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Steve Tassler biography
Steve Tassler was the original drummer for STARCASTLE, playing with that band on all four of their 70's albums. In 1980, he left the band and seemingly disappeared from the music scene alltogether. Beginning in the late 80's, Tassler went to medical school and graduated as an M.D. in 1991. Since that time, he has focused primarily on practicing family medicine in Illinois.

However, he has twice returned to music world. In 2002, he released his one and only solo album titled "Alive Beyond Recognition" on which he composed and performed everything on the album himself. While the album contained some nods to his former band, the album took a more neo-sounding approach to progressive rock.

He also reunited with his former bandmates, appearing on several tracks of the STARCASTLE reunion album "Song of Times" released in 2007. And has also appeared with the band during live gigs, playing drums and singing harmony vocals. Whether or not more music will be forthcoming from Tassler is uncertain.

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alive beyond recognitionalive beyond recognition
sunsinger records
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3.00 | 2 ratings
Alive Beyond Recognition

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 Alive Beyond Recognition by TASSLER, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 2 ratings

Alive Beyond Recognition
Steve Tassler Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Maybe Steve Tassler doesn't ring any bells when someone hear the name, but for sure he was and is one of the important musicians in prog field from USA in the '70s. Being part of famous Starcastle in their glory days from the '70s as a drummer and ocasionaly vocals.

After playing with Starcastle on first 4 albums, he left the band in 1980 and disappeared from musical scene until late'90s when decided to make a solo album. Well, his first and only one album under his name was released in 2002 named Alive beyond recognition. Steve compose and performed everything is on the album, the result being a good one from start to finish, a kind of melodic prog with hints to neo prog and nods to Starcastle aswell.

Pieces like Firebirght or Interregnum are brilliant and show Tassler in great form, his druming is more then ok most of the time and intresting aswell. The vocals and keyboards are also ok. This type of pieces can easely be compared with IQ style of neo prog.

So, all in all a fairly decent album, old style prog, I like it, even the album is widely unknown in prog circles I think desearves attention.

Solid 3 stars, in places 3.5 stars, a nice one.

 Alive Beyond Recognition by TASSLER, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 2 ratings

Alive Beyond Recognition
Steve Tassler Neo-Prog

Review by The Doctor
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Steve Tassler's sole solo album is truly a one-man affair, as every note on this album was written, sung and played by Tassler. But the basic instrumentation is all accounted for on this album as Tassler handles drums, all vocals, guitars, basses and keyboards. Tassler started life as the drummer and one of the backing vocalists with Starcastle, and there are some Starcastle references on the album, namely in the extensive harmony vocals on the album. However, this album eschews the Starcastle penchant for sounding like Yes circa 1972 in favor of a more modern, more keyboard heavy sound. Of course, as Tassler is a drummer, this is also very drum heavy, in fact, the drums are very loud in the mix, sometimes a little too much so, drowning out the other instrumentation.

Tassler does however show off some very good chops on the drums, and comes across as a decent keyboard, bass and guitar player. His voice is fairly pleasant, but he has a limited range (which in itself is ok) that he sometimes sounds like he's straining outside. A good reference point for his voice would be Martin Orford. The songs are very-well composed and Tassler shows a strong melodic sense in his songwriting. This is most apparent on the song "Firebright" which sports a very catchy chorus as well as some strong neo-sounding keyboard work. "Bring the Promise" has some chunky guitar playing and is one of the more energetic songs of the album. "...and Still She Wonders" is an accoustic, plaintive ballad filled with a sense of sadness. "Aeon's Arrival" is a strong symphonic instrumental where Tassler really shows his chops on the drums and percussion.

The centerpiece of the album is the 14 minute epic Interregnum where Tassler takes us back in time. But instead of taking us back to 1972 Yes, he takes us back instead to 1985 IQ. This has a strong IQ vibe to it (albeit on the mellower side of IQ). In fact, if you replaced Tassler's vocals with Nichols' vocals, this could fit comfortably on Tales or Wake. Of course, as stated earlier, his vocals don't take it too far away from IQ territory, as he and Orford share a similar vocal style. If you like the mellower side of classic neo, this is a song you really should hear.

The rest of the songs on the album show Tassler's melodic sense, has some strong neo sounding keyboards, very strong drum work, Starcastle like harmonies and a rather uplifting feel to the whole thing. A couple of downsides of this CD are the sometimes strained sound to the vocals, but that's really a minor detail. Another problem is that sometimes the album lacks a sense of energy and spontaneity that a real band could have provided. Still, even with those two caveats, this is a very good neo album and this rates a solid 3 stars. If you like the mellower side of neo, this is an album you should enjoy.

Thanks to the doctor for the artist addition.

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