Feb 24, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
An icon of the glory days of Syracuse rock’n’roll – Sam & The Twisters bandleader Sam Amato – died Feb. 17, in Winter Haven, Fla. He was 69.
In 1963, Sam & The Twisters and the Bigtree Sisters backed up Baron Daemon (Mike Price) to wax the biggest hit single ever to come out of Syracuse, “The Transylvania Twist,” which was based on the Twisters’ song “Fooba Wooba John.”
Recorded at Mike Riposo’s studio downtown, the Daemon 45 rpm disc sold 12,000 copies to become the area’s top-selling local record ever.
The Twisters, which later morphed into the Livin’ Ennd, featured Sam and Mickey Palumbo on guitars, along with bassist Al Wolf and drummer Jan Fetterley.
Red Dog recalled
The wildly rockin’ quartet played all of CNY’s top nightspots, including the Red Dog Saloon, Hewitt’s, The Brookside, the Fayetteville Inn, the Holiday Bowl, Three Rivers Inn and Dandy Dan’s Teen Canteen. One of the group’s more memorable gigs was a performance on the roof of the snack bar at the old North Drive-In on Route 11 prior to a screening of the 1964 Beatles’ film, “A Hard Day’s Night.”
While he loved playing his innovative electric guitar licks, Sam also loved driving souped-up cars and motorcycles. He once owned a 1963 split-window Corvette and a Ford AC Cobra, recalled Al Wolf. “Sam took me for a ride in the Cobra on the old Towpath Road to a gig we had at the Brookside before there was any development in that area. At 120 miles per hour, it didn’t take long to arrive.”
Amato’s favorite motorcycle was his Triumph. “Unfortunately he dumped it on Route 81,” Wolf said. “With great luck and his protective gear, he escaped with just some scratches.”
In 1968, Amato moved to Florida, but he returned here to play with the Twisters at Damon’s Restaurant in Cicero on Feb. 2, 2003, after he’d been diagnosed with throat cancer.
“Sam was a pioneer and a real inspiration to lots of [rock] musicians early on,” said Chuck Wheeler, a former member of The Seven. “I’ll always remember what an influence he had on me and hundreds of other guys in Central New York.”
Sam & The Twisters were inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame in 1994.
No ‘maybe’ about it
Nashville-based acoustic duo Coincidence Maybe will play a one-hour mini concert at 6:30 p.m. Monday Feb. 28, at the Tipp Hill Caf , 126 Milton Ave., on the city’s West End.
CM guitarist Travis Becknell is always on the lookout for new talent.
“I’m listening for vocalists and other musicians who could play on our recordings,” Becknell said. “We look forward to meeting people in Central New York and networking for future tours.”
Their first New York tour includes gigs at colleges and coffeehouses in Niagara, Buffalo, Syracuse (Le Moyne College) and Rome.
As Coincidence Maybe, Becknell and percussionist Denver Shindle perform both covers and originals such as “Withered Tree” and “Days like Today.”
The duo will kick off the open mic Monday followed by local hopefuls who perform two tunes each. Feb. 28 marks the one-year anniversary of the Monday-night series co-hosted by local musicians Wendy Ramsay and Joanne Perry.
Tipp Hill living room
“It’s not your usual open mic,” Perry said. “There’s no PA system, so it’s completely acoustic, like a living room. There is a guitar available to play and a piano too. We encourage one another and people pay attention.”
Tipp Hill Caf owners Julie and Bob “Butch” Rudd opened the bistro in August 2009. They serve a light menu daily (except Tuesdays) in a friendly, homey atmosphere. A plasma screen TV and Wi-Fi are always available.
There is no admission charge and all ages are welcome. For caf info, call 476-8637. For open mic info, contact Joanne Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-9422.
New brewer at Suds
Since the beginning of this year, Rich White has been brewing the suds at the Syracuse Suds Factory at 320 S.; Clinton St., on the corner of Walton. White, a longtime member of the Salt City Brew Club, replaced brewmaster Norman Soine, who has been at the helm since 1993.
White now oversees the production of the Suds Factory’s beers such as a pale ale, honey light ale, black cherry weizen/lambic and sweet stout. For the full scoop on Suds, visit sudsfactory.com , or call 471-2253.
Save her an aisle seat
The late Syracuse Newspapers critic Joan Vadeboncoeur will be memorialized at 5 p.m. Monday Feb. 28, at Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St. Friends and colleagues will recall Joan’s work reviewing plays and movies and interviewing performers from Homer to Hollywood. A theater seat will be dedicated in her honor that evening. It better be on the aisle!