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"If you're a part of the Dallas music scene, then you've certainly crossed paths with 'Big Steve' Shein at one time or another," Liles says. "Hopefully, he wasn't breaking up a fight that you might have happened to be involved in." There's a good chance of that being the case, since Shein has worked in and around Deep Ellum since the mid-'80s. He began at Russell Hobbs' storied establishments, the Theatre Gallery and the Prophet Bar, later moving onto Club Dada (working the door during the club's first year before John "Beard" Brewer began his longtime stint there), the Longhorn Ballroom (where stage manager Shein once played "backstage diplomat," as Liles puts it, between Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister and the late Wendy O. Williams, "who were sharing a bill but apparently hated each other's guts"), the Arcadia Theater and Trees. He spent two years at Trees--handling security for the first local gigs by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Cypress Hill and many more--before heading out onto the lost highway as road manager for the Buck Pets, Rigor Mortis and the first cottonmouth, texas tour in 1996.
Becoming a father led Shein back to Dallas, where he worked as a booking agent and radio promotion contact for Last Beat and One Ton Records. "An old-school Sox fan, he once booked Caulk and cottonmouth at two different clubs on the same night in Boston, so we could all hook up the night before at Fenway Park and witness the Red Sox pummel the Rangers," Liles remembers. "Now that's foresight."
For the past few years, Shein's been working at the Bronco Bowl, as well as booking and managing its smaller sister venue, the Canyon Club. Since both are closing up shop soon--with one final show planned for August 16, a Buzz-Oven all-star concert featuring Bowling for Soup, Chomsky, South FM, the Burden Brothers, the Rocket Summer, Hagfish and more--Shein decided he would go down with the ship. Which is fine: Like a championship athlete at his peak, Shein has nothing left to prove.
There is a send-off planned for Shein and his son Graham on July 31 at Minc (in Exposition Park, in case you haven't swung by yet). Following said shindig, which kicks off at 8 p.m., the Sheins will move back to Big Steve's original home state, Rhode Island. Not far from where the Great White nightclub tragedy happened, as Liles points out. They could prolly use an experienced hand like Shein right about now.
Good night to go out: July 31, when Pleasant Grove, Radiant* and the Southern Sea are at Club Clearview, while Far Star and the Flying Machine hold it down at Curtain Club.