Doctor Steel with his robot band
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Steampunk, Industrial, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Jazz, Alternative|
|Occupations||Singer songwriter, Internet Personality|
|Years active||1999 - 2011|
Doctor Steel (full name, Doctor Phineas Waldolf Steel) was a self-published American musician and internet personality from Los Angeles. He performed on rare occasions with a "backup band", claiming that a fictitious robot band had malfunctioned. Shows incorporated puppetry, multimedia and performances by female members ("Nurses" and "Scouts") of his street team, The Army of Toy Soldiers. Steel made a brief appearance on The Tonight Show and has had numerous interviews. He was the subject of an article in Wired Magazine regarding allegations that Dr. Horrible had copied his style. Steel has frequently been cited as an example of Steampunk music.
Musical career 
Steel began publicly performing in 1999, essentially busking on the streets of Los Angeles. A few years later, he began performing at venues like The Key Club and the CIA. His live shows combined music with puppetry and video projection that reflect the stories and meanings of the songs.
In 2001 and 2002, the albums Dr. Steel (2001), Dr. Steel II: Eclectic Boogaloo (2001), and People of Earth (2002) were released digitally to iTunes, Amazon and other stores. The Dr. Steel Collection (2004) was the first CD release, featuring many tracks which were released on other albums, slightly altered. The Dr. Steel Collection also features the track "Land of the Lost," about the 1970s version of the show by the same name. Some attempts were made to get the song into the soundtrack of 2009 movie version of Land of the Lost, but they were unsuccessful.
Steel's second CD release was The Dr. Steel Read-A-Long Album (2006). It was a limited distribution and quickly sold out. The album art included a recreation of the sleeve of read-along records, and the disc design resembled that of a vinyl record. In 2007, Steel re-released the first three albums, once again in digital format.
Steel's music can often be heard on a number of steampunk radio broadcasts that stream worldwide, such as The Clockwork Cabaret. His song "Boogieman Boogie" was also included in a compilation of steampunk music released by Gilded Age Records.
Musical style 
Steel's music is eclectic in genre, often combining the noise and distortion of industrial with aspects of European folk, classical, and even jazz, as well as hip-hop and opera. Many songs feature samples from vintage public service announcements and educational films, such as Duck and Cover. Rue Morgue Magazine described the sound as "Industrial Hip-Hop Opera".
Stage persona 
On stage, and in all public performances and interviews, Steel maintained the appearance of a mad scientist bent on conquering the world and becoming the future World Emperor. He claimed to be a former toymaker who, in a fit of rage over being fired for creating drastic designs such as babies with buzzsaws for hands, burned down the factory he worked at and was committed to a psychiatric institution. This back-story relates that Steel escaped the sanitarium and retreated to a deserted island laboratory, where he became bent on world conquest in order to create a "Utopian Playland" where his toy designs could be enjoyed. As a mad scientist, Steel is obsessed with conspiracy theories, giant robots, baking cupcakes and "mind control cookies", and experimenting with hamsters.
In appearance, Steel drew on the mad scientist archetype, dressing in a white PVC lab coat (with comically large black buttons), black PVC gloves, black boots, shaved head, sinister goatee, and antique welder's goggles. When not in his "mad scientist" costume, Steel typically dressed in a very aristocratic neo-Victorian steampunk style, while still retaining his goggles. He was never seen without the goggles.
In 2010, Dr. Steel announced plans to begin work on a new album, entitled "Toymonger." However, in July 2011, after a long period of silence from him, it was announced that Doctor Steel had retired from the music industry, and a personal letter from Steel to the current head of the Army of Toy Soldiers in January 2012 confirmed this. (However, there was no other "official" or public announcement.) The Army of Toy Soldiers have decided to continue on as an organization, switching their focus from promoting the entertainer to promoting the philosophy he presented, such as the importance of creativity and building one's own Utopian Playland.
Promotional videos and web videos 
Doctor Steel appeared in numerous short videos released on his website and on his YouTube channel. One such is a six minute "propaganda" film called Building a Utopian Playland, which ostensibly outlined his plans for world domination. Another is a series called The Dr. Steel Show, set in his fictitious lab on his fictitious private island. Episode 3, which is the official music video for his song, "Back and Forth", and featured video clips sent in by Toy Soldiers, was showcased on MTV's website as a part of their online video series, Steampunk Infiltrates The Mainstream. Steel also appeared in a video with fellow internet personality Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum.
Steel also released what he called "public service announcements" covering philosophical subjects such as transhumanism, freedom of thought, and subjective reality. (As a transhumanist, Dr. Steel has also been interviewed on his views by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and has even published a paper on the subject.) Finally, the Toy Soldiers Unite website features a series of videos called Ask Dr. Steel, in which Steel himself answered questions asked by Toy Soldiers. In May 2010, Doctor Steel's videos were featured in one of Veronique Chevalier's Red Velvet Variety Shows.
In May 2010, Dr. Steel released a music video to his song, "Childhood Don't a-Go-Go", directed by Tony Leonardi III.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog 
- both featured singing mad scientists who produced web videos;
- both had an "Ask Dr. ___" segment;
- the name of the production was similar to the title of one of Steel's albums, Dr. Steel Read-A-Long.
This attracted the attention of national media and was reported in Wired magazine, in which Dr. Horrible co-writer Maurissa Tancharoen responded, "All we have to say on the subject is we've never heard of Dr. Steel before." "There’s room for everyone in this party," she added.
Army of Toy Soldiers 
The Army of Toy Soldiers (also known as Toy Soldiers Unite, after the name of their website) was originally Steel's fan club and street team, playing into the Dr. Steel fiction, in that it was allegedly a tool in his plan for global domination. Since Dr. Steel's retirement, it has continued as an online community dedicated to Steel's ideals, namely "building a Utopian Playland." Toy Soldiers promote Dr. Steel's philosophy individually through "missions", while larger group events are known as "operations" or "invasions".
Promotional material ("Propaganda") 
Promotional material for Dr. Steel and the Toy Soldiers is referred to as "propaganda". The decision to use a term with such charged connotations was a deliberate satirical allusion to famous groups in the past who had plans for world domination, in order to spotlight or "hang a lampshade" on the tricks of mass manipulation. Some of the material was designed and created by Steel himself (such as the "propaganda posters", designed to resemble WWII propaganda posters), but Steel encouraged his fans to design their own propaganda as well.
References in popular culture 
Other than the instances noted above, Dr. Steel, his likeness and members of his fan club occasionally noticeably appear in popular media:
- Dr. Steel's logo appears in strip 198 (August 18, 2010) of the webcomic Peter Is the Wolf.
- Dr. Steel (2001)
- Dr. Steel II: Eclectic Boogaloo (2001)
- People of Earth (2002)
- The Dr. Steel Collection (2004)
- Dr. Steel Read-A-Long (2006)
See also 
- "Dr. Steel on Jay Leno — clip from the commercial announcing the segment". Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Fractal Suicide. "Doctor Steel". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Audio Drome Review: Dr. Steel" (back issue). Rue Morgue Magazine, issue 42. November/December 2004.
- "VMU Interview with Doctor Steel". "Feb. 25, 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Grin, Cheshire S. (2007). "The Utopian Playground of Dr. Steel". Steampunk Magazine #3. pp. 50–51. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- Cricket (Oct 15, 2008). "The Mad Musician – Doctor Steel". NERDSociety. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Michael Anissimov (Aug 16, 2008). "Interview with Dr. Steel". Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Tyler Davidson (2009-03-13). "Words with Dr. Steel, a mad mad mad mad scientist". University of California Riverside Highlander (University of California Riverside). Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Other interviews with Dr. Steel:
- Tina Wilson. "Famous Dr. Steel". Global Entertainment Mag. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- Jacob H. Smith (February 24, 2008 \ publisher=ReGen magazine). "Dr. Steel — World Domination a Reality?". Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- Wesley Scoggins. "Interview: Dr. Phineas Waldolf Steel, Mad Scientist". Indy Mogul. Retrieved 2009-08-29. "Many have mentioned your work in regards to Steampunk influenced bands like Abney Park (and for that matter the Steampunk "style" in general)."
- "Interview with Dr. Steel". Coilhouse Magazine (Issue 01). August, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
- Tome. "INTERVIEW — Doctor Steel (Icons of Dieselpunk/Steampunk series)". Dieselpunks.org. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "Interview with Dr. Steel". Fiend Magazine (Issue 18: The Steampunk Issue). June/July/Aug 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "An Audience With Dr. Phineas Waldolf Steel (Future World Emperor)". Aether Emporium. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- Bell. "Interview with Dr. Steel". brokendollz. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- TRB Staff (May 4, 2008). "Dr. Steel interview". Phoenix Always Rises. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- Tas (2 September 2007). "An interview with Dr Steel:- a White Wine Sauce exclusive!". Yours in a White Wine Sauce!. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- Tas (10 September 2007). "Dr. Steel interview, Part 2". Yours in a White Wine Sauce!. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- "Nerdy Show Season 3 > Episode 003 :: Never Mind the Gearbox". The Nerdy Show podcast. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- gfish (2010 March 1). "weird things talks to a future world emperor". weird things blog. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "TransAlchemy Interviews Doctor Steel". TransAlchemy. June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- Jenna Wortham (July 21, 2008). "Fans of Mad Scientist Dr. Steel Plan Attack on Dr. Horrible". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Andrew Ross Rowe (September 29, 2008). "What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More". MTV News (MTV). Retrieved 2009-08-18. "Another great example [of steampunk music] is Dr. Steel, a hip-hop steampunker."
- "MTV News video: 'It's Airships, Pirates And Goggles'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- theladyofshalott (Jan 03 2009). "Myspace Steampunk resource connections". Steampunk Underground. Retrieved 2009-09-17. "For the foremost of the musical assets of our steampunk realm, there [is]... Dr. Steel with a rather strongly dominant tone..."[dead link]
- Charlie Amter (January 29, 2009). "Creators of the Edwardian Ball bring the annual San Francisco event to L.A., corsets and all.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Dr. Steel — Dr. Steel". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Dr. Steel — Dr. Steel II: Eclectic Boogaloo". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Dr. Steel — People of Earth". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Dr. Steel — The Dr. Steel Collection". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Dr. Steel — Dr. Steel Read-A-Long". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Clockwork Cabaret podcast archive". Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- DJ FACT.50 (2007). "An Age Remembered — A Steampunk / Neo-Victorian Old World Mix". Discogs. Gilded Age Records. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Tome Wilson (March 3, 2010). "For Dr. Steel fans - Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders". Dieselpunks.org. Dieselpunks.org. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Tomb Dragomir (Nov-Dec 2004). "Read-Along Records Presents Dr. Steel". World Domination Toys (Rue Morgue Magazine). Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- "Dr. Steel's MySpace page". Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "Nightmare Fuel". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Lament for a Toy Factory (lyrics)". Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Dr. Steel (lyrics)". Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Dr. Steel PSA - "Alien Illuminati"". Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Build the Robots (lyrics)". Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "The Dr.Steel Show: Episode 2". Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Badass Labcoat". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Beard Of Evil". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Cool Shades". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Message To The Toy Soldiers". Toy Soldiers Unite Forums. 10-01-2010.
- "About Dr. Steel". Toy Soldiers Unite. Retrieved 03-12-2012.
- "MTV News video: 'The Dr.Steel Show: Episode 3'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Dr. Steel (Spring 2005). "Multi-Media Symbiosis and the Evolution of Electronic Life". Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader, Issue 38 (back issue). Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- Dr. Steel (Spring 2005). "Multi-Media Symbiosis and the Evolution of Electronic Life". World Domination Toys (clipping from Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader). Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- "Video Propaganda". Toy Soldiers Unite. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "The Horrible Situation (entry from Steel's MySpace blog)". Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Rachael Johnson (September 15, 2009). "Steely deeds: Meet Dr. Steel (One man's mission: Make the world a happier place)". The Herald-Mail. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- "Lampshade Hanging". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- "Ask Dr. Steel: "Why call your message 'propaganda'?"". Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "A Gallery of Propaganda made by Doctor Steel". Retrieved 2007-02-13.
- Lee, Grace (2007). American Zombie (film mocumentary). USA, South Korea: Lee Lee Films.
- Austin, LaRon (2010). Battle (drama). Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Reel One Entertainment.
- "Kanaal van ParanormalShows". YouTube. 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- "Kanaal van ParanormalShows". YouTube. 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- "ParanormalShows's Channel". YouTube. 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- Erlich, Brett (June 2, 2010). "Best of Viral Video Film School: Growing Up On YouTube (at 18:36)". Viral Video Film School. YouTube. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Erlich, Brett (May 12, 2010). "Best Of Viral Video Film School: Crazy Online Communities". Viral Video Film School. YouTube. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Benjamin Rodriguez (August 18, 2010). "Peter Is the Wolf". Retrieved 2010-08-30.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Doctor Steel|
- Doctor Steel's MySpace
- Doctor Steel's YouTube channel
- Toy Soldiers Unite (Official fan site)
- Doctor Steel at TV Tropes