This is a brief history about us, over the course of 40+ years. I apologize if I have missed anyone. Please feel free to help me update any missing information.
There is a reason why Joe is at the top! Joe is the originator of the Vegas band and leader for more than 30 years. An all around musician, his main instrument is the guitar but he’s not too bad with lead vocals. His commitment and hard work have kept the Vegas Band running without a hitch for all this time. He is a perfectionist in the best sense of the word and his example brings out the best in other people. Now leading us through the musical journey with VRB, in addition to The Vegas Band.
Otherwise known as “skee”, Gerald was the original bass player and one of the founding members of the group. He was also a member of the predecessor to the Vegas band – the Galaxy band. The name Vegas was actually his suggestion for the name because it “sounded like something exciting”. Oh Boy was that prophetic! Skee left the group shortly after its inception to join the Navy.
Denise was also one of the original members of the group, and also a former Galaxy band member as well. The heartfelt, soulful energy that she put into each of her songs would bring goose bumps to your arm!
(Deceased) Rich was the original Vegas keyboardist. He had been in the music world since his childhood, playing the clarinet and the sax in Junior High. He had the amazing ability to add orchestration in spite of the limitations of the equipment of the time (1979 – 1981). In addition to Vegas, Rich played with several groups and toured in 27 states as well as in Canada. The groups included Guitar Shorty , Graffitti , Badlands , The James Paul Band , Mark Channing And Fire , and Back In Time to name a few. Rich played in a back-up band for Nashville recording artist Sue Powell at the Geneva Grape Festival in Geneva, Ohio. He also did recording work with Wes Hammer while with the James Paul Band at Peppermint Studios in Youngstown, Ohio.
Kenny was the original drummer and a driving force in the Vegas band, he was also a former Galaxy band member. Kenny can lay it down and had a strong voice to match. After a hiatus from Vegas, Kenny returned to play drums around 2001 for about a year.
Henry replaced “Skee” on bass and brought that unmistakable voice and playing style with him. He was a major driving force in the band that forced everyone to up their best game. Henry left for a year to perform on the road. When he was again available, he was welcomed back with open arms. A 15 year member of Vegas that’s still going strong in the industry, you can catch him live today in Youngstown’s Total Package Band, and VRB.
Randy was a former Galaxy band member that played briefly in the Vegas band. He was a great keyboardist with a lot of energy. In addition to his piano prowess, he was known to keep the crowd entertained with additional skills such as dancing and juggling, to name a few! He was a dedicated musician with a Dana School of Music (YSU) background.
Anita came on board following Denise as the Vegas band lead vocalist. She may have been young in years but there was certainly no evidence of that in her performance. She added sweet vocals and a live stage presence. Anita was a member for two time periods in the band.
Lisa followed Anita and certainly made her own mark. ‘Little Lisa’ (a term of affection) had her own style that fit nicely into the Vegas mold. After her time in Vegas, Lisa went on to record her own songs and they were recognized by the Billboard charts.
(Deceased) Vegas band keyboardist and all around fun guy, Kevin had a unique style of horns and strings along with special effects. He could do a really good impression of Ed Sullivan and could throw popcorn high into the air and catch it in his mouth EVERYTIME! Kevin was a member of the band for two separate time periods.
'Steady Eddie’ followed Kenny as the Vegas band drummer. This dude is like a machine! His meter was right on all the time. His only problem was (and without mentioning any names)…one member always wanted it faster and one wanted it slower! Eddie did a great job finding the middle ground and kept it flowing. Eddie is currently the drummer for Youngstowns Total Package Band, and VRB.
‘Keyboard Man’ Mike was referred to as the musical director of the band. Mike could play some chords! He was very melodic style and a great background vocalist. ‘Big Mac’ was always willing to buy the next round! After Vegas, Mike played for a while in Youngstowns Total Package Band, and currently with VRB.
(Deceased) Keyboards, Vocals. ‘Dr G’ as he sometimes referred to, Greg has a dynamic funky style that the gave the band another dimension. He added lots of energy but always helped keep it light. Greg also wrote several originals songs the the band recorded and played live. Greg left the band for a short time but was also welcomed back. Greg was a valued member of Youngstowns Total Package Band.
Karla was a strong ‘Chaka Kahn’ type female vocalist. She followed Lisa as the female lead. Pure energy on stage with a good sense of vocal improvisation.
A sax player, vocalist, and percussionist, Clarence added a whole new dimension to the band with his talents. Gotta love the saxophone!
After Clarence left the band, there was something missing. Gary came along and showed everyone what it was…The sax!!! Gary’s style of playing fit right in. He also brought his own energetic personality the band. Gary also played the sax with Cleveland’s Michael Stanley Band.
New Castle’s own, Debbie joined the band and immediately added her own brand of soul to the mix. Great on and off the stage.
When The band needed a drummer after Eddie, Sammy stepped up and moved in. A highly motivated professional that kept the beat going, Sammy afterwards became member of Manhattan.
Candi was a professional vocalist and keyboardist, and also a Dana School of Music alumni. Her skills along with her personality were immediately felt in the mix. Always prepared, Candi was a two time member of the group. She was a prior member of another popular band in the 80s called Ecstasy
Also hailing from Dana School of Music, Rick joined the band in 1994 and was with the band through 1999. He was welcomed back in 2008. Also singing some leads and lots of backgrounds, Rick also played a mean ‘talkbox’! He’s also been known to sit in on the drums from time to time as needed. Some of the other groups Rick has played with or had association with members from include RPM, The Syndicate, The Old Skool Band, Guitar Shorty, 2×2, Insane, Babie Brother, and Flirt, Brotherhood, and Epic.
Joining in 1994, John was a consummate professional drummer and vocalist. John accomplished quite a bit before joining with Vegas, including recording several LP’s with Youngstown’s native Booker Washington III in the Sweet Thunder band. Although signed in Philadelphia and having achieved not just local but national chart ratings, most notably with 1978′s Top 40 hit Baby I Need Your Love Today, John, Booker, Charles Buie, and Rudell Alexander were all “Youngstownites”. John has played in several different configurations of the band over the years.
Sandy replaced Candi in 1995 and brought a powerful voice to the Vegas sound. A humble soul, she was nevertheless outgoing and worked great with the crowds on and off the stage. After leaving the band in 1998, she rejoined for a short while in 2000. Prior to her work in Vegas, Sandy was a member of the well-known Group Therapy band.
A funky drummer, Billy joined the group in late 90′s. In addition to being the backbone of the rhythm section, he provided strong vocals as well. He was very humble on stage, but off stage kept us all in stitches with his zany sense of humor and spot-on impressions. Impossible not to love, Billy could do anything from the Tazmania Devil to his own operatic renditions of Jay-Z! We could literally fill a book with all of Billy’s antics. Billy also left for awhile and rejoined in 2008. Unfortunately, due to work injuries, he was forced to give up the drums in 2011. After surgery and therapy, he expects a full recovery and we hope he’s back in the industry soon – he’s too good not to be!
Replacing Sandy, Jessica was only with the band for about a year, but definitely left her mark. Her youthfulness and great stage presence were always great assets and her unique voice led to Vegas being able to try some new and interesting genres. Jess was a fun person with an infectious personality. She is now happily married with children and doing well!
Chrissy joined the band in 2000, replacing Jessica. She had a strong voice and also a unique sound that allowed the band to experiment with even more new genres. Chrissy is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and has remained in the scene non-stop since leaving Vegas, including such bands as 2×2, Rhythm Nation, Tie 1 On, and Cherry Wine.
After joining the band in 2000, as the lead female vocalist, Monica took on every genre she could get into, and Joe liked Monica SO much that they tied the knot! Monica is a powerful vocalist with a lot of soul and she loves to sing R&B. However, she is also very versatile and entertains the rest of the band with her willingness and ability to sing many other genres with skill. She is one of the hardest working vocalists to grace the band and is always prepared, well before the rest of the band, with new material. Her ability to remember vocals and lyrics is unheard of! With 22 years under her belt, Monica has enjoyed the longest run as front female vocalist with the band, and for good reason. She is the current lead vocalist for Vegas and VRB.
Mark is one great drummer, friend, co-worker, and I am proud to consider him family. He isn't afraid of anything. Want to play a new song? Mark says "Bring it on", and he nails it every time. Vocals....Mark has a great ear. Going to get him to do the Bee Gees yet!
Karen started singing, in bands and traveling the U.S. before she was even 20 years old. As a former lead vocalist for You & I, Karen's soulful vocal reputation, and bubbly personality, followed her. She joined Vegas for a short time, adding dimension to the what Vegas did. We were lucky to have her.
Moriah, a Dana School trained musician. She picked up the sticks as a little one, and never stopped tapping. A beautiful and knowledgeable musician, who never stopped being curious about making music. She always had her hands on something. Brightening every room with her smile.
Evan is a Dana School trained musician. He displays an amazing versatility, and excellence. Master of the shuffle, and Cajon. He brings youth, and enthusiasm, everywhere we play.
A great friend, with a great personality, and our bass player. He has been playing out and about for nearly 20 years around the area, with local bands like Lythium and 7% Superstar. The library of music he shares, goes on and on. Gary is just one of those guys who loves music and people.