Former S.A. SLAYER and JUGGERNAUT vocalist Steve Cooper (photo) passed away in the early morning hours of May 14 at a San Antonio, Texas hospital from complications due to kidney failure. Cooper, who was diabetic, had been in ill health and on dialysis for several years prior to his untimely death.
"Steve was a gentle soul, a beautiful person, and a great vocalist — his contributions to Texas heavy metal will never be forgotten", said longtime friend Liliana Martinez, who documented much of the vibrant early '80s Southern Texas metal scene, including SLAYER, as a photographer and contributor to Cutthroat, Texas Music News and the Unholy Book fanzine and other outlets. "We had a lot of good times together. Steve was an awesome metal presence, albeit a country boy at heart, and SLAYER were just incredible in their heyday. But find LIQUID SKY's 'Cry For The King' — it is the definitive Steve Cooper! It was the song that when we all first heard of Steve had us knowing he was more than just a metal singer. Steve loved music it ran through his veins. His finest hour came through in his work with S.A. SLAYER. He enjoyed the respect and admiration of all people who came to know him and his music. I will miss him immensely.... my dear friend, affectionately nicknamed Scooper. May you rest in peace... and yes, we know where you are going, hope to see you there someday."
Steven Lane Cooper first came to local prominence as the frontman of San Antonio favorites LIQUID SKY, also featuring guitarist Jonathan Grell (WINTERKAT, RHETT FORRESTER), whose only recorded output came in 1981 with "Cry For The King" on the 99.5 KISS-sponsored "Homegrown Album" compilation LP. Cooper then joined forces with bassist Don Van Stavern (PITBULL DAYCARE, ex-RIOT), drummer Dave McClain (MACHINE HEAD, ex-SACRED REICH), and guitarists Art Villareal and Bob Catlin in legendary Texas metal pioneers SLAYER (not to be confused with the L.A.-based act of the same name) who released their acclaimed debut EP, "Prepare To Die", in 1983 on the Rainforest label.
The band's explosive mix of early IRON MAIDEN, MERCYFUL FATE and ANGEL WITCH was further documented on their classic "Go For The Throat" LP, recorded with lead guitarist Ron Jarzombek (WATCHTOWER, SPASTIC INK) and released posthumously under the slightly altered S.A. SLAYER moniker some four years after the group's breakup. Cooper, Van Stavern, and McClain subsequently teamed up with RIOT guitarist Mark Reale in the short-lived NARITA. Cooper would re-surface with fellow Texas metallers JUGGERNAUT and contributed lead vocals on the band's 1987 sophomore album, "Trouble Within", before doing a short stint with East Coast-based Metal Blade labelmates EXXPLORER.
Condolences can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com and will be forwarded to Steve's mother, Faye...The family has requested that in lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association.