Professional musician, music instructor and former drummer for the band Sugarcult, Steve Slater credits SBCC instructors Dr. John Clark, Jim Mooy, and Dr. Jack Ullom for supporting, motivating and inspiring him in so many lasting ways. He recalls, “My favorite thing was the family we had at the music department. It was seriously enjoyable to attend school with such hard working and motivated musicians. I'm sure it's still like this today, but it feels like my time at SBCC, especially in the music department, was a special time.” Steve studied ear training, music theory, music history, piano, and played in local bands while he attended SBCC. He also joined SBCC’s distinguished Big Band, as well as the Concert Band, Orchestra, Small Jazz Combo, and even Choir.
Steve's extensive experience playing in bands began with Chachi, Bobafett and The Wookiee, the Bay Area's underground surf rock sensations in the 1990s. Currently, he performs with a number of bands including, Farewell Typewriter (which he founded), Trip Device, Twisted Lister (an Ebay corporate cover band), Aloha Screwdriver and his jazz group, Park St. Trio (the last two of which just released albums this year). In addition to playing regularly and collaborating on a variety of unique projects, he is the Founder and Lead Instructor at School of Drums in Fremont, California. He teaches about 40 students privately, as well as instructing the Mission San Jose High School drum line. In 2008, Steve signed an endorsement deal with MRP Drums and now plays his own custom kit.
How did SBCC impact his teaching career? Steve says, “Probably the biggest help was the summer before I transferred up to SJSU. I was asked by the music department to help out teaching the summer program for music. I was teaching little drummers, some jazz ensembles and helping out around the department. This is how I got my start teaching. When I moved up to the Bay Area I started teaching right away while attending SJSU, and I've never stopped.” Regarding his transfer to San Jose State University, he recalls, “The music department [at SBCC] prepared me in ways I didn't even know. The music classes I took at SJSU were easy after going through the theory and ear training classes with Dr. Clark and Dr. Ullom. Playing was also a breeze after playing in the SBCC big bands, which were incredible during my time. Academics at SBCC were excellent, teachers knew their stuff. A lot of good people came out of those few years [at SBCC]. In fact, I remained friends with Jessica Carter, who was one of the work study students that helped out in the music department, after she transferred to U.C. Berkeley. About five years later we started dating and eventually got married. So, this music family truly turned into my actual family. I'm glad to have been a part of it."