Thirty years ago — 1977! — 2nd Avenue played its first ever gig. Glenn Kuzirian, the band’s founder, remembers: “It was November 21, 1977 at Over the Rainbow in Cumberland,” he writes. “The first night we played together we started with a medley of old rock and roll songs arranged by a band called Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. They used to open for Hendrix and Jimi produced their first record. We played ‘For What It’s Worth,’ ‘Hello, It’s Me,’ ‘Teach Your Children,’ ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling.’ I think ‘Piano Man’ and ‘Taxi’ were our two biggest hits.”
2nd Avenue started with Kuzirian and Chuck Doris as simply Chuck and Glenn. Then they morphed into Two for One, named after, you guessed it, a drink special. Glenn recalls the confusion. “When we started playing at the Ground Round they had a reader board out front and when we played it read ‘Two for One.’ Everyone used to come in asking for the ‘2 for 1’ drink special and were pissed off when they found out it was the name of the band.” The venue’s manager, tired of dealing with disgruntled drinkers, made the band change its name — 2nd Avenue was born.
Three decades later, the band still abides by that moniker. “I think the secret to the band’s longevity is that both Chuck and I believe that music is a legitimate craft and that one should be able to make one’s living at it. We are both dedicated to the fact that we want to make our living playing music and doing what was necessary to do that. It saw us through a lot of tough times. We both had previously been in bands that were always breaking up and when we both got together we were committed to keep on playing no matter the hardship. Plus, with most other jobs you usually know what to expect when you head off to work. But with 2nd Avenue, as we like to say, ‘Anything can happen and often does.’ ”
Chuck and Glenn have had a couple of other musicians in the band over the years. In the late ’80s they played with Dorothy “Hurricane” Hodge and through the ’90s and early ’00s they featured Steve Tancredi on drums. “They were both wonderful to work with and both had strong voices,” writes Kuzirian. “It was great to be able to do some intricate harmonies. I think that our singing is one thing that has helped the band survive. Most people don’t really know if you’re a good musician, but most people sing a little themselves and can tell when you’re really getting it right.”
2nd Avenue’s been getting it right for a long time now, proving that while the music industry has been in a constant state of upheaval, some things never change.
2nd Avenue’s 30th Anniversary Party | November 24 | Patrick’s Pub, 381 Smith St, Providence | 401.751.1553
On Friday, November 23, at AS220, it’s DEER TICK, WRONG REASONS, BROWN BIRD, and CHRIS FULLERTON. Starts at 9 pm and is only $6 for all ages. The first 100 paid attendees (12 & up) will receive a free limited edition commemorative pencil. No lie. The Blackstone River Theatre will present its eighth annual Homecoming Concert featuring ROBBIE O’CONNELL, THEATWATER-DONNELLY TRIO, KEN LYON AND THE LYON BROTHERS, STEFAN COUTURE, SUPERCHIEF TRIO, BERTRAND LAURENCE, and PENDRAGON on Saturday, November 24, at 8 pm at 549 Broad Street inn Cumberland. Admission is $15. Before the show and during intermission there will be a silent auction featuring CDs, jewelry, original artwork, Christmas items, and gift certificates. Call 401.725.9272 or go to riverfolk.org.
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Bob Gulla: firstname.lastname@example.org