Welcome to the official website of the Triple Threat Blues Band.

CONTACT: ttbb@optonline.net

Band History ... Hear the Band ... Chuck B. ... Photos

Vintage video of TTBB performances are now available on YouTube: CLICK HERE.

Band History
The TRIPLE THREAT Blues Band evolved from the jam sessions of budding musicians beginning in 1982. Original vocalist Rico Cass solidified early lineups with co-founders Mike Michaels on drums, Chris Cass on guitar, and a revolving door of bassists and other contributing musicians. Early gigs began circa 1983, with the usual assortment of private parties, talent shows, etc.

 Triple Threat began working the Southern CT bar scene in 1987. By that time, the band had grown to include a horn section featuring Joe Graziano, and a second guitarist, Charles Bittman. Joe would remain in the band for a decade, stabilizing the line-up, and establishing the sax as a crucial element. Charles matured into a ferocious soloist and became a major contributor to the band’s sound and direction. (Before his death in 2001, Chuck B. would go on to leave his mark on other projects as well.)

 While Mike gave way to a series of drummers (notably Chris “Sweet Jam” Morrissey and Spencer “Spoonful” Raymond), his father, "Mike Senior" became a steady contributor. The elder Mike Michaels honed his harmonica skills beside members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (and other notables) in early 1960’s Chicago. Mike remained an influence and was a collaborator, periodically, until his death in 2013.

 Bassist Mark Donnelly and sax-man Paul Simonetta solidified the next incarnation of the band. Along with Chris & Rico Cass, Joe Graziano, Charles Bittman, and a drummer (usually Morrissey or Raymond), they comprised a seven-piece ensemble that worked steadily and built a loyal following from 1989 thru 1993. Triple Threat sometimes featured de-facto member Jen Durkin on vocals, who has since gained national recognition with Deep Banana Blackout, Mickey Hart and others. By 1990, Triple Threat was playing more prestigious venues, and opening for national acts. In 1993, keyboardist Jerry Capuano joined for a full year, bringing the band to its largest size, eight pieces. (Jerry would return to the band in January 2006.) During this period, Triple Threat members helped comprise the back-up band to blues music’s greatest star, B.B. King, on his children’s project Rainy Day Blues. Morrissey and Capuano went on to work with country music legend Johnny Cash on a related children's project, The Two Cookie Kid.

 Around the same time (1990-'93), Triple Threat found itself part of a fertile local music scene, as a network of fine bands often performed together. Musicians from Red One, Broken Bottles, Blue In The Face, Tongue n' Groove, Cosmic Embryo, Glue, Reeds Exchange Band and others routinely jammed with and subbed for members of the Triple Threat Blues Band.

 1994 brought numerous line-up changes. Original member Rico Cass departed, along with Bittman, Capuano, Simonetta, and Donnelly. By 1995, the new-look Triple Threat Blues Band included Morrissey, Graziano, and Chris Cass, plus newcomers: blues shouter Sketch Ilsley, bassist Pat Satta and sax-man Darren McGuire. Sketch added deep blues vocals and harmonica in the style of Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. Pat and Darren remained in the band through 2008, providing a huge measure of stability and musicianship.  Along with authentic renditions of traditional Chicago blues tunes, this 6-piece line-up was the first to present original material. They recorded the band’s first studio album, Walk Light On This Earth in 1996. Soon after completing that project, long-time member Joe Graziano left the band, setting up a relatively lean, musically flexible five-piece format.

 In 1997, Christopher Grennan claimed the drum chair, and remained well into 2004. Christopher contributed greatly to the highly-polished sound the band was developing.  Beginning in the spring of 1998, bassist Pat Satta took a one-year leave of absence, and Billy Bileca capably filled in. Billy is widely known in the northeast as a fine electric and upright bassist. Around the time Pat returned (spring '99), Sketch departed and Dan Labich took over on vocals. Danny brought a rough blues/rock delivery, strong original songs, and extreme versatility. This line-up (Cass, Labich, McGuire, Satta, Grennan) worked steadily for about five years ('99-'03), and is featured on Triple Threat's 2000 CD Jump & Shout. This unit also backed Dani Neff on her debut CD Who's Been Talking. At the time, Dani was an aspiring blues guitarist not yet out of high school. Today she fronts one of the Austin, TX's favorite (and hardest-hitting) original rock bands, Mega Fauna.

 In July of 2004, Steve Radziewicz took over on drums when Christopher Grennan relocated. Steve capably filled this crucial role, quickly learning lots of material and reinvigorating the band with a hard-working, hard-hitting approach.

 By the end of 2005, Dan Labich was focusing on his original material full-time, and the band agreed to seek another singer. In January 2006 Jerry Capuano returned to Triple Threat, providing both vocals and keyboards. Jerry sings a variety of styles extremely well and plays fine blues piano, but is perhaps best known for his stellar organ work, always cranked through a vintage Leslie speaker cabinet.

 The line-up of Cass, Capuano, Satta, McGuire, and Radziewicz worked throughout ’06 and ’07. This line-up featured a return to the band’s early blues repertoire, plus Jerry’s interpretations of songs by the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead.

 The following year brought a variety of changes. Band members faced heavier scheduling commitments, and the availability of work decreased. By the end of 2008, Triple Threat was on hiatus. As work for Triple Threat declined, Chris Cass, Pat Satta and Steve Radziewicz (a ready-made rhythm section), became increasingly busy backing country singer Pete Gursky in a band dubbed “The Bourbon Cowboys” (founded in 2005), which performed regularly (with John Macchia taking over on drums in 2009) through 2016.

 In August of 2011, the Bourbon Cowboys/Triple Threat rhythm section (Cass, Macchia, Satta) appeared with Sketch Ilsley at the biker festival in Goshen CT, presenting a “circa 1997” version of Triple Threat.

 

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Jump & Shout
(2000)

Dan Labich VOCALS     Chris Cass GUITAR     Darren McGuire SAX
Pat Satta BASS     Chris Grennan DRUMS

Special Guest: Steve Sasloe KEYBOARDS (Pray, Earl's Delight)

1. Pray  (D. Labich)
2. Each Other  (D. Labich)
3. Crooked Path  (D. Labich)
4. Fortress  (D. Labich)
5. Horton Hears A Blues  (C. Cass)
6. Tucker's Jump  (C. Cass)
7. Jump & Shout  (C. Cass)
8. Earl's Delight  (C. Cass & J. Graziano)

Liner notes from Jump & Shout, by Rico Cass:

Before Harry Smith and Francis Child, Stephen Foster and W.C. Handy, Johnson and Jolson, before Franklin and Edison, Bach and Beethoven, folks got by alright. They played music for themselves and their friends. A few even got paid. There were no critics to say that their music wasn't confessional enough or was too derivative or not varied enough in tempo or key, or it lacked sophistication. I'm sure they played pretty good.

Copyright © 2000 Hobo Clown Records.
All Rights Reserved.

Walk Light On This Earth
(1996)

Steve "Sketch" Ilsley VOCALS, HARMONICA      Chris Cass GUITAR    
Joe Graziano ALTO and TENOR SAX      Darren McGuire TENOR SAX
Pat Satta BASS     Chris Morrissey DRUMS

1. Strollin' With Bone (A. Walker)
2. Taildragger (W. Dixon)
3. I Just Want a Little Bit (S. Maghett)
4. The Last Time (J. Rogers)
5. Little Cabin (S. Ilsley)
6. Walk Light On This Earth (S. Ilsley, C. Cass)
7. My Country Sugar Mama (C. Burnett)
8. Slippery Slide (C. Cass)
9. Like Wolf (R. Miller)
10. Goin' Down Slow (W. Dixon)
11. Peter Gunn (H. Mancini)
12. I Found A New Love (S. Maghett)
13. Mother Earth (P. Chatman, L. Simpkins)

Liner notes from Walk Light On This Earth:

The music on this tape was influenced and inspired by Howlin' Wolf, Magic Sam, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim and many other Blues musicians to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude. Spread the blues.

Live! Live! Live!
(1993)

The following audio is from Triple Threat at its biggest:
The 8 piece lineup recorded live, in a single performance, at Master's Sports Cafe in Westport, CT
during the summer of 1993.
Recorded & mixed by John Murphy & Ken Safety.

Rico Cass VOCALS     Chris Cass GUITAR     Charles Bittman GUITAR
Jerry Capuano ORGAN & VOCALS     Joe Graziano ALTO SAX     Paul Simonetta TENOR SAX
Mark Donnelly BASS     Chris Morrissey DRUMS

1. Next Time You See Me
VOCAL: Rico; INTRO: Chris; SOLOS: Joe, Chris, Paul, Chuck
Lead guitar during vocals: Chris

2. I Need Me A Car
VOCAL: Rico; SOLOS: Chuck, Joe

3. That's What Love Will Make You Do
VOCAL: Jerry; INTRO: Chuck; SOLOS: Joe, Jerry,

4. Who's Been Talkin'
VOCAL: Rico; SOLOS: Chuck

5. Little By Little
VOCAL: Rico & Jerry; SOLOS: Chris, Chuck
Lead guitar during vocals: Chris

6. Sugar Sweet
VOCAL: Jerry, Rico; INTRO: Chuck; SOLOS: Joe, Chris, Jerry

7. Every Day I Have The Blues
VOCAL: Rico; INTRO: Chuck; SOLOS: Chuck, Chris, Jerry, Chuck
Misc. lead guitar throughout: Chuck

8. Tiger In Your Tank
VOCAL: Rico; SOLOS (guitars trade 8's): Chris, Chuck

9. Boom Boom
VOCAL: Rico; SOLOS: Chuck, Paul, Chris

10. Brick
VOCAL: Jerry; INTRO: Chris; SOLOS: Joe, Chris, Jerry, Chuck

11. Get Out My Life Woman
VOCAL: Rico; SOLOS: Chuck, Chris TRADING GUITARS: Chris, Chuck; ENDING SOLOS: Joe & Paul (at once), Chris, Chuck

12. Talk To Me Baby
VOCAL: Jerry; LEAD GUITAR THROUGHOUT: Chuck

Liner notes from Live! Live! Live!, by Ken Safety:

When bandleader/guitarist Chris Cass counts off the beginning of the first set,
eight seemingly disparate individuals come to life at "The Triple Threat Blues Band". Hailing from Southern Connecticut, the group manages to mix authenticity with
creativeness, resulting in an entertaining portrayal of "Chicago Style Blues". Behind the growling vocals of Rico Cass, the groundwork is established. Drummer Chris Morrissey
and bassist Mark Donnelly provide the power while hornmen Joe Graziano and
Paul Simonetta provide the punch. The soaring guitar work of Charles Bittman is balanced by
fellow guitarist Chris Cass. Jerry Capuano fills out the sound with tasty organ work and excellent vocal renditions.
The music on this compact disc was recorded from a single live performance. It gives the listener an accurate and exciting view of what "The Triple Threat Blues Band" is all about.

Liner notes Copyright © 1993 Ken Safety.
All Rights Reserved.

Five Song Demo
(1993)

Rico Cass VOCALS     Chris Cass GUITAR     Charles Bittman GUITAR
Jerry Capuano ORGAN & VOCALS     Joe Graziano ALTO SAX     Paul Simonetta TENOR SAX
Mark Donnelly BASS     Chris Morrissey DRUMS

1. Every Day I Have The Blues . 2. Little By Little . 3. Walkin' Blues

4. Talk To Me Baby. 5. Got My Mojo Workin'

Seven Song Demo
(1992)

Rico Cass VOCALS     Chris Cass GUITAR     Charles Bittman GUITAR
     Joe Graziano ALTO SAX     Paul Simonetta TENOR SAX
Mark Donnelly BASS     Chris Morrissey DRUMS

1. Next Time You See Me . 2. Walkin' Blues . 3. Dirty Mistreater . 4. Who's Been Talkin'

5. Watermelon Man . 6. Can't Be Satisfied . 7. Sweet Home Chicago

Trod Nossel Studios. March 1, 1992

Who's Been Talking?
The Triple Threat Blues Band Featuring Dani Neff

(2001)

Triple Threat provided the rhythm section for Dani Neff's debut recording project, with Chris Cass producing. Some selections are offered below. Dani has gone on to front Megafauna, regarded as one of the top original rock bands in Austin, TX.

Dani Neff VOCALS and all LEAD GUITAR
     Chris Cass RHYTHM GUITAR     Dan Labich VOCALS      Darren McGuire TENOR SAX    
Steve Sasloe PIANO, ORGAN      Pat Satta BASS      Chris Grennan DRUMS

  Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker)
The Thrill Is Gone  (Art Benson, Dale Pettite)
Who's Been Talking?   (Howlin' Wolf)
Reconsider Baby   (Lowell Folson)
Little By Little  (Junior Wells)

In Memoriam:
Charles Christopher Bittman

"Chuck B."

Guitarist Charles Bittman was a member of The Triple Threat Blues Band for many years. After going on to work with other highly-regarded ensembles, Charles sadly passed away in 2001.

The members of the Triple Threat Blues Band who worked with Charles wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Charles' family and friends. He is always in our hearts, and often in our thoughts. It was an honor to have worked with Charles, and we hope his spirit remains alive in our music.

In tribute to Charles, we have posted here some his finest recorded moments with TTBB, and most of the songs from StoneCold's 1996 CD entitled 4.20.

Chuck B. featured with The Triple Threat Blues Band:
Selections coming soon...

With StoneCold:
StoneCold was Charles' first band after leaving Triple Threat. Long-time Triple Threat singer/frontman Dan Labich was the vocalist for StoneCold. Charles and Dan are featured along with Jon Clarke (bass), Hans Broecking (drums), Chris Wyckoff (keyboards), George Ramirez (rhythm guitar), and Joker (congas/percussion).
All selections copyright © 1996 StoneCold and High Noon Records

1. Wasted Time (D. Labich/Chuck B.)
2. Change (D. Labich/Chuck B.)
3. Overnight (D. Labich/Chuck B.)
4. Light On My Door (D. Labich/Chuck B.)
5. Solid Ground (Chuck B.)
6. Beggin' (D. Labich/G. Ramirez)
7. Heavy (Chuck B.)
8. Dead and Gone (Chuck B.)
9. That's Right (Chuck B.)
10. I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)

Chuck B. Leaves a Phone Message:
This is kind of legendary. For mature audiences only. Or maybe immature audiences.
NOT for anyone offended by "The F-Word". Seriously. Rated R. Not for kids.
Click to play.


1993


1996

 

2003

 

2005

 

2006

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Car graphic (below) courtesy of Alex Rankin