Fake It 'til You Make It

by Steve Kouba

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"Fake It 'til You Make It" is an original song about the joy and pain of being a rock and roll piano man. It employs the superb musicianship of Chicago's own Mike O'Cull (guitars), Adam Johnson (bass), and Derek Crawford (drums). It was recorded (in part) at Uptown Recording, and was mixed and mastered by Scottish McMillan. Cover photo by Troy Neihardt.


I'm just a bar star, I'm so living the dream
I'm rocking in the free world, I'm skimming off the cream
When you live on stage, your character is key
I play the anti-hero in a movie about me.
I'm singing for my supper, I'm taking every gig
One day I'll be playing Vegas with a beer gut and a wig
A little piece of wisdom, I heard so long ago...
"Fake It 'til You Make It", it's the only way to go!


released December 7, 2011
Mike O'Cull, guitars
Adam Johnson, bass
Derek Crawford, drums
Steve Kouba, piano, organ, vocals

Words and music by Steve Kouba.


"Some of the best modern vaudeville I have heard in some time! "
~ Wobblehouse/Dashdown

"I feel like I just got punched in the life! What a great song!"
~ Pete Lents, piano man

With a wordy delivery reminiscent of Tom Waits’s early blues/lounge storytelling material, Steve Kouba tells a humorous but true story in which he himself is the protagonist, a rock singer aiming at the highest of highs. This endears the listener to Kouba, as he seems sincere and gives us the courtesy of letting us in on the joke. There’s a charm to his slightly raspy blues voice. You can tell from his performance that this man has no troubles with getting on stage in front of anyone, anywhere. Sporting oversized sunglasses as a street performer on the single’s cover, he by no means takes himself too seriously either – something many artists could learn from.
~ James Moore, IMP

"Truer words have never been sung! Some of us are so hooked on whatever-drug-that-exists-inside the moment of performance that we'll just simply die on stage (Oh please lord!) trying to make the big time. ..."Don't know if I can make it another 20 years..." Damn, some might not believe many of us have made it this many years.

Mr. Kouba like so many of his (and my) peers has in fact survived long enough as a working musician that to many he (and we) is among the "old guard". Not a statement on age, Old Guard status among musicians refers to those talented individuals who can simply walk onto a stage and begin to entertain in such a way the the casual listener thinks it MUST have been rehearsed. This is rarified air. This is the kind of musical-animal that can only be born through years spent honing one's craft; by ALWAYS going for it, whatever the gig, whatever the style, whatever the pay.

The work-a-day musician never really garners any fame past the night's work and the mornings taxi ride home. when the last note has rung out, the last stool has been stacked, they fight for their cut of the well-rung dollar and load the gear.

Art critics can usually can spot a fake. Music critics rarely can spot the real thing. Fake it 'Til You Make It sounds like a blue print to keep real music alive."

Derek "The Barber" Crawford



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steve@stevekouba.com Chicago, Illinois

Piano man bar star vagabond fuck-up with a recording habit

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