[Sometimes Joes aren't musicians but the people behind the scenes who turn their passion for music into something we can all enjoy. Steve Popovich, a music executive and fan, was a Rock and Roll Joe.]
by Chip Taylor
Just heard the sad news that my friend Steve Popovich passed away. I treasured his friendship so much. He was one of those guys that brought me up every time I saw him. He saw right through bullshit and loved passionate music. I can just hear him now encouraging me in his straight, no BS way. That was a great thing – to hear Steve’s voice telling you something positive about yourself. It just resonated through you – and you believed it because he said it – and you knew he knew stuff!
We knew each other from the old N.Y. days when he was this revered promo man who had come up through the ranks to become VP of A&R for Epic Records. We stayed in touch when he worked in Cleveland at his label (Cleveland International) and raised his son, Steve Jr. We would talk often about our passion for our kids and families and coaching ball teams etc. And we talked a lot about his enthusiasm for Mott The Hoople and the great, highly underrated Ian Hunter. I really got into the depth of Ian’s music through Steve. He was one of the first to welcome me back when I put the gambling stuff aside and returned to music in 1997. I’ll never forget that.
We hooked up later in Nashville where he moved to be close to his son & family and support good, honest music. Steve came from humble surroundings to make a huge mark in the business. And he made his mark totally from his passion for stuff he believed in. We’re all better for that.
I loved this guy. I’ll miss him bad.
[Steve's work is most known by the Meat Loaf album, Bat Out Of Hell, which he released through his Cleveland International label.]