Steve Marion would like you to know, first and foremost, that he’s a human being. That’s why the New Jersey-bred guitar maestro’s given name is right there in the moniker of his primary musical project—Delicate Steve is both the four-piece live band Marion fronts and the superhero alias he assumes for his one-man recording output—and in the title of his long-in-the-works third LP. Marion will be guest editing magnet magazine.com all week. Read our feature.
Marion: This story goes back to Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho, where I met Doug Martsch, through festival organizer and friend Eric Gilbert. After our headlining set, we walked offstage to the roar of the crowd, where Eric proceeded to hand us guest passes to the Boise YMCA. “Doug will be there at 10 a.m.” We awoke to play a great game of basketball with Doug.
Fast forward to High Sierra Music Fest in 2012, where Delicate Steve performed and I was an “artist at large”—meaning I was supposed to play and collaborate with other bands throughout the duration of the festival. Obviously I wanted to play with Built To Spill, but I wasn’t able to get in touch with Doug in time and neither was our artist rep at the festival.
So I am watching them play from side stage, in awe of how amazing they sound as a guitar rock band. I’m in my running shorts, Timberland boots and a tank top.
They are playing their closing number, “Broken Chairs,” which ends in a giant guitar solo. As the solo starts, Doug turns his back to the crowd and starts playing to the drummer. Then he turns to the side of the stage. He looks up for a split second and we lock eyes. He looks down at his guitar, looks up again, and gives the faintest of head nods to me with a devilish grin.
My heart starts racing and instinctively I walk out onstage in my running shorts and boots and tank top toward Doug for no apparent reason. I get next to him and he hands my his guitar, picks up his backpack and walks off the stage. I proceed to close out Built To Spill’s headlining set with the outro guitar solo on “Broken Chairs” with no rehearsal or anything.
We end the song. The audience applauds. Doug comes back onstage to say thank you into the mic. I look at him and say “Doug, I had no idea you were going to do that.” He looks at me and says, “Neither did I.”