NRBQ Returns After 6-Year Hiatus

 

Terry Adams posts an
open letter to fans explaining the medical reasons behind his break from the
band and why he’s putting it back together with the musicians from his Rock
& Roll Quartet.

 

By Fred Mills

 

One of the world’s most beloved bands, NRBQ, operated from
roughly 1967 to 2004, and although the lineup underwent numerous changes, the
group’s kitchen-sink aesthetic and skillful channeling of pop, folk, blues,
rock, country and jazz made ‘em the quintessential band of “musicians’
musicians.” There was a relatively “stable” period from 1974 to 1994 featuring
pianist Terry Adams, bassist Joey Spaminato, guitarist Al Anderson and drummer
Tom Ardolino, but after that Anderson left the band to pursue other projects and was
replaced by Spampinato’s brother Johnny, and the group soldiered on for another
decade. There was a 35th anniversary bash in 2004, but aside from another
couple of performances in 2007, 2004 essentially marked the end of the band
under the name NRBQ.

 

This week, however, Adams posted a lengthy missive on the official NRBQ website (and linked from his own site) which he outlined his plans
to revive the group, which is releasing a new album, Keep This Love Gun, later this month, and a handful of shows have
already been announced for April. The entire thing is worth reading as it
sketches out in great detail the actual reason behind Adams’
1994 departure: a protracted battle with throat cancer.

 

Writes Adams, “There’s been
a lot of confusion and speculation for the last six years about what happened
with the band in 2004. The time has come to set the record straight. I love
NRBQ. I didn’t break up the band. I didn’t quit NRBQ. I didn’t fire anyone from
NRBQ and I did not stop to pursue other projects. I would never end it – it’s
my life’s work.”

 

Adams goes on to detail the events following his 2004 cancer
diagnosis: leaving NRBQ but keeping his personal situation private (official
reason given: tendonitis); the other members eventually forming Baby Macaroni; Adams’
subsequent endeavors (Hot Shots, Louisville Sluggers); his ongoing struggles as
the cancer went into remission then returned; his work with Scott Ligon, Pete
Donnelly and Conrad Choucron as The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet; and
his eventual decision to revive the NRBQ name and utilizing those three players
after his former bandmates declined his offer to include them in the new
version of the band.

 

“I reached out to Joey and Johnny in another attempt to get
the band back together,” writes Adams. “After
a nice talk and one rehearsal, communication stopped. Eventually Joey told me
that he and Johnny really didn’t want to continue on with me or NRBQ, and that
it was their destiny to have their own band.”

 

Adams concludes, “The time
has come. It’s been a long climb back. For awhile, the very name NRBQ caused me
much pain, but in time I could separate the circumstances from the music. With
all due respect to the past, NRBQ is a living, breathing, ongoing sound. I never
intended it to ever become a trip down memory lane.”

 

The initial round of tour dates is listed below. It should
be a good ‘un – although it will also be interesting to see what, if anything,
is the reaction of the former NRBQ members who chose not to reunite with Adams.

 

Tour Dates:

 

Friday 1st – The Turning Point, Piermont, NY
Saturday 2nd – The Bearsville Theater. Bearsville, NY
Sunday 3rd –  The Linda, Albany, NY
Saturday 9th – Live performance on Bob Brainen’s show on WFMU (www.wfmu.org)

 

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