Sunday, January 8, 2012

RIP Tom Ardolino of NRBQ

We lost a great member of The Ravioli Rhythm section this weekend: drummer Tom Ardolino,56 ,  of NRBQ.
A fan of the band, Ardolino was at a show when original drummer Tom Staley got ill and left before the band could perform an encore. He spoke to Mike Skully, who made a documentary for A&E's "Breakfast With the Arts":

I told them I played drums but I never was in a band before. I learned to play with records in the basement.

Bassist Joey Spaminato continues the story:

And Terry just pointed to Tom and said "Get on." He came up and he just laid it down.


Al (Anderson), the guitarist then, turned around. He thought it was the old regular drummer.


So when it came time to try out for drummers in our band, he was the first one who came to mind.I said "It might be crazy. We don't know if he can play all the styles of music that we play. We know that he likes it and we know that he's smart. But we've got to give him a shot"

Tom played on 15  NRBQ  records and in thousands of shows from 1974 to 1993* ( actually 2004), endearing audiences with his rare turns on the mic to sing "Volare".

photo by Merritt Brown

Al Anderson said "He was a great drummer and a great guy.He had a totally unique style of drumming that nobody can ever duplicate. That was one of the baddest rhythm sections in the world."



  1. Just a small correction: Tom was a full-time member of NRBQ all the way until 2004, and after that, he was a part-time / honorary member, playing with them at shows close to home (he didn't enjoy travelling anymore). Fans at those shows got treated to NRBQ with two great drummers.

  2. Thanks to my Greek friend Anonymous for the correction. Come to think of it I DID see Tom play a Seattle show in 99.