PITTSFIELD

Steve Ide remembers fooling around with a guitar when he was 4 years old.

"I remember trying to play it, and my hands weren't large enough to fit around the neck," he said.

Ide, who will headline Guitar Jam V with his band, The BTU's, at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday night, said he began playing in earnest when he was a junior in high school.

Ide said he was recruited by an older musician.

"And he said, ‘We're starting a band, and you're the bass player," Ide said.

Not only was Ide unfamiliar with playing the instrument, he didn't even have one. But he figured it out.

That began Ide's 40-year career as a guitar player, and today, he is considered one of the best in Berkshire County.

The Great Barrington resident has played in six or seven bands, most notably folksinger Arlo Guthrie's former band, Shenandoah, as well as the Bluestars, another local group that was hugely popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition, Ide sits in at various live and session gigs.

Ide was, and is, a big fan of rock ‘n' roll. His influences as a youngster included Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad and the James Gang.

"The first time I heard ‘Funk #49' by the James Gang, I was like, ‘What the heck do we have here?' " he said. "It blew me away."

Ide said he and The BTU's have been working on their 25-minute Colonial set for a few weeks. The rest of the band includes Bob McVeety on guitar and vocals, Rob Putnam on bass, and Andy Crawford on drums.

And for fans of Putnam's guitar playing, Ide said Putnam is scheduled to take a turn on the lead.

"This being Guitar Jam, we're going to get him out front for at least one song," Ide said.

He added that he's been in touch with fellow Guitar Jam performers Arthur Holmes, Robin O'Herin and Bobby Sweet for the finale.

"We have some things up our sleeve," Ide said. "I don't think anyone will be disappointed."

Guitar Jam V, Anniversary Special

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Who: One band or artist from each of the first four Guitar Jam shows: Arthur Holmes Blues Band (2012); Robin O'Herin (2011); Bobby Sweet & The BSweet Band (2010); and The BTU's, including Steve Ide (2009). At the end of the show will be the traditional all-star jam.

Where: Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield.

Presented by: The Berkshire Eagle. Concert proceeds go to Newspapers in Education, a program that encourages students to read.

Tickets: $17 and $27. Available at the Colonial box office or via (413) 997-4444 or www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

Before the show: Lenox folk band Mountain Breeze will perform in the lobby from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.

-- To hear Steve Ide's music, visit bit.ly/YWMrUu.

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile