The B Street Bombers- flying high for 35 years...

 

 

Six months after the local band, M'Taboo dispersed, Jimmy Norris began The B Street Bombers as a weekend band.  His goal was to simply go out, play music and have a good time.  Without the invention of email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Jimmy used the good old telephone to solicit members for The Bombers.  Besides Jimmy, the original members included, Jimmy Bass (current member), John Tomaselli (current member), Chuck Lipomi, Jimmy's brother, Louie Norris and a little later, drummer, Mark DeFeo.  Their first practice was held at Jimmy Norris' apartment on Bromfield Street in Lawrence, MA.  With the assistance of then club promoter, Neil Schneider, B Street opened for semi-national acts for a short period of time.  Once they had developed a solid set list, they hit the club and college circuit until their first wedding (Jimmy Norris') for which he wrote Best Of Me,  dedicating this original song to his wife, Romona, to walk down the aisle.  Shortly thereafter, Jimmy's brother, Louie, wrote Mama  for his sister-in-law's wedding with their mother and all mothers very much in mind.  The name 'B Street Bombers' originated from the Bromfield Street Bombers girls softball team.  Jimmy Norris' sister-in-law and a friend suggested they use a similar name and The B Street Bombers was born.  As time went on, they found that they had something special to add to the local music scene with a tight rhythm section, great front man and lead singer and their specialty- multiple horns, they were able to set themselves apart from many of the other bands providing live music entertainment in the area.  Over the last 35 years, The B Street Bombers have continued to entertain all over New England with utmost quality and professionalism.

 

We invite you to read on about the history of the band and enjoy interviews with current members.

 

  JIMMY NORRIS-  Founding Member; Saxophone

 

1.  What has been your proudest moment as one of The Bombers?

My proudest moment as a musician was listening to Best Of Me being performed by my comrades in the upper mezzanine at my wedding in church.  It was very touching to see the song bring tears to our clients eyes after a dramatic performance almost every time we played the song.

 

2.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

I like being a Bomber because we're home grown, battle tested and inject raw energy into other people's music to give it our own signature.  And let's not forget the great people I get to play with.

 

 

  JOHN TOMASELLI-  Original Member; Bass Guitar

 

1.  Why did you decide to join The B Street Bombers? 

After Frank 'Ski' Skusevich turned down the offer, I got a call from Squaw (Jimmy Norris) in late August/early September 1980 asking if I would be interested in playing in a new band.  After playing with many local hard rock bands and in the last version of M'Taboo, I joined B Street.  M'Taboo's last gig was New Years Eve 1979.  B Street was musically different than other bands that I had played in and we were already good friends.  There were no big headed egos either.

 

2.  Where was your first gig with The Bombers?

The Rendevous in Methuen, MA.  I believe we opened for The Stompers.  This gig was May 14, 1981.  It was not the very first, but one of our earliest gigs.  Maybe the second or third gig.

 

3.  Do you have a favorite gig that you play/have played with The Bombers?

I have many favorites.  Some include Mr. C's and The Raft in Lowell, MA, Harpers Ferry in Boston, The Salibsury Beach Club.  The Salibsury Beach Club even honored us with a t-shirt.  Yep, I still have it.  [check it out on our photo page]  We have played so many places.  Some of the most fun places to play were also the raunchiest.  VJs!!!, The Merrimack Club, EM's in Lawrence, Barnaby's in Methuen.   Every year we would host our own party, 'The Old Gang Party'.  It grew from just a few friends.  Wives and girlfriends would bring food and sell tickets just to cover our hall rental.  I believe the first one was at The British Club in South Lawrence then we moved to Stopyra Post and then The Rocky Club, both in Lawrence.  It grew over the years and had to be moved to larger venues.  The largest was The Castleton in Windham, NH selling over 600 tickets.

 

4.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

The variety and styles of music blended from the bandmates individual tastes.  The family comradery within the band.  Playing every gig is a special event, not just a gig.  The recognition from people we have performed for.

 

 

 

 

  MICHAEL GRADY-  Trombone

 

1.  Why did you decide to join The B Street Bombers? 

I joined in 1986.  Back in 1985 I was playing out with a horn band I had put together called New Deal and had met Mike Thoma (former trumpet player with B Street and M'Taboo).  He invited me to come by and see the Bombers, and so I did. From the first tune "Rockin' MIdnight" to the last one "Happy Trails"  I was totally and unequivocally blown away.  The musicianship, the energy and the sound were reason enough to want to be a part of The Bombers. Over the next 6 months slowly but surely I began sitting in and by 1986 they asked me to become a member.  The horn section was now a 3 piece and those days we played mostly clubs.  It was awesome.

 

2.  Where was your first gig with The Bombers?

My first official gig with them was VJ's II in Lawrence. It was a biker bar and that was the point where I realized this suburban kid from Wilmington Delaware had become part of a world he never even knew existed. Sometimes it was like being in a movie where fights broke out and bottles and chairs were thrown.  Remember the scene in the Blues Brothers where they sing Rawhide?  It was just like that only we did not have any chicken wire to protect us.  

 

3.  Do you have a favorite gig that you play/have played with The Bombers?

There are so many places but we sounded our best at VJ's II, The Beach Club in Salisbury and Harper's Ferry in Boston.  Those 3 places stick out the most.  Though in the late 90's as we gradually became more of a GB band some of the private gigs were incredible as well.

 

 

4.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

We're family. No if, ands or buts.  Over the years we have seen death, divorce, and monumental dysfunction; in fact in 2004-2005 the band split in 2. Yet today many of the members have returned, myself included. Why?  Because we deeply care and love each other like brothers (and sister).  No matter what has happened, it is the joy of making music together, as well as the deep respect and admiration that keeps this group going and keeps all of us together.

 

 

 

 

  MANDY POWERS- Lead Vocals

 

 

1.  Why did you decide to join The B Street Bombers?

I had the opportunity to 'audition' for The Bombers when a friend of mine was playing keyboard for them back in 2005.  I had played in a couple other very smaller bands in the past, but this was the first large, well-established band I'd ever sung with.  I sang a few songs for them and was offered the spot as lead female vocal.  At the time, I had the pleasure of singing alongside Lou Machuca. While I was unsure how it would all pan out, it was the best musical decision I've ever made.

 

 

2.  Where was your first gig with The Bombers?

My first gig was in early 2006 at Harris' Pelham Inn.  It was a fundraiser and my B Street debut!

 

 

3.  Do you have a favorite gig that you play/have played with The Bombers?

While I enjoy playing weddings and corporate functions, my absolute favorite gigs are our summer concerts.  I love being up on stage singing my heart out with these great guys.  The bigger the audience, the better!  While I don't consider myself much of a showman, I absolutely love being on stage with these musicians.

 

 

4.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

At first, I was unsure of what to think of the guys when I started with them in late 2005.  They had all been around a lot longer than me- in the industry and in general!  :)  But over the years, I have grown to love them like family.  If one of them can't make a gig for one reason or another, I find myself feeling like we have a missing link.  This might ruin their reputation, but they are a very kind, generous and fun group of men. No gig or rehearsal is too stressful.  We manage to get down to business and put on a great show for our audience.  I'm so grateful that they keep me around and I'm certain that my heart and musical home is with B Street.

 

 

RUSS RYAN-  Trumpet

 

1.  Why did you decide to join The B Street Bombers?

I first joined B Street as a last minute fill in and had so much fun, I stayed for 11 years.

 

2.  Where was your first gig with The Bombers?

Haverhill Country Club around March of 1994.

 

3.  Do you have a favorite gig with The Bombers?

Probably the most memorable gig for me was when we played after Tower Of Power for IBM.

 

4.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

The thing I enjoy most about the band is the comradery, being able to make music with some of my best friends.

 

 

RANDY ROBERGE; Sound and Lights

 

1.  Why did you decide to join The B Street Bombers?

I was asked by John Hooper if I wanted to earn some extra cash and bang, I'm here!

 

2.  Where was your first gig with The Bombers?

Saints Memorial Nurses' celebration in Andover.

 

3.  Do you have a favorite gig with The Bombers?

Anytime I am out is a favorite gig.

 

4.  What do you enjoy most about being part of The Bombers?

The people.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Grady

Mandy Powers

Lou Garofalo

Russ Ryan

Jimmy Norris

Steve Goddu

Tommy McQuillan

John Tomaselli

Denis Brunelle

Mike Varraso

Stay tuned...there's more to come!

Jim Bass