I was born and raised in New York on the east side 105th st. My mother told me that I was humming before I was talking, nothing has changed, and I sing most of the day. The whole world is just full of tunes. Growing up and going to Saint Lucy’s until 3rd grade then we move up to the Bronx I remember always trying out for the plays and all the shows. I wanted to play the sax but all the spots were taken I had no choice but to take the accordion, dragging the instrument back and forth to school everyday. It was so heavy and the walk to school that I had to stop playing and it wasn’t what I really want to play anyway.
One time I filled in for the MC of a show at school on stage, I totally enjoyed it. The job would have been mine but I was only filling in the spot for a few days. I had the audience intrigued by my personality and had them laughing.
Around the fifth grade some friends and I put a five piece group together. We sang in hallways and on corners. We were chased out of buildings by the cops because it was late and people were trying to sleep, but the people that were outside cheered us on to sing “just one more”.
We used to have a lot of fun, singing everywhere we went, walking on the subway, and waiting on line to see a movie. It was great days back then. We started to get actual paying jobs around town. The group decided to play our own sound of music. Joey Spampinato (N.R.B.Q.) started to take up playing bass, my other friend Kenny played piano, drummer was hired named Brian Darby which now made the group 7 pieces. This was the beginning – “The Seven of Us”.
“Ruby and The Romantics” managers’ like us and recorded us. This didn’t work out, it was a bad contract, and this was our first lesson. We played uptown and downtown clubs in New York such as the Cheetah, Scott Muni’s The Rolling Stone, Clay Coles Happening Place were a few. We played out all the time in New York when it was rockin’ all the time.
One night a gentleman took me aside and said he had a great shot in Miami Florida.
Funny thing was it was called “The Cheetah” which was the same club he found us in New York. It seemed to be the right thing to do, so we packed up our stuff and went to Florida even though we would miss New York and our families so much, it was time to make our music grow. The best club in Florida called “The World” wanted us to play steady so we signed on for almost a year.
I met Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson (N.R.B.Q.) at the Cheetah Club in Florida. Terry and Steve became part of “The Seven of Us” playing at “The World.” One of our players was a Seminole Indian the chief’s son “Tiger” who played guitar with us.
The band broke up and I went back to New York and started playing with a horn group “Rocky and His Friends”. In the Bahamas we were playing “R & B music” such as Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Sam and Dave, James Brown, Jr Walker, etc…it was great, the natives loved to hear our music.
After 6 months or so the “Seven of Us” reformed back together in Miami with a new name – N.R.B.Q. The new group was made up of Steve Fergurson, Joey Spampinato, Terry Adams and me Frank Gadler. we started to grow but needed a strong drummer that fit the group, we found Tom Staley after a long time.
We still played “The World” but things had changed, we played mostly original material and so we started to grow as the band N.R.B.Q Donny Placco, my cousin, helped us get somewhere by introducing the group to a great man and manager “Frank Scinlaro, we could have not asked for better. Frank Scinlaro set us up to play at a place that was the best place in Miami to play – “The Image” – all the big acts played here and so did we. We met so many great bands and had established so many fans at this time.
In time we went to New York to record our first album with the help of Eddie Kramer a great engineer. Frank Scinlaro and some friends help finance to have the record made. We played “The Scene” an excellent place for bands to be heard – This gave us the opportunity to be signed with Colombia Records who at the time the president was Clive Davis.
We toured all over the country playing with a lot of bands and in clubs and theatres such as “The Fillmore, the “Village Gate”, “Whisky a Go go” to mention a few.
We signed with Kuma Sutra records with Neal Beaugot after being with Columbia which turned out to be some of my finest music days... I parted from the band after five or so years being together. I needed to step back for a bit, got a job breaking my back working on brown stones. After awhile I started to hunger for the music again so I got in touch with Steve Fergerson. We met in Florida and started a band called the “Sacred Frowns”. Recorded with Phil Walden, Otis Redding’s manager who helped us but things didn’t work out and my heart was broken again. Music kept pushing me away nothing could hurt me as bad as music when it didn’t happen. Nothing made me feels as good as music that’s why it hurt so badly when it didn’t work out.
I was in Florida for awhile worked with a local band at night on the beach, worked cutting grass for the parks department during the day. I played with an 8 piece horn group in clubs in Miami in the “Tee Dee Greene Club”. We did our own show and then backed up some of the other artists who were appearing. One of the vocalists that sings with the Spinners was one of them.
We were called “Smoke where there’s fire there’s Smoke.” After awhile guys got into each others hair and again I had to separate from the music which broke my heart again.
I moved back with my parents in New York City. I got back with a band with some old friends and we played out in all the boroughs. While singing in the band I also decided to take up dance, tap, jazz, modern, ballet, some singing lessons and went back to college too.
In the early 80’s I received a call from an old friend named Eddie Kramer, to audition for the lead singer in a group from Kentucky. They sent me 6 songs to record which I did in New York sent it to them and off I went to live in Kentucky with another new band. The coordinator and the backer named us “Thoroughbred”. We were a country hard rock band playing clubs and recording all original material. Things didn’t work out after 6 months. I went back to New York and took up acting class’s downtown. I rode my bike back and forth to class to keep in shape and also just because I love to ride by bicycle which I also designed and built myself.
While I working down the shore with a local band, I met my wife Joan. We have two beautiful children together and I now live in Philadelphia. I have been searching for the perfect group working with several bands here in Philly. I even worked with a vocal trio called “The Mitchell Brothers” one of the guys was Benny King’s son and one was a Gospel singer in his church but again nothing happened.
I now am working with an old friend, Willie Amrod and some friends for several years getting my new CD together. They are good song writers and with any luck my CD will be out to purchase in a few months. I have also stayed in touch with all the band members of Thoroughbred who later on became “the Kentucky Headhunters” winning a Grammy. We are hoping to sing together soon also.
We are starting to play out in fact last month we were in Washington DC; next date is in Woodstock, NY at the “Bearsville Theatre”.
This August we will be playing in Germany. So stay tune for new updates……..
I have fire in my heart, come and listen when you can, today is the first day of our lives.