Born in East Prussia, Germany at the end of World War II., John Kay grew up trapped behind the iron curtain. His first distinct memory is a daring nighttime escape with his mother to West Germany; where later he was profoundly affected by the American rock 'n' roll he heard on U.S. Armed Forces Radio. Though he didn't speak English at the time, the music's primal energy touched something deep in him, instilling both a driving ideal of personal freedom and an abiding interest in American culture. In 1958 he immigrated to Canada and continued his love affair with music, performing as a folk and blues singer throughout North America before joining the rock band The Sparrow which became part of the scene happening in Toronto’s Yorkville, later, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury and finally LA’s Sunset Strip. There in 1967 Kay formed Steppenwolf, which quickly became one of the world’s foremost rock n’ roll bands releasing such standards as "Born to Be Wild," "Magic Carpet Ride”, songs which catapulted the band into international prominence and which today stand amongst Rock's most indelible anthems. Other classics include powerful songs like “The Pusher” and “Snow Blind Friend” In addition, because of the lyrical content of songs such as “Monster” Steppenwolf has long been considered “The thinking man’s Rock Band”
Since the group’s humble beginning in a garage on Fountain Avenue in Hollywood, John has led and continues to lead the band, now in its sixth decade. As Steppenwolf’s vocalist and primary song writer, he’s been the band’s driving force, guiding it through personnel changes, the good times as well as some rough times, always ready to speak his mind, never willing to compromise the band’s music.
Because John now spends more time working on the Maue Kay Foundation’s Wild Life conservation and human rights projects, JOHN KAY & STEPPENWOLF only perform on a selective basis, approximately 10 to 12 concerts per year. In this way the “Wolf Pack” still has an opportunity to see their favorite band and - through the foundation’s efforts - John is able to support the causes he deeply cares about.
Michael Wilk is original webmaster at steppenwolf.com (1996-2010), studio engineer, co-producer with John Kay, and keyboardist with Steppenwolf. He has worked with Boz Scaggs, Mick Fleetwood, Christy McVie, Billy Burnette, Phil Seymour, Danny Hutton (3 Dog Night), the Pointer Sisters actor Scott Baio and jazz/saxophonist Tom Scott. Michael (along with Steve Cropper of the Blues Brothers) performed and recorded the music for the movie "Satisfaction" (starring Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts), is credited for his work on the "Pretty In Pink" soundtrack (starring Molly Ringwald), and has worked on various television commercials including a Diet Pepsi ad featuring Jerry Lewis, Bo Jackson, Vic Damone, and Charro.
Ron Hurst has been the drummer with John Kay & Steppenwolf since 1984. He hails from Massachusetts, and his first claim to fame came in 1970 when he backed Chuck Berry. He's also performed with blues stalwarts James Montgomery, Johnny Copeland and James Cotton. He was an acquaintance of the late Johnny Shines, who is believed to have been a partner of the legendary Robert Johnson. In recent years, while touring with The Wolf, Ron has made numerous friends, musical and otherwise. Stevie Ray Vaughn is the friend he misses the most. Truly a workhorse, Ron did "double duty" during the Wolf's 1986 tour with the Guess Who. Their drummer had to leave the tour for a family emergency, Ron played in both bands: first opening with the Guess Who, then playing with The Wolf.
Danny Johnson has toured with Rod Stewart, Rick Derringer, Van Halen and recorded with artists Alice Cooper, drummer Carmine Appice and Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks among others. He has also written songs for, and played guitar on several movie soundtracks, among them Gremlins II and the smash hit Wayne's World. His unique combination of blues, rock and roots (which he has termed "psychedelic swamp rock") has garnered praise from such established publications as Rolling Stone and Guitar World. His previous solo effort Grih-Grih Thing showcased Danny's vocal talents as well as his instrumental prowess. Following the precedence set by Grih-Grih Thing, Danny's newest album, Over Cloud Nine, delves even deeper into his Louisiana roots. For a complete discography, check out the Danny Johnson page here on the Wolf website.
Gary Link was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was playing in bands when he was 14. He started playing bass at age 20, and has recorded and played in numerous bands and recorded with various artists ever since. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1978 he joined forces with the Wolf and has played hundreds of shows with John Kay since 1982.
Check out Gary singing "Honky Tonk Woman" here
Charlie Wolf - 1992 - Three Oaks, Michigan - Tour Manager, Merchandise Coordinator
Jerry Sumner - 2004 - Kansas City, MO - Drum and Guitar Tech