Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bruce Steinberg

Bruce Steinberg on the Bay Bridge
Bruce Steinberg

Bruce Steinberg, of San Francisco, died in Santa Cruz, California in the early morning hours of December 30, 2007 after a brief illness.

He was diagnosed with a rare condition called cardiac amyloidosis. According to the National Institutes of Health, "Amyloidosis is the accumulation of clumps of proteins called amyloids in body tissues and organs. The proteins slowly replace normal tissue."

Those are the facts, but to many who were touched by this man, they don't begin to tell the story. And anyone that knew Bruce knows that he liked for the story to be right — accurate, entertaining, detailed, and correct in every respect. He wasn't satisfied until it was all of that.

So that's what we'll do here. This is a forum for remembrances of Bruce Steinberg — art director, musician, designer, marketing director, engineer, actor, friend, mentor, and most of all, father and grandfather. Leave your remembrances here as comments.

Bruce changed the world. Not just through his landmark rock and roll photography, his engineering work for NASA (against all the rules, his initials are carved in a Mariner spacecraft still hurtling through space somewhere — now THAT's rock and roll!), or his national award-winning design work, but through you and me. He gave ordinary people like us the confidence that we could accomplish BIG things. Of course, we KNEW Bruce could do it... he's BRUCE STEINBERG... not me... but maybe if Bruce thinks I can...

Just make sure those em-dashes are used correctly. Bruce would want it right.

"Hey... got a minute?"

A memorial celebration of Bruce's life was held in Santa Cruz, CA on Saturday, February 2, 2008. Bruce would have loved the gathering of many of his family, friends and colleagues.

Another site has been set up to share remembrances of Bruce. Feel free to post comments here and at this new tribute site as well.

Donations to help cover the cost of this memorial and unforeseen costs to the family are greatly appreciated. Checks payable to the "Bruce M. Steinberg Memorial Fund" can be sent to J. Roth at 4360 Diamond St. #2, Capitola, CA 95010, or you can send a donation via Paypal by logging into your Paypal account and using "Send Money" for your donation to


Steve Finch said...

Thanks to Evan Hunt, an old friend of Bruce, for a very touching tribute that really captures Bruce's essence. I know Bruce would have loved it. You can read it on Evan's blog.

There are several other great posts there about Bruce as well.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I didn't even "meet" Bruce until late August of this year. I posted a piece of artwork on the TOP message board and was quite surprised to get an email from Bruce. He said that he had an almost identical vision for a TOP album cover many years ago. He invited me to call him any time, and so I mustered up some courage and dialed. Well, we talked for more than an hour about design ideas, methods, and strategies. He encouraged me to set up my own design biz, and before I had a chance to tell him, I did just that. Thanks Bruce!

KB1OWB said...

I met Bruce (?) years ago on an old Tower of Power message board. I don't recall what we were discussing, but suddenly we were firing lengthy emails back and forth. We talked about everything--music, our families, astronomy, ham radio, art, food, politics, you name it. He was a fantastic storyteller and man, could he write!

One of our favorite topics was cats. My cats, his cats, cats we knew, stray cats, cat photos, cat jokes...Bruce was absolutely devoted to the kitties who shared his life. They were lucky cats, indeed! One of the few emails that survived those years (and I'm certain the rest are meticulously archived on Bruce's computer) is a tale of Bruce's encounter with a stray cat on the night shift at NASA. I don't think he'd mind if I shared it with you all. Enjoy!
...There's still a chance I'll be recognized for my own Apollo heroism in single-handedly capturing a giant feral cat who got trapped inside Building 32 at NASA/Houston during its construction when it seemed his last portal of entry and escape back to the outside world must've finally gotten closed up. He roamed far and wide under the false floors of our mainframe computer rooms for months looking for a way out and subsisting on brown-bag lunch scraps in garbage cans when he'd venture above ground on graveyard-shift scavenging junkets. Occasional midnight sightings and rare close encounters only added to his rapidly growing legendary status as the Phantom of the Operation. Professional pest control crews tried trapping him in giant cages for over a month, but he was too wily. Finally, one night in a cold computer room, I was reading the paper at around 2:00 am and saw a big grey jughead suddenly pop out of a missing floor-tile space across the room, look around, and bee-line over to the nearest garbage can. He hit paydirt, too, and was so engrossed in eating the half salami sandwich he found that he didn't even notice me coming up behind him with an empty cardboard cable box to nail his ass. I got him in one fell swoop, sealed the box shut with (what else?) duct tape, poked some air holes in it, and stuck him in the corner until my shift was over at 8:00 am. I had to get a NASA property pass and an escort to get him and the box off the premises and to my car, whereupon I drove directly out the gate and across the road to the local Holiday Inn. I took the box out of the car, carried it around back, opened it, and dumped his hungry ass directly into the dumpster in back of the kitchen. On that cold winter day, it was full of hot, steaming breakfast scraps and he dove right into it like Scrooge McDuck dives into his money bin. He only looked up from his sausage, eggs, buttered toast,, hash, and grits once to shoot me a look that said, "You are God..." and went back to his continental breakfast-for-one while it was still warm. I saluted him with a grin and drove back to my apartment to thaw out and get some sleep. My work there was done. And someday, lo these 40 years later, it may even be recognized. B*)

Consider it recognized, old man. I miss you.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing that story, it had me laughing out loud. Bruce was one of the all-time great story-tellers, and could have easily added "author" to his many other titles.

Evan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Steve, and for this effort.

(I've been telling Bruce for years he needed to get a blog. Jeez, now he gets one... :) )

I found something from him in an old email archive last night that I'd like to share here.

"Rock 'n' roll's dirty little secret is that all the great players are
geeks and loners and outsiders whose only real chance to get over with
the in-crowd and the girls (or boys) is to spend thousands of geeky,
lonely, outsider hours woodshedding until one day they (along with the
in-crowd and the girls and/or boys) realize they've always been as cool
as the insiders and now some other geeky, lonely, outsider can look up
to them on their way to discovering they're just as cool themselves.
And the beat goes on..."

I've never thought I could be as cool as Bruce. But he thought so, and that was something. And now we carry on without him. And the beat goes on...

Claudio said...

There are so many stories that I would love to share with you about Bruce. However, I don't think that this would be the correct forum to write a novel as long as War & Peace. What I will share with you is that I loved Bruce as if he were my older brother. Bruce taught me a great deal about life, insight, and thinking outside the box just a little bit more. To have known Bruce has made me a better person. I will miss Bruce immensely and I will cherish the memories that I have with him through his artwork.

Cheers, Claudio

Anonymous said...

I was one of the many who has admired Bruce's work and even had the honor to get to know was short in the scope of life...but having spent afew hours with felt like we knew eachother for alifetime.
And it will always be a memory that I will cherish. It was May5,2003 NYC at the OZ Tower OF Power release gig...we did the cool hang after the show...getting to drive Bruce to Kennedy airport in the wee hours of May 6th will always be one of those special moments to reflect was story after story...and I knew this was man who really needed to write all the history he made and lived into a am hoping that all that exists can be pooled together and ..who knows perhaps a cool coffee table book or something like that might just become a tribute to truly a rare treasure this world will surely miss.
Got to say to know Bruce is to love him. Thanks Brother and rest in peace...thanks for showing us the beauty in funk.

Frank Abadie

Anonymous said...

I still remember vividly, nearly 20 years later, having extended calls with Bruce. He in Santa Cruz (GMT-8), me in the UK at age 23. While we were deliberating the design of Mylar labels* for the French, German and Spanish versions of MS Word for UNIX, we explored the possibilities through a series of metaphors. These included washing machines, food processors and many other outside-the-box analogies. Needless to say the labels were superb, including m-dash usage. We argued about trademarking and typefaces for many many evenings. It was a joy. He was a joy. I mean, I was a nobody with SCO(r) Lyrix(tm) word processor, and a bit of attitude. We didn't sell an aweful lot of MS Word for UNIX. But the process was all the richer for working with Bruce.
- Spencer Carter (spence)
SCO 1987-2000

* Mylars are transparent adhesive labels easy to put on boxes, more tricky to design to Bruce's high standards.

Don Record said...

I had the pleasure of working with Bruce for about a decade in Santa Cruz (SCO) and will miss his cool beatnik style very much. What a great time we used to have playing music together, especially at the SCO Follies. I recall a parody of the P.F. Sloan/Barry McGuire song "Eve of Destruction" singing "Eve of Production" prior to the initial Unix shipments. My thoughts go out to his family and dear friends. The planet lost a great guy but I guess his image (scribled initials) sore in outer space on the Mariner spacecraft. Bruce and Timothy in deep space. I admired Bruce long before I met him through his album artwork. I will really miss his smiling face at Ron's parties. Don Record

Anonymous said...

I met Bruce as a young child. I can remember he was a great man. He was a very dear friend of my family in San Francisco(Williams) and was admired dearly by all. He led a very inspitational life, and we could ALL learn some lessons from him. Peace

Anonymous said...

The "Fish"
I met Bruce in 1977 while he was working on "We Came to Play" Tower of Power. What a character, the late nights, the endless conversations and of course the coffee. We became pals. I have been his printer and his friend for 30 years. My favorite story, well that would be hard, because our friendship was an ongoing saga of ideas and mutual histories all sort of blended together into a stew of music and photos and love. He was a great friend. One day I called him Steinfish for no reason.....It stuck! Long live The Fish!

Anonymous said...

Bruce and I had become good buddies over the last few years. As Director of the San Francisco Art Exchange I was thrilled when we began representing Bruce's iconic and imaginative work, and I was stoked for him that it was really clicking with our collectors. I had the great honor of helping Bruce sell the original juke-box from the Best of the Doobies cover to one of my top clients. Bruce wrote a description for the client on the history of the cover and the juke-box that read like Shakespeare.

Everyone who knew Bruce knew that he was one of the world's GREAT story-tellers, a raconteur of the highest order, a serious, wide-ranging talent, and a good friend to so many. And I think it is important to note that Bruce was as good a listener as he was a teller of tall tales--and that is saying something!

Perhaps the thing I will always remember Bruce for is a joke he told me one evening. I cannot recount it here due to space and time, but suffice to say it is the greatest musician joke of all-time in my book. It is the story of a band-leader that dies and goes to heaven to put together the all-time band. From now on when I tell the joke I will add that I'm sure Bruce is the one doing the album cover for the best band that heaven can muster!

Bye, Brother Bruce. I'll miss you!

As well, I have been trying to find information on a funeral or wake or even just contact info for Bruce's family. If anyone has this info please let me know at

Anonymous said...

Bruce was an original, he should be given equal credit as founding TOP band members for crafting thier image and idenity. He did visually what the band did with the music, a greasy yet syncronistic partnership who spoke for a generation of Blue Eyed Soulsters. CP Fuller said, "All art aspires to the condition of music". In Bruce's case it was often quite the contrary. He never got the recognition he deserved, I will do my part as a writer and an educator to make sure he gets his "count". He was an inspiration to the artist in all of us.

Anonymous said...

my ear is still sore from talking to bruce for more than 3 hrs, last november. this was after we had'nt talked in over 30 years. we talked over a period of 3 days on the phone. i'm so glad i did. he was an artist of many arts. i will miss him very much.
george diquattro.-azteca

auweia said...

I have something for you. I never met Bruce myself, but many people might not know that he was a musician too.

I have a live song I recorded myself with Bruce on it on my blog now

it's not much, but it's something

a less well known angle to Bruce' life


auweia said...

sorry, the link didn't seem to make it through, so here's the short URL

category - music

Anonymous said...

Bruce contributed some of his Jefferson Airplane photos to my book on the band and we spent many a long hour on the phone talking about the "days." Or, I should say, BRUCE spent many an hour talking and I mostly listened. He was full of such great stories, and opinions, and although I'm not much of a phone gabber I was always sorry when those conversations ended. I last spoke with him just a few months ago and he had lots of plans and ideas, and of course, more stories. I'm sorry to see him go. Jeff Tamarkin

Anonymous said...

Bruce was that rare bird, who always loved going out to hear music in it's truest form....all the way live. He would pop up a few times a year at some remote club I'd be working; and no matter who was on the bandstand with me, you could just about bet he already knew each of them. He had a history with EVERYONE. It's possible that Bruce was the original "6 degrees of separation" inspiration.
I will miss seeing his grooving, soulful face.

Pamela Rose

Anonymous said...

You can hear Bruce's harmonica playing those opening haunting lines on our album. The song was Hot Summer Day. it was 1968 and we were all just kids then... I'll miss you my friend. Be at Peace.
Val Fuentes, Drummer, It's a Beautiful Day.

RC said...

I had the chance to meet Bruce a couple times since sometime around2002. He was posting on the Tower Of Power mailing list, and happened to mention he did a couple album covers for the James Montgomery Band back in the 70's. It just so happened that a co-worker of my wife was currently dating the drummer of James band, and when I told Bruce, he wanted to get back in touch with James. I was glad to help him out, and hooked him up with James.
He told me that if we were ever in the SF area, to give him a call. We were on vaction in SF/Tahoe later that year, so I decided to call him, and he invited us over to his house in Aptos, CA. We got to hang with Bruce & his daughter Jenny for part of the day and had such a great time. We always kept in touch via e-mail, and back in May of 2006, my wife & I decided to visit SF again. Bruce told me to let him know when we would be in town, so we could get together. We ended up hanging out at a place called the South Beach Cafe in SF along the Embarcadero. I remember Bruce was so diasappointed when he arrived, and wondered where my daughter Amanda was (she didn't make the trip). He always wanted to know how she was doing at Berklee College of Music. We ended up spending hours sitting and listening to Bruce tell some great stories, and had just an amazing time. It was getting late, and it was time to head back to our hotel. It was kind of far to walk, and we didn't really know the transit system that well, so Bruce offered us a ride back to the hotel. Only 1 problem..he had a small 2 seat sports/racing car, and how were we going to fit 3 of us into the car? Somehow we managed to squeeze into the car, and off we went cruising down the Embarcadero laughing our heads off, like it was something we would have done back in high school. I can't imagine what it must of looked like when we rolled out of his car at the hotel, probably like one of those clown cars at the circus.
Unfotunately, that was the last time we got to see Bruce. We had already made plans to hang out with him this coming May when we are going back to SF. It just won't be the same. It was such an honor to have known him, and spent time with him. God Bless You Bruce.

Dick, Ilene & Amanda Corvini

Gina said...

Bruce was a dear friend of mine, and I am terribly saddened at the news of his death.

Bruce was a brilliant, complex, enormously talented, loving and giving person. As has been noted by others, Bruce had a gift for storytelling and I spent many hours listening to the tales of his various adventures - he packed a lot of living into his (all too short) 64 years.

Bruce was very curious about the world around him, and liked to investigate things firsthand. He once went to Rio de Janiro for Carnival, and upon arriving jumped into a taxi and drove straight to the part of the city where he had been warned American tourists should not go. In typical Bruce fashion he had a great time, and aside from a hangover was none the worse for the experience.

Bruce was interested in so many things it would be easier to list the things that didn't catch his attention. He had a special interest in solar eclipses, and traveled far and wide to see them. Bruce's travels also took him to Europe where he visited Holocaust memorials and sites. One in particular that drew him was a pile of shoes that had been removed from the feet of Holocaust victims - he was so moved by it that he talked about possibly writing a book about it someday.

Bruce wore many "hats" during his working life, engineer, marketing director, designer and more, and I once asked him when he was happiest in his career. He didn't answer right away, but mulled the question over carefully, as was his wont. Later he came back with the response - "I was happiest when I was designing album covers."

As much as he enjoyed his work, Bruce's greatest source of joy was his family. He loved his kids, was very proud of them, and doted on his little granddaughter - "smart as a whip", just like her grandpa!

Bruce had a sharp intellect, and was a complicated man, simultaneously possessed of strong opinions but willing to ask questions and look at an issue from all sides. He hated mediocrity, and didn't take crap from anybody - woe to the store clerk or bank teller who was rude! They would find themselves on the receiving end of a no-holds-barred Bruce Steinberg lecture, with their mouths agape and eyes wide, awestruck at this man who was nothing less than a force of nature when he got going.

While Bruce didn't hesitate to call anyone on their bullshit, he was equally generous with kudos when he felt they were deserved. When he saw good work, Bruce was more than willing to give encouragement, praise, sound advice and a share of his vast knowledge on many topics.

Bruce's passing leaves a big hole in my life and heart, as it does for all who knew and loved him. Bruce, wherever you are, I hope that you are finding peace (and great music and spareribs!) - you will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Bruce. What can I say about you? You were the definition of one-of-a-kind, the reason the phrase “been there, done that” must have been coined, and the basis for so many of my best stories.

Bruce and I met in 1990 and we worked together at SCO for many years. I had the famous love/hate thing going on with him. Hated to have him come in, just as I wanted to leave. (I knew it would be another 4 hours before I got out of the office.) Hated to have him review something I wrote, since I knew it would days before it was wordsmithed to perfection. Hated to invite him to a party since he would show up when I was saying goodbye to the last guest. But, in spite of my shortcomings, he taught me to value high standards, the ability to see the “big picture”, life’s diversity, and always a good story and good groove.

Bruce and I had a goat thing going. He saw a picture on my desk that I had taken of a goat on a beach in Crete. He then had to show me his pictures of goats that he had taken in Austria years ago. When I then told him that my family raised goats for 4-H, that was it. Not much longer after that, he came into work with a present for me. He had found a little store in the Sacramento River Delta area that had walls full of soccer hats from Mexico. Naturally, he thought I had to have the Guadalajara Chivas (goats) hat. Ever since then, I would get an unexpected Chivas T-shirt sent to me, or a Chivas poster in the mail. Of course, this often came with full email dissertations on the standings and prowess of the Chivas team. It was great that Bruce had a Chivas hat too since he would often email me with comments from passersby that knew the team and saw his hat.

Just this week, I was trying to remember the name of the Polish town that Bruce mentioned he thought his ancestors were from. It related to a story he had told me once about an old Jewish watchmaker who had asked him where he was from. When Bruce said, “San Francisco”, the old man said, “Yes, I know but where are you from?” Bruce said “New York”, and the man replied, “Yes, I know but where are you from?” At that point, Bruce said he remembered his mother talking about a place in Poland named Poyzn (?) that he may have been from. The old man said, “Ah ha, I knew you were from Poyzn!” (Which Bruce explained to me later was a university town of very avant guarde thinkers.)

I am not sure about the real name of the town but when I was Googling this week to find university towns in Poland, I was reading about Poznan (Poyzn).
A link caught my eye to a close up of the town clock in Poznan. I clicked on it and started laughing when I saw it was two metal goat figures. Whether it is the town or not, I knew Bruce was out there sending me his funky goat vibes!

Go Chivas!

jimmo said...

At the party following my last SCO Forum (1994) I mentioned to Bruce that I was leaving SCO very shortly to return to Germany. I don't recall whether Bruce asked or I mentioned it on my own, but I told him that I did not yet have a job. Since I had written a couple of articles for DiSCOver magazine, Bruce knew my work and he also knew many people in the publishing business. One of which was the editor of a German language SCO magazine who happened to be attending Forum that year and was at the party. Rather than just giving me her name and email, for the next half hour Bruce weaved his way through the dancing crowd with me in tow looking for her. I still have the vision in my head of Bruce intently looking at every face in the crowd, moving back and forth through the mass of bouncing and gyrating bodies. We eventually found her and Bruce introduced me.

I didn't work directly with Bruce and he didn't owe me a "favor". Instead, he took it upon himself to help me. Not because there was any obligation, but rather because he could and he was, well, Bruce.

Anonymous said...

I've known Bruce my whole life. It always seemed that I could count on him to be wherever I was. Even to this day, everytime I go to a show that my dad plays I still look for that black leather jacket.
I was lucky enough to work with him on my dad's album cover, Mic Gillette's "Ear Candy". Needless to say, we had multiple 2 hour phone/in person conversations on past album art, ideas and how to execute them and of course his signature stories. I'm sure some of which my dad didn't think I'd hear!
He imparted knowledge upon me that I couldn't have received anywhere else. He was a colorful, unique, multi-dimensional and all around consistently sweet man.
No matter what, I know he will always be at the shows, wearing his black leather jacket.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Bruce for 3 years at SCO, but from even before Day One he was always much, much more than a boss. It's fair to say that he had as much impact on the course of my life as as anyone I know. He showed me that one can be creative and successful in the workaday world without sacrificing one's own self-respect. He personally wouldn't - couldn't - be anything but himself, under all conditions. And his self was great.

The last time I visited with him, at a bayside cafe in SF in the summer of 2005, he was telling me about his then-new on-line gallery and also explaining the difference between amps and volts. Classic Bruce, the man-for-all seasons. I had not known until then that he had an EE from Cornell.

I was going off to a grad program in New York, and Bruce relayed the secret to doing well in school, which he claims to not have discovered himself until college: Do the reading before you take the test.

Bruce, I wish I'd told you when I had the chance what has always been true. I love you. Always will.


Sharon Wray said...

I will miss my phone sessions with Bruce on memories of the Link Wray days as he played such a big part not only as Link's producer but as the families closest and dearest friend while we live in California.
What dedication he had to this work his family and his friends. My remembrances with all our times recording and the pictures he took of Link through the years .. He was best known for keeping me on the phone for hours. He would call and say "Sharon, we need to talk" and I would say, " Oh No Bruce, I dont have 4 hours of phone time right now. But you know, once he got started , you just couldnt hang up and every word from him was from the heart and caring whether it would be business, or family. He loved his family deeply. I missed the phone call I was suppose to get the first of the year. What a loss. I will miss you sincerely.

Anonymous said...

Bruce and I once hung out for 24hrs or so on my 25th birthday. We stayed up all night shooting pool. You see I had just gotten a brand new pool table at my surprise 25th birthday party.

We stayed in touch over the years and I always appreciated his candor and love of life. He will be missed.

In Peace,
Ron E Beck

Anonymous said...

I was looking through some old email from Bruce and I found this one that related to my earlier post. Thought I would share it.... so Bruce

From: Bruce Steinberg
Subject: Chivas, El equipo de futbol mas popular en Mexico.

Hi Lynn --

Shortly after I saw you at work, I was down at Longs Drugs on 41st Ave. and the same thing I was telling you about with the Tigres cap happened again.

I was walking past the customer service counter and this cute Mexican girl who was working at one end of the counter followed me all the way
to the other end to stop me and ask if I followed the Tigres. (This cap beats walking a dog to meet women, and it's not even a flame job. :)

I told her I'd just been talking with you about how I got into Mexican soccer caps when I found you your first Chivas one, and how I started
finding more caps in more places, and eventually got myself the Tigres cap, and now all these people asking me if I follow Mexican soccer had
inspired me to find out more about it.

She was stoked that I not only knew about the Tigres, but also the Chivas, and Cruz Azul, and America, and the Pumas. She told me her
favorite team, but I not only never heard of it, but couldn't pronounce it even after she said it three times. Que lastima.

She did tell me something interesting about the Chivas, though. Turns out what I told you about them being so-so in both record and popularity
wasn't correct. I told her I'd gotten that impression because some folks I'd mentioned them to kind of sneered and hadn't liked them very much.

She said she understood because she doesn't like them much either, but that's mainly because they're so good that they're kind of cocky. So
their home fans in Guadalajara (and purists elsewhere around the country) are huge fans, but they piss off everyone else. Sounds like my
kind of team -- if you're going to play Mexican soccer, you might as well aspire to be a Chiva.

In fact, it would appear that the Chivas are the Yankees of Mexican soccer after all.

I looked them up on Google tonight and found they actually have their own web site whose home page actually has the metatag, "Chivas, El
equipo de futbol mas popular en Mexico," so she wasn't fooling about their self-image!

(To be fair, she said the Tigres are pretty smokin', too.)

¡¡¡Arriba las Chivas (y Los Tigres)!!! B*

Anonymous said...

I just returned from the NAMM show in Anaheim where Pete and Juanita Escovedo informed me of Bruce's passing. I was particularly shocked as we had been communicating quite a bit last year. Also, he was a year younger than me! He will definitely be missed by anyone with eyes and ears. His photographs are a living history of pop. rock and jazz. He had recently sent me a couple of his shots of the original Azteca horn section and me playing soprano with long hair and all.

Like everyone else here, I could go on and on with stories which I'm sure Bruce would have loved. Don't know about any memorials or tributes but I think he would have been very happy to see all these wonderful posts online. Personally, I'm sitting here listening to the new Herbie Hancock CD and reading these posts. I was also archiving those photos and felt Bruce right over my right shoulder helping me correct the color levels!.

The last time I saw him was at the Fillmore Jazz Festival in July. We talked after our set and in classic Bruce fashion he said "to make a long story short" and I stopped him right there and said "Man, you've never made a long story short in your life!" He just sort gave me that puppy dog look and we laughed. I will miss Bruce a lot.

Mel Martin

Anonymous said...

When I first heard from Bruce in 2004 I could sense something sensational. When we met a remarkable melding of similar pasts, future wishes and common interest created a bond. As I introduced Bruce to my social and professional networks he spun his magic on most. Here was a man dedicated to documenting and being part of history. And here was a man whom strangers loved as he was more centered on being interested rather than interesting.

His intellect was at times blinding. Not only his endless insights on the broadest range of topics. When I would hire him to to make investments documents sensible,he became the most informed and inquisitive individual in the field....although he had no prior knowledge.

Predictable. The leather jacket. The Camera. The computer. Five minutes early. He will make you smile and laugh within a couple of minutes. Always giving. He will relish his wake!

Anonymous said...

I worked for Bruce for five years in SCO Marcom where he was exceptionally kind and patient with me. He was also an unforgettable professional and life mentor, as well as an inspiration as a graphic artist, writer and musician whose passions and talents spanned technology, science, business and the arts.

Bruce deserved more credit for creating the flying toaster, one of the graphic elements of his "30 Seconds Over Winterland" LP cover. He was robbed by the software company that used the FT for a popular screensaver. When they had the gall to sue another software company for doing a parody version, Bruce stepped in and asserted his ownership. Later, the Jefferson Airplane won all rights after a complex court battle.

Bruce's version of the FT had a clock in the center of the toasters. As he told me over corn nuts one late night preparing for a trade show, "Jorma Kaukonen was telling the old joke about why did the moron throw the clock out the window, when someone replied, "Anyone knows that, but why did he throw the toaster out the window." The rest is history.

What a sweet, funny, gutsy and brilliant guy. So many people will miss him so much.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, you had the spirit of a young one and you were full of love and experience of a wise old man.
You will always remain in my heart ...
PS: If anyone can give me the phone number of Jenny I would be very greatful, Ingrid, Graz, Austria

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of good, memorable and funny things to recall about Bruce – all his exceptional talents, screen-upon-screen emails, "if you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly - what do they think I am chopped liver? - I don't know whether to kiss you or kill you. . ." aphorisms. I just wanted to recall that even though I did not meet his children Jenny and Cheyenne until just recently, I always knew that Bruce really loved them. No matter how convoluted, challenging, and over-long our work days were at SCO – Bruce always made it clear to me that he kept his kids' well being on the top of his mind and their upbringing as a central concern in his life. Well, a lot of time has passed, the kids are all grown up, and Bruce now you're gone, but Jenny and Cheyenne sure are two fine folks – chips off the ole' block in the best possible ways. Atta-B*!

Unknown said...

Back in December 1993 I got Internet access for the first time in my life. These were post-perestroyka days and the Soviet Union had recently collapsed, putting the whole ex-Soviet countries into a chaos.

Back in those days there were no web sites, most of users would connect via 2400 or 9600 bps dial-up modems (19200 bps was a real Rolls-Royce back then), so all Internet-users could do was either emailing together, or sending their messages to so called �newsgroups�, where one could discuss news/questions �live�.

Being a music fan, I immediately found newsgroup, which was supposed to be the main jazz forum on the net.

I spent couple of days reading the newsgroup to get accustomed to the rules and then finally felt being ready to ask my very first question to the audience. In 1991 I happened to purchase a Modern Drummer magazine in Moscow (!!!) (back in those days a lot of strange things were happening � one could guess what could be the reason to sell Modern Drummer in a regular newspaper kiosk in Moscow downtown.) That issue featured David Garibaldi on the cover and the article was referring to his great work he had done with a group named Tower of Power. Another strange thing happening in Moscow these days was a killer Prestige radio (FM104.7, later 101.7), which did not last long, but turned out key for me. These guys would be broadcasting 24 hr of jazz/funk/latin without any ads and even announcements (a good trivia)! Needless to say, that with all this music being not available in Moscow back then, I would spend a lot of time listening to this radio. And one night there was a killer 20+ minute live tune, which immediately went into my soul , and right in the middle of I heard the singer announcing the band as �Tower of Power�. This was, or course, �Knock Yourself Out� from �Live And In Living Color� album. It just clicked � ah-ha, this is Tower of Power and I sure, like it!

So, no wonder, my very first question posted to was about Tower of Power. The very next day I got three replies. And one of these replies was very special. A guy named Bruce Steinberg sent me a very detailed and perfect email answering all my questions and telling me even more details, and telling me �and, by the way, I worked with Tower of Power in 70�s and did their album covers�. This is how our 14-year friendship started, and these were 14 extremely important and essential years for me and I am extremely thankful for meeting Bruce and having this precious opportunity to know him and being his friend.

From the very first emails I had a feeling we knew each other for 10 years � it just happened, that aside of music interests we had a lot of other things in common: we were both a great fans of aerospace (he participated in early stages of Apollo program before moving to the Bay Area), we had an interest in the histories of our countries (Soviet Union and United States), so it was extremely interesting to share the views and to learn each other�s visions on many things. We would be exchanging emails almost every days and even ended up calling each other to hear the real voices behind emails.

In April 1994 there was a computer show in Moscow, called Comtek. Back then it was the most important IT show in Moscow, and a number of SCO people (Bruce was then helping SCO) decided to check it out. And Bruce, having now a good excuse not only to visit the show, but to see in real his new Russian buddy, of course, could not resist the temptation to come over.

Since back in those days the digital photography was not a king, we could barely imagine how do we look like (aside �I will be in a leather jacket�), so we agreed to meet at the Sheremetyevo airport with me holding �Mr.B*� sign (remember, this was how he signed his emails.)

So, here I was standing with this sign when suddenly a guy came over (of course, in his trademark leather jacket): �Hi, Ash!�. Bruce came with a �Johnny Funkenseed� mission, bringing me a bunch of CDs and tapes of Tower, Professor Longhair, Meters, Neville Brothers, and even the brand-new rising star Me�Shell Ndegeocello�s debut album.

He spent 3 or 4 days in Moscow, and we would be visiting all important tourist places, and then he left to St.Petersburg to finish his Russian experience.

My turn to pay him a return visit came in 1998, when I finally made to a business trip to San Francisco. Bruce came to the airport to pick me up and always did so during my later trips to SF. I was so thankful to him for always finding time to spend with me, and the trip was quite an experience, since he ended up introducing me to his friends James Levi, Joan Van Brunt, Tom Wiggins, David Garibaldi, Mic Gillette, Bill Champlin, Phil and Pete Escovedo and friends of friends - James Haye, Zigaboo Modeliste, Curtis Ohlson, Karl Perazzo, and many others.
Look, I heard these people on CDs and LPs, saw their pictures on the album covers, but I would never ever dream of seeing them in real life! This trip went like a dream � we even went to Yoshi�s to see McCoy Tyner with Steve Turre, Giovanni Hidalgo, David Sanches, Orestes Vilato, Claudio Roditi and Horacio �El Negro� Hernandez. Today, looking at the pictures, it is still hard to believe all that happened in one week and we indeed managed to see so many people.

Another experience was seeing THE original artwork � e.g. THE original �Back to Oakland� cover with the road sign picture glued to the picture of the bridge he took from a roof of an adjacent building, Bump City sketches, and a lot of other great ideas.

He was a true giant � something that people will appreciate more and more as time goes by. His artwork is very recognizable, and his style is very solid. Whatever he would do, would be extremely demanding, hi-class and well-thought. He would often use some small things that one is supposed to notice only after thorough study of his artwork. Like the cover of �Open Fire� � if studied thoroughly, and electrical scheme of a multiplexer connection to an Apollo spacecraft can be found in the middle. And, there are so many hidden messages in his covers � each one is a definite storyteller.

I had a pleasure to see Bruce again during my trips to SF in 2000 and 2001 (if my memory serves me correct). Every time it was a unique experience and a great pleasure, new friends (Paul Jackson, Annie Van Brunt, Ron E.Beck, Pamela Rose) and lots of impressions.

Though we have actually seen each only four times (1994, 1998, 2000 and 2001) we would be always in touch via email and phone.

Bruce was a very special guy. He was truly a great human being and a very soulful guy, a great personality and a true and dear friend. Bruce always radiated so much fun and joy, had a ton of creative ideas in his bag. He was a great storyteller and indeed knew a lot and was a part of Bay Area music scene.

It is indeed very hard to believe that he is not with us anymore.

Thank you, my Soul Bro, for your wisdom, your great sense of humor, for everything you did for me � this is indeed priceless! I was really delighted to be your friend and I miss you so much! To say the least, you�re the most!


Moscow, Russia

Anonymous said...

Steinberg Unabridged
Al Carlos Hernandez

A cold wet rainy grey Saturday afternoon curtain of fog washed the Santa Cruz beach and Boardwalk cartoonish 2nd story fa├žade. The theater styled marquee read in block letters where the feature film title should read, read, Bruce Steinberg Unabridged.

Water whipped leather trench coat, twin glass doors open to a thick red carpeted foyer, and a mirrored elevator filled 12 deep with gray haired hipsters up ward and on ward to the second floor festivity. Up the wide cushiony stairs, to the left a huge glass ceilinged room, a table of well wishers a guest book, top quality full color graphics material all about our friend some called “The Bruce”.

The Cocoanut Grove Sunroom, is a basketball court sized sky lighted gazebo, a stage on one end, folding chairs facing the stage, round tables, tables on the side, showed The Bruce legacy and memorabilia. Gold and Platinum records from the Doobie brothers living on the fault to a fault indeed , a buffet of album covers, smiling and sad pictures of a life well lived and well loved. A full bar lined the back, finger foods carrot cake and a free CD of music by Steinberg 1943-2007.

Cool jazz from best friend music masters one of whom came from Japan, played tributes to the man who kept weird hours, a borderline genius, the dramatist of the superlative stories, a master - engager –engineer of the art of conversation.

Smiling heart cry testimonials from millionaire friends who knew and learned from him when he was a corporate VP, Props from Rock Stars when he was a roadie- body guard who played a wicked harp, and those who remembered him when he was a rocket scientist, few remembered him as a child TV actor and under the name of Bruce Marshall as a child performer recorded the voice of the “Lil Bad Wolf” for Disney back in the hand drawn full color innocent and Eisenhower days of our collective youth.

Bruce was something different to everyone, a cat who would show up late spend hours on the phone and wooed his last love via cell phone, their first date was her sitting via cell phone at a place setting while he sat in a Manhattan restaurant, she was home in New Jersey, it was the best date of her life which lasted 7 years until his untimely passing.

His kids were the last to speak, his son ended it with saying Dad was a bad MF, then came the schmoozing, the dot comer with the graying still cool hipsters. It’s a Beautiful day played as a friend paraded a copy of the album cover he produced for them as the band played on.

I left after the band played the tune White Bird in Bruce’s honor.

The bird has left the cage, a rare bird indeed, the likes of whom we will never see again.

May God Bless Mr. B., our lives have been enriched by his life and somewhat diminished by his passing.

“Find the beauty in the funk”

Anonymous said...

Bruce was just over at my house in Santa Cruz last month, as we sat in front of my computer screen in the studio going over shots for a new CD cover. If i was going to release something I thought well, hell, I may as well call Stienberg, see what ideas he's got for the cover.

He had lots of great ideas, like he always does. He looked over a ton of expensive production shots and held up one dopey tourist I shot with my cheap digital camera in at a low down bar hanging out with a friend on Frenchman's Street at midnight in New Orleans.

He took one look at it and said, It's all there! Not in the shot but in the eyes, yours, hers and the other guys. In fact let's crop him half in and half out. It'll say it all. Let the picture tell it.

Less is more...less is in fact everything! Just like Bruce...

It was then and there that he confessed that a lot of the very famous album covers done in the 70s were shot with little more than an Instamatic camera with that quality LONGS DRUGS Photo Processing.

I said, "You gotta be kidding!" Then he reeldoff the names of some very famous covers shot with less than a minimum of equipment and a maximum of soul.

Bruce was always looking, always listening. That's what we did when we got together. We listened and looked. Always a soulful experience.

Tried to get him to go to the openng of the new Yoshi's in SF with me to see Taj Mahal and the Phanthom Blues band with Jon Cleary. I even had tix! Brought a cheap camera.
He would of dug it!

Miss him already.

with love...
Richie Begin
Santa Cruz, CA

Anonymous said...

I was Bruce's roommate in the early '70's , when he was really immersed in doing album covers . I witnessed the creation of the ' Chicken Fist 'for Tower of Power's" Bump City ", his first air brush - James Montgomery - then " Tower of Power " with " What Is Hip " , Jefferson Airplane's " 30 Seconds Over Winterland " with the flying toasters ( he said - " John , do you know how hard it is to make 7 different times - to represent the 7 different members of Jefferson Airplane , who , he'd said were all on a different time schedule - and The Doobie Greatest Hits ( he used our old brown/beige classic formica kitchen table for the border and back cover background for credits , check it out next with that in mind , you'll see and say " yep , that really is that ugly old formica of the day ". Then later , I watched him create "Livin' On The Fault Line " for them , an award winner . Also I saw him create the cover for Azteca first album using the Mayan calendar as the basis and inserting the members faces on it - brilliance . I was there a couple different times for a total of 3 1/2 years and will never forget Bruce saying he was happiest when he could get up on The Bay Bridge to take pictures . He loved the album covers in the truest artistic sense , but was always having to hassle with getting paid by most of the record companies . That's when he found solace and more beauty - " up on the bridge " . There will be more remembrances to post as time goes by , as I have many from the inside ........ there were 12/13 cats at one time in the house , he loved cats and they had kittens ....... many . He provided me with the privelege of friendship , guidance and " hey , John , what do you think of this ? " or , " check this out " .when he was creating these album covers . I was 19 - 23 yrs. old during these times , he was an older brother . His favorite saying was " on the real side " .......... now he is there ....... and he always was when he was on this side . Another favorite saying and activity of his was " then do it ! " . that's what he always did - he didn't have any other way . The range Bruce had and worked with had no bounds . I miss him . John Dzerigian

Anonymous said...

Bruce - there is a place in my heart shaped just for you. God speed to you brother.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Gina said...

Bruce contributed to the creation of 97 album covers. (I counted everything listed on the AllMusic website that is linked to Bruce's site.) I have scanned 15 of his album covers and posted the images, plus some tidbits of information about each, to the tribute site:

For some I scanned only the front covers (if there was only text on the back); on some of the albums I scanned the back and/or inside of the cover as well. Three of the covers I posted are not available as images on the AllMusic site.

Gina said...

Bruce - ever the egalitarian.

In the fall of 1999 I attended the 75th birthday party of my friend's father, and Bruce came along as my guest. The party was held at the community center of a one-horse town up in the foothills. This is one of those community centers where users are expected to tidy up after their events, so when the party ended I headed into the kitchen to help with the clean-up.

When I was done I was wondering what Bruce was up to, so I went into the large room where the festivities had taken place. When I stepped through the door, I saw a great sight that spoke volumes about Bruce's character. My friend's brother-in-law was wielding a large broom, and there was Bruce hunched over, walking backwards and holding the dust pan!

That was Bruce - he routinely rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, but he was always a down-to-earth guy and never put on airs.

Anonymous said...

It's been almost one year since Bruce left us... I still can't believe he's gone, the healing process is slow, but it is getting better, as Bruce would want for us.

Bruce was not a religious man (he told me he couldn't believe in a God who would allow such awful things to happen in the world), but he did enjoy the festivities of the season. In fact, there was one corner of Bruce's house where the Christmas lights and decorations stayed up all year - he called it "the Christmas corner". I think the Christmas corner stayed decorated all year partly because Bruce was too busy to take it down, but also because he just enjoyed the sparkle.

Bruce certainly embodied the giving spirit of the season, year around - he was generous with his time, money, encouragement, advice, support and his love.

Season's greetings to you, B* - we miss you.

Hewitt said...

Lynn Schroeder, could you please contact me regarding the status of what must be tons of his photos.
I'm a long-time friend and associate of Bruce starting with IABD through Azteca and Link Wray all the way to the web site. As many have said, he was one-of-a-kind who touched many lives. He will live forever in my mind. Thanks.
Hewitt Jackson

Unknown said...

I hope nobody will object if I use excerpts from this blog to remember Bruce at out 50th high school reunion in NYC this October (Stuyvesant HS). In contrast to everyone who has posted a reminiscence here, I was Bruce's friend in high school and knew him as an avid radio ham and fun guy. The only clue I had about his artistic bent were the amazing doodles he showed me in his math notebook. I lost contact with him afterwards (as hams are wont to do ;) and didn't reconnect until the mid-90's, when we met up at a cafe in SF together with my son who was just starting his jazz career. How did that happen? I was browsing my LP collection trying to decide which I should keep, and came upon his name on the Beautiful Day album I had preserved with much love. It wasn't too hard to track him down and we stayed in touch by e-mail until shortly before he passed.

Alan McKay, Reno said...

I am writing this in February 2010 and I am sooo bummed. I had no idea Bruce had passed...we first met back in the early 90's as denizens of, an old usenet jazz forum. One thing led to another, and Bruce learned of my interest in all things Tower of Power. (I still have a signed copy of his Back to Oakland poster). We subsequently connected several times over the years, either at our place in Reno, or down in the Capitola/SC area. The last time we spoke must have been summer of 2007(?), as I think he was spending a lot of time back at his place on Potrero Hill, and we talked about catching a Giants' game...never happened though. I knew Bruce played a bit of harmonica, and whenever I found something noteworthy, I'd try to pass it his way. That's what brought me to the doorstep of his online gallery this morning, and the sad news of his passing. To his family, I am so, so sorry.

Carol Von Haden said...

I met Bruce at the "Minimum Daily Requirement", a North Beach coffee shop, in 1969. I also remember him from the Old Spaghetti Factory and Mooney's. We were friends from the jump.

I had two of his cat Blanche's kittens for awhile. We remained friends through the years, though we kept up mostly by phone and e-mail in recent decades.

I moved north and he moved south.

We would talk a couple of times a year and the calls would go on for hours. His intelligence and humor were always right there. Each conversation seemed to take up right were the the other left off.

When he found himself passing through Novato, he would call and pop in. On one of those visits, in around 2003, we talked until the sun came up. It was always such a rich pleasure to share time with him.

I discovered he had passed when none of his phone numbers worked. I had last spoken to him in early December, and a few months had passed. I felt fearful as I Googled to find out what was up.

That was only a week after the memorial bash. I am sorry that I missed it. I am sure that I would have seen people from the past whom I may never have occasion cross paths with again.

I find myself looking back at his pictures, from time to time, and remembering him with great fondness. I thought I had made an entry to this blog in 2008, but I don't see it. It was my great pleasure to have known "Goose" and he will always hold a special place in my heart. Farewell old friend.

Anonymous said...

The last time I saw Bruce was July 2006, a year and half before he passed. We went to Red's Java House (on a pier at the foot of the Bay Bridge) because he wanted to show me his framed photos on the walls of the diner - great black and white prints of the Bay Bridge that he had taken in 1970. Bruce loved that bridge, and took a phenomenal series of photos on the structure. I miss his humor, intelligent conversation and generosity, and think of him frequently.