Raging Slab 'Sisterslab and the Boogie Coalition: Vol. 1'
- Teachin' Blues
- Beggar's Day
- Be Stiff
- Billy Joe Young
- Slow Death
- As Long As I Live
Raging Slab! Being some what of a late comer to them, they had a few records out already, but I had heard their current record at the time Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert and was hooked on them! So much so that I wrote a fan letter to the band and got one back from one of their three slide guitarists, Elyse Steinman! This was the start of a long friendship with Elyse, her husband and lead singer/ guitarist Greg Stzrempka and bassist Alec Morton.
Elyse and Greg lived on a farm in a remote area of Pennsyltucky. I visited the farm a few times and discovered that they were huge collectors of kitschy, 60’s/ 70’s pop culture art/ toys/ film and huge lovers of all kinds music. We had similar tastes. I ended up playing drums with them for a few shows and some recording when the band was in between drummers. It was a real blast and they were fun people to hang and play music with!
In the summer of 2014 I got an email from Elyse telling me she’d been diagnosed with lung cancer. Ugh! This was not going to get her down though. She told me that music would be the cosmic healer. She told Greg that she wanted to sing and record songs that she loved. I immediately wrote back and offered to play drums. This piece of wax that you hold in your hot, little hand is the result of those recordings.
Elyse passed away March 30, 2017 after a three year battle against cancer. One of her requests was that a rock concert be held in her honor. There were two, one in NYC and one in LA. I played with the band in Los Angeles. There was a lot of love for Elyse in that room and I could feel her presence while performing.
I’d like to thank Joyful Noise for giving me the opportunity to curate a record. I’m happy to have found a home for these recordings. I’d also like to thank Greg! I know this was a hard task to finish. And Alec, for his input. Elyse would be so happy about all of this! Forever in our hearts! Boogie!
It was on an August afternoon when my wife, Elyse Steinman learned she had stage 3B lung cancer. She had been experiencing intense upper back pain for months that couldn’t be explained by any physical stress or activity, and after several months of her doctor treating it as a back/spine issue, it was suggested that she get a CAT scan which revealed a golfball sized tumor in her right lung that was pressing on her aorta and another smaller mass in her left lung, A subsequent biopsy showed the growth as malignant and, with that news, so began a daily series of doctors appointments, scans, scans, scans, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgical procedures, lung drainings, (scans, scans, scans) and countless other indignities that could only serve to prolong her life as a “cure” was very very unlikely.
The ﬁrst thing Elyse said to me after learning her diagnosis was; “No more fucking cooking or cleaning!” The second thing she said was; “I want to do some recording”
As bucket lists go, this was relatively easy…we had shared housework duties anyhow, (although I think Elyse preferred her cooking to mine so she tended to cook more often) and our band, Raging Slab had maintained a “home studio” since the early 90’s.
And so began our new routine, chemo appointments three days a week and radiation in between, We’d get home, eat and then go in the studio and Elyse would sing until she couldn’t. Elyse was a slide guitarist as well, but because her cancer had spread to her bones, she was unable to play or even hold a guitar without excruciating pain. Singing, however was as she put it; “ The only thing that makes the pain stop.”
So I made sure Elyse sang as much as she wanted to. Because she received radiation in her chest, and because the radiation literally burned her esophagus and vocal chords, her voice would change tone and timbre by the day, and because I didn’t know how long she was going to be with us I tended to roll tape and not erase anything, her chemo made her quite ill sometimes and there are vocal takes of her throwing up mid-song, or having a coughing ﬁt so bad I can be heard dialing an ambulance, as well as many MANY takes that end in crying and/or screaming…most sessions ended up with 30 or more full or partial vocal takes. Elyse lived for another 3 1/2 years, beating all expectations, and during which time we were able to record 25 songs in total. Having these songs released on vinyl would would have been a dream come true for a record collector like Elyse, my most sincere thanks to Dale Crover and Joyful Noise for making this LP possible.
All the songs are covers, All of them chosen by Elyse. And ALL of the singing made her pain stop for a little while. Please, sing along.
—Gregory Strzempka, Nov 5, 2020
RIP Elyse Steinman; Jan 9, 1961 - March 30, 2017