Ellicottville and Holiday Valley will be rockin’ with Blood, Sweat & Tears as they join in the fun of the annual Summer Music Festival held each Fourth of July weekend. Playing a show on the foothill of the ski slopes on Sunday, July 5 just may turn into a family affair. The band was originally formed in Canada which makes this area practically home.
The band was formed in 1967 and has been making incredible music ever since. Faces over the course of four decades have changed … in fact the faces have changed 175 times, but yet the music remains a staple on classic rock stations all over the country.
This latest version of the band has some fresh new talent that probably is the best that has ever been assembled. “This newest version of BS&T is man for man, pound for pound, better than the original BS&T,” said Bobby Colomby (the original drummer and founding member of the band. “Without a doubt, they’re a ridiculously talented bunch,” he added.
You may remember Bo Bice from 2005’s American Idol, where he became the runner-up, second to Carrie Underwood. This remarkably talented singer/songwriter now fronts the band as the lead singer, and a YouTube sensation from New Zealand, with over 22 million hits and counting named Dylan Elise, takes on the drums.
I had the chance to catch up with the two recently to talk about their careers, BS&T and the Summer Fest and share a few laughs, as you will read.
Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to the slopes of Holiday Valley for what will be an unforgettable night of some of the biggest hits in music like “Spinning Wheel” and “You Made me so Very Happy” by one of the greatest bands of all time. Bo and Dylan promise a fun night.
A CONVERSATION WITH BO BICE AND DYLAN ELISE
HULICK: We’re excited to hear you guys are heading this way to play the Summer Music Festival July 4th weekend.
BO BICE:We’re gonna have a lot of fun. The catalog of music we get to play from with this band is incredible. For me it’s great because I grew up listening to their music and then I sang one of their songs on American Idol, and now I get to step on the stage and reunite some of the fans with their childhood like me. Then you add in that the Buffalo and Western New York area is practically considered the “hometown” for this band, who were originally from Canada; it’s always a great crowd. We’re looking forward to getting there and jamming with you guys.
HULICK:You had tremendous success as a solo artist since your Idol days, releasing four albums and now you are the front man for an iconic group, which is a completely different world. Was that something you had thought about along the way?
BICE:It wasn’t something that was in the forefront of what I wanted to do, but when the opportunity presented itself I saw they were bringing new aspects of writing new music, putting out a new record, which is their first in over four decades … I really felt like being a part of that. This is one of the biggest bands in history so who wouldn’t want to be a part of this alumni.
HULICK:You mentioned the band is working on a new album. Are you writing songs for it?
BICE:We’re all writing. One of the best parts of this album is that we didn’t set any kind of false deadlines … we have been out honing the songs and honing some of the new musicians that are in the band. It’s always about making it sound one hundred and fifty percent … there is no one hundred percent with this band.
HULICK:How has your experience been so far playing with the band on the road?
BICE:Terrific! There was this large group of young people at a show recently and they were singing the words to these songs, which means their parents grew up just like I did singing this music … and I feel like it’s my duty to make sure that the people of my generation know this music.
HULICK:What are your thoughts on Dylan?
BICE:Dylan is a phenomenal drummer. He’s only 25 years old and he’s put a lot into this. He’s paid his dues. He’s got a great work ethic and he’s a wonderful person with a great personality. One of the things that impress me about him is the fact that he continues to learn every day because he wants to be better and he strives to do just that. He’s sitting here with me right now and making me look good … it’s all about making me look better, so I am going to turn it over to him right now and thank him in advance for all the great things he’s gonna say about me. He’s gonna say how humble I am, how good looking I am and I am one of the kindest, most strong … you know I don’t want to keep going on about myself because it just makes me look bad … I’m gonna let Dylan go on about me.
HULICK:(laughs) Well … OK. You don’t want to talk anymore?
BICE:No, it’s not that … I love you very much and I want to talk to you … I just want to let this cat get some time too. Anyways I’m surprised you can even understand my redneck dialect.
HULICK:(laughs) I interviewed Larry the Cable Guy so I got you Bo.
BICE:(laughs) You got me covered then! (laughs)
HULICK:No pressure on you right now Dylan, right?
DYLAN ELISE:(laughs) That was awkward sitting here listening to Bo go on and on about me.
HULICK:Well now you get to tell me about him.
ELISE:It’s funny … in New Zealand, where I’m from, we watched American Idol with Bo on it and that’s who we were rooting for. It’s crazy that I got asked to become part of the band and he’s the lead singer.
HULICK:How did you get connected to BS&T?
ELISE:Bobby Colomby, the original drummer and founder of the band was searching YouTube and he came across one of the videos on me and he checked out a few more and called our manger, Larry Dorr, to contact me and Bobby contacted me as well and they flew me to LA to meet Bobby and they asked me to play a little bit with the band and it went really, really well. Then I was in Hawaii doing a show and they called and asked if I would do a few more shows with the band. Then on my way from Hawaii the guy who was the drummer at the time put his back out. I landed on a Thursday and was told about the other drummer and that the next show was on that Saturday. So I had to learn the whole gig in a day. It was quite intense, but when I played the first show I didn’t make any mistakes and everyone was really happy and I eventually was asked to stay and I am very appreciative of the opportunity … it’s incredible.
HULICK:What age did you start drumming?
ELISE:When I was six years old my dad said, “Good news and bad news … the bad news is you have to learn an instrument, but the good news is you get to pick which one.” So I said I pick the drum and he said he couldn’t wait to hear me learn the piano anyway. (laughs) Then along the way I found I had a passion for it … you know how little boys like to hit stuff.
HULICK:You are being called probably the best drummer in the world. How does that feel?
ELISE:It’s cool to have people say things like that, but there are probably a thousand drummers in the world that do exactly what I do and another thousand that can do a lot more than I can do. Everyone plays a little differently. I just push myself to learn more and exceed expectations.
HULICK:Do you want to talk about Bo now?
ELISE:(laughs) He’s a professional on and off the stage. You can joke around with him and that’s really cool. He’s an awesome dude. He knows I’m from New Zealand and he always hints on things that are Australian, which is our biggest rival and he knows that too. He’ll say, “Hey, you got all those kangaroos down there…”, because we don’t have kangaroos. Kiwi is our outback iconic animal. Then he calls me Crocodile Dundee and he knows we don’t have crocodiles there. He’s a character both on and off the stage. We clicked real early on.
HULICK:What do you do on your down time?
ELISE:I like to go to the gym and keep my shape as best I can. I don’t want my girlfriend, who is in New Zealand, see how I moved to the States and let myself go. (laughs) I’m a big gamer too and I like to play football … well soccer … the REAL football in New Zealand (laughs) … we don’t play too much gridiron American football.