A Tribute to A True Friend – Steve Werbelow, Audio Engineer at Expression City

Expression City wouldn’t be what it is today without Steve Werbelow. Most of what you see Steve either built himself or had a hand in building with Roy Barberi who co-owns Expression City with his wife Allison. As we mourn Steve’s recent passing, we also want to celebrate his life and the impact he’s had on so many. In doing so, we’d like to invite you to our next 80s Rock Show with Roy and Friends on July, 10 as we honor Steve live. Here’s why that particular type of tribute is so fitting for him.

At the Genesis of 80s Rock

Steve grew up on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, California and spent his early years as an audio engineer at the height of the 80s hair band era as rock legends like Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Ratt and more were getting their start. He had the opportunity to work with some of the best names in the business at that time and was at the genesis of where this rock movement began. Says Roy, “It’s the difference in being able to play what Eddie Van Halen plays and being the one helping Eddie Van Halen create what everyone else now copies; that’s what Steve was a part of.”

Making the Move to Nashville

As the music scene began to move from LA to Nashville about 12 to 14 years ago, Steve and some of his audio engineer friends made the move here. It was at this time that big bands were still running through Sound Kitchen recording studios and Steve and his friends quickly became plugged in together.

Eventually Steve took some time away and decided to enter rehab. After, he committed to putting his life back together. As chance would have it, five years ago Allison Barberi happened to meet Steve and knew he and Roy were kindred spirits. According to Roy, she said, “He’s weird like you are in all that music stuff.”

It was at this time the Barberi’s were starting Expression City. During one of his and Steve’s early conversations, Roy said, “I told him, ‘You don’t know it yet, but you’re gonna work for me at my new place.’ Steve said, ‘Am I really? Well, when do we start?” I said he could start the next week and he said, ‘Ok, I’ll be there.’ He was with us ever since.”

Coming ‘Home’ to Expression City

During his time as an integral team member at Expression City Steve did everything from running sound to video shoots for up-and-coming artists. He also inspired Roy to start playing music again himself, “I wouldn’t have started again if it wasn’t for Steve. Not playing for 30+ years was a big horse to get back on and starting the Rock Show with Roy and Friends kind of consumed us for the last eight to 10 months. But now we have monthly shows and it’s just been epic,” says Roy.

But most importantly, “I just loved the guy. He’s one of the few people I trust completely. It’s rare to find someone like that. If I had to call him at 3 a.m., he’d have no hesitation to help. Steve was always there and someone who was honest, straight and fair. You never guessed where you stood and he was passionate about everything. What’s more, he just had a unique perspective on work and life that was invaluable,’ Roy explains.

When asked what he’d miss most about Steve, Roy says it’s their conversations and how no matter the subject they started on, it always led back to the passion they shared for rock music. That’s why Expression City is paying tribute to Steve at the next 80s Rock Show with Roy and Friends on July 10. The show is free and the tribute itself will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. with friends sharing stories celebrating Steve and what he made possible at Expression City. Even the person running sound on this night was trained by Steve personally! Then from 7 to 9 p.m. we’ll play some of Steve’s favorite music.

Join us in person or watch on You Tube Live. Learn more about the 80s Rock Show with Roy and Friends on July 10, here.