Tony Vegas Group

Tony Vegas Group

BandBluesRock

Listen to what a half century of guitar playing sounds like. I only play with the best guys because only well seasoned players can get to where I take my music.

Biography

Tony Vegas started playing guitar in 1959 being taught by local legend Merejo Martinez (a killer blind recording artist) in the studios of CMHK, Casa Virgilio, Cruces Las Villas, CUBA. CMHK was his grandfather’s radio station. Tony grew up in the radio station, where the area performers came in and broadcasted live from the studio – these made for some fantastic radio shows. Orquesta Aragon internationally known for pioneering the “Cha Cha Cha” was about the most famous of all the acts that hailed from this venue.
Punto Guajiro, Montuno, Bembe being played by singles, duos, trios, and bands that would come in and create the best live music you can imagine – Tony watched listened and learned.
Thursday nights was Bembe’ night – Bembe’ is the African music of Cuba played mostly with drums and flute. “They would come in and jam like crazy, and they’d let me sit and hide in the studio behind the drummers” that went on till he was found out and the disk jockey would escort him out of there.
The first electric guitar sounds heard by Tony were from Bill Haley (“Rock Around The Clock” and “See You Later Alligator”), Chuck Berry, and this real cool guy named B.B. King!
“The first electric guitar I saw was an acoustic with a pick up in the hole played through an amplifier that my uncle made – it was loud!”
“In 1960, I woke up one day and some one had stole my country.” That’s how Tony explains the Cuban Revolution… Tony came to the US with his family in 1962 and soon thereafter traded an airplane model for a nylon six string.

“In 1964 I heard the four coolest guys in world -- all playing like Chuck Berry” For the next couple of years it was a steady diet of Beatles, Stones, and The Who until 1966 or so when I heard Eric Clapton play “Hideaway.”

Tony tells a funny story about when he first heard Eric Clapton play Hideaway back in 1966 or 67 – “Man, it was the coolest, I learned every lick! Then I jammed with these old blues guys and I was really surprised that they knew Hideaway, I told them I picked that up from Eric Clapton, but they quickly told me that I was playing Freddy King! -- I went and got all his records."
Tony has played all over the US with many different bands his favorite gig was as bandleader for “The Vibrations” of Watusi fame is the early 70’s.
Tony has shared the stage with REO Speedwagon, Chubby Checker, The Grass Roots, Tommy James and the Shondells, Fridget Pink, Joe Jeffries, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, The Dovels, Freda Payne, Billy Harner, Cook E Jarr and the Crums, and many others.

Lately in New Orleans Tony has played with the legendary Kirk Joseph, Grammy winner Andrers Osborne, Johnny Vidacovich, John Gros, and many others

Discography

1967 "Cat's Squirrel" (with Chris Stendahl and Randy Ezratti) -- 1970 "Everywhere I go" / "NonStop Bus to Memphis" with Philadephia's TR-5 produced by Mike Sembello -- 1980 I'll be a Slut for You" (Produced by Vince Montana Jr.whom, I think, actually invented Disco Music) / "My Kinda Girl" with The Plyers -- 1982 "Don't Hold Back" / "Abby's Bar" Solo project supported by TVG (TonyVegasGroup). 1990 Rude Dudes and VitaminZ with Plastic Pterodactyl the Experimental Band -- All original music, 1992 Havana all original music mostly played with latin overtones. 2005 "Nawlin's Renaissance" A very bluesy CD with some latin overtones dedicated to raise money for New Orleans recovery efforts. This CD was recorded in New Orleans. The Cd has been well received by Ray Nagin mayor of New Orleans and features original music as well as songs from Albert and Freddie King . Cajun Ladies -Tony's latest CD was recorded in new orleans with help from "The masterful" Andy haley from the original Tony Vegas Group. This blues and R&B project features all original music and a heavy guitar version of Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness. Tony's signature song "Hey Loretta" is featured on this CD. His song "The Knife" has been released as a radio single in English and Spanish.