BMHOF Class of 2006
On the morning of his 13th birthday, Bruce Moser’s had no idea what direction his life would take. By the end of that day, Sunday February 9, 1964, he had become a teenager and found his life was changed. That evening he, along with millions of others, watched the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. It would be the catalyst that would launch Bruce into the music industry in a way which would eventually separate him from those other millions of viewers by light years.
Bruce’s initial foray into making music consisted mostly as the lead singer in “The Restless”, one of the better local bands, from 1967 to 1969. They were good enough to open for Jay & the Americans in front of 2,000 people in Buffalo. He recalls his style as “a good tambourine player but a terrible lead singer.”
He then quickly learned that his BA in History from University at Buffalo was not going to get him gainfully employed in anything he found interesting. So he started pulling orders for Lenny Silver at Lenny’s distribution center and got his feet wet in distribution and promotion. “Lenny gave me an opportunity that nobody else would,” says Bruce who with his quiet, honest, enthusiasm for good music was the polar opposite of record promoters of the time. While at Record Theatre, Bruce got involved with pushing records that made hits for Johnny Guitar Watson, Jackie DeShannon, and Spyro Gyra.
The relationship with Record Theatre ended on March 15, 1978 and Bruce set out on his own – forming Could Be Wild Promotions with his partner Doug Dombrowski. They are still partners almost thirty years later. His first project was an independent band from Boston called The Cars – who meant nothing outside of Boston. Bruce knew that the way to “break” a band was by traveling and working the “Thruway Chain” from Boston to Cleveland. Along that route were cities like Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, and Boston that had radio coverage which influenced the population of the Northeast United States - so it was not unusual to find Bruce making the stops along the way, getting his projects airplay and getting his records on store shelves. By being honest and enthusiastic about good music, Bruce was able to accomplish this.
Two other early success stories were Bryan Adams and an import band which came to be known as U2. Through his dealings with an Irish band named Horslips, he was introduced to Bono and the rest of U2. Bryan Adams was having a problem with his record label not promoting his efforts when Bruce took over. U2 was playing small clubs in the North East USA including Buffalo’s Stage One where they were opening for Talas the night that John Lennon was assassinated (there’s that Beatle connection again). Bruce took Bryan Adams and U2 under his wing and helped to put them on the map in the United States.
Here is just a sampling of the some of the groups that Bruce was responsible for “breaking” in the U.S.: Melissa Etheridge, Charlie Daniels Band, Rush, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Horslips, Bryan Adams, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, The Tragically Hip, Tom Petty, The Goo Goo Dolls, and U2. To this day, Bruce’s contributions are remembered by all of these artists who are proud to call Bruce their personal friend. If you have ever been inside the unimposing office at 41 Elmwood Avenue in the Allentown area, you would be startled at the sheer size and power of the Gold and Platinum Discs that Bruce has been awarded. There really isn’t enough room to display all of them, but you can see where Bono and the rest of U2 signed the wall. U2’s friendship and admiration for Bruce is so deep, that he has the only copy of a song Bono wrote and recorded for him for his 50th birthday. Not many people can say that!
Bruce’s contribution to “national” acts is phenomenal. But his work with members of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame is astounding. The following members all shared success with Bruce or were catapulted to their successes by him.
· 2005 – John Hey and Willie Nile
· 2000 - Lenny Silver
· 1995 – Goo Goo Dolls
· 1992 – Terry Sullivan
· 1983 – Billy Sheehan
When you listen to “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” on local radio, you can thank Bruce for his efforts in getting it syndicated throughout the US and for getting is placed locally. Little Steven Van Zandt, besides being the lead guitar player with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, is also seen as Silvio Dante on HBO’s The Sopranos. Another huge fan of Bruce’s.
As local musician Gary Zoldos once commented: “Buffalo Music and Bruce Moser have the same initials. Coincidence? I think not.”
Back - 2006