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article imageOp-Ed: Tom Ardolino, legendary drummer for NRBQ, dies at 56

By Peter G.Donald     Jan 9, 2012 in Entertainment
Tom Ardolino, with Joey Spaminato of NRBQ, was part of one of music's greatest rhythm sections. He had a style all his own.
I doubt that any musician changed and uplifted this writer's life as much as Tom Ardolino.
The drummer for the band NRBQ, has died at age 56.
I first met Ardolino outside the Chicken Shack on Nantucket Island in the 1970s. If my memory serves me right, Tom Staley, who had drummed for NRBQ for years, could not complete a show that night, and Ardolino, just in or out of his teens, went on stage and played a perfect set. He went on to drive NRBQ's awesome rhythm section (with bassist Joey Spampinato) for decades.
Deep in that night I asked Ardolino where he picked up his unique chops, which seemed to me out of Ragtime and other dimensions. "I just play in my room," Ardolino told me.
NRBQ is one of the longest surviving rock bands in the world, a seminal influence on musical icons. For the "Hail Hail Rock and Roll" film, Keith Richards selected Joey Spaminato for the band because of the slap bass sound he achieved on a Danelectro Bass.
The first time I heard NRBQ was about the time they released a record with Carl Perkins in the 70s. They were on the bill at Fillmore East opening for Jeff Beck and Joe Cocker.
NRBQ announced Tom Ardolino's passing on its Facebook page on Friday:
"Friends,We regret to inform you that Tom Ardolino passed away today. Tom will be missed but his spirit lives on through those who were touched by him."
Ardolino, would have turned 57 on Jan. 12.
“He was a great drummer and a great guy,” Al Anderson, who played with Ardolino in NRBQ from 1974-1993, told the Hartford Courant. “He had a totally unique style of drumming that nobody can ever duplicate. That was one of the baddest rhythm sections in the world.”
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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