Santa Clara, CA
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My CD @ iTunes
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Saturday 5-4-2013 10am PST
"When life hands you lemons... ...Make Lemonade"
“Jeff’s stirring originals and strong on-air presence helped us meet our fundraising goal”
D. Borough, KKUP Music Marathon Coordinator
When the Tech downturn hit Jeffrey Hellman combined his lifelong love of music with his computer expertise and set out to earn a living playing music. “In a way it was a Godsend, because it forced me to do the one thing I had always wanted to do but could never do full time.” Jeff began performing at Farmer’s Markets in the North Bay in the late 80’s including the Downtown San Rafael Farmer’s market . An opportunity to test software in the South Bay required a move to Sunnyvale. Jeff was soon a regular performer at local South Bay Markets; especially the Sunnyvale Farmer’s Market. Jeff was one of the first performers incorporating music software as accompaniment for solo performing in area venues. In 1996 Jeff began performing as Steelrain after creating the name to establish a web presence/site. Years of performing in markets and private functions have produced a catalogue of music that is unique and seductive. Jeff currently resides in the South Bay area near Cupertino California.
More Details/Update: When I was a young adolescent(late 1960s) I lacked the discipline to learn and practice conventional scales and chords. Even so I was driven to play guitar. I was also drawn to the sound of the sitar and the music of Ravi Shankar. I discovered an open way of tuning the guitar that allowed me to somewhat mimic the sound that I heard in the ragas I listened to. As time went by this became a way for me to retreat from day to day stress I was experiencing and was akin to meditation for me.
Skipping ahead to 1979, I became friends with someone who inspired me to want to be able to play along with them. I decide that I would buy an electric guitar and learn how to play. When they heard me talk of doing this they gave to me a guitar which I still play today I gave up the raga style I had played for years and began to learn to play the way everyone else did.
Along the way I discovered midi sequencing software that I used to create a backup band over which I could sing and solo. I had a good day job and discovered that I could get work on the weekends playing at Farmer's Markets as a one man band. I played at markets all over the South Bay and a few in the East Bay from time to time for over 15 years.
During this time I started the first business selling and repairing Macintosh computers and software in San Rafael. I later closed the business and went to work at Apple Computer and stayed there for 10 years. I also had a problem with cocaine which brought me in and out of 12 step programs until 9-9-99 when I finally stopped using and have not used ever since.
In 2007 I underwent an angioplasti and while in the hospital one of the cardiac Doctors decided I was depressed and required medication. This was due to symptoms she interpreted as panic attacks but in retrospect were likely sleep apnea. This began a 4+ year process of ever changing medications that left me apathetic and disinterested in everything, including playing music which I stopped completely. Finally on December 31st 2010 I decided to stop taking what had turned into a cocktail of 4 different depression medications, cold turkey. Once I was free of the drugs effects I began to pull myself back up and out of the miasma I had fallen into. I still had some issues, however. I had developed a tremor in my hands and I experienced muscle pain in my forearm when I tried to play the guitar. I talked to my doctors about this and one of them finally suggested that I try stopping the cholesterol medication I was taking and see if the muscle pain stopped. Concurrent with this, I had a blood test which showed some kidney issues and they had me stop taking a diabetes med I was on.
Low and behold both the intention tremor and the muscle pain stopped. About the same time it was suggested that cannabis might also be a valid treatment for some of my issues and so on May 1st of this year I gave it a try. From that day I began to play music which has become a new addition to my body of work. I call it enlightened music because that is where it feels like it is coming from. From a technical standpoint, I feel that I have come full circle, now, to integrating the raga sounding music I played early on with the more conventional scales and modes I learned later on. One thing that everyone who hears this agrees on; it is relaxing and peaceful.