Rodney Appleby and Tony Scozzaro rocked their way into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Wednesday night at Blind Mellons. The only problem for the two frontmen in the band Anthracite is finding a drummer with staying power.
"We're on our third drummer right now," Scozzaro, lead guitarist for the jazz/fusion trio, said with a laugh. "It's like Spinal Tap, we've got seven more to go."
Gordy Rogers, current drummer for Anthracite, was able to match Scozzaro's scorching guitar licks and Appleby's equally intense bass. The trio stormed its way through a ferocious set that sounded something like Jimi Hendrix meets Cream before a packed house at the 15th Annual Buffalo Music Awards and Hall of Fame inductions.
"For what it's worth, I think it's pretty cool going into the hall -- especially with someone like Rodney," Scozzaro said. "There's always some backlash about these kinds of awards, but I find it flattering to be in the same Hall of Fame with people like Billy Sheehan, Bobby Militello and Ted Reinhardt. They were heroes to me."
"I've been playing music around Buffalo for more years than I care to remember," Appleby said. "It feels good tonight to be accepted into the Hall of Fame. It's like hearing people say, 'Hey, all right, you belong.' "
The other hall of fame inductees included the Goo Goo Dolls, J.C. Thompson, Bobby Militello and Only Humen.
The Goo Goo Dolls, like Militello, were performing out of town and were unable to attend. Lance Diamond, a fellow hall of famer who has recorded with the Goo Goo Dolls, accepted the award for them. The Goos are currently on tour in support of their smash album, "A Boy Named Goo."
Diamond, wearing top hat, tails and white gloves, added a touch of class to the event as he took the stage and told how Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac had called him on the phone to talk about the honor. George Tutuska, the band's original drummer who is no longer with the group, did not attend.
"Johnny and Robby just wanted me to say how much this means to them," Diamond said. "These guys have worked so hard to get where they are today, they just wish they could be here.
"They love Buffalo and Buffalo loves them. It's an honor for me to accept this for them. They got their stuff together, and now they're in the Hall of Fame. It's like they always tell me, 'Lance, that's what show biz is all about.'
The Hall of Fame expanded its musical boundaries with the induction of Militello, who specializes in jazz with his saxophone and flute, and J.C. Thompson, the first country artist to make the hall.
"It's really special to be part of this place and I think it shows just how popular country music is in Buffalo," Thompson said. "To be the first country act inducted is really a thrill.
"I started out in a rock band, and I listen to all kinds of music. I think the hall goes beyond any style of music. It's about the artists and musicians in Buffalo who make music special in this community."
Only Humen has been playing rock and Top 40 music for nearly a decade. The band's current line-up features Frank Pusateri, his son Frank Jr., Ray Wood and Paul Varga.
New music forms such as rap and hip-hop were recently added to the Buffalo Music Awards. Twin brothers Divine and Devenaire won the award in the hip hop/rap category.
"It means a lot to us because we're trying to get out a positive message," Devenaire said. "Our music is being accepted in the streets because it's real. It's nice to see it being accepted here."
Tom Fenton, who plays with the Fibs and often appears with Gretchen Shulz, captured the award for best original guitarist. "It's always nice to get some recognition," Fenton said. "It's pretty tough trying to make it in the clubs in Buffalo."
Sue Kincaid added to her reputation as one of Buffalo's most talented singers. She won the Original Female Vocalist category and her band, The Need, won for Original Pop Group.
The winners were selected by readers who sent in ballots that appeared in Night Life magazine:
Hard Rock Group, Stealin'; Rock Group, Painted Pony; Top 40 Group, Joyride; Pop Group, Release; Classic Rock Group, Jonesie and the Cruisers,;Classic Top 40 Group, Bleeding Hearts; Oldies Group, Bedrock Boys.
New Rock Group, Jump Kings; Solo Artist, Randy Milligan; Duo/Trio, Ladyfire; Male Vocalist, Steve Golovin; Rock Guitarist, Joni James; Rock Drummer, C.J. Styles; Rock Female Vocalist, Maria Sebastian; Rock Bassist, Kevin Buck; Rock Keyboardist, Rick Allen.
World Beat Group, Caribbean Extravaganza; Jazz/Fusion, Anthracite; Blues Band, Win Lose or Draw; R & B Male Vocalist, Jeffrey Varner; R & B Female Vocalist, Annette Batia; R & B Drummer, Robert Garrett; R & B Bassist, Kim Ellison; R & B Group, Special Guest.
New Original Group, Industry of Life Divine; Blues Guitarist, Tommy Z; Blues Bassist, Jim Brucato; Blues Drummer, Paul Campanella Jr.; Blues Harmonica, Harmonica John; Saxophone Player, Pete Howard.
Original Hard Rock Band, Jive Injection; Original Pop Band, The Need; Original Rock Band, McCarthyizm; Original Alternative Band, Elk; Blues Vocalist, Donna Rose; Hip Hop/Rap, Divine and Devenaire; Tribute Band, Diver Down.
Blues Keyboardist, Steve Stepion; Original Guitarist, Tom Fenton; Original Keyboardist, Joleen Williams; Original Male Vocalist, D. Sacred; Original Female Vocalist, Sue Kincaid; Original Drummer, Jim Linsner; Original Bassist, John Caruso.
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