May 21, 2016 – Nicholas “Nick” Menza was born on July 23, 1964 in Münich, Germany. As the son of jazz musician Don Menza, Nick began playing drums at the age of two, at which age he performed at his first public concert when during the intermission someone sat him down on Jack DeJohnette’s drums and he proceeded to play. His influences stem from being nurtured around the tutelage of such notables as Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Nick Ceroli, Jeff Porcaro and Louie Bellson.
Beginning his professional musical career at the age of 18 drumming in the band Rhoads featuring singer Kelle Rhoads, brother of the late Randy Rhoads, Nick released his first record with Rhoads called Into the Future in Europe.
October 10, 2013 – Jan Kuehnemund (Vixen) was born on November 18th 1961 in St.Paul Minnesota. She was the original founding member of the all-female American hard rock band Vixen in 1973.
In 1981 she moved the entire band to California to get better exposure. Hailed as “the female Bon Jovi”, the band achieved commercial success during the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the Los Angeles, California glam metal scene and Kuehnemund was called “the best female guitarist around” back in the day.
She toured with the Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss and Bon Jovi, as did an appearance in the era’s definitive documentary, Penelope Spheeris’ “The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years.”
December 31, 2002 – Kevin Scott MacMichael (the Cutting Crew) was born on November 7, 1951 in New Brunswick, Canada. Coming from a musical background, his father played drums and his mother was a teacher, Kevin picked up the guitar while in school and began his life-long passion for playing this instrument and the Beatles. He must’ve been quite inspired, as he apparently then learned how to play over 200 Beatles songs on guitar! (212 to be exact).
He began his career playing in local bands on the East Coast of Canada in the late 1970’s, notably Chalice and in 1978 the band Spice. Spice featured another guitarist Floyd King, who Kevin would continue to collaborate with over the years. They released a few singles that are very difficult to find now, including “Prisoner of Love” and “Beautiful You”.
March 26, 2002 – Randy Castillo (Ozzie Osbourne) was born on December 18th 1950 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Randolpho Francisco Castillo was born to a Spanish/French/Native American mother, Margaret, and Native American/Hispanic father Frank (Kiko). He was one of five children, and his sisters, Frances, Marilyn, Phyllis and Christine, all play music. His first band experience was at West Mesa High School, playing in the jazz band, orchestra and marching band. He wrote the high school cadence that is still being used to this day.
He played trumpet for a short time then realized his passion was the drums. He decided he wanted a drum kit instead, especially after seeing The Beatles play on The Ed Sullivan Show in early February 1964. However, his father refused to buy him one, thinking he would only lose interest, as he had already done with the trumpet.
After playing in bands such as The Tabbs, The Mudd, The Wumblies and The Offenders, he relocated to LA and joined The Motels and embarked on his first major arena tour with them in support of The Cars.
May 23, 2001 – Tommy Eyre was born on June 5, 1949 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. He moved to London in 1969 and what followed is the well spelled out timeline of one of rock and roll’s greatest keyboard players.
Very versatile and prolific keyboardist, Tommy had an incredible career playing with many top bands and artists of almost every genre. His name should be included in any hall of fame for keyboardists, and although his musical contributions are very extensive, he’ll always be remembered by two of his most famous works:
The playing in Joe Cocker’s original version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’. Tommy’s organ arrangements gave the song such classy style, and the playing in the famous ‘Baker Street‘ by singer Gerry Rafferty, another eternal song.
Such an in-demand keyboardist, Tommy played the Reading Festival eight different times with eight different bands.
December 14, 1997 –Kurt Winter was born Kurt Frank Winter in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on April 2, 1946. He attended Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute. Winter commenced the development of his music career with a number of Winnipeg bands, including Gettysbyrg Address (1967, with later Guess Who bass player Bill Wallace), The Fifth (1968, with drummer Vance Masters) and Brother (late 1969, with Wallace and Masters). Brother was regarded as Winnipeg’s first supergroup, playing all original material, the live shows of which were greatly admired by vocalist Burton Cummings.
He was not involved in the writing of “American Woman”, the Guess Who’s international superhit in 1969.
February 9, 1997 – Brian Connolly was born on October 5th 1945 in Govanhill, Glasgow. Whilst the true identity of Brian’s father was never officially made public, his mother was a teenage waitress named Frances Connolly who left him in a Glasgow hospital as an infant whilst he was possibly suffering from meningitis. He was fostered, aged two, by Jim and Helen McManus of Blantyre and took their family name. In his earliest years Connolly was also affectionately known as “snowball” referring to his almost white blonde hair. In a radio interview, Connolly reported that singing was a large part of growing up since there was no television, and that he was regularly called upon to sing for family and friends. Connolly has credited the Everly Brothers as being his earliest musical influence. After inadvertently discovering his lineage he eventually reverted to the name Connolly. Numerous sources have incorrectly asserted that he was a half-brother of the late actor Mark McManus (who found fame in the title role of detective series “Taggart”) but they were not related ( Mark “Taggart” McManus was actually the nephew of Brian’s foster father)
March 29, 1985 – The Singing Nun or Soeur Sourire in her native Belgium, was born Jeanine Deckers on October 17, 1933.
When entering the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Belgium she became Sister Luc Gabriel. She became internationally famous in 1963 as Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile) when she scored a hit with the song “Dominique”.
In the English speaking world, she is mostly referred to as “The Singing Nun”. She gave concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.