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Stephen Pickering is the ultimate MTV Gen X’er. He began High School in August of 1981, the same month MTV initially launched. But while absorbing English New Romanticism in the whimsical kind of way it was presented, his roots were firmly planted in the Hippy Woodstock generation of music and its impact on the culture from his older siblings’ vinyl collections. His favorite performance is Ritchie Havens opening of the Woodstock Festival itself. While in college at SMU the big four of Alternative Rock: REM, The Smiths, The Cure, and New Order had a tremendous impact on his musical sensibilities. He was in a college band then at SMU in Dallas whose entire repertoire consisted of those four groups.
“The Seventies groups were so good, even the non-Prog ones like Zep and Aerosmith, it made you feel you had no place in the industry,” he once told the Dallas Observer, “but the college audiences we played went wild over the simple 3 chord songs we were playing. I think there was a lot of pent up energy for the basics of Rock N’ Roll.”
He went on to tell them in ’87, “But these days, especially with U2, the emphasis is on the emotion rather than the virtuosity (Van Halen aside) and that opens up a new avenue of creativity based on one’s spontaneity. The creative process in the world of pop music became inviting and welcoming again. Everything that happened in the 80’s from Alternative to New Romanticism wooed you back in in a way saying, “It doesn’t have to be painful to be fun and worthwhile in addition to being valuable to the audience.”
“Just subjectively, as anyone would be in any field of endeavor, I want to get better at every aspect of my craft, but where I am today is fine and has value and I have no hesitation getting up on stage and expressing that.”

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