Steve Barton (musician)

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Steve Barton is an American rock musician and songwriter best known for his work with the band Translator.

Early Days[edit]

Born in Los Angeles to actor parents, Dan and Anne Barton, music got into his blood at an early age. 11 year-old Steve and his band The Present Tense recorded his song "Lost" with Producer Mike Curb, but due to legalities the single wasn't released until 2000 as a bonus track on Steve's debut solo CD "The Boy Who Rode His Bike Around the World".[1] Barton had his first publishing deal as a songwriter with ABC Dunhill Music at age 14. He kept writing and went on to play guitar behind Ella Woods on a German USO tour. Next was a tour of Japan in 1978 with a Beatles cover band playing first George, then John, alongside drummer Dave Scheff as Ringo.


Barton and Scheff would go on to form Translator in 1979 with bassist Larry Dekker. After playing around L.A. for a few months Robert Darlington joined as the second guitarist–songwriter and the group moved to San Francisco, where they gained an enthusiastic local following and soon signed a recording deal with Howie Klein's 415 Records. They released four albums and the hit single written by Steve, "Everywhere That I'm Not" which was the most requested song on San Francisco radio station KUSF for six months after its release. Up-and-coming producer David Kahne oversaw the band’s first album Heartbeats and Triggers, which was notable for its blend of folk-rock guitars and thoughtful lyrics, delivered in a post-punk way. Kahne also helmed the poppier follow-up No Time Like Now which received a rave from Musician magazine that said Translator were “the only rockers left who are capable of writing love songs that are neither cliches nor abstractions.” Translator tapped Ramones producer Ed Stasium for 1985's psychedelic-tinged Translator LP, “just to see what would happen if we worked with someone else”, Barton says. By their final LP Evening of the Harvest, Translator managed to capture their powerful live sound in the studio, and their adventurous approach was highly praised by David Fricke in Rolling Stone. Translator continues to perform occasionally, including well-received shows at SXSW in 2006 and a sold-out Slim's show in San Francisco in September 2009. They released the album "Big Green Lawn" in 2012 (with all four original members) - their first album of new material in 26 years. In 2015, the great label Omnivore Recordings released "Sometimes People Forget" - a 22-song collection of the band's demos, spanning 1979-1986. Translator played a series of live dates to support and celebrate the album. 2016 saw the surprise release of a brand new album called "Carriage Of Days". The record was mastered for release by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios. [2]


Translator played to packed crowds for several years before the group parted ways and Barton went on to write and record as a solo artist. His debut solo album was "The Boy Who Rode His Bike Around The World", produced by his long-time friend Marvin Etzioni (Lone Justice co-founder). Starting in 2000 he released three albums under the band name The Oblivion Click, with bassist Derrick Anderson and drummer Robbie Rist. Their releases include "Charm Offensive", "Flicker of Time" and the Spectra Records album, "Gallery". In early 2011 Steve released "Projector", an album made up of songs written in the immediate aftermath of his dad's death in 2009. Steve plays all of the instruments on that album. It was recorded and mixed on tape and was produced once again by Marvin Etzioni. 2017's "New Blue World" is an album of 10 songs written and played by Barton with Dave Scheff on drums. Steve's next album is a TRIPLE album called "Tall Tales And Alibis", which will be released on March 2, 2018.


  1. ^ "All Music bio". Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  2. ^ "Goldmine Magazine article, April 2008". Retrieved 2008-05-12.[dead link]

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