Every 5 years or so I go back to the two Julian Cope biographies Head-On and Repossessed which, for me, form the best music biographies published about any musician. My obsession with Julian as an artist started in 1984 with the release of the debut single Sunshine Playroom (the World Shut Your Mouth album was released soon after). It also coincided with me going to see him live at Guildford Civic Hall on 27th March 1984 to support the album release that year. Although it was sparsely attended I was completely hooked on him and the subsequent release of Fried only 6 months later just confirmed my love of his music.
As part of my obsessive behaviour, I would read all the album sleeve notes to find out about every person involved with the album recording process. On these sleeve notes, there was the name Steve Lovell aka Lovell The Dog – the producer for both albums. By the release of Fried, I was working at Virgin Records (see previous blogs) and it transpired that the sister of one of our Saturday staff, Kate, was dating Steve and they were coming down to Portsmouth soon for a night out. I played it cool at first but once I had been introduced to Steve (and Pam), I went through my 50 pages of prepared notes and delivered an array of questions over the next 4-5 hours. This was my introduction to Steve Lovell and his to me!
Following on from this initial meeting, we kept in touch (at my insistence!) and met up a number of times. He was always thoughtful and helpful when we met up despite him realising I was a bit of an obsessive fan. By this point, Steve was working with Steve Power as an in-house producer at Battery Studios in London producing the likes of Holly Johnson, Blur, James, A House, The Brilliant Corners and Samantha Fox. The last meeting we had was around 10 years ago when we went to see a band play at Water Rats in Kings Cross.
As I was re-reading the Cope biography I decided to try and reach out to Steve to check-in on how he was. This was carried out through texts and emails but no response was received. I dug a little deeper and was met with the unfortunate shock of discovering that Steve had unfortunately passed away a few weeks before (24th March 2021). There was little information to explain how he had died. When I last saw Steve, he had recently moved to Brighton with his future wife Rachel and they had a child together. He seemed very happy with how his life was going.
For me, Steve was an amazing record producer and a wonderful human being who influenced and inspired a lot of people in his career, myself included. He always gave me time and was happy to tell me stories about the recording process for both the albums he worked on with Julian. He also gave me some outtakes from the sessions which I treasure. I haven’t seen many tributes to Steve over these past few weeks so I wanted to write this to highlight the legacy that he created and have it documented.