the mix but it works great as it is. There are also little touches, like the bass slide up and down the frets in the chorus, which definitely add to the overall piece, and from that we go into the far more jagged 'The Celestial Show' which has a very different attack both in terms of arrangement and vocals, yet is also another great number. This is quite some album, highly recommended.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition.

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