Tony Castronova, lead guitar and vocals
From a musical family who have all left a mark on the local scene, Tony’s jazz laced guitar riffs and gritty, soulful voice are at the forefront of any Rhythm Dogs performance. Watching and listening to his older brothers and their bands growing up gave Tony a solid foundation musically, and add a couple of years at the University Of Miami studying music and performance, and then the last 25 years or so working with area bands too numerous to name here, it’s easy to understand where his repertoire of infectiously interesting fretwork and bluesy, raw vocal prowess come from.
Rob Erb, rhythm guitar
Man, it’s just got to groove…it’s just gotta! These are words to live by for Rob, who continually finds a way to get underneath, inside, and around that groove with some big, fat, chunkin’ chords, or get on top of it with a fret wrenching, sizzlin’ solo. Years spent hangin’ in local blues bars in Buffalo, NY, absorbing every little nuance of that famed “Buffalo Shuffle”, informs Rob’s playing (and thusly the band!) with a funky grace and attitude that can’t be denied!
Pat McNinch, bass and vocals
Anyone who knows anything about what makes a truly good Rhythm & Blues band really cook knows that the man on the bottom end of it all takes straight away responsibility to make sure the groove is happenin’.
When Pat locks it in, you know that groove ain’t goin’ anywhere but deep. After working the western New York bar room circuit for many years, Pat threw in with a bunch of local misfits named, ironically, Local Heroes, playing a different brand of original rock and blues. Then the invitation came to join that open mic nite thing, and as they say, the rest is history.
Junior Spezio, saxophones, Hammond organ, keyboards
A true student of ‘60’s and ‘70’s soul and funk, Junior’s greasy tenor sax tones and percolating Hammond organ fills recall the days of steamy Memphis soul workouts and smokin’ Chicago south side shuffles. Spending a good many years working the local clubs all over the east coast, Junior’s unbridled enthusiasm for playing and solid musicianship has earned him the respect of both the casual listener and fellow musicians alike. So many know all the right notes; so few, Junior among ‘em, know when to play them.
Laris Ashford, drums and vocals
Even though Laris is the newest Dog at the pound, his hang time with the fellas has been nothing short of soul deep and groove approved. Whether it’s a blistering blues shuffle or a Stax/Motown injected soul workout, Laris has got the pocket covered. Bitten by the drum bug as a youngster after watching American Bandstand and seeing other famous drummers on TV, he started lessons with renowned drum instructor Emmett Lentilucci, and cites Dave Weckl and Dennis Chambers as major inspirations, He began building his chops with a number of House of Worship bands, soaking up that infectious gospel tradition that still informs his playing, and has spent stage time with various local rock, jazz, and soul/blues bands such as Innovations, Contraband, Hard Logic, and Uptown Groove.