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Steve is a lifelong resident of Jeffersonville, Indiana. His love of music came from his grandmother, Dixie. She was a self-taught professional piano player in Louisville in the 1940s and 1950s. Steve and his brother David were featured vocalists in their Grandma’s act.
Steve began taking formal music lessons in 6th grade. He wanted to play the drums but his band teacher said they needed fewer drummers and more brass players. Steve started taking tuba and baritone lessons and eventually took trombone lessons in high school. Steve was awarded the John Philip Sousa band award in 1978 for his musical excellence. Following high school, Steve played in numerous big bands in the area. Often times, he was the youngest member of the band- by far!
In 1980, some high school friends decided they wanted to put a band together and asked Steve if he’d like to join their horn section. One night in band practice, somebody asked if anyone could sing and Steve said, “Sure, I’ll give it a shot!” With that, Steve was enlisted as vocalist/trombone player. When nearly all of the band members went away to college, one would think that the band would be no more- WRONG! One of the band members was from Dayton, Ohio and had entered an original song written by the band to a homemade album project by a local FM radio station. The song was chosen first place out of some 150 entries! This led to a showcase performance in Dayton, Ohio in the summer of 1981. Following the demise of that band, Steve decided to continue his music career. He was contacted by a Louisville based band for his vocal ability. The Intentions were known for their original material and even had their own recording studio! During the ensuing years, the band asked if Steve knew how to play an instrument (besides trombone). Steve said, “No”. They said, “How would you like to learn rhythm guitar”? “Sure, but I don’t own a guitar.” The guitar player said, “If you get yourself a guitar, l’ll teach you how to play.” Always ready for a new challenge, Steve was now playing guitar and spent some 5 years as part of that group enjoying countless hours in the studio, periodic club gigs, as well as learning a tremendous amount about songwriting. Through the process, the drummer of that band quit and there was no one to fill the drumming chair. “Does anybody know how to play drums?” Steve said, “Yes, but I don’t own any drums.” With that Steve went to the local music store and bought a used drum set for $400. This would begin a love affair with the drums that remains to this day. Though moderately successful, the band then decided to break up. Steve continued to play with many local artists and bands (drums) for a period of about 20 years. He has shared the stage with Steve Wariner, Reba McEntire, John Anderson and many more. Steve has been married for 30 years- to the same person! He has three kids and 1 dog, Ruby! Steve loves sharing my love for music with as many people as he comes in contact with! Steve has also been the choir director at his church for the past 10 years and is a part time preacher.
Justin Manley's love of music started at age twelve, beginning with drums. He is no stranger to Maxwell's House of Music, he joined the Rock School program (now Backstage Pass) in 2008 at age fifteen and played guitar in three different rock school bands until 2012, honing his skills and becoming a standout student. Justin went on to co-found the band Bon Fire (A Tribute To AC/DC) serving as their drummer in 2010. The name was later changed to Thunderstruck and he toured the country playing various concert halls, casinos, theaters, fairs and festivals. Thunderstruck became the nation’s premier AC/DC tribute band, regularly playing to crowds of 10,000 and more across the country. After extensive years of touring with Thunderstruck, Justin left the band in 2018 as the full-time drummer, but he still subs for them when called on. Justin brings unmatched experience and knowledge to our team of teachers. Justin takes beginning to advanced students of all ages.
Billy’s primary teaching philosophy is to provide a safe environment where anyone can learn no matter their age, ability, or gender. Throughout his career, Billy has performed with many unique and diverse ensembles and is fluent in: Hard Rock, Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Fusion, Progressive, Metal, Indie, R&B, Reggae, and Alt Country. Billy grew up touring with his father and uncles’ band: The McNicol Bros. (A musical family group consisting of founding members of the psychedelic rock band, “The Rugbys”). The Rugbys are the first rock group from Louisville, KY to chart on Billboard’s Top 40 with their 1969 hit single “You, I”.His father, Robert McNicol, was both Drummer and Singer for the McNicol Bros. & performed in the latter years with the Rugbys. Absorbed by his father’s performances; Billy imitated him, playing drums and singing during sound-checks. As early as five years old, his parents discovered him playing the drums and singing simultaneously to his father’s set-list & record collection. Billy McNicol’s first major acclaim transpired when he became the “Featured Drummer” for the University of Louisville’s Men’s Basketball Program in 2004. On average, Billy received mass exposure, performing in front of an average of 20,000 fans per game for two consecutive Basketball seasons (2004-2005) at the historic Freedom Hall. To this day, he returns annually to Louisville, KY to deliver featured performances at the KFC Yum! Center w/ The Louisville Cardinals and is introduced to the venue’s sell-out crowds. Notable performances: On August 19th, 2017, Billy performed back to back with the Drummer from Tool, Danny Carey, and his band Volto at the iconic Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, CA upon invitation and received promotion on Tool’s website and social media outlets.