RRI: Former RIPT, Bullet front man Steve Moriarity on riding through the years

By Todd Houston

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Some folks may remember you as the original singer for the popular Rockford area metal band RIPT. What other bands have you been a part of here in the area?

Steve Moriarity: There have been a few! The Rockford band Bullet is another. Those guys are still going strong today after all these years!

RRI: What’s in your iPOD or CD player right now? What sort of music are you listening to?

SM: Rob Halford, Judas Priest, Deftones, Black Keys and Danny Baldarama’s band Midnite Angel. I love all that stuff. (laughs)

RRI: I always thought you had a very cool voice in the vein of Bon Scott and Jeff Keith. Did you have any formal vocal training early on?

SM: First of all thank you! And yes I did. I remember I was singing “House of the Rising Sun” at the old Audio Track and “The Colonial” from the band Wheezer Lockinger was there listening. He told me that I had a good voice but if I was going to be a singer I should take some voice lessons and get some vibrato! I took his advice and went to vocal instructor Sheila Vaynas for about three years. She’s a great teacher and still teaches to this day. Right around that time I auditioned for the Rockford band The Employees but they told me that I sang too high and my hair was too long! I took it as a compliment!

RRI: I noticed a couple of your older photos show you with a bass guitar in hand. Was that just a prop or do you really play bass?

SM: Yes, I played bass in a three piece band and thought I was pretty good until I saw the band Rock City with the great Tom Goble! I remember thinking, Man, I will never be that good so I dropped the bass and concentrated on vocals only.

RRI: I remember seeing you with RIPT at Loves Park’s Young at Heart Festival. While the band was doing the intro you were on top of the Rockford Park District mobile stage 30 feet in the air rolling around and jumping up and down. Was there ever a moment where you thought to yourself, “What the heck am I doing? I could be killed!”

SM: I guess I never thought about it! I just wanted to put on a show. I still like to climb on stuff, but these days it’s just parallel bars.

RRI: RIPT was gaining a ton of fans in the area and playing a lot of shows. Why did you leave?

SM: Just for arguments sake I quit. There were some band politics involved but it really doesn’t matter anymore Todd. They probably would have kicked me out sooner or later anyway; (laughs) man we had a lot of good times!

RRI: Let’s have some fun – When was the last time Steve Moriarity listened to a metal CD?

SM: Daily.

RRI: Paid someone to do your hair?

SM: Never! RIPT always paid for all the hair weaves and hair dyes. The real miracle is that I still have hair!

RRI: Paid a fine to keep from going to jail?

SM: Not lately. I sleep on the lobby floor at the Justice Center. It’s free!

RRI: Listened to an entire AC/DC album without singing along.

SM: That would be tough.

RRI: At the end of the day what does Steve Moriarity want to be remembered for?

SM: What else? For being the best singer and wildest front man this city has ever seen! Peace.

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