After winning the Massachusetts Blues Society Blues Challenge in October 2013, the Triple Threat Band is off to Memphis, Tennessee to compete against 200 other bands who are vying for that top spot in the International Blues Challenge from January 23 - 25, 2014.
The band consists of Steve Russo on guitar and vocals, Steve Topazio on bass and vocals, Norm Casey and Tim Patterson who alternate on drums and Joe Martins on sax. They are a hard working blues/rock band that pays attention to detail and is very ready to be heard by an audience that appreciates this type of music.
Casey has played with The Express, the Noreasters and as the house band drummer for the old Waterstreet Blues Jams which exposed him to playing with many different musicians. Russo took lessons from Duke Robillard. He played with Tower Hill and opened for Aerosmith and Brownsville Station. Topazio played with Chris Brown in Stovall Brown before joining forces with Triple Threat. The Russo and Topazio were very inspired by a Chris Duarte performance at Chan's some years ago and his dedication to his craft really strengthened their resolve to
make good blues music.
Examiner spoke with Joe Martins, the self taught sax player who started on the violin at age nine and later added clarinet, bass and a little guitar. He's played with Soul Ambition, The New York Minute, sits in on occasion with the Merge and Big Cat Blues and often with the James Montgomery Band.
Examiner: How did your band come together? Were you each working on other things, in other bands?
Martins: "Steve Russo and I met at the University of Rhode Island in the late 1970's. He knew Steve Topazio from work outside of school. We went thorough several drummers (and a couple of female singers) through the 1980's playing top 40 material in clubs around Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As we matured, top 40 became less fulfilling and desirable so we settled into a blues /rock style. About eight years ago we recorded a home made CD entitled "Hard Labor". Our first studio CD " She's one of a Kind" is being recorded now and will be released later this year."
Examiner: You won a blues contest? Can you tell us how that came about and when are you leaving for Memphis for the International Blues Challenge?
Martins: "We entered the Massachusetts Blues Society "Blues Challenge" in October of 2013. We won, playing songs from our new CD. This sends us to Memphis on January 23 through 25 to compete in the International Blues Challenge where there will be over 200 bands vying for the top spot. We are honored and excited to be going! We leave January 21, 2014 and return the following Sunday with hopefully the title and a lot of good memories. No matter what happens this is going to be a great experience."
Examiner: Do you have any famous musicians who have been a great influence to you or the guys?
Martins: "As for influences on our music, Russo says he's been influenced by Chris Duarte, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy. As for myself, I have always like the sound of Clarence Clemons, and the great King Curtis. I owe a lot to my friend and teacher Mike "Tunes" Antunes who plays sax with John Cafferty and Beaver Brown, Brian Maes, and many other great musicians. He has helped me greatly through the years."
Examiner: How is it that James Montgomery has taken such an interest in Triple Threat?
Martins: "James Montgomery has been a huge help to me personally as a performer and in helping my band get noticed. I have been very fortunate to sit in with his band many times and to have him play with Triple Threat on occasion. Montgomery joined us at our show at Chan's in Woonsocket. Rhode Island in early January and again at our recent fund raiser at the Newport Blues Cafe. We have opened for The James Montgomery Band on several occasions as well. We are very grateful to James for his support and guidance as we move " further on up the road."
Examiner spoke with Montgomery on the phone who said:
James Montgomery: "I think Triple Threat is one of the best up and coming blues bands in the area. They are all veterans who play well and have a keen understanding of the genre. Each player is very good and the particular combination of these four musicians seems to add even more. They work hard at their craft and it shows in their tight arrangements and incredible solo work. I have put them on several shows with my band just so I get a chance to hear them!"
Examiner: Upcoming shows?
Montgomery: Triple Threat will be opening for me at Johnny D's in Somerville on Friday, March 29, 2014. I hope that you'll all come out to see this show!
Check the band's Facebook page for upcoming dates!