20 Foot Man Bio:
Genre - Rock & Pop
Sub Genres - Power Pop / Jam Band
Tony Bernero - Lead Vocals
Kevin Fukumoto - Guitars, Vocals
Mike Bernero - Drums, Vocals
Andy Mueller - Bass, Vocals
Ralph Rivas - Pianos, Organs, synthesizers
Gilbert Richardson - Trumpet, Horn Section Captain
Discography - Across the Bridge 2005
About the Band:
With the backdrop of the Chicago music scene exploding all around them, a party band composed of young, energetic people who exemplified the resurgence of the "Classic Rock" genre ran into a keyboard player with his own "portable show" doing practically the same thing. The combined music took a major turn and hard hitting covers soon turned into timeless originals all of which still sound fresh on the new album Across the Bridge. The interim period since those early years have seen the members drift away and blend into different projects but eventually back together again with more spunk and verve than ever, providing the skill and discipline needed to work the various aspects of the music world. The last minute addition of the support section for the first album turned out to be the piece de resistance that gives 20 Foot Man its ideal sound and its name. The big music, big sound and big act of 20 Foot Man is almost tailor made for big showcases, big venues and even the big screen. And although the name is new to the business, the experiences behind them insure that 20 Foot Man is up to the task of fitting in with established acts here and abroad.
20 Foot Man is perfect for all venues that cater to more than a few types of audiences owing to the variety inherent in their music. The band has received direct feedback from those under 18 through those in their senior years confirming that there is not just something for everyone but that the music is compelling enough to bring them back for more something not very common even among established acts now touring. As the band continues to work on the material for their next CD, expect even more variety and appeal.
Since the release of the album the 6th track, Day in Paradise, has been played on local radio notably on College station WLUW and on WCKG's Steve Dahl Show with Mr. Dahl letting slip that he has played the album numerous times since he received it. More recently the title track Across the Bridge was played on Major Chicago Rock station WLUP in the revived Jonathon Brandmeier show as part of their Make A Wish Foundation "Jon-a-thon" (Thanks Johnny B and check out Make A Wish to help.)
About the Players and some history:
Mike and Tony Bernero - Brothers in blood and in music along with Kevin Fukumoto spearheaded the "resurrection" of the band of years past. The original incarnation was called Zephyr with Tony on Lead Vocals, Mike on killer drums (he already had been playing for over 8 years by then) and their now famous brother, Eddie Bernero, creator of the Hit NBC series Third Watch, on Bass as the group’s "manager." Kevin was the band's guitar player right at the start. When Eddie moved on to what would eventually become "bigger and better things," Many years later, Eddie offered to help his brothers Tony and Mike resume their writing and give their craft a venue through recording. "You got to get back to the music," he told them both in a fateful phone call. And as if fate herself was listening, they heard from Kevin shortly after that prompted by Eddie's appearance on the game show "The Weakest Link" and the reality show "The Apprentice." Several jam sessions later, it was clear that this was a whole new ball game and that the time was right to bring the music out.
Tony and Mike have kept their chops up through those years in various ways including ushering a few of their own children, now grown, into music all in the midst of successfully starting and running their own company in the extremely busy Home Building and Remodeling Industry. Their experiences have certainly added the right dimensions to song writing.
Kevin Fukumoto - Kevin's guitar has been his soul since he first picked it up. Through ups and downs that life throws at people, he only got better not only with his masterful, note-for-note performances of rock's greatest (and toughest) masterpieces but in his own creations which turned out to have appeal years after they first came through his guitar or his lips. He kept Shades of Grey going through most of the intervening years with his dedication and was quick to go in head first when he reunited with the brothers for Across the Bridge. In addition to being the one that has essentially "brought the band together," he has stepped up to the plate and acts as the bands interim Manager for bookings and general marketing activities which turns out to be a good fit with his day-job background in Sales.
Andy Mueller - originally and still a guitar player, Andy was an "old friend of the band" for many of those intervening years having actually listened to early incarnations of Across the Bridge and a few other songs. He moonlights as the lead guitarist and co-vocalist for the cover band Head First for a number of years before convincing Kevin that he could "solve the Bass Player problem" (which, as is demonstrated in the recording and all shows to date, has proven true in spades.) Many have said that they would never know that he had only been on that instrument for a relatively short time prior to the recording had they not been told and as time moves along, it gets harder for the band members to remember that fact as well ... and not perhaps for the reasons that you, the reader may think ;-). His past projects have included Vivid Imagination and a Chicago north side favorite called Right Track. Some of his influences and favorites include the likes of Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Les Claypool, Bootsy Colins and Richard Finch.
Ralph Rivas - Ralph has been on the keys in one way or another since he started school. His background from growing up in the Philippines and returning yearly to the United States provided an interesting texture to his musical tastes. His "other skills" made it more interesting as he balanced a very successful day job career with a varied musical one. His credits include 2001 - Take it To the Top in the 80’s, Social Act - Sally O in the early 90's and a large number of mercenary works in and out of the studio all around the world in addition to being a key member of Shades of Grey with Kevin Fukumoto for many years. They say timing is everything as he happened to be back in the City after many years hosting his third Open Jam show (including spearheading the premier Jam session for Microsoft's Tech Ed technical conference every year since 1993) when he got the call from Kevin that the Bernero brothers were back doing music. Aside from working the regular music scene he also served as Musical Director for the Second City styled Comedy group Eight Degrees Below Normal and host of the Improv Orgy, a Comedy Jam night held weekly at the Gallery Cabaret in Chicago for more than seven years.
Gilbert Richardson - Gilbert was originally brought in to add a little bit of spice to the music but his phenomenal arrangements has proven to be the penultimate touch to the already unique sound of 20 Foot Man. His music credentials go back to the 70's playing and touring all over the country and around the world in places such as Japan and Europe with Top 40, R & B, Blues, Gospel, Soul and Jazz Bands as well as in Churches in Chicago and beyond. Artists he played with include Jessie Dixon, Walter Jackson and Tyrone Davis in this short list of people not to mention his band from his early period known as the Chi-lites (pronounced "Shy lights") with whom he has toured extensively. He is a composer and arranger that has sat in for numerous recording sessions for albums, demos, commercials, soundtracks and ultimately on Across the Bridge after meeting Kevin through a mutual friend.