”Don’t call me Mike.” That was the first rule you learned shortly after you met Michael for the first time. However, friends being friends, we would sometimes jokingly call him “Mike” just to kid him or get under his skin. Truth be told, it really didn’t bother him that much and he would laughingly go along the joke because humor was one of his many talents and to him a good laugh was nothing to waste.
Michael was an accomplished musician who favored the keyboards and in his later years played the drums with the energy of someone half his age. He and his brother Dart, another very accomplished musician, honed their musical skills together as kids growing up in Texas. Michael told me they got their start together at a pizza parlor gig when they were just young boys and they converted the bathroom in their house to a recording studio by deadening the sound inside their “studio” with large amounts of towels and pillows. Most appropriately, his brother, Dart, has a very nice recording studio at his house now. These Steed brothers have committed a lot sound to tape over the years. Perhaps we will hear some “previously unreleased” material from Flying Sub Studio in the near future?
Of course, as the years moved on, Michael played in many bands. In the 1980s, he was in a new wave pop band called Square Force that was voted as Tulsa Oklahoma’s Best Band. He knew everyone and everyone knew him – it’s a very small town here. After the 1980s, Square Force eventually disbanded but Michael revisited his relationship with the drums and became a fill-in drummer for a lot of people in the area while maintaining regular gigs with established bands such as The Painkillers, Tex Montana and Susan Herndon to name a few. Michael loved the musical gig culture with all the crazy hours, crazy club owners and low pay – it’s a situation and a lifestyle only a true musician can understand.
Michael was also a very talented graphic designer and artist that operated his own boutique design studio the same as I did for around twenty five years. We met at a New Year’s Eve party in 1990 and we connected immediately and very strongly over our new endeavors as independent freelance designers. This was back in the day when only artists and creative types used Macintosh computers while everyone else used those other machines. There was no Apple Store, no App Store and no ready support for Macintosh users so we became our very own troubleshooting support group for keeping these wonderfully creative design aids running and profitable. We spent a lot of time together in support of each other and those times with Michael remain very special and significant to me. I will miss him very much just the same as the many others who were also blessed by Michael’s talent and infectious persistent sense of humor. Rest in peace my friend, your journey has just begun.