Stephen Gibb, son of Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, has written music and toured with his father for so many years now one might think that the Miami Beach musician was a Bee Gee by birth.
To some extent, Gibb’s early arts awakening was informed by the pop, R&B and dance music he heard around the house from his prodigious dad and his late uncles, Robin and Maurice Gibb. Together, the Brothers Gibb, along with their late youngest brother Andy, wrote the soundtrack for multiple generations dating back to the 1967 release of Bee Gees 1st. Made-in-Miami ’70s and ’80s classics like Jive Talking, the Saturday Night Fever tunes, Shadow Dancing, the music Barry wrote and produced for Barbra Streisand’s landmark Guilty album and You Win Again cemented the trio’s legacy.
“In my situation I was surrounded by music, always, and had a feeling that this was where I was supposed to be, but I never had the ‘light bulb’ situation,” Gibb says.
But the rocker, 41, also recalls one formative moment — the night the Army called in 1979. The Kiss Army.
“My dad took me to go see Kiss, the Dynasty Tour at the Hollywood Sportatorium, when I was six years old, and that lit the obsession, that fire for music. I went from Kiss to listening to all kinds of music: Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne — he was a big influence. I was into that hard rock thing,” Gibb says.
To be in a room with him, writing songs, is a dream come true.
Stephen Gibb, on writing songs and playing music with his father Barry Gibb
His next awakening was explosive and lasting.
“I was at my next door neighbor’s house, and he had a band,” Gibb recalls. “I was probably 13. I heard Eruption by Van Halen, and at that point I remember picking up this guy’s guitar and I had him play it again — louder, louder, LOUDER — and at that point all I wanted to do was play guitar and play music, and I really didn’t look back.”
Later, Gibb played in various hard rock bands, including the Underbellys and 58 with Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx in the ’90s. Lately, he’s backed friends in Saigon Kick and Jasta. Since 1997, he’s joined his father on stage at Bee Gees and solo shows, including a recent performance earlier this year for the Miami Beach centennial.
On Saturday night, Gibb will perform with Saigon Kick at Duende, a street festival on SW Second Avenue near Revolution in Fort Lauderdale, to celebrate Broward County’s 100th anniversary. He and the band are expected to go on around 10:30 p.m. on the East Stage.
Gibb is currently recording songs with longtime collaborator Bobby MacIntyre at Studio 71 in El Portal for a solo album due early next year. He is also writing and playing on a Barry Gibb solo album also due in early 2016.
“I think it will blow people’s minds. It will be something different than people are expecting from him and yet, it’s him,” he says.
The surge in songwriting adds to a growing catalog of songs the younger Gibb has written for other artists.
Would you believe this Eruption-loving, hardcore rocker co-wrote precious metal (of the platinum kind) for Barbra Streisand? Yes, that Barbra Streisand of “soft as an easy chair” balladry. Father and son co-wrote melody-rich pop songs for her 2005 Guilty sequel, Guilty Pleasures.
Confounding expectations is a Gibb hallmark, he explains.
“It’s the need to continually challenge yourself artistically and surpass what you’ve done before,” Gibb explains. “I know, for myself, I’m always seeking to do things that are out of my comfort zone, and the greatest gift playing with my dad is that it is so far away from anything I was doing growing up. Making music these days is not an easy thing, it’s the hardest it’s ever been. But the truth is I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
If you go
What: ‘Duende,’ Broward County’s centennial festival street party, featuring Saigon Kick with Stephen Gibb.
Where: SW Second Avenue, from the Broward Center to Revolution in Fort Lauderdale.
When: 10:30 p.m. Saturday (time is approximate).