Steve Poltz

On Springsteen, clackers, Denny’s, and cursing

 By Dave Kosciolek

 That Steve Poltz co-wrote Jewel’s #1 smash, “You Were Meant For Me,” or that he was a founding member of San Diego-based rock band The Rugburns only scratches the surface of this talented singer-songwriter-entertainer. I stress “entertainer” because some of us who have seen Steve perform at Café Eleven the last 4 years, and will again this month, already know. Know what, you ask? I’ve been fortunate to attend likely more than a thousand music performances in my life; I’ve been a few feet away from Springsteen, Jeff Buckley, and many other icons. I’ve seen Freddie Mercury perform live. But for my buck, I’m not sure I have ever seen a more entertaining performer than Steve Poltz.

 I will be back at Café Eleven again on Feb. 6 for Poltz’s return engagement, and excited to have Narrow friend and supporter Danielle Mohr open the show. I hope you will also be there. Until then, it was great talking to Steve again, and here are some things on his mind. For all things Steve Poltz, visit, and his new album “Shine On” drops on March 1st via Red House/Compass Records!

DK: Favorite food in Saint Augustine?

SP: “I’m an opportunivore so I usually like whatever’s available. But I must say I really enjoy taking in the local flavors. When in Rome eat locally and always wear clean socks. So, if something is fresh from the ocean, I’d like to partake in all the delicacies that are available that day. Let freshness be my guide.”

DK: Pitbull or Cardi B?

SP: “Well, I’d prefer the third option which wasn’t mentioned: Elizabeth Cotten singing ‘I’m Going Away’ off her album ‘Shake Sugaree.’ It’s a beautiful song about death. And seeing as how I just lost my mom; the song is especially poignant. If you’re still reading this, and I hope you are, please go listen to it immediately. Try not to be moved. I dare you. Put down your phone and just let the glory of Elizabeth’s voice sink in.”

DK: Did you ever play with click-clacks (or clackers) when you were younger, or older? 

SP: “I did once but I got whacked in the face and got a nose bleed and then I was spooked so I picked up my guitar and put down the clackers. I can now play a G chord. I can teach you.” 

DK: How did you feel the first time you heard a song you wrote or performed on terrestrial radio?

SP: “I felt like my whole life was about to change. I was sitting in a Denny’s restaurant at 2am eating some pancakes and I’d just heard one of my Rugburns songs come on the local show on 91X radio in San Diego. I remember telling this girl I was with that everything was about to change. I really felt like the whole world was listening. But then the waitress dropped off my bill and I realized that she hadn’t heard it nor had any of the other late-night revelers. It was kind of an uplifting letdown.” 

 DK: Any idea why Springsteen cursed so much during his Broadway show?

SP: “I actually went to the show in December of 2017 and I barely remember him cursing. I remember crying when he walked out on stage to start the show. I don’t know why I cried but I did. My girlfriend looked at me and said ‘really? You’re gonna do this?’ That show was so fucking good fuck duck fuck fuck duck.”

DK: Anything else we missed?

SP: “I like chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and sea salt.”

dave kosciolek