The Washington Metropolitan Area for years has been notorious for its musical talents. The area became a melting pot for all genres. There wasn’t a night club around that didn’t offer live entertainment and hosted big name artists from afar as well as its strong local talents. Depending on your taste of music; be it Pop, Rhythm & Blues or Soul you were able to find it all and within a close proximity of one another. Having this exposure any night of the week has provided us all with enjoyable memories. So let’s toe tap our way back to the 60’s.
The NoWhere Men were formed in the early 1960's. They were young men that got together from different parts of the Washington Metropolitan Area and not even old enough to drive. Supporting parents and older siblings would witness the music they made coming from their basements and garages and offered to drive them to their performances. The NoWhere Men became one of the hottest and funkiest groups ever to hit the D.C. music scene providing blue-eyed soul with rich harmonies unsurpassed in the area. Their cover tunes encompassed a wide array of music popular at the time to include Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, The Ides of March, The Temptations, Four Tops, Parliament, Sam & Dave, James Brown, Tom Jones, Clarence Carter, as well as rich melodic groups and performers like The 5th Dimension, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Grass Roots, The Associations, Bill Deal & The Rhondells, Guess Who, Righteous Brothers, etc. to name just a few.
Their Managers at that time were Barry Rick and Steve Mintz out of Chuck Levin's Music Center in Wheaton, Maryland and they managed to get the group booked at scores of popular local night clubs, i.e. Fran O'Brians Anthony House, the Bastille Supper Club, The Quonset Hut, as well as a variety of local CYO'S and community clubs to include St. John's De LaSalle, St. Bernard’s, St. Francis Xaviers, St. Jerome’s, Northwestern High School, The Wheaton Community Center held by The Wheaton Teen Club, The P.G. Community Center, The Greenbelt Armory for the Battle of the Bands competing against The New Breed and The Cherry People and they continued on as a group through the mid 70's.
Members for the group included singers Bruce Gardner, Charlie Taylor, Donnie Halcombe and Billy Vabolis with back-up harmonies provided by Tommy Rodante (bass) and Richard Purvis (keyboards). Steve Valenti and Michael Pirko were the guitar players. The horn section was comprised of Joseph McColly (trumpet), Gary Gaulette (trumpet), Chris Heer (trombone), Jimmy Robinson (saxophone) and Richard Seeley (trumpet). The group provided two drummers; Miles Sheetz and Tommy Wright and later in years included Mike Valenti. Other members came and went but these were the young men that built the foundation of the NoWhere Men. Within a two year period of 2008 & 2009 two of the members, Billy Vabolis and Charlie Taylor had passed away. The loss of Billy & Charlie had brought together scores of friends and band members. It has always been said that with any loss there is a gain. The gain for this loss is after 40 years, the NoWhere Men decided to get back together to make a tribute and to reconnect as brothers in arms to once again combine their God given talents. In the short time that it took to bring them together, collectively we were successful in finding all but two of the original members who are Tommy Wright and Miles Sheetz but we're not giving up in trying to locate them. Finally after some time, both Tommy Wright and Miles Sheetz have been found.
Forty years having gone by and their paths of life running in many different directions these now grown men tell the tales of where they’ve been and where they are by going to their biographies within this website that was created by our own, Mike Pirko.
As word got out that The NoWhere Men were getting back together, it generated a lot of interest and excitement by those that attended their performances while in their youth. This word of excitement getting back to the members of the band fueled the fire for them to start practicing on their own and to get together once again to rehearse. Now that said, with the loss of two of the finest vocalists in the band no longer available, replacements were needed. However, in the meantime, a plan to hold a benefit dance in October 2009 in Charlie Taylor's honor and to invite all the local bands from back in the day to perform was in the works. With little time on their side the members put aside their lives to make history once again and they were able to recruit Joe Roundtree of “Off the Record”, Larry Kidwell formerly of Lawrence & The Arabians, Joe Saitta and Butch Boswell of the “DC Magnatones” to help with vocals.
May 16th, 2009 the reunion was held. You can only imagine the reactions they had when they saw each other after 40 years. Those present at this time were Tom Rodante, Chris Heer, Richard (Dickey) Seeley, Richard Purvis, Steve Valenti, Donnie Halcombe, Jimmy Robinson, Mike Valenti and Joe Roundtree. Instantly they were right back in their teenage years when they were making music and performing together becoming legends unbeknownst to themselves. The engery of having all of these boys, now men, in one room was so powerful you could fire up the amps and stagelights for them to perform once again. The laughter and tears went on for days, not to mention the flood of emails back and forth of plans of getting together to rehearse again. Their energy now was stronger than ever and The NoWhere Men were NOW on a mission, call it a mission directed from Billy and Charlie.
Excitement building and with hours of solo practices, another rehearsal was held in August. All the members mentioned in attendance for the May rehearsal now included Gary Gaulette. For hours they rehearsed becoming that much stronger in their musical talents. With the pressure on and with only two months to go before the "Song for Charlie" benefit was to be held; a month before Joseph McColly in Florida had informed us that he would be present. This news created even more energy and running higher than ever. The closer they got to the benefit date; Mike Pirko too in New Mexico succumbed to the excitement lingering in the air and informed us only the week before that he too booked a flight.
Another rehearsal the weekend of the benefit was held. This rehearsal started on Friday night. On a red eye flight that same night, Mike Pirko was on his way to be in attendance for the all day Saturday rehearsal. Arriving by train Saturday from New York, Jimmy Robinson too was on his way with Joseph McColly taking a red eye flight later that night out of Florida. Sunday morning and only down to hours before the event later to be played that day, the horn section was complete and were able to cram in an hour and a half of rehearsal time.
October 25th 2009, at the Upper Marlboro Moose Lodge, with a no charge at the door and donations only to get in, came. The stage was set up, the soundman was in place, lights were directed at the stage and several band members meandered around among a standing room of 300 plus crowd, filled with old friends, new friends and families. The room meeting its fire code capacity left another couple of hundreds at the door waiting to get in. Performers enjoying and patiently waiting to have their time on stage listened to the other performers of that day consisting of the DC Magnatones, 3D Band, Off The Record, Street Life, Second Coming and the support performers including Denny Cook and Tommy Dildy of the “Hubcaps”, Ray Green of the “Clovers”, Kurt Gibbons of “Kurt & Charlie”, and as well as several other supporting casts and then of course The NoWhere Men. This benefit raised $6,400 at the door for the Brain Injury Association of Maryland. This event would not have been successful without the behind the scene loving support of Moe & Marie Grimes and Sarah Saitta.
This event left the NoWhere Men with a thirst for more. Coming On Saturday, September 25th, 2010 to be held at the Knights of Columbus in Bowie, Maryland once again together and now to include Bruce Gardner out of California the NoWhere Men will provide a solo performance. Coming soon, more detailed information of this Dinner/Dance will become available.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce to you after 40 years;
THE NOWHERE MEN - NOW!
November 8, 1948 - October 4, 2010
To our friends and family of The NoWhere Men. It's with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Gary Gaulette on Monday, October 4th, 2010. His sudden passing after suffering a heart attack has left us all devastated. His musical talents, his humor, his larger than life presence and his love for us all will painfully be missed.
Memorial Service for Gary Gaulette Saturday - October 16th, 2010
2 pm. - 4 pm.
Fleck Funeral Home
7601 Sandy Spring Road
Laurel, Maryland 20702 (301)604-7330
Please visit the Fleck Funeral Home and sign the Guest Book