Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dennis Tufano Representing The Buckinghams at Illinois R&R Hall of Fame Induction

Tuesday, August 31, marks the exciting long-awaited opening of musician Ron Romero’s dream: the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s located in the heart of Joliet, IL, at 9 W. Cass St. "On behalf of the entire Buckinghams band, original lead singer and founding member Dennis Tufano will be representing in the formal Hall of Fame induction ceremony," announced his friend and longtime fellow Buckingham, Carl Giammarese.

"It’s poignant and so important that Dennis be there just as he was in the very beginning. The founding member we all considered the “heart” of The Buckinghams, John Poulos, and early founding member George LeGros as well as final founding member, Marty Grebb, are no longer with us. Dennis will share memories from his heart and will be wonderful in representing all of us from the beginning. He’ll also sing a few songs that evening," said Carl.

Two early shots of The Pulsations turned The Buckinghams during the early days of WGN-TV's "All Time Hits" broadcast.

The inaugural class of 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19) will usher in some of the state’s most prestigious, beloved musicians, DJs, and radio stations that really propelled iconic musicians and powerful bands from the Windy City forward with signature momentum that have found their popularity only growing with each year since they found garages and basements to plug their instruments in for the first time.

Originally it was hoped that all The Buckinghams, who are among the groups being inducted this first year, would all be able to attend the event at the Rialto Square Theatre. As schedules would have it, the band had been booked already for Tuesday evening to play one of their favorite concerts, the City Festival at Hillside, IL.

However, on Thursday, newly elected Hall of Fame Ambassador Carl Giammarese, founding member of The Buckinghams, said, “The genesis of The Buckinghams, of course, began as The Pulsations, when Dennis and Jon-Jon (Poulos) plus founding member George Le Gros invited me to join them. The original lineup then was different than the group that would find national acclaim and build a following over the past 56 years. We are so appreciative that Dennis is flying in from California to represent everyone who’s been a part of our band over the years, including original manager, Carl Bonafede.”

The Pulsations would change three band members over a year’s time to ultimately become known The Buckinghams. Check out this early photo and note the snappy dinner jackets that would soon be returned to the tuxedo shop in due time.

"During the “All Time Hits” TV show, in week 4, we lost lead singer George LeGros and bass player Curtis Bachman left to join another band.” Giammarese suggested they invite Nick Fortuna and the guys agreed. Both Nick and Dennis Miccolis were with the band all through the recordings at Chess Studios that would ultimately be released on USA Records. The band recorded James Holvay's "Kind of a Drag" and two more Holvay compositions for that contract: "Makin' Up and Breakin' Up" and "Love Ain't Enough."

Not long after USA Records released “Kind of a Drag,” Dennis Miccolis left the band to enter college and study chiropractic medicine, but he was the original keyboard player on all USA Recordings. He's featured in this early promotional picture of the band.

After Miccolis, songwriter Larry Nestor filled in on keyboards. Nestor is pictured on the sheet music for "Kind of a Drag," having arrived fortuitously in time for the photo sessions!

About two months later, Marty Grebb would be recruited by the band to join them, thus rounding out the group of future Columbia/Sony recording artists and touring musicians who are the five best-known founding members of The Buckinghams from 1966 until such time as two of them would eventually go on to other bands.

The Buckinghams quit performing as a band in 1970. Dennis likes to joke, "We were a 60s band, and when it was the 70s, we had to break up!"

“All this history is part of the story of our careers, which I’ve been compiling and writing for some time now,” said Carl. “The most important thing to remember is that Chicago, Illinois, is the hometown of the heartbeat of The Buckinghams. It was here where we all got our start.”

Talented Chicago native and photographer Jack Mongan snapped this picture of Dennis and Carl during a benefit concert for Pam Pulice's biopic "The Dick Biondi Film," soon to be completed. Of course Dick Biondi and WLS-AM will be honored in the inaugural Class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Continuing, Carl said, “It was thanks to the relentless energy of Carl Bonafede, the Screamin’ Wildman, and the “Wild Itralian” himself, Dick Biondi of WLS-AM, and Sheldon Cooper of WGN-TV’s ‘All Time Hits’ that we became introduced to national audiences. We appreciate so much Dennis’ representing all of us on an amazing historic evening that Ron Romero has put his heart and soul into to make his vision a reality.”

Carl and Nick are in Colorado this weekend with two Happy Together concerts (rescheduled from 2020). They will return to Chicago for Sunday’s Cornerstones of Rock show at Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre with The Buckinghams, The Ides of March, and a host of others before Tuesday’s Hillside date.” Rock and roll is alive and kicking in the Windy City and live music is returning to stages and festivals at last.

The Buckinghams are part of the Cornerstones of Rock concert on Sunday at the Arcada Theatre.

Carl said, “Jim Peterik and I have been on the radio the past few weeks talking about this exciting event. We’re so appreciative that Ron Romero and his team have been so warmly received across the state as we inaugurate this historic museum.”

The renovations and opening of this historic Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum are made possible through support by those who’ve believed in Ron Romero’s dream from the beginning: First Midwest Bank, Rendel’s, Complete Crewing, Firefly, and Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. They deserve your thanks and your continuing business support.

Photo of Ron Romero courtesy of Sheryl Davis.

Music fans—you still have a chance to join the museum as a charter member today. Visit https://www.roadtorock.org/ and donate by PayPal or safe credit cards, however you can. Keep our music history preserved forever and as soon as you can, please visit the museum. It’s absolutely spectacular and you'll find some Buckinghams' memorabilia there, too.

Tickets are still available to the grand opening evening at the Rialto Square Theatre, in Joliet, starting at a very reasonable $33.50. Doors open at 6 and the show begins at 7pm. There’s already a huge crowd coming so don’t wait around on getting your seats. For a list of all the inductees, click here.

You know what they say about big events —you never want to miss anything that happens only once in a lifetime!

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Buckinghams Join Up with Happy Together Tour for 2 Nights in August

Fulfilling a commitment made in 2020, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna traveled to beautiful Colorado for two shows along the Happy Together Tour this weekend. Due to Covid-19 causing cancellation of all 2020 scheduled shows, this was the first opportunity for audiences to enjoy their favorite 60s traveling road show, now in its 37th anniversary year.

On Friday night, audiences in Denver will fill the Paramount Theatre to hear the music of The Turtles, The Association, The Classics IV, The Vogues, and The Cowsills. For this show, The Buckinghams are substituting for Chuck Negron. Earlier today, Carl had a chance to tour beautiful Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, courtesy of longtime friend Lisa Hill and her family.

Sharing a few scenic photos and video he snapped this morning:

There's something really majestic in this venue.

Tonight’s concert starts at 8pm at the Paramount Theatre, located on Glenam Place, near Denver’s 16th Street Mall. It was designed by architect Temple Hoyne Buell and built in 1930. Part of the fun of the Happy Together Tour each year is visiting historic, scenic venues with beautiful surrounding vistas.

On Saturday, the tour travels 243 miles to Grand Junction, Colorado, as the Happy Together Tour visits Las Colonias Park on Aug. 28. More road trip photos coming soon.

Remembering Booking Agent Charlie Davis

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22: Trip Brown, Bob Birk, Charlie Davis, Lee DeWzye, Jim Lenz, Lori Otelsberg, and Howard Silverman backstage during the IEBA 2013 Conference - Day 3 at The Omni Nashville Hotel on October 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)

Today our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Charlie Davis, our Paradise Agents booking agent who passed away Wednesday, August 25, in his home. Charlie was an important part of our many tours that include casinos such at the South Point Casino, Sun Coast Casino in Las Vegas, and the Golden Nugget clubs across the country.

A brief summary of his career is found at celebrityaccess.com (Click here).

A second obituary on Pollstar notes that he worked with music icon Chubby Checker as his manager for over 30 years, and in his early 20s, he started out at road manager for Peter Frampton (see story here).

His local newspaper featured a most happy photo of Charlie, enjoying driving a boat on some well-deserved time off:

Full story located here. The family requests: “In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in Charlie’s memory to the Schuylkill Haven School District Music Department located at 501 East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA, 17972.”

Photo-- NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22: Moderator Charlie Davis of Paradise Artists, Inc. speaks at the Breakout Sessions Let's Talk Casino Entertainment during the IEBA 2013 Conference - Day 3 at The Omni Nashville Hotel on October 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)

When The Buckinghams perform at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas on Friday, October 8, we will definitely be thinking of him and we'll always remember him fondly. Godspeed Charlie, Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, and all The Buckinghams organization.

Friday, August 20, 2021

The Buckinghams Visit Charming Wild Rose Casino Nestled in Iowa

On Friday, August 20, The Buckinghams traveled to Emmetsburg, Iowa, a town of 3,670 people. It’s not widely known, but it is a sister city to Dublin, Ireland, which might explain some of the most popular travel sites there. You might be swimming or fishing at Five Island Lake, and there’s a lovely Kearny State Park. If you like bowling, visit the Shamrock Lanes, why don’t you? There’s a branch of Iowa Lakes Community College there.

Most exciting among the sites to visit is the Wild Rose Casino! Here, some longtime friends and fans arrived early to greet the band.

Located on lucky 777 Main Street in Emmetsburg, Iowa, The Buckinghams enjoyed so many friends and new friends coming out to see them.

Here are a few photos Carl and friends took from Sound Check that afternoon. And may the luck of the Irish be with you all at the slot machines!

Rocky in the pocket, just groovin' on a Friday afternoon.
Nick says, "There's your tambourine, man."

Bruce says, "Yup, we've got this!"

Dave makes one adjustment and then he's ready to rock.

Hey Carl, How are things looking the day before your birthday?

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Festival Time for The Buckinghams: Taste of Elmwood Park!

On Friday, August 6, The Buckinghams performed at the Taste of Elmwood Park! This was our first Chicagoland festival since the summer of 2019. What a magical night it was! We had a tremendous turnout!

It was so great to see so many familiar faces, fans that have supported us for years that we haven't seen in a long time.

Even our original manager Carl Bonafede showed up. It was great to introduce him on stage, Carl was responsible for our success in the early days.

Unfortunately, we had to cut our concert short due to a storm that moved in, but we were able to get in 65-70 minutes. There is always something special about playing a Chicagoland festival, the atmosphere is electric!

First I want to thank all of you for coming out and joining us. Next, thank you to the City of Elmwood Park. Murray Weiner and Jake Weiner for bringing us back after it was postponed last year because of Covid. Thank you Susan Rakis for all you do. I hope all our fans can join us again on Aug.31 when The Buckinghams play another festival for the City of Hillside. Let’s all keep rockin! Stay well and be safe!

Photos by Doris Charewicz and Susan Rakis