The Fat City Band has a thirty year legacy playing with some of the all time greatest talent including James Brown, BB King and Ray Charles (to name a few). Who are they? The Fat City Band is six piece high energy jump blues, New Orleans style R & B band with a whole lot of swing.
The band consists of Paul Redmond on vocals and harmonica. Redmond has been the primary lyricist and writer. He resides in Boston and has been the front man for forty years commanding the stage and engaging his audience with his witty lyrics and sense of humor (not to mention his skill as a harmonica virtuoso).
John Litwin on drums is only the second drummer to play with The Fat City Band and he's been doing it for over 35 years. Litwin is an accomplished player ranging from jazz, blues and R & B and has had the good fortune to study with jazz great, Tony Williams.
You may know Mark Anderson, guitar and background vocals, who at the age of 21 was on his first tour as lead guitarist for Dolly Parton. He's been playing since the late 1960's and has spent the last 14 years with The Fat City Band and shows no sign of slowing down.
Joe Baglione on bass and background vocals has had a bass guitar strapped around his neck for over 45 years. He joined the band in 2007 and is a self taught player and vocalist who has played many styles over the years including rock, funk, jazz, fusion and latin. Baglione has played in many local and regional acts including the classic rock original project "Decade"; show bands such as "Aquarius" and "Al Valentino and The Playmates", and "The Croce Company" a backing band for Widow and hit song writing partner of the late Jim Croce.
On tenor saxophone is Tucker Antell who began playing sax at the age of 10, first played professionally at 13, and was recording by 16 with the last jazz great Al Galladoro. Tucker received his BA at The New England Conservatory where he studied with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Billy Hart andCecil McBee. Tucker joined the Fat City Band in 2009 and teaches and performs with a variety of bands and ensembles.
On keyboards and background vocals is Shane Wood who joined the band in 2012 and has been a perfect fit for the rhythm section since he first took the stage. Shane is a graduate of The Berklee College of Music and brings 40 plus years of jazz influence to the band. When he's not playing the blues with Fat City he can be found recording local talent at his studio, Asia Wood Studios, in Medfield, Ma. Wood also performs regularly with his critically acclaimed "Shane Wood Jazz Trio".
On slide trombone is Clayton DeWalt and newest member of The Fat City Band joining in 2013. DeWalt is pursuing his D.M.A. at the New England Conservatory and is a resident artist at The Conservatory Lab Charter School and an Adjunct Professor at Babson College. He's recorded and performed with Nancy Wilson and The Temptations to name a few. He's known as the "Fat Citizen" in the Fat City Band!
Examiner spoke with Redmond who is the primary lyricist and vocalist for the band.
Examiner: How long have you been in the music industry?
Redmond: "The history of the Fat City Band has now entered its 40th year of continued existence. The band has gone through a few personal changes over the past four decades. I am the only original member left.
The band started when I posted an ad in a record store on Boylston Street. It was answered by our original pianist, Joe Micarelli who had just moved to the area from New York City. He enlisted the services of his brother Domenic on drums and friends "Diamond" Jim Baker on sax, John "Elmo" Sullivan on guitar, and Paul "P.J." Justice on bass. The Fat City "Blues" Band was born in 1974.
Examiner: Who Inspired you to pursue this as a profession?
Redmond: "Not being a rock & roll guy, I was happy to find a venue in Inman Square in Cambridge that booked the big name and obscure blues acts in the early 1970's. There I'd go on successive nights sometimes to see the likes of James Cotton, Freddie King, Big Walter Horton, Carrie Bell, Albert Collins and Pinetop Perkins. I had long been influenced by these blues music greats and aspired to be a harmonica player in my own right. The rest of the guys in the band come from a wide range of musical influences from blues to jazz, rock, country, and classical artists.
Examiner: Are there any famous artists, that you've worked with, that you'd like to share a story or two?
Redmond: "We've had the good fortune of sharing the stage and opening for many top name artists. A list of some of the Blues greats would include: Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, The Neville Brothers, Ray Charles and my childhood idol, James Brown. We've had the pleasure of playing with and recording under the tutelage of Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, Elliot Randall of Steely Dan, and old friend Tommy Hambridge, drummer extraordinaire of Nashville. We've also been lucky enough to appear on national TV on The David Brenner Show, as well as a couple of Boston based TV shows. It was great fun and a huge honor.
A quick story about opening up for the James Brown gig was that it was at a very small club called the Lone Star Cafe in NYC. It was amazing to see that he had his entire band, including back up singers on such a small stage and me being just 5 feet away. It was a major thrill for me just to be on the same stage. Brown was very gracious and complimentary of the band. He didn't have a lot to say but it really made the show special just to know he was listening."
Examiner: What recordings/CD's have you released with The Fat City Band?
Redmond: "The Fat City Band has been recording for almost all of our 40 years. We've released six CD's as well as a vinyl EP and several cassette tapes over the years. "It Musta Been The Music" was a vinyl EP with four songs released back in the 1980's. Our first CD was called "Animal Attraction" which was the first full length release for the band. Then came "Let It Rip" recorded in 1997, "Crank It Up" recorded in 1999, "Fat Chance" which we released in 2000, "Wiggle Room" was done in 2003, "Good Time Guaranteed" released in 2007, and our latest which we believe is our best to date,"Done Deal" which we recorded with the current band. "Done Deal" was recorded on location at The C-Note in Hull, Ma., as well as in the studio. It also has 2 tracks which we recorded live on board The Norwegean Dawn during one of our many Fat City Band Bermuda Cruises. The new CD also includes a live DVD, recorded during a live performance at The C-Note."
Examiner: Anything else you'd like to add?
Redmond: "After 40 years I still find it fun to perform. We are now virtually an all original music band and all our songs still retain that blues influence. We've been very fortunate over the years to be able to play all over the country and beyond and maintain a group of the best and most loyal fans on the planet to which we owe everything. We have always operated under the belief that "Music Should Be Fun" and try to bring that to every show. And now, with the younger horn players, the band has a whole new energy. We want the audience to leave knowing they've seen and heard a tight musical group and have been thoroughly entertained."
Examiner: Upcoming dates?
We will be appearing at:
The C-Note in Hull, Ma. on Saturday, February 1, 2014
The Chickenbone in Framingham, Ma. on Saturday, February 8, 2014
The Son's of Italy in Watertown, Ma. on Saturday, March 1, 2014
Acton Jazz Cafe', Acton, Ma. on Saturday, March 8, 2014
Narragansett Cafe', Jamestown, RI. on Saturday, March 15, 2014
Chan's, Woonsocket, RI. on Saturday, March 22, 2104
Dante's at Firefly's, Marlboro, Ma. Saturday, March 29, 2014
Visit the band website for more information: www.fatcityband.com