Former University of Miami pre-med student Steve Alaimo was a Chess Records artist and R&B producer in 1965 when Dick Clark hired him as featured male singer on his daily television show Where the Action Is.
Later, Alaimo served as the show’s musical director as well. Afterward, he toured with a nightclub act until about 1969, when he cofounded TK Records. TK became a leader of the disco explosion, but after a decade of phenomenal success, the label itself exploded. ”It’s hard when you work that hard and build something up to what you really want it to be, and all of a sudden it just gets pulled out from under you, ”Alaimo says. ”To have it go up in smoke was devastating. It took me a couple of years to really catch hold of myself.”
Now 45, with ”an ex-wife and a current daughter,” Alaimo is an independent record producer in Florida. ”They’re not staging benefits for me, but it is a struggle,” he says. ”Having been a record executive, a lot of people in the business were my competition and don’t look at me as a producer, which makes it hard for me as an independent. But that’s basically how I started, as a producer.”
Besides working with fledgling local groups, he was associate producer on Stephen Stills’ most recent record and producer on dancer Marine Jahan’s Freedanse album. Chess recently issued a Steve Alaimo compilation LP, Every Day I Have to Cry.
Alaimo has fond memories of his long career. ”The tours with Paul Revere and the Raiders were really fun,” he says. ”We had great audiences. In those days, you didn’t earn the money you do now, but we had more fun, a lot more involvement with the people. Now, you perform, get a pocketful of money and go home, and that’s it. You don’t really enjoy yourself.”