Bob Petrocelli Band
Bob Petrocelli is a NYC-born multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter working in the Blues/Roots/ Americana vein-now located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Bob has received international radio airplay as both a singer/songwriter & guitarist. After many years as a sideman or co-leader for many diverse acts, Bob is fronting his own group.
Bob has released his first solo CD, “Shanghai Shuffle”, a collection of Blues and Roots inspired material and is currently preparing his second CD release. "Shanghai Shuffle" was listed at #41 on Real Blues Magazine's (Canada) list of the top 100 new Blues CD releases of the year. The song "Gulf Coast Blues" from this CD was awarded “Honorable Mention” in the 15th Billboard World Song Contest. “Lady With a Plan” has been featured on the nationally syndicated (106 stations) “Blues Deluxe” radio program. Numerous songs from the CD have also been in regular rotation on a number of North American and European radio outlets including syndicated programs, AM, FM, and Internet podcasts. Prior to the release of "Shanghai Shuffle" Bob was guitarist, songwriter and musical director for bluesman Robert Charels for 3 years. Bob's writing contribution to Charels’ last release "Three Leg Dogs and Old Skool Cats" was the song "Hey Shellena" which was the first selection from that CD to receive radio airplay and was featured on the "Blues Deluxe" radio program. This song has been re-recorded on “Shanghai Shuffle”.
Bob has several other CD projects recently completed or currently in development including an appearance as guitarist on the new CD by jazz saxophonist Richard Brinka in the band Collector, and a follow-up to "Shanghai Shuffle".
Bob was a Music Major at Hofstra University, and was involved in the Greenwich Village rock scene of the ‘60s playing such clubs as the Cafe Wha?, Night Owl Cafe, Cafe Bizarre, etc. During the 70’s and 80’s, he worked as a sideman and/or co-leader for a wide variety of local and touring acts. He composed, recorded, and produced music for radio and other commercial spots while running a recording service during the 80's. Since the early 90s, Bob has been focused on both roots based writing and performance using traditional blues and R&B as an inspiration as well as his interest in experimental instrumental music.
Bob has performed with or opened for a wide array of artists including Robert Charels, Paul Oscher (Muddy Waters Band), The Nawlins Funk Band, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Little Toby Walker, Jerry Nolan (NY Dolls), Patrick Sky, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, The Del Satins, The Capris, The Dubs, The Devotions, The Ovations, The Elegants, The Ferrari Brothers, Minimalist composer Rhys Chatham, Jazz greats Richard Davis, Buster Williams, & Steve Swell, among many others.
The current band consists of Bob on guitar and vocals with drummer and bass player as well as occasional keyboard and/or harmonica players.
- Shupikai (2012) - Collector - Bob taking over the guitar chair for this instrumental quartet's second release
- Absolute NY Blues (2011) - compilation CD
- A Crimson Grail (2010) - Rhys Chatham - live recording from Lincoln Center
performance of 8/8/09 (Bob P as member of guitar orchestra)
- Music From The Boardwalk (2010) - Boardwalk Arts and Music Festival -2010 – compilation CD
- Shanghai Shuffle (2008) - Bob Petrocelli (Bob P CD fronting his own band)
- Vega Sings the Blues (2009) - Nawlins Funk Band (Bob P vocals and guitar on several tracks)
- Three Leg Dogs and Old Skool Cats (2007) - Robert Charels (Bob P – songwriting and guitar)
- Nawlins Funk Band (2004) - Nawlins Funk Band (Bob P - vocals and guitar)
Since the 8/08 release of "Shanghai Shuffle" airplay for that CD has been received in over 250 markets, including the syndicated "Blues Deluxe Radio Hour" and other syndicated programs and it has been heard in 16 countries.
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
CD Baby Review of COLLECTOR “SHUPIKAI” CD (2012):
I know Brinka personaly,I've played with him for a while in
Zimbabwe.On previous recordings he showed power of
fusion,remarkable work,in my opinion.On COLLECTOR II "Shupikai"
( Hard Times ) the bands second outing, he's very precise in line
of main themas,directions where the band should move to.And with
such diversible and expirience players (you can put Bob
Petrocelli (G) in John Lee Hooker`s band,as well as in Sun Ra's
"inastalation",he'll listen to the band and contribute
with as little or as many notes as needed to make it sound even
greater.John DiGiulio (D) is a drive to known and unknown
levels of your own possibilities,with him you'll go places! Ray
(solid) Dieneman (B) however wont let any"funny business"
take place,exceptions can be in his solo,just to show you that's
he's human too.With Richard Brinka (T.S.) ,gluing the whole thing
up...well , just looking forward to see you guys in Amsterdam !,I
want live expirience too!!Well done guys!
Twang Town – 9/08
Reviewing the latest in Americana, country, folk, singer/songwriter, acoustic, blues, and bluegrass.
Bob Petrocelli melts hearts, makes feet tap with original blues
Written by Sabrina Tinsay
Bob Petrocelli has it all. It is true that at first glance his twangy, subtle blues style makes a pair of feet tap to the beat and a heart melt with his lyrics. Bob Petrocelli has sheer honesty embedded in his songs. Shanghai Shuffle shows Petrocelli’s experience with blues music. Although “Gulf Coast Blues” may be one of his bluesy songs, Petrocelli brings you back to the roots in “Road Kill.” His musical experiences are apparent in his songs with different styles: In “Shellena’s Rose Tattoo” and “Hey Shellena,” one can differentiate his music style from roots to blues. Petrocelli’s current album takes one into a journey of past companionships, forgotten memories, and new ways of living.
Sabrina Tinsay: You have chosen Shanghai Shuffle as your album title. How did you come up with this conclusion?
Bob Petrocelli: The title was up in the air until pretty late in the process. Since there is so much traditional influence in this collection I ultimately decided to try to bring that out. The title track is done in the style of a lot of blues/R&B/rock instrumental records from the ate ’50s/early ’60s period. I [was] thinking of things like Bill Doggett, Bill Black’s Combo, and a lot of others - just basic shuffle rhythms on a 12-bar progression.
Tinsay: In “Get a Grip (Part 1),” we can feel a sense of rawness to your music; what propelled you to believe you will be making a Part 2 with the same guitar riff?
Petrocelli: We recorded that as one long groove in the studio. I think it came out to about 11 minutes and the rhythm section just played the same pattern but kind of evolved it over the time it was played. The lead lines, solos, and vocals were overdubbed later on. Again I went back to the ’50s/’60s for inspiration. In those days a lot of 45 RPM singles were released with a part 1 and then with part 2 on the flip side. Also, Tower of Power did something similar on the Back to Oakland album. They put segments of a piece called “The Oakland Stroke” as the first and last tracks on that album. I’m glad you pointed out the rawness on the song. I think a lot of the credit for that goes to Larry Steiner who played clavinet and Dave Clive on drums. What they played kind of swirled around the constant riff I was playing throughout.
Tinsay: I like that you are honest in your songs, but one stands out to me the most is “Threw My Love Away.” Who reminds you of that track?
Petrocelli: “Threw My Love Away” is probably the most personal song on the CD. It’s written about my failed marriage of over 20 years and my feelings of anger towards my ex-wife, who has passed away since the song was written. A lot of issues were left unresolved and this was my way of purging the anger I had been holding onto for a long time.
Tinsay: How would you define yourself as an artist?
Petrocelli: How would I define myself is a very good question which I really haven’t thought about until now. I call myself a singer/songwriter/guitarist but I think that’s just the functional description. I’d like to think of myself as someone who can entertain people and somehow also bring them something of value, a new insight or whatever. At least that’s the goal.
Tinsay: When did you first start writing your own songs?
Petrocelli: I’ve been writing on and off for many years dating back to the late 60’s but really got serious about two years ago while working on the Three Leg Dogs and Old Skool Cats CD with singer Robert Charels. I submitted a number of songs for the CD and only “Hey Shellena” made the cut. I decided I wanted to have my music heard and developed the discipline to write on a regular basis. That resulted in the Shanghai Shuffle project and that’s where we are today. I’m currently working on material for the next CD while promoting this one.
HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL – 9/08
An uncensored analysis of blues, singer/songwriter, acoustic, country, Americana, folk, and even jazz.
Bluesman Bob Petrocelli finds inspiration in Hurricane Katrina, John Coltrane
Written by Catherine Spencer
Bob Petrocelli’s catchy tunes bring one alive. His head-bopping tune “Blues-Blues” creates an aura of happiness and content. As honest as he sounds singing, he is even more honest with the way he plays his instrument. In his song “Get a Grip (Part 1),” it is clear that he wants you to get a grip of his style and of yourself at the same time: “get a grip of yourself, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa!” His album also has “Get a Grip (Part 2),” where he lays it down for you music-wise and does not let you let go of getting a grip of who he is as an artist and of yourself. It’s a good thing we have Petrocelli to rely on when we are having a crappy, cloudy day at work. He brings us hope that we need to just get a grip and relax.
Catherine Spencer: Knowing that you have an extensive background in both roots and blues, who was your biggest inspiration?
Bob Petrocelli: I really don’t think I can say there was any one “biggest” inspiration. I was a little kid when rock & roll first hit back in the ’50s and just kind of absorbed all the new sounds I was hearing. I always gravitated toward the more bluesy-sounding artists, the New Orleans sound, stuff like that. Later on I started listening to Chicago and Delta Blues, then jazzier stuff, funk, some singer/songwriter. I guess you’d have to call me a musical sponge. Mostly these days I listen to older blues and R&B stuff.
Spencer: There seems to be a story behind “Hey Shellena.” Do you mind telling us?
Petrocelli: Some of my songs are autobiographical and some are fiction. Before I went back to playing music full time a few years ago, I worked a day job for some time. I had a staff member reporting to me named Shellena which I thought was a great “blues” name. I asked and received her permission to use her name in a song. All the rest is pure fiction. She’s not mean at all - a real sweetheart of a person. I just wanted to write a good time uptempo tune.
Spencer: When listening to “Gulf Coast Blues,” I can feel that there is a difference in the song’s aura as being a little bit mellower. What were you going through as a musician during the time you wrote this song?
Petrocelli: “Gulf Coast Blues” is a totally different story. I received a visit a couple months after Hurricane Katrina from a bluesman I had worked with a couple years prior to that. He had been living in New Orleans when the hurricane hit and wound up trapped in the Superdome. He was then bused to Houston and finally to Los Angeles. Beyond that, I’ve been influenced by the unique musical and cultural heritage of the city of New Orleans and have visited the city many times. So I guess the song is a combination of elements of the story told to me by my friend and my feelings about the losses to the city which has been one of the chief sources of American music for the last century or more.
Spencer: Growing up, every musician has one person that has greatly impacted their life one way or another. Who is yours and why?
Petrocelli: I suppose there have been a number of people who have had a major impact on my life at various times. On a musical level I’d have to say it was discovering the music of John Coltrane. The first piece of his I ever heard was “Spiritual,” and it really changed my way of hearing and thinking about music. It was as if his soul was directly piped through the saxophone. The effect was pure emotion. It was also freedom and discipline at the same time in terms of technique and the way the band played. There really is a spirituality to his music. I’ve been working on absorbing these lessons for years.
Spencer: “Lady With a Plan” is an honest song. Do you think every woman would agree with your lyrics and why?
Petrocelli: Lyrics are a funny thing in a way. Everyone draws out different interpretations of what they hear. I don’t think it’s really a question of agreeing with my lyrics or not. I was trying to create another uptempo fun song here. The subject matter is somewhat obscure here, though. While I can see that it might be seen as a description of a woman’s coquettish behavior, it’s really the story of a woman tending bar in NYC who has an immigration problem and resorts to a marriage of convenience to solve the problem. It’s based on the true story of a friend of mine. It’s not exactly your everyday jump tune but these songs take on a life of their own during the writing process and I let them go where they take me.
Overground Underground 9/08
News and reviews of the best mainstream and independent music
Blues artist Bob Petrocelli can mend bitter hearts with blunt songs
Written by Conrad Javier
Bob Petrocelli has a blunt style of music; it can help mend a bitter heart on a rainy day, and a happy heart in a sunny day. All in one, “Six Feet of Fun” makes one get up and remember the day when they saw the most beautiful woman they have ever seen. When Petrocelli brings his blues background in “Lady With a Plan,” we can hear his heart drench with anxiety and fear that a his woman has a plan. His guitar riffs are precise and promising in his album; in fact, we can see who Petrocelli is as a musician in “Gulf Coast Blues” and “Threw My Love Away”: blunt, straight to the point.
Conrad Javier: Every artist can recall a time of hardship in their music career; when was yours and what did you learn from your experience?
Bob Petrocelli: When I was 25 years old I was sharing a house with two other people and working in a touring show band. Simultaneously I was fired from the band and lost both roommates. I returned from the road trip and had to sell most of my equipment, wound up scrounging for food, and ultimately had to take a day job to survive. I lost the road gig because I didn’t want to do choreography while playing. I thought I was a “serious” musician, above that kind of stuff. There was a lot to be learned from this, such as the need for planning, knowing what you’re getting into and what’s expected of you; limiting your exposure to risk as much as possible. In retrospect, that experience may have made me overcautious. As a result, I think I missed a lot of opportunities over the years.
Javier: Since you are a more seasoned artist who is in tune with himself, what would you tell a young musician who is just starting his music career?
Petrocelli: I think the thing I would say is know exactly what you want to achieve and then develop plans to make that happen. Don’t get discouraged by rejection. Many great artists had trouble getting signed to record deals. Today we have the internet. There are constantly expanding online opportunities. These days an artist can have much greater control over how his/her career progresses. Don’t give up.
Javier: You have a really nice voice and remind me of Elvis Presley just a tad bit. Would you say you can relate to Elvis?
Petrocelli: Wow. I’m very flattered to be compared to Elvis. My girlfriend says I sound like Mick Jagger. I can definitely relate to Elvis. I was a little kid when rock & roll first hit and I remember all the commotion surrounding him. I’ve been very influenced by the very first wave of rockers from the ’50s. I’m really still a little self-conscious about my vocals. I’ve been a guitarist my whole life and just started seeing myself as a singer and songwriter. Thank you.
Javier: What is your ultimate goal as an artist, and how would you be able to attain your goal?
Petrocelli: My ultimate goal is to continue writing and be able to release a CD of new material every year to two years and develop enough of a fan base to tour to support these releases. Since this is my first release under my own name after years as a sideman I’m starting from the ground up. So far I’m getting some airplay in Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy) and a feature on the syndicated “Blues Deluxe” program in the US. I don’t think this is bad for a self-released CD only out a month. I’m working on booking some festivals for next year as well as some local New York City gigs. One of the next things I would like to achieve is getting some booking assistance. That would make things a lot easier.
Javier: As a fan of your music, would you do a world tour?
Petrocelli: I certainly would like to tour anywhere where my music might be appreciated. A world tour would be great, but I think the immediate target would be the European market where I seem to be getting some interest at present.
Bobtje's Blues Pages (Belgium) - September 2008
Bob Petrocelli's debut album "Shanghai Shuffle" contains thirteen songs in various blues styles from Delta Blues to Chicago Blues and from Country Blues to Texas Blues.....there is plenty of instrumental pleasure to experience caused by the individual skills of among others blues harp player "Chicago Bruce Ellis" and the fine guitar playing of Bob himself.
Rootstime (Belgium) - September 2008
.....On this, "Shanghai Shuffle" it is all blues that ring the bell. "Gulf Coast Blues", one of the songs from this CD, dealing with Hurricane Katrina, was an honorable Mention in a Billboard songwriting contest. Songs like "Lady With a Plan", the title track "Shanghai Shuffle", and especially "Get a Grip" a song divided into two (Parts 1&2) are energetic Blues numbers sometimes with New Orleans influences which show Bob to be a strong guitarist and the especially handsome harmonica work (Paul Butterfield style) of Chicago Bruce Ellis is notable each time out.........all in all it is a pleasure to listen to the Blues of this active New Yorker
La Hora Del Blues - Barcelona, Spain – July 2009
A collection of twelve songs, written and performed by singer and guitar player Bob Petrocelli. The cd is available on different web sites such as Cd Baby, Apple I Tunes, Napster, Version V-Cast and other similar places. More than a good selection of blues inspired songs that reflect Bob Petrocelli’s daily life experience. Bob is a musician with a long career on his back who has shared stage with such reputed artists like Paul Oscher or Michael Hill’s Blues Mob. The recording includes Chicago Bruce Ellis on harp, David Clive on drums and percussion, Larry Steiner on keyboards and Ed Camiolo on bass, together with Bob on guitars and vocals, besides some bass and keyboards appearances. VERY GOOD.
Elmore magazine - January/February 2008 issue
Three Leg Dogs & Old Skool Cats (Fountainbleu)
..... Guitarist Petrocelli offers "Hey Shellena" as a vehicle for his soaring guitar solo.,,,,,
More Sugar Magazine & theworkingmusician.com - November 2007
"Three Leg Doggs & Old Skool Cats"
CD review by Roger-Z (10/19/07)
.............. Harking back to the Yardbirds, Charels ups the ante by showcasing two flame-throwing guitarists. Produced by legendary bluesman, Michael Hill, this album showcases everything that's right about contemporary blues ..............
As a matter of fact, this album serves a primer in English, blues-rock guitar..............catch the licks spread all over "Need a Friend." This guitarist definitely studied Jeff Beck, and then added a tasty dose of dissonance............If you like your blues playful and positive, and you love your guitars creamy, loud and rough, pick up Robert Charels' latest CD, "Three Leg Dogs & Old Skool Cats."
Blues Revue Magazine - November 2007
CD Review - Three Leg Dogs and Old Skool Cats
...................The band acquits itself well, with guitarists Anthony Steele and Bob Petrocelli adopting a mix of vintage and contemporary tones.
In addition to Bob's library of original material, the repertoire consists of well over 200 classic Blues, R&B, and Rock songs. Typical sets are one hour. (Song list available on request)