Music » Music Features

Band on the run

The Bob Greco Band’s rise to the top


When it rains in New York City the water has nowhere to go. And neither do the residents (those who want to stay dry anyway).

Folks stay indoors and bands find themselves entertaining the walls of half-filled nightclubs. But hey, that's the life they chose and them's the breaks. At a recent rain-soaked Kenny's Castaways appearance, Rochester rocker Bob Greco saw a story down the line.

"Hey," he told the audience, "everybody's got their story: 'I saw Springsteen when there was only 10 people there,' you know? Or, 'I saw Bon Jovi when there was only 20. About a year from now you're gonna be saying, 'I saw The Bob Greco Band and there was like 20 people there. In a foot of water, I was there."'

Greco believes in his new band. And at 41 he's got some wisdom to plug into the dream. The cream always rises to the top, but not everyone knows the cream is there. So instead of slogging around aimlessly waiting for opportunity to knock, BGB is getting down to work pimpin', pushin', playin', and payin' their dues.

"I think it'll happen if you deal with just the music," he says. "But it takes longer. The one good thing about being my age and having been around the block is you know where you have to go. I've done it wrong so many times that now I'm like, 'Guys, we can skip about three steps here. We just gotta do it.'"

And as the former lead singer for corporate cover-rock giant Nik and the Nice Guys, Greco's done it. He trotted the globe with that band for 12 years.

"Nik is unbelievable," he says. "It's a great time. I did 12 Super Bowls, every Hollywood star party you can think of, but it was time." It was time for Greco to leave the Nik nest and play his own music with his own band of nice guys.

"Everything just kind of fit," he says. "This bunch just kind of came together. And I finally had the music that I thought I liked."

And then they applied a business formula. They didn't just simply hope for the best and wait for their talent to be discovered.

"We had this, do you want to be the biggest band in Rochester, or the biggest band from Rochester?" he says.

But other than the road experience Nik put under Greco's belt, very little of its topical pop is reflected in his music today. His experience taught him the importance of the hook and of being radio-friendly, but the amalgam of talented players in his own group has allowed Greco to transcend the standard pop-rock skeleton and feel around a bit.

Like many musicians, Greco is unable --- or just reluctant --- to describe what he does.

"It's hard to explain our music," Greco says.

No it's not. BGB is, in a word, rock. Not big or boisterous, but good. They're casual. They're comfortable. They fit. The music does not antagonize. They jam and flex without flirting with boredom. Their grooves get things moving but won't break backs. They rock without imminent threat. Their lack of pretense and lack of hoopla is the show. But you don't miss any of that sugary pizzazz, not with the band's refreshing sincerity.

"You know certain music," he says. "It seems just doesn't ever go away. It doesn't ever not work."

And Greco is proving it all night. They've played music conferences in Florida and Las Vegas (where they took first place out of 100 acts). They're pitching a band reality show to SPIKE TV --- a real band reality show, not with the standard handpicked, pouty phonies but with talented, driven musicians who pile into a van and do it right, night after night. You know, those beautiful ups and downs encountered when chasing a dream.

"Some days the promoter's great and you're at a four-star resort," Greco says. "Then other days you look at it and you go, 'Dude, I'm sleeping in the van.'"

There's lots of love for BGB here at home. The band's album On The Run was voted official senior class album at Potsdam, where BGB is also the official band of beer pong. Greco "thinks this is a compliment."

BGB just wants to spread the love around by hitting stages beyond Rochester --- despite their growing popularity here.

"I can't imagine playing Rochester every weekend," Greco says. "It would be cool playing with your friends and all that, but you gotta get out there, you gotta break the strings, get out on the road and be seen."

Pick up The Bob Greco Band's new CD, On The Run,at all retail record outlets in town. You can read more about the band or find out where and when they're playing next at