NRBQ won't be trading rock for rap


With the close of the World Series last weekend, football in full swing and basketball and hockey just getting started, it's no surprise that NRBQ vocalist Terry Adams has sports on his mind.

Bring up one of the band's new songs, "Spampinato," and he'll tell you it's the chant of a cheerleader. Mention rap music and he'll compare it with football. Discuss the band's demand for spontaneity during its concerts and, again, he'll make a sports reference.

"Spampinato," also the last name of NRBQ's bass player Joey, came about when Adams thought about being in the band for 17 years and witnessing his pal's inability to make people spell his name correctly.

"I've seen him check into hotels day after day and no one ever gets it right," said Adams, whose band appears at Hammerjacks Saturday night. "I thought, with this song, it'll be like a household name. It will help people to spell it right."

Some critics have said that in concert, the as-yet unrecorded song sounds more like a rap tune.

"Gosh no," Adams said. "In no way do we do rap. I like music with a melody and a real drummer. I despise anything with a drum machine. It's like machines are taking over music. It's just not right that one guy can sit down with a machine and make all those sounds. Imagine if you went to a stadium to see a football game and everything was a machine but the quarterback. They wouldn't be selling out stadiums anymore."

Adams says that NRBQ's brand of bar-room rock will eventually return to mainstream popularity and unseat the upstart rap business.

"Music industry people think the public is dumb," Adams said. "The people are buying [rap] for now but they'll get sick of it. Sooner of later they'll want to go out and see musicians who ZTC actually play their instruments."

Adams, Spampinato, guitarist Al Anderson and drummer Tom Ardolino have been doing just that -- making music together -- since 1974. Amazingly, over the course of 14 albums, various record companies and shows all over the Western hemisphere, the band has never used a set list for its shows.

"We just kind of rock as it comes to us," Adams said. "It's like sports, too. You never know what's going to happen next, so how can you have a game plan? You have opponents and obstacles to deal with and adjustments to make. What's right for one crowd isn't right for another."

NRBQ is in the midst of another "I-95 Tour," and expects to head into the studio to cut another album in January.

Tickets for Saturday's show are $7.50. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information call 659-7625.


The concert calendar:

The Capital Centre hosts George Michael (tonight), Jerry Garcia (Nov. 6 and 7 ) and Paula Abdul (Nov. 21). Tickets for a Dec. 4 Rush show go on sale Saturday morning.

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