Steve Schofer, a veteran musician who played bass for Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, died Feb. 27 of complications from lung cancer, his family said. He was 64.
Performing with Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, Mr. Schofer stood out on stage with a signature ponytail and a warm style on the bass that had audiences swaying. He was a strong musician with an easy manner that was not flashy or overbearing.
"He had a reputation for being very solid in the pocket," said KVMR broadcaster Thom Myers, a founder of the Sierra Blues Society. "He was probably the most well-liked and well-respected musician in Northern California."
Mr. Schofer was integral to the success of Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, who have won many industry awards. He performed in the Sacramento-based band since 1992 and played keyboards on many of its 25 CDs.
He performed at clubs, benefits and major music festivals and toured Europe three times with the group, which was inducted into the Sacramento Blues Hall of Fame. He shared stages with music legends, including Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King and John Mayall.
"Steve brought an authenticity and sincerity to the music that is not often seen," Martin said. "He was a genuine bluesman."
Mr. Schofer, who began playing a trumpet at age 11, was a veteran of the Sacramento music scene. As a student at Bella Vista High School during the 1960s, he performed in the Royal Bishops, a popular surf music group at teen dances in Fair Oaks and Roseville.
By 1975, he joined Orion Express, where he first met and performed with Martin for six years. He went on to play with the Blue Flames and the Fabulous Blue Flames before reteaming with Martin in the Blues Rockers.
Stephen Spencer Schofer was born in 1947 in New York and raised with six sisters. His father, Winfield, was a Navy man who played cornet with jazz trumpeter Clyde McCoy and moved the family to Sacramento in 1962. His mother, Alice, was a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
He graduated from Bella Vista in 1965 and served in the Army. He married, had a son and supported his family as a heating/air conditioning repairer, paralegal, children's home counselor and head maintenance worker at a Waldorf School.
Despite the acclaim and glamour of the music world, Mr. Schofer was a devoted family man. Whether performing in clubs or touring, spending time with his son "was always more important to him than fame," Martin said.
"He's always been a loving, supportive and protective brother and father," said Mr. Schofer's sister Valarie.
In 1997, Mr. Schofer was walking with his 3-year-old son in the American River Parkway in Rancho Cordova when he was shot in the head by a 17-year-old boy. Not realizing he was shot, Mr. Schofer thought he'd been hit in the head with a rock and got a bloody nose after falling.
He performed that night with his band and went to a hospital three days later to learn that a bullet had entered his head behind his ear and left through a nostril. His assailant, Travis Craig Taylor, was convicted and sentenced to prison for shooting a total of four people over several days in the parkway.
"I've been sitting next to Steve on stage for 10 years, and he was a strong force on bass," Blues Rockers drummer Bruce Pressley said. "Offstage, he was the most humble guy I ever met."