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ABOUT STEPHEN UNDERWOOD
 
 
   
“A fantastic drummer”, “A fast powerful drummer that has versatility and many styles” and “Simply the Best Drummer in Gospel Music on the West Coast” is often heard when talking about Stephen Underwood.

Stephen grew up in a very musical family. His Great Grandpa TJ Palmer & Great Uncle Merle Norton used to play fiddle in Oklahoma.  His uncle Merle Norton also competed on fiddle at the Grand Ole Opry.  Stephen's family had gone to Church with and knew Semie Moseley who founded Mosrite Guitars as well as some of the Mosrite employees and His Grandfather "Joe Underwood" was a regular singer on a Bakersfield local Christian Radio program in the 1950s. In 1974, Two of Stephen's uncle's "Mark Underwood" & "Steve Johnson" and His Father "Bill Underwood" formed "The Lighthouse Boys"; a Southern Gospel Quartet still going on over 35 years later.  By the time Stephen was age 6 he had already been around the Buckaroos as well as many other well known musicians.

Stephen has always been a drummer of multiple styles, soaking up his influences from listening to such legends as Buddy Rich, Herb Brochstein, Keith Moon, Matt Sorum, Louie Weaver, Robert Sweet and Steve Smith.  Stephen is told he started playing Drums and Tambourine by the time he was almost 2 years old.  After dragging out the pots and pans from his mothers kitchen for a couple of years, He finaly had a drum set under the Christmas Tree in 1979.  After having 2 Jr Sets, finally at the age of 11 He was given a 3 piece vintage set by a friend and mentor, also that same year Stephen played his first Recording Studio Session at Maximus Recording Studios in Fresno, CA as a Tambourine player, the engineer pulled a chair up to the recording console and told Stephen to watch everything He does; this was the session that sparked Stephen’s interest in Recording.

At the age of 12, Stephen officially became The Lighthouse Boys drummer and he got a 7 piece vintage drum set.  Stephen also attended Standard Jr High School in Bakersfield, CA where He joined the Standard Warrior Band under the new direction of DR. Rayford Grady Walls, Jr.  Under Mr Walls' leadership, Stephen learned the basics of learning to read Drum notes, the importance of Time and how to write his own notes.

In the fall of 1989, Stephen recorded in the studio again this time as the Drummer for The Lighthouse Boys, it was this time The Lighthouse Boys schedule started to pick back up drastically, by 1994 The Lighthouse Boys had already began touring again and finally re-entered "Fat Tracks Recording Studio" (formerly Buck Owens Recording Studio) in Bakersfield, CA.  It was there that Stephen began to draw more studio experience from watching and talking to Engineer Max Reese (Korn, Tom Petty, Big House).  Stephen would go on to record several sessions at Fat Track with The Lighthouse Boys from 1994-1997, Stephen calls this time some of the most influential sessions in His life, working with both Max Reese and Dollywood award winning pianist/producer & friend "Tracy Heaston."  The Lighthouse Boys talked to several labels, eventually inking a deal with "Lamp Music Group."

In the 90s Stephen also began branching out joining a side band called "Sudden Storm," after that band broke up, He and a couple of former members including Stephen's brother "Tommy Smith" started another side band in 1995 called "Images of Christ"; the band would go through several lineup changes, until Stephen shut it down in January 1999.  Stephen also began joining the "Watchmen Quartet" on major stage events such as the WSGMA Memorial Day and Labor Day events and The Great Western Quartet Convention.  In 1999 it was during a GWQC performance with The Watchmen Quartet that brought Stephen a chance of a life time to play for legendary Dr. James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers during his final West Coast Major Appearance.

In 2001, The Lighthouse Boys began sessions at Oreely Multi-Media, a small home studio owned by Mark Yeary (Merle Haggard).  Stephen said "I was enjoying these sessions very well, I remember I didn't feel nervous or tense what so ever, Mark Yeary was drawing out some really creative stuff musically."  In 2008 Stephen and his brother and "Images of Christ" band mate "Tommy Smith" agreed to finally launch their own Recording Studio, "NashvilleWest Productions".  During that same year Stephen also became friends with former Capitol Records & Hightone Records recording artist "Bobby Durham" and set in on a couple of songs with the band.  Between 2008 and 2009 Stephen added Country Music and Classic Rock to his repertoire of bands He has helped out.

In 2010, Stephen re-joined a couple of former Images of Christ members in a Christian Rock band called “Red Letter Edition.”  Their debut EP was recorded at NashvilleWest Productions and was released in April 2011.  Stephen also joined The Blue Diamonds out of Long Beach, CA for a short stint and help record their debut album in 2013.  In 2015 Stephen moved to Madera, CA after getting engaged to his wife Miranda.  Stephen stepped down from touring with The Lighthouse Boys in May of 2016 and is working in his home Church with his family.  Stephen is playing J&B Custom Drums from Las Vegas, NV.  His snare was built by owner Jim Brown.  Stephen has plans for a solo album in the future and is currently accepting session work in the Madera/Fresno, CA area.

 

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