Guitar Superstar: An Interview with Steve Senes, Guitar Player Magazine’s Guitar Player of 2009

As we discovered in the last issue, Murrells Inlet’s resident guitar laureate Steve Senes bested nine other of the best guitarists on the planet to take the prestigious Guitar Player Magazine’s “Guitar Superstar: Guitar Player of 2009” title in San Francisco, CA, on Sept. 12, 2009.

Hot off the big win, Steve flew back home and began sorting through the hectic and fruitful week, and began making plans for taking his good fortune to the next level - which, as any guitarist worth his chops will tell you, is to be signed by a major recording label. But before that happens, this very accessible and extremely down-to-earth young man took the time to grant me an interview.

Howle: So, tell me … how did this long, winding musical road begin for Steve Senes?
Senes: Well, it’s because I have the coolest parents in the whole world … they took my sister and me to see KISS in concert back in ‘77 … and that was my very first concert … and that was it, man! I fell in love with the band and music in general, and rock and roll in particular. My folks bought me a little acoustic and I just beat the hell out of it the first day, you know? (Laughs)
So then when I was 9 or 10, I started taking guitar lessons from a guy, but didn’t really stick with it at the time. But when I was about 15, my friend and I were walking thru our neighborhood - him with a bass, me with my acoustic, like we’re badasses, you know? And this guy sees us walking by and says, “Hey, come over here and let me show you how to play that thing!” Turned out he had a Fender amp and Stratocaster … he taught me a bar chord, and then a major scale, and I was off and running. I got my first electric guitar and amp not long after that, and it’s all been downhill from there! (Both laugh) Everyone gets exposed to music in a different way, but I think it was this guy showing me how to play rock & roll.
One of the first songs he taught me was The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”, and that turned out to be sorta prophetically cool because one of the guys from The Cars was one of the judges in the Guitar Superstar contest. So there I am, vying for this title, in front of a guy who recorded the first rock song I ever learned.

Brian Howle