Roger Ceresi is a well-known name in Rhode Island music. He tours the state constantly, with his band Roger Ceresi’s Allstarz.
For the last five years, a side project of his is to get together with friend and fellow musician, Gary ‘Guitar’ Gramolini, to play pubs and restaurants. On Friday, the duo played the Mariner Grillee.
Roger and Gary have quite the musical background. Roger went to Rhode Island College, where he studied and majored in classical voice and piano. Then he attended the Berklee College of Music, to major in arranging and composition, as well as piano.
Ceresi has lived all over the country and fronted a Boston band in the late 1970s known as The Breakers (not to be confused with the Danish rock band). It lasted until the early eighties.
He then moved to sunny California and made cameos with the New Age band, Freeway Philharmonic. He was frontman of the band, Good Thunder, in the early eighties as well.
Ceresi came back to New England and formed the Massachusetts band Roger Ceresi and the Rockin Soul Horns. They released an album, Don’t Take Away the Night.
Currently, Ceresi is in the band Roger Ceresi’s Allstarz. They have played the Newport Jazz Festival. They have also been playing for seven years in a row now at Waterfire in Providence, and have released two albums.
Gary Gramolini, better known as Gary Guitar, also has a well-known background. Gramolini is the lead guitarist for John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. Their most well known songs, “On the Dark Side” and “Hearts on Fire,” have placed on the Billboard Top 100.
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band also did the soundtrack for the 1983 film Eddie and the Cruisers, which sold more than three million units and was on the Billboard 200 for 10 weeks, peaking in the Top 10 at the number nine slot. Their 1985 album, Tough All Over, also stayed on the Billboard 200 charts for 12 weeks, peaking at number 40.
Gary describes the band now as classic rock. John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band has been rocking out since 1972, and they usually play casinos like the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun. However, they do make an exception to play the Ocean Mist, and they will be performing there in July.
Gary Guitar is also in another band, Gary Guitar and the Grinders, a blues rock band.
Combined these two musical powerhouses create a wonderful and talented duo.
“I really feel we are the biggest little band in America,” Ceresi told me.
The duo gets together to play covers, and they put their heart and soul into it.
“When we do the music, we make it sound original and we are proud of what we do,” Ceresi said.
They should be proud of what they do, they do what they love and it shows. They turned the small space in the bar at the Marnier Grill into a dance party.
Their renditions of Van Morrision and Neil Diamond songs, for example, made the crowd go wild. Their version of Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man,” was phenomenal and took on a life of its own.
These two talented musicians and friends usually play the Mariner Grille twice a month as a duo. If you are looking for a good time, check them out.
Roger Ceresi’s All Starz will be playing today in Wakefield at the Wakefield Block Party.