For someone who's been playing guitar for the better part of thirty years and who played professionally for most of the 90s, I have very, very little committed to tape. There is some 4-track stuff left over from the 80s, a CD I cut with the Patty Costis Band (PCB) in '96, a pile of open mic night tapes from the legendary Tony's in Virginia Beach from '94-'95, and that's about it. The 80s stuff is competent but a little embarrasing, the open mic stuff features me on guitar, often in varying states of inebriation (my then-band hosted the open mic and got ridiculous amounts of free beer as a perk) playing sloppy 'jam night' stuff, and will therefore not be heard here. That leaves the Patty Costis Band.

I joined PCB in 1995. I had just left the classic rock band in which I was the guitarist, and I needed another paying gig quick, lest I have to go back to turning wrenches for a living. I heard that PCB needed a bassist, so I borrowed an old Fender Jazz bass from a friend, auditioned, and landed the gig.

Patty was an incredible singer - very powerful - with some very obvious southern roots. Our drummer, D. Felter, had a rock and jazz background. This guy had (and still has) chops for days. Me...I was a guitarist pretending to be a bassist, and brought my hard rock and metal influences to the party.

Me Patty


This was a working band. We played generally about four nights a week and traveled extensively throughout the southeast. In the process, we got really, really tight, and wrote a few songs. In 1996, we went in the studio and started laying tracks for what was to be the "Child's Play" CD. That's the good.

The bad was that the CD was a rush job, and it shows. There was quite a bit of tension in the band at the time....looking back, it was really a lot of stupid shit that we could have handled, but at the time it seemed like a really big deal. I did not like the studio owner/co producer though, as he was sticking his nose in where it shouldn't be (interpersonal relationships of band members) and not paying attention to the things he should have been (getting to know our sound). On the other hand, his assistant, a guy by the name of Brian Bonini, was completely awesome - a real pro, the kind of guy who knows how to coax a good performance out of nervous studio newbies, and an absolute pleasure to work with.

We got it done though, and the reviews were surprisingly good. Unfortunately - as seems to be the case with most people who are that close to a project - all I'm able to hear on the CD is the piss-poor production on what should have been two of the stronger tracks, "Boogey Man" and "Snake". Boogey Man in particular was an absolute killer live, but suffers tremendously on the CD from a combination of a really, really bad mix and my somewhat less than stellar guitar playing. For those reasons, I don't think I've listened to this CD more than half a dozen times since its release, and have never posted any of the songs online or otherwise added them to my resume.

That said, with the passage of time I have learned to appreciate the project for what it was - a definite moment in time and a part of my life that, in retrospect, I'm glad to have experienced.

Here are some of the better tracks from "Child's Play".

The musicians:

Patty Costis - Vocals, all acoustic guitars
Darick Felter - Drums & Percussion
Bob Stephenson - Bass, electric rhythm guitars on Snake and Boogey Man
Joe Lawler (on loan for this project from the band Egypt) - Lead and Rhythm Guitars

But Bob", you ask, "you're a guitar player, why didn't you do the guitar tracks?" Well, the sad fact is I was having a hard time focusing in the studio environment and was laying down too many clams. Pretty much all my bass tracks were nailed in one take though, so there's that.

Also, Please note that Paul Delmar does NOT appear anywhere on the Child's Play CD. The only reason his name is on the cover is because Darick was no longer in the band by the time the cover and liner notes were put together. This is not a knock on Paul, as he was a very good drummer in his own right, but for the sake of setting the record straight, Darick "D" Felter IS the drummer on the "Child's Play" CD and on all the songs on this page.

1 - Super 8

The title doesn't mean anything, it just happens to be where the song was written - a Super 8 motel in Colombus, Georgia. The first song I brought to the band. See if you can spot the nod to Aerosmith towards the end.

2 - The Game

I love this song. The fact that D and I are on two different planets on this version, for reasons I still don't quite understand, doesn't diminish it for me in the least. I call this one Patty's 'bleeding heart liberal' song. Occasionally, I'd get to play guitar on this live, and would rip the solo from Aerosmith's 'Nobody's Fault" note-for-note.

3 - Wisdom

I had been playing around with the basic chord progression and framework for this song for years. Showed it to Patty and she whipped it into a song in a matter of minutes. IMO, this is the one that could have done something had we given it the attention it deserved. This was PCB at our best. Joe's solo is perfect.

4 - Snake

I had to think long and hard about including this track here, as it's a very, very silly & somewhat schlocky version of what was usually an absolute barn-burner live. Good as it was live though, it just doesn't work here at all, IMO. Patty's really, really stiff on this version, and the whole thing is just too clean & sterile. Yes, that's me playing that ridiculous wah rhythm guitar part. It was supposed to be a bed track, ie buried in the mix, but somehow got pushed right up front by our crack production team. Oh well, it could have been worse, at least I'm not the chump who got stuck playing the vibroslap. Joe Lawler saved the day with a killer solo though...and D was just ON - check out the groove he's laying down on this one, and I have to admit being prettypleased overall with my bass track.. The basic rhythm track for this song was supposed to be just a scratch track, but we ended up keeping it. It's just D and I goofong around with some 70s style "cop show" white boy funk. Some time down the road, after I left PCB in 1997, I was asked back to play guitar for certain bigger gigs where a three-piece wouldn't cut it. My live rig for those gigs was a '90 Malmsteen Strat into a 50 watt Marshall JCM800 head (a non-channel-switching 2204 for the techies among you) and into a 4x12 slant cab. And no wah. "Snake" became a whole different animal - think SRV's "Couldn't Stand The Weather" or better yet, Zeppelin's "We're Gonna Groove". It was cool, and the way we should have recorded it in the first place.

5 - Boogie Man

A monster song, loud and ballsy. This version sucks. You have been warned.

Here are a few more pics. I have some really killer live shots of PCB somewhere, but have moved
at least half a dozen times since, and just can't find anything anymore. I'll post 'em if/when they turn up

Me - 14 years, 30 pounds, and a foot of hair ago playing at the Cantina in Raleigh, NC
The bass is a '90 Squire jazz w Badass bridge and Duncan pickups
The Calvin pissing on #3 was a requisite for any Yankee playing to southern audiences


(above) Jamming with some friends at Tony's, Virginia Beach, Va. circa 1995. That's Jamie from the almost-famous Sic Vita in the shadows on the left, Tim 'Toona' Lewis singing, and me with the yellow Strat (90 Malmsteen w/Duncan Hot Rails in the bridge and HS3s in the neck and middle position.). I forget the guy's name on the far right, but he came out all the time, could play his ass off, and was an all-around cool person to hang with. Bill Knudson, one of the funniest people I have ever met, is on drums. I *think* that's Bill....those are his drums anyway....


Rehearsal sometime in early '94. That's Glenn Foster, bassist extraordinaire on the left.
Glenn played an old Fender Precision through an original SVT head and an 8x10 cab
No wimpy transistorized crap here - Glenn's rig would part your hair at 100 yards.


last updated sometime in 2010

contact: bfs_pcb at