When did you start performing? I started doing it . . . more or less to donate my time and to donate my tips to (the) Make-A-Wish (Foundation). It started as kind of just a fun thing. I started playing, and people liked it, and I liked it more. It became a fundraiser more than anything. I've been playing since I was 8 years old. I'm 55, so I've been playing a long time. A couple friends of mine went to a fundraiser. We thought . . . we could try that. Unfortunately, a couple of the other guys couldn't keep after it. It's easier for a piano guy to do it by himself. I started (playing at the John Wright Store & Restaurant) in the beginning of June.
Why did you choose Make-A-Wish? Our lacrosse team (The Eastern York Knights Lacrosse Club) was heavily involved in that with their fundraising efforts. I helped coach this past year (and) both my boys are (on the team). They adopt a family every year to do something special for them. I believe (the family) was going to Disney World, and I thought it would be nice to give them some spending money for that trip. The additional money that I gathered is going to be used (by the lacrosse team) for the next family. But don't you want to hear about my Volkswagen bus? (Laughs)
Yes. I was in a band in high school. There's always somebody in a band somewhere in some town (who) has one of these old Volkswagen hippie buses. I found one, and we gutted the inside of it. I travel with an . . . electronic grand piano (that) fits perfectly into my Volkswagen bus. We got some ramps and put them in the bus. We built a dolly that has holes in it so all three of the piano's legs fit in it. We strap . . . it to the back of the seats. We put peace signs on the outside of it to make it look retro. I'm in the baby boomers (generation), and we all remember the days of Woodstock and the bands that traveled in vans.
What songs to you play? I play stuff anywhere from Roy Orbison to John Mayer (and) from Elton John and Billy Joel to Michael Bublé. In any one night, I (have) 140 songs to pick from, and it's all from memory. I don't have to carry music with me or anything. I couldn't imagine carrying that much music. (Laughs) Toward the end of the evening . . . the audience gets involved.
It seems hard to play and sing at the same time. It is. I've tried to learn the words as much as I can because it's difficult enough to learn the song. You don't want to embarrass yourself by singing something that's incorrect when someone's sitting right there (who) has heard it 1,000 times and knows the real words.
So you're the piano man by night. What's your full-time job? I own . . . Franklin-Stevens Jewelers (in Springettsbury Township). I've been doing that for 38 years. I just though it would be kind of neat to (try music). I'm having a great time. I've played at a couple private parties. I'd like to play at other places. I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it because I really enjoy playing. A friend of mine (Angel Matias) is playing along with me a little bit. He's a tremendous conga player.
Do you know how much money you've personally raised so far? We're just about at $1,200 so far. I put a tip jar out, and I put a sign on it for Make-A-Wish. The people are really generous. (John Wright) has an outdoor seating area that is . . . all glass that overlooks the Susquehanna River. There are times where we get 40 (to) 50 people in there. My friends have been very supportive. They really come out and help.
Do you take requests? I take them whether or not I can accommodate. I plan . . . to have my songs list passed out and have it . . . where somebody can look at it and find a song that they would like to hear. We're going to be doing something special (Oct. 29). I'm doing a bunch of Halloween-themed songs for that night. I guess I'll dress up like Elton John or something. (Laughs)
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
Steve Fureman will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Oct. 29 at the John Wright Store & Restaurant, 123 N. Front St. in Wrightsville. For details, call 252-0416 or visit www.johnwrightrestaurant.com.
For details about the Make-A-Wish Foundation: www.wish.org.
Listen to the interview: www.flipsidepa.com.
Read meet-the-artist interviews: www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.