A Busy Spring  ← BACK  

May 21, 2017

I’m typing this from poolside at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, FL, relaxing before our second day of shows at Epcot. Since my last blog, we’ve traveled through 15 states…some of them multiple times. We’ve been to Utah, Nevada, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Arizona, California, Washington, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota & Florida.

“On stage with Peter last month”

What little time I’ve been home I’ve slowly begun the process of going through the things of my parents 66 years together, cleaning out and packing things away…a labor of love filled with both smiles & sadness. But the tour schedule has kept me busy which has helped me in the grieving process.

All the shows have been great…a lot of fun and a whole lotta laughs along the way. Plus, I’ve gotten to visit with a lot of old & new friends. Ron Dante (“Sugar, Sugar” “Tracy”), who I worked with a lot from 2000 to 2005, was on the bill with us at our Staten Island show last month…it was great catching up with him. He will be one of the artists performing on the Happy Together Tour this summer. If the tour comes to your town this summer make sure you check it out…you’ll love it!!

“backstage with Ron Dante”

Paul Shaffer (David Letterman Show) came out to see our Staten Island show and came backstage to say hello afterwards. I first met him about 16 years ago when I was still with Gary Lewis. He came to see our Bottom Line show in NYC. Along with Gary, I also played keys for Mark Lindsay, Andy Kim & Ron Dante that night. After the show, I was introduced to Paul  and he said he loved the show and proceeded to ask me questions about the organ patches I put together for Mark Lindsay’s show…he really liked them. Well, like I said, that was 16 years ago, so needless to say, I was humbled when I said hello to Paul in Staten Island and he immediately said he remembered me from the Bottom Line show years ago. Once again, we talked keyboards…a wonderful memory!!

“Vance, Billy & myself backstage with Paul Shaffer after our Staten Island show”

Last week in Minot, ND I performed with some old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Brian Hyland (“Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” “Sealed With A Kiss”), whom I played keys for many times through the years was there. So was Joey Dee, of “Peppermint Twist” fame…we performed on many shows together in the late 80’s & early 90’s. Also, Gerry Seader, whose band, Rocky & The Rollers were there performing and also backing up Brian & Joey…a fun evening of music & memories.

“backstage in Minot, ND with Joey Dee & Gerry Seader”

Before I go I want to take a moment to remember a few friends who have also gone to Heaven this year:

Gail Angel, who I first knew as a 15yr old fan back in 1980 to my old band “Love Affair” but became a good friend as she grew up, passed away at far too young an age unexpectedly in February. She was a friend who would do anything for anyone in need.

Mr. Hufsey, the father of my dear friend Billy Hufsey, passed away last month. He, like my mom, was very active in the community and was Brook Park’s recreation director for many years. Because of how much he meant to the community, one of our little league parks is named after him.

“Sonny & I working in the studio”

Sonny Geraci, the voice of the hit records “Time Won’t Let Me” & Precious & Few”, passed away in early February. We were musical compadres who worked together for many years. I wrote songs for him, produced records for him, performed live with him, help put together one of his shows…he was family. And one of Cleveland’s musical treasures.

“Russ & I watching the Cavs”

Russ Picone, my good friend from high school, passed away suddenly from liver cancer in March. Not only were we great friends but we shared the same views in life & politics and we loved our Cleveland sport teams…we were together watching when the Cavs won the Championship last year & had planned on doing the same this year. He was a good man, devoted husband, father and grandfather.

18 Responses

  1. Mary Jo Picone says:

    Hi Rich, just wanted to thank you for the kind words about my Russ. You were a good friend to him and he always looked forward to your get togethers.

  2. Rick Picone says:

    I just saw your blog about my brother Russ Picone and I wanted to say thank you for being such a good friend to Russ. You were with him and our family during his final days and your friendship meant so much to Russ. I am sorry to hear about your cousin Dale recently and of course your Mom and Dad earlier this year. Yes it has been a sad year but your love of your family and friends is so nice to hear and so comforting. Russ would have loved watching the Indians and Cavs with you this year. I hope he is still watching.
    God Bless you Rich-

    • Rich Spina says:

      Hi Rick,
      Thank you. Yes, 2017 has been a hard year. And yes, Russ & I sure would’ve been watching this Indians winning streak together. Whenever your in town again, let’s get together.
      God Bless,

  3. Nancy Vedda Babinec says:

    I was just catching up on some of your posts and read this one which included Russ Picone. Tugged at my heart, I miss talking to him as well. Made me smile that you two remained such good friends for so many years.

  4. John Gorman says:

    You are a good friend. A great person to be around. You have enriched the lives of many.

  5. Avelina says:

    You are truly one of a kind……your music and your friendships make who you are! You touch our hearts w/your songs and inspire us to keep our friendships special. Continue being You and I know you will always keep your loved ones close to your heart. 🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

  6. Martha Hedgepeth says:

    So glad you can stay busy with something you love to do. My mom passed away 3/23 of this year. She was 97. Hope you have a wonderful year and I hope that I get to catch a show this year.

  7. Linda Greenwell says:

    Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to share these photos and memories. Great times and bittersweet memories for you. This year is flying by, literally for you! So many great choices in venues to catch you with HHSPN. I enjoyed the Utah and Muchigan shows with Indianna coming up this next weekend. We fans are fortunate to have all these chances to see the very best of the best in action.

  8. Jerome Haden says:

    One of the things as an oldies fan I learned via the internet that I didn’t know was all of the musicians from the 60s know each other and have worked together over all the years – and I assume remain friends.

  9. Donna says:

    Love your blog Rich – thanks for keeping us posted!
    I have been lucky enough to see you and the Hermits six times this year so far and have a few more shows lined up. I attended the Staten Island show – it was awesome!
    Looking forward to seeing you in Jersey in July and August and Quakertown in July as well!

  10. Denise hebert says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on the events in your life. As sad as it can be to go thru your parents belongings it also brings back great memories! You have had many losses in your life this year. It is very interesting to read about your life, as part of Herman s Hermits I didn’t think about what you, Billy, Vance and Dave have done throughout your careers, so interesting and fascinating how you all came together and what you do when you are not touring with Peter. Enjoy our Florida heat at the pool and hope to see you at a different venue someday!

Leave a Reply