Steve Barton at Robin Road

Not all roads lead to Robin Road. But happily, a road did lead Translator’s lead voice and instigator, Steve Barton, to my door.


The Palette Cleansers of Music, Emotion and Irony


Little bit of music history here that takes it back to the richness and diversity of the 80’s scenes. And beyond. I first got turned on to Translator in the early 80’s….Wiki always brings it down to the common denominators of what is and is not, or could be. So, a good place to make beginning introductions.

Translator is a San Francisco rock band that had success during the 1980s, and that continues into the present day. They created a sound that spanned updated British Merseybeat and stripped-down punk-like rock to psychedelia. Inspired by the BeatlesCream and 1960s California folk rock bands such as The Byrds, their guitar-based music was very popular during the early 1980s on non-commercial campus radionew wave music stations and mainstream classic rock radio. The group’s stripped-down music and sometimes ironic and disturbing existentialist lyrics also helped to make them a significant influence on alternative rock.



Since the release of the debut Translator album pictured above, Heartbeats And Triggers, countless side-roads have been traveled, globally and musically, both by Steve Barton, and his mates. Reconfigured into different iterations of members, solo projects, and still a viable original band. Steve is a tenacious storyteller, and you will hear some great moments in our conversation below; how he began his musical steps as a kid, really, to now his solo projects, most recently Projector, and a 22-song career-spanner collection of Translator’s previously unheard demos,  Sometimes People Forget, courtesy of Omnivore Recordings. And an even newer Translator album is Carriage of Days. Check out Friends & Fans of Translator here.



As you will hear in our convo-fest, Steve, a global traveler, has made the leap to Portland. Adding much more of the magic creative juice to a city oozing with that goodness. He adds yet another layer of depth to this already rich town of music and thought. Here only a little over a year, Steve admits he hasn’t been here long enough to often enough not know what people are talking about. But soon, that will be history.


Here’s our conversation and below that, a couple of live videos for viewing pleasure.



Translator’s “Everywhere That I’m Not”


Steve Barton “She Is the Girl”








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About Inessa

A skipping stone from Portland, to Michigan, New York City, and back to Portland. It was theatre and dance worlds in Manhattan. And here in Portland, total immersion into the radio broadcasting world, more dance, theatre, art and endless music.


  1. […] Barely did we dig into New Blue World, Steve’s collaboration with drummer Dave Scheff that saw release last summer, now comes a triple-album! Revisit MY first visit with Steve, when he was fresh to Portland. Check out our conversation HERE. […]