Rizzz’s no compromise approach became a template for the exploding R.I. original music scene of the 1980s and their influence is still felt 35 years after they disbanded.
In 1973, guitarists David Tanury and Jim Tait and drummer Rick Couto of the Riverside underground band Powerhouse joined forces with saxophonist Bob Weisberger, Joe “Klem” Klimek on harmonica and sax and bassist Kenn Reynolds to form a new band which is considered one of the finest and most sucessful in Rhode Island music history: RIZZZ. Their repertoire combined original songs by Dave and Jim with the Soul/R&B, Jazz and improvisatory elements found in Jam Band Music (Santana, the Dead, the Allmans) and Roots Music/Americana (The Band, Little Feat, NRBQ) before either of those genres had a name and they hit upon a unique style which immediately struck a chord with the public. They began selling out the biggest clubs in the state and were soon joined by pianist Jerry Xavier. After a shakeup in 1978, David, Klem and Kenn were joined by three new players, keyboardist Paul Sauvageau, guitarist Richard Herzog and drummer Gary St. Germain. The new lineup didn’t miss a beat and leaned even more heavily towards originals by David, Klem and Richard. Although Rizzz became a major college draw and showcased all over the Northeast, a record deal failed to materialize and they called it quits in 1981. However, their no compromise approach became a template for the exploding R.I. original music scene of the 1980s and their influence is still felt 35 years after they disbanded.