Steve Schwartz, guitar player for the Detroit-based blues band The Alligators, passed away on Dec. 15 of undetermined causes at age 56. He played with The Alligators for 21 years and solidified what became their signature sound.
He was the loving husband of Joyce, the father of Julie and Michael, the proud grandpa of Maliana, Lilly, Joseph, and Lawrence, and brother to Bob Schwartz.
David Krammer, Schwartz's longtime bandmate, called Steve "an extremely talented and insightful musician."
"Steve was the closest of friends," Krammer said. "We spent endless hours over many years, driving all over the Midwest. All those overnight drives, sleepless nights, and crummy hotels help forge a very deep friendship. Steve treasured his family and his life. Most of what we ever talked about was our family, our kids.
"He was rarely sick, he never complained. He was the rock, the peacemaker, diplomate, and our biggest cheerleader. All he ever wanted out of life was to be with his family and play music.
"Those of us on this side have to find a way to carry on without our beloved friend and family member. God bless him."
Steve Allen, of the Detroit Blues Society, expressed condolences.
"Steve was the living embodiment of a bluesman," Allen said. "He was a walking encyclopedia of blues history and not only did he play it very well, he understood its meaning, its history, and its social significance.
"He was a wonderful human being, always caring for others and the first one to donate his time for the right cause. I was proud to have him as a musician colleague, but most of all I was proud to call him my friend."
To see a video of The Alligators performing live, click here.