In Part One, we talked to Greg Smith about his influences; such as, his first break with Wendy O. Williams, when Gene Simmons asked him to join the touring band in support of her first solo album in 1984, and when Greg joined Alice Cooper in 1991. In 1994, Greg was invited to audition for the new Rainbow band that Ritchie Blackmore was putting together. He talks about his homemade beer he offered to Ritchie and Ritchie’s pranks on the band members. We also chatted about the show at the Hammersmith Odeon, when two kids stole Ritchie’s guitar right off the stage.
Joe Lynn Turner, Billy Joel, and Ted Nugent
In Part Two of our two-part interview with Ted Nugent bassist, Greg Smith, we talk about recording and playing with Joe Lynn Turner, and performing in Billy Joel’s Broadway play, Movin’ Out.” We also spoke about his current gig with Ted Nugent. As of December 2020, he now is the longest playing member in Ted’s band, next to Derek St. Holmes.
Video interview with Greg Smith (Part Two)
Tokyo Motor Fist “Youngblood”
Here are links to other things related to Greg Smith
Glen Burtnik said to me during our interview, “I didn’t go to college, I went to Beatlemania.” I have to say that is a pretty cool line, as not everyone can say that for sure. Before Beatlemania, Glen grew up in the North Brunswick area of New Jersey and has since been a member of the Asbury Park music scene.
Beatlemania, Solo Career, and Styx
In 1978, Glen auditioned for the musical, Beatlemania. He auditioned for the Paul McCartney role and won.
Glen was signed to A&M Records in 1986, and released his first album, Talking In Code, and his follow up in 1987 with, Heroes and Zeros, which featured the single, Follow You. It was during that time, that he began working with Bob Burger.
After Glen left A&M Records, Dennis DeYoung asked him to audition for his band, Styx after Tommy Shaw left to form Damn Yankees. Glen jumped at the chance, and no sooner he was then in the band, and was hired as the second guitarist and songwriter.
Styx, with Glen, released their new record, Edge of the Century, which was released in 1990, and a tour through 1991. Even though the album went Gold, the band was dropped and Glen went back to New Jersey. Glen eventually returned to Styx in 1999, playing bass, when original bassist Chuck Panozzo could not. He went on to record Cyclorama with Styx in 2003.
Song Writing and The Weeklings
With Glen’s successful songwriting with Styx, he carried on writing for other artists most notably, his collaboration with Patty Smyth of Scandal. They wrote Sometime Love Just Ain’t Enough, and Patty ended up doing the duet with Don Henley, that went to the top of the charts, reaching number one.
Glen has been involved in many projects throughout his career, at many times Beatles related. In 2015, Glen and Bob Burger formed The Weeklings, and the band has released three albums with critical praise. The band performs Beatles’ songs (and songs the Beatles wrote but did not record themselves) and their own originals.
Chuck Burgi’s musical career is simply amazing! He started out in Montclair, New Jersey, and he went to the same school as Joe Walsh, who has been a family friend to this day. Currently, Chuck is the drummer for Billy Joel, and has been for the last 12 years.
Allman Brothers Band, Al Anderson & Brand X
After high school, Chuck went to Berklee in Boston, with his friend, Al Anderson. They got a chance to meet The Allman Brothers Band when they came to town, and even jammed with them. Jamming with The Allman Brothers Band was the turning point for both he and Al. Chuck went on to a successful career, and Al eventually became the lead guitarist for Bob Marley. Chuck’s career has never been dull or status quo. He has played and recorded with many artists, including Brand X, Hall & Oates, Glen Burtnik, Rainbow, Meat Loaf and many more
Billy Joel & Tokyo Motor Fist
In 2002, Chuck debuted on Broadway drumming for the smash musical, Movin’ Out, which featured the music of Billy Joel. Movin’ Out lasted three and a half years before closing in 2005. While playing the final shows of Movin’ Out, Chuck was approached by Billy Joel to join his band.
He also appears with former Rainbow bandmate and bassist, Greg Smith, Danger Danger vocalist, Ted Poley, and Trixter guitarist, Steve Brown, on the hard rock-styled Tokyo Motor Fist. Their sophomore album, Lions, was released in 2020.
Darion is a solo artist and the lead singer for the Pat Benatar Tribute Band- Fire & Ice, the only Pat Benatar tribute band from the Northeast that is endorsed by Pat.
Darion was born, raised, and lives in the New York City area. She began singing before she was able to walk, but didn’t pursue her career in music until 1990, when friends and family encouraged her to sing professionally. Darion released her first album in 2001, “See it Believe It.” Her second album was an EP titled, “House of Love,” released in 2003. One of her original songs, “Fly Away,” has become a song of hope, and adopted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, an organization near and dear to her heart.
Meeting Pat Benatar
Darion performs some of her own music along with Pat Benatar’s in concert. She first met Pat and Neil Giraldo after one of Pat’s concerts, where Darion was surprised that they both knew of her and were impressed. Pat and Darion bonded immediately, and because of their common bond with Darion’s son, Joshua, and a friend of Pat’s having Cystic Fibrosis, they are still close friends to this day.
John is a well known and established saxophonist, best known for his work with Diana Ross and his association with Billy Joel, and being a part of the Movin’ Out musical. After Movin’ Out, he continued to work with Tony nominated Michael Cavanaugh, playing the music of Billy Joel and more with symphonies all over the world.
He has recorded and performed with many music icons, including: Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Ricky Martin, Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, BB King, and Billy Joel, just for starters. Besides working with Diana Ross, he performs with quite a variety of bands, as well as working with Funk Filharmonik, and with the Billy Joel Tribute band, ”Big Shot” led by Mike DelGuidice. John’s versatility allows him to pursue many avenues of the music culture and many styles of music.
John has had many highlights throughout his career, including as musical director and co-musical director for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Awards, since it’s inception since 2004. He was asked by Billy Joel to join his band for the historic “Last Play at Shea,” the last two concerts at Shea Stadium where the band was joined by such icons as Don Henley, John Mellencamp, Tony Bennett, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltry, and Garth Brooks. As if that were not enough, Sir Paul McCartney closed out the second show.
Funk Filaharmonic, Tower of Power, and East 4th Horns
John took up the saxophone at an early age and later attended Berklee School of Music and studied with many teachers, including Joseph Viola. While continuing his studies in Boston, he was hired by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. When John went back to New York City, he was soon auditioning for Funk Filharmonik and was hired. At the same time, he and John Wheeler started another horn section they called the “East 4th Horns,” and quickly became men-in-demand horn section. In 1996, John received a dream phone call from Emilio Castillo of Tower of Power. Shortly after John sent the demo, he was in the band and stayed through 1999.
Video interview with John Scarpulla
“Work To Do” Brent Carter and Friends with John Scarpulla
CC, a New Jersey native, started singing and creating music at a young age. Her main influences are: Janis Joplin, Robert Plant, and Aretha Franklin. CC has two solo releases, Woodstock Lane, released in 2008, and her sophomore release, Let It All Hang Out in 2013. In addition to her second solo release in 2013, she recorded Bring It On Home with Chesky Records, a modern play on Led Zeppelin songs. Her latest release is a single with Anthony Krizan, called Crazy.
The CC Coletti Band has been the opening act for: The Doobie Brothers, Meat Loaf, The Outlaws, Brett Michaels, The Smithereens, South Side Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, and more.
In 2009, CC put together “Experience Janis,” a tribute to Janis Joplin. The first song she learned to sing was, Me and Bobby McGee, so it came naturally for her to form the band. The success of “Experience Janis” has grown enough where the demand requires them to play theaters.