The Boys of Summer
The Boys of Summer - Rick and Marsha Falkowski Founder's Award
BMHOF Class of 2015
Perhaps no band in Western New York is more aptly named than the Boys of Summer.
For the past 25 years, the group has made its reputation as the ultimate summer party band – even though it is a group for all seasons, playing 150 to 175 shows a year. It is a bandmeant to be seen and heard live – preferably with a cold beer or margarita in hand.
It all started in 1991 when Jim Weldy and keyboardist Michael Carroll, who had previously played together in a summer/beach band called Endless Summer, decided to get back together.
“We had too much fun performing together,” said Weldy. “I suggested the name the Boys of Summer because we planned to do a lot of Beach Boys, Don Henley and the Eagles. The other ‘Boys of Summer,’ the Bisons, were drawing huge crowds to their new stadium and felt the name … would get a lot of free exposure, and boy I’m glad it did!”
Gary Edmonds (lead guitar) and Steve Edmonds (bass), who Weldy knew from the country music circuit, came aboard, as did drummer Eric Zak. They began performing together that summer at the Harbor River Café as a part-time, summer-only band.
The group has seen a few changes over the years. David Green took over for Zak and Don Lorentz took over on keyboards after about three years. GeffGismondi spent three years at bass, as did Jack Flatau, but Steve Edmonds is back on bass now. Kevin Rose, the band’s sound engineer, is also the band’s substitute drummer.
But the core of the Boys of Summer has remained remarkably constant.
Almost as constant as its schedule at Dock at the Bay. The band has made the Hamburg restaurant/beach club its Tuesday night home for 22 consecutive summers, drawing crowds as large as 1,400.
Lorentz said it’s an audience that keeps growing.
“We have such a strong and loyal audience,” he said. “To be fortunate to have that kind of audience after 25 years together shows we’re playing the kind of music they like and they enjoy dancing to.
“The most common compliment we get is that we stay fresh and play the music they enjoy. So it’s not like we’re getting stale. Old people, young people, they all come and have fun together.”
The Boys of Summer have also been a busy band when it comes to corporate events and weddings. Their reputation has grown as they have performed shows in Rochester, Syracuse and down into Pennsylvania and Ohio.
They are also one of the most recognized bands regionally when it comes to awards, winning over 20 band awards in the Buffalo Music Awards and Peoples’ Choice Awards. And that doesn’t count the individual awards its members have claimed.
The Boys of Summer also recorded a live CD at the Tralf in 2002.
Here’s a rundown on some of the band members’ individual accomplishments:
- Weldy started a solo project in 2000, although the group remains his main focus. He’s also the owner of Forever Precious, a jewelry store.
- Gary Edmonds has won area awards as both a country guitarist and rock guitarist. He’s opened shows for both Faron Young and George Jones.
- Green has been with the band since 1994. He met Gary and Steve Edmonds when he was playing in the bandUnion Transfer.
- Lorentz has been with the band since 1996. He made his debut as a teenager with his brother Tom’s band Headin’ On, where in addition to playing the Hammond B3 organ, he played up to six other keyboards as well to fill out the trio’s sound.
- Steve Edmonds is back with the band after taking some time off to help raise his kids; he’s amassed a mere 18 years with the group. He was bassist for the J.C. Thompson Band when that country band was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
- Rose, Gismondi, Flateau and Carroll are being inducted as “honorable mention” Hall of Famers because of their involvement with the band.
The Boys of Summer have also gained recognition as one of the most charitable of bands in Western New York. Over the years they have been regulars on local TV shows promoting benefit concerts and even singing jingles to draw attention to special programs.
Among the charities they have supported have been the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs and a host of other benefits for causes and individuals in need.
(Profile by Elmer Ploetz)