TAMPA BAY: One thing that is constant in the local Tampa Bay cover band scene is that there often seems to be a revolving door of musicians within the bands. Though it’s not necessarily uncommon for a local band to last awhile on the scene…it is becoming increasingly more uncommon for them to last awhile with all the same, original members in the band that they started with.
Local Tampa Bay cover band, Blackjack Bomber, is celebrating it’s one year anniversary together. Furthermore, Blackjack Bomber has all it’s original member in the band as well.
“Black Jack Bomber has proved that 4 musicians can start a band and stay together through thick and thin.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
Blackjack Bomber consists of: Susie Risser (Vocals), Wolfe Distorcio (Vocals & Guitar), Pete “Foots” Gratta (Vocals & Drums), and Bill Kablez Harrison (Vocals & Bass). The band originally formed last year after several members of the popular Tampa Bay cover band, Big Deal!, decided to leave the band in June of 2010, and go off in a new direction.
“Last June I made my decision to leave Big Deal! who I had played with for almost 5 years, along with Bill Kablez Harrison for 2 years and Pete Foots Gratta.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
The reason for the split from Big Deal! was due to musical differences. Wolfe, Bill, & Pete wanted to move away from the more Southern Rock oriented music that Big Deal! was playing.
“We decided to move away from the Southern Rock format, being that all 3 of us are from Classic rock, Heavy Metal roots, it just felt like it was time to play for ourselves.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
After the split from Big Deal!, Wolfe, Bill, & Pete got right to work on forming their new band. The first thing the band had to do was search for a lead singer to front the band.
“We needed a lead vocalist to break things up, and after considering a couple guys, I called Sue Risser who I worked with in Ozona many years ago. Sue and I always had a chemistry between us, people thought we were brother and sister by the way we performed and sang together, our voices compliment each other perfectly. Sue and her husband Ken Risser also own a full PA system, so I made the call and within 3 days the 4 of us were at a rehearsal hall and by the second rehearsal had over 30 songs in common, and we sounded great.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
After the lead singer position was filled, the band then made up their set list…
“We then fine tuned our set list and started eliminating those “common” songs and brought new material into the sets. Its a rough scene and we know that we have to stand alone yet united as a band to stay in the loop.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
Blackjack Bomber plays anything from current dance rock, to 80’s hair band, to true classic rock & many others in between. Blackjack Bomber’s song list includes Pink, Kiss, Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, Poison, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Ratt, Def Leppard, The Lennigrad Cowboys, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Robert Plant, The Scorpions, Joydrop, Kingdom Come, ZZ Top, Pat Benatar, Blondie, The Rolling Stones, Seether, Dokken, and much more.
Aside from their sound, Blackjack Bomber has also been busy working on making their stage show better visually as well.
“We have assembled a massive LED / Laser light show, and our sound has transformed into an awesome mix of melodic rock and heavy metal.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
What does the future hold for Blackjack Bomber? In a music scene that literally consists of hundreds of bands… who knows! One thing is for certain though… the St. Petersburg Live Music Bar Scene Examiner Column is eager to see just how much further Blackjack Bomber will grow as a band, here in the Tampa Bay music scene.
“We are still new, but we are very seasoned, and we look forward to this next year in our journey.” – Wolfe Distorcio, Blackjack Bomber.
For booking information please contact:
Pete “Foots” Gratta at 813-918-1149
Or email Blackjack Bomber at firstname.lastname@example.org
© copyright 2011 KAM Music Publishing.
Keith Wilkins is a syndicated music columnist living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Keith’s St. Petersburg Live music Bar Scene column which originates in his flagship publication, the Examiner, was the “2010 Most Read Examiner Column” in the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) market. Keith’s articles can also be read on The Bay Buzz website where Keith is a contributing writer for, and on World News America as well.
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