Steve Hunter was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, Hunter was drafted into the Army, trained as an x-ray technician, and served in an air evacuation hospital in Okinawa, Japan where Vietnam combat casualties were being treated. He considered becoming a doctor but he enjoyed music so much he knew he would follow a career in music.
Work with Mitch Ryder
John Sauter called Hunter to tell him that he was playing with Mitch Ryder in Detroit and that Ryder was auditioning for guitar players. He suggested that Hunter come to Detroit and try out. Hunter packed up his guitar and made the eight-hour drive to Detroit. Hunter made the cut and became part of Mitch Ryder's new band Detroit. Here Hunter met and formed a long-time professional association with producer Bob Ezrin. Detroit released one self-titled album on Paramount Records. They had a hit with a cover of Lou Reed's "Rock & Roll". Reed was so impressed with Hunter's arrangement and performance on that song that he recruited Hunter to join his band.
Work with Alice Cooper
In the 1970s, he appeared on five Alice Cooper albums, all of which were produced by Ezrin. His first recording with Alice Cooper was in 1973 as a session musician on the second to last and most successful album recorded by the Alice Cooper group, Billion Dollar Babies. When Alice Cooper became a solo artist, Hunter followed and appeared on the 1975 groundbreaking album and live show Welcome to My Nightmare alongside guitarist Dick Wagner as seen in the film Welcome to My Nightmare. This was released on home video in 1976 and featured the celebrated guitar battle between Hunter and Wagner that formed part of the Alice Cooper 1975 live show. In 2010, Hunter also worked on the basic tracks and solos for Alice Cooper's album Welcome 2 My Nightmare and then toured with Alice Cooper throughout 2011 on the No More Mr. Nice Guy Tour.
Work with Lou Reed
His first collaboration with Lou Reed was for the Berlin album. He also played with Dick Wagner in the band captured on Reed's live albums, Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live, including the "Intro" to "Sweet Jane", which was composed by Hunter who plays the solo up to Lou walking on stage. In 2006, Reed and Hunter presented a new live version of Berlin, released in 2008 as a DVD and CD Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse.
Work with Aerosmith
In 1974, he played the (uncredited) opening-half solo on Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin" from Get Your Wings. In a February 2015 interview in Detroit Rock N Roll Magazine Hunter tells how it came about that he recorded the opening solo of Aerosmith's "Train Kept a Rollin": "Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A. I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby. Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked 'Hey, do you feel like playing?' I said sure, so I grabbed my guitar and went in. I had two run thru's, then Jack said 'great, that's it!' That turned out to be the opening solos on 'Train Kept A Rollin'.
Work with Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel and other artists
In 1974, shortly after his work with the band on the live Reed albums, Hunter played guitar on former Cream bassist Jack Bruce's solo album Out of the Storm.
He played on Peter Gabriel's self-titled first solo album (1977) that included the classic single "Solsbury Hill" which was likewise produced by Ezrin. He also played on tour with Gabriel for the North American leg and a few shows in the UK during March / April 1977, sharing guitar duties with Robert Fripp.
Other artists Hunter has worked with include David Lee Roth (in the mid-1990s), Julian Lennon, Dr. John, Tracy Chapman and more recently Glen Campbell and 2Cellos. It was while recording Roth's A Little Ain't Enough that Hunter met Jason Becker. Hunter and Becker have remained the best of friends since He wrote "Camelia", which is featured on the soundtrack of the film The Rose, starring Bette Midler, and performed as part of the backing band. Additionally, he appears in the film Blame it on the Night, a movie co-written by Mick Jagger, featured as one of the guitarists in the band.
Hunter's first solo album the 1977 critically acclaimed Swept Away, was produced by Bob Ezrin
Hunter opted to leave Alice Cooper's touring band in 2012 to concentrate on solo projects
His 5th solo album The Manhattan Blues Project was released on April 30, 2013, and features contributions from Joe Satriani, Tony Levin, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Marty Friedman, Michael Lee Firkins, Phil Aaberg, 2Cellos and Tommy Henriksen, with background vocals provided by Karen Ann Hunter.
In Sep 2014 a DVD and Soundtrack CD called Tone Poems Live was released, featuring Hunter, bass player Tony Levin, pianist Phil Aaberg and drummer Alvino Bennett.
2017 - “Before The Lights Go Out” is Hunter's latest solo album. The cover art and title make a statement about his failing eyesight, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is a quiet wave goodbye. As soon as you put on the first track, you will know that this is more like a Blues Rock Declaration of Independence! There are sexy grooves, luscious guitar tones and melodies galore.
As with all Hunter's releases, there is some diversity and sound imagery, not least of which is Tienes Mi Corazón where alongside his nylon string improvisation comes the sound of his own heart. And listen out for Joe Satriani adding his fire to the heat of “Mojo Man.”
Also joining Steve on a couple of tracks are two great Bass players: Erik Scott can be heard on “Mojo Man,” Erik is also an Alice Cooper alumni. On “Under The Bodhi Tree” is Andy Stoller. Steve and Andy toured together with Tracy Chapman during the “Telling Stories” album period.