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Inductees  

The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Inaugural Class 2015

THE SCHEMERS BRENDA BENNETT NELSON EDDY

Formed in the late 1970s during the Punk/New Wave era, The Schemers were at the center of the Rhode Island original music scene for nearly a decade. They won the WBRU Rock Hunt and Boston’s Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble talent contests and also released a series of successful independent singles. The major labels all came calling, but no record deal materialized. In 1987, singer/songwriter Mark Cutler and guitarist Emerson Torrey formed Raindogs with the rhythm section from Columbia Records artists The Red Rockers and Scottish fiddler, Johnny Cunningham. Their unique sound put them at the forefront of the blossoming Americana music scene. They released two critically acclaimed albums for Atco Records and toured nationally with Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon and Don Henley. Mark Cutler has since pursued a solo career, releasing six successful albums and is considered the most important Rhode Island songwriter of the modern era. In recent years, The Schemers have reunited for a series of sold-out concerts and in 2015 began recording their first full-length album.

Brenda Mosher began her recording career in 1973 for Columbia Records as a featured singer/songwriter with Rhode island's Ken Lyon & Tombstone. She then took a job under her married name working for Prince in his wardrobe department where she was discovered by “The Purple One” who enlisted her for his girl-group project, Vanity 6. The group’s 1982 album was certified Gold and contained several hits. In 1984, Vanity was replaced and the group became Apollonia 6. Their album went Platinum, they toured the world with Prince and also on their own, and Brenda had a speaking role in Prince's movie "Purple Rain." She retired in 1992 to raise her family, but returned to the scene in 2012 with her first solo album, “A Capella.” Her comeback continued with a major New York dance club hit, “Guiltier,” in 2013.

Born in Providence in 1901, Nelson Eddy is recognized as one of the finest singers in American music history. Over the course of his 40-year career, he enjoyed unparalleled international success singing and acting on stage, screen, radio and TV. He scored dozens of hit records and was, at one point, the “highest paid singer in the world.” He has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one each for film, music and radio) and was awarded three Gold records. Eddy passed away in 1967.

GEORGE MASSO

GEORGE WEIN

DUKE BELAIRE

George Masso was born in Cranston in 1926 and has excelled in just about every area of the music business – as a trombonist, composer, pianist, recording artist, arranger and educator. He played in the national big bands in the 1940s and has recorded as a sideman with some of the biggest names in jazz including Bobby Hackett and The World’s Greatest Jazz Band. He has released a dozen albums as a leader which feature many of his own compositions and those songs have, in turn, been recorded dozens of times all around the world. He taught music in the Cranston public schools for eleven years and another eight years at the University of Connecticut mentoring some of our finest musicians including several RIMHOF inductees.

In 1954, philanthropists Louis and Elaine Lorillard invited pianist and club owner George Wein to Newport. What resulted was the Newport Jazz Festival for which Louis Lorillard provided a $20,000 grant. The successful event was the first outdoor jazz festival in the United States. The Newport Jazz Festival became an annual tradition and put Rhode Island on the map as an entertainment and cultural destination for international travelers. In 1959, he also began presenting the Newport Folk Festival. He is credited with keeping folk, country, bluegrass and blues traditions alive by providing, for many of the performers, their return to the stage after years of waning interest. The Newport Folk Festival also created a launching pad for future stars including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Kingston Trio, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Arlo Guthrie. Mr. Wein later founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events. Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions and leading publications. He is proud to be receiving a Grammy Trustee award on February 7th, 2015.

Drummer Anthony “Duke” DeCubellis was born to his calling. His father, Ray Belaire, led one of the top New England big bands of the Swing era and also ran The Arcadia Ballroom in downtown Providence where Duke got his start. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he adopted the Belaire stage name and organized the house band at The Celebrity Club, Rhode Island’s first integrated nightspot, backing every major star who came through the area. In 1967, he founded his own big band and secured a Monday night residency at Bovi’s Tavern in East Providence in 1969. Duke is credited with keeping the big band sound alive for the next 25 years. The orchestra, still based at Bovi’s and now under the direction of trumpeter John Allmark, is considered the longest continually running big band in the United States.

PACO ZIMMER

GEORGE PORGIE & THE CRY BABIES

THE OTHERS

Richard “Paco” Zimmer has had a stellar international career as a concert promoter, artist manager and tour manager. He reached the highest levels of the entertainment business providing guidance for superstars including Kiss, The Allman Brothers Band, Robin Williams, and ZZ Top. Along the way, he remained true to his belief in the Rhode Island music scene. He was the creator and manager of Center Stage, the showcase club in East Providence, and always made a point of featuring local artists as opening acts when the national bands came through town. He also acted as manager and champion of many Rhode Island acts and is credited with putting the music of Mark Cutler onto the national scene when he procured the Atco Records contract for Raindogs.

George Leonard, of Pawtucket, entered the Rock ’n’ Roll history books before he cut his first record. When his family moved to nearby Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1964, he was tossed out of school for his Beatle-length haircut. He filed – and eventually won – a lawsuit which became a national cause-celebre. Capitalizing on the publicity, the band he’d formed with his sisters became a fixture on the thriving discotheque scene in Manhattan and led to two national releases for Jubilee Records. He went on to record with poet Edmund Skellings for the National Endowment for the Arts and bassist Jaco Pastorius; composed and produced the controversial rock opera “Bozo;” and, under his alter-ego “Commander Video,” became a cable TV pioneer on the New York underground scene of the 1970s.

Formed in 1965 by five college students (guitarists Jim DeStout and Mike Brand, drummer Mike Patalano, and vocalist Pete Shepley from URI and bassist John Costa from Brown), the band became one of the most popular acts in the Northeast, enjoyed three national releases on two major labels, and still managed to stay in school! Their RCA 45s, “I Can’t Stand This Love, Goodbye” (1965) and “Lonely Street” (1966), are internationally recognized as two of the greatest garage band singles of the ‘60s. Costa left in '66 and was replaced by Bob Johnson for a final single on Jubilee in 1967. After two more lineup changes with Bob Angell replacing Brand and Joe Parisi stepping in for Patalano, they enjoyed continued success through 1968. Shepley and Brand went on to form the Kiss precursor band Chelsea with drummer Peter Criss releasing an LP for Decca in 1970.

THE ASCOTS BOB PETTERUTI MARTY BALLOU

Formed at Barrington High in 1965, singer/guitarist Rick Desilets, lead guitarist Peter Mayhew, bassist Mark Vinbury, drummer Ted Medbury and organist Vinton Medbury found immediate success on the teen circuit. They released a series of singles produced by Big Al Pavlow for his Super Records label and the second, a cover of Wilson Pickett’s “Midnight Hour,” was a smash, selling thousands all over New England. Poised to break nationally, the single collided at the New York border with a competing version by midwesterners Michael & The Messengers. When Rick and Peter left in ’68, the others continued as a trio (with Mark switching to lead), at first as The White Wash, then as Deviled Ham. In 1970, they finally got a national release with an LP for Buddah which is considered a psychedelic classic all over the world. Robert “Bob” Petteruti is the “dean” of bass players in Rhode Island. Over several generations, he instructed and mentored dozens of our finest players at the Twin City Music stores in Providence and Pawtucket founded in 1932 by his father, guitarist and bandleader Joseph Petteruti. He began his career in 1943 at age 13 and has performed all over the Northeast in every setting. During the last 70 years, he has performed with every major jazz artist to pass through Rhode Island. A fraction of the list of musicians he backed as part of the house band at The Celebrity Club and The Kings & Queens includes Roy Eldridge, Bobby Hackett, Mose Allison, Zoot Sims and Ben Webster with whom he recorded two albums. Marty Ballou is high on the list of New England’s “first-call” bassists. Highly regarded nationally for his work in the jazz and blues fields, he is equally at home in other genres including folk, rock, pop and Americana. His massive list of credits, in the studio and on the stage, stands him alongside the all time greats on both the upright and the electric bass guitar. He has lent his special talents on his instrument, as an arranger, and as a producer to dozens of performers including Peter Wolf, Martin Sexton, Herb Ellis, Roomful of Blues, Cheryl Wheeler, Duke Robillard, John Hammond, Dan Moretti and Jimmy Witherspoon.

MARTY RICHARDS

   

   
Drummer Marty Richards is nationally known as a “go-to” player for any setting. His innate sense of swing and unerring sense of time have graced dozens of recordings and thousands of stages behind a list of performers which reads like a “who’s who” of American popular music. To name just a few, he has recorded and/or performed with The Peter Malick Group featuring Norah Jones, The Gary Burton Quintet, Duke Robillard, James Montgomery, James Cotton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Peter Wolf, Garth Hudson, Al Kooper, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, and Tommy Flanagan. He is a member of The Joe Perry Project led by Aerosmith’s lead guitarist.    

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