In the 1990s, the Swing Music revival drove thousands to dance floors, while Rockabilly festivals drew hordes of fans from across the world. It was a wonderful time, with all types of 1950's music thriving, except for one - Doo Wop. In 1998, two friends with a love of vocal harmonies and classic showmanship decided to do something about it.
Scotty Tecce and Mike Napodano met in Dallas, TX. Both born into Italian American families on the east coast, they found they shared musical interests in singers like Dean Martin and Lou Monte, but it was the Bronx-style harmonies of Dion & the Belmonts that inspired them to begin singing together at weekly poker nights. Soon joined by Jay Ragojo and Omar Yeefoon, they took the group onto the street corners of downtown Dallas in traditional doo wop fashion, to hone their harmonies and entertain drunken club goers. The quartet borrowed a name from Mike's father's college yearbook and dubbed themselves “The Fabulous Harmonaires.”
The group's first gig was in 1999 at the legendary Bar of Soap with short-lived fifth member, Ryon Fuqua. Their energetic performance wowed a screaming crowd that had never witnessed vocal harmony of this fashion. A featured spot at the Rob's Chop Shop Anniversary Party soon followed. The group was then noticed by local celebrity Johnny Reno. His weekly jump blues show was a renowned event around Dallas, so the group was thrilled when Reno invited them on stage to sing between his sets. A few weeks later they were backed by Reno's band, the Lounge Kings, and the Fabulous Harmonaires' stage show was born. Around that time, the guys decided to try their hand at writing original songs in the doo wop style and recorded their first EP entitled King of the World. Word of the recording reached all the way to Scandinavia and it was later picked up by Norwegian label Flipside Records.
In 2000, the group was invited to appear at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender. Although they were not a rockabilly band, their stage presence and tight vocal harmonies received them an overwhelming response from the crowd and they have been regular performers at the festival ever since. In 2003, the group added the bass vocals of Billy Kay and released their first full-length album Next Door to Heaven in 2004. The album was a hit at the Viva Las Vegas Weekenders and led to appearances at many other festivals including the Rockin' 50s Fest in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Lone Star Roundup at the world-famous Continental Club in Austin, Texas, the Screamin' Festival in Calella, Spain and the Summer Jamboree in Senigallia, Italy.
Making the festival rounds has its benefits, and The Fabulous Harmonaires have been fortunate to meet and perform with many fantastic artists. One of the band’s earliest inspirations and mentors was doo wop enthusiast Eddie Nichols of Royal Crown Revue. The guys enjoyed countless hours of late-night singing sessions with Eddie and had the pleasure of joining RCR several times on stage. Other inspirational artists they have met in their travels include The Cleftones, The Medallions, The Penguins and The Cadillacs. One memorable evening after a show they were invited by Earl “Speedo” Campbell into the dressing room for a beer and some impromptu singing, where he and the other Cadillacs would impress the younger doo-woppers by joining them in a vocal harmony version of a popular rap song by artist DMX.
The Fabulous Harmonaires’ stage show owes a great deal of its success to the top-notch musicians backing them, and over the years there have been many. The group has met and performed with numerous amazing musicians at festivals, but special mention goes out to the Dallas-based folks who were there in the beginning and helped get the group off the ground, including guitar players Jon Senderling and Brian Fiegelman, bass players Roque Garza and Matt Bentle, drummer Wes White and sax player Jim Lehnert. Several lineup changes later, the group joined forces with The Blandelles in 2004 to play shows around Texas as well as Viva Las Vegas that year. In 2005, The Tiny C Rhythm Revue took over the backing duties for numerous Texas shows as well as out-of-state festivals.
After 12 remarkable years of ups and downs, comings and goings, triumphs and struggles, the boys sadly decided to call it quits. In April of 2010, joined by newest member Matt Tolentino, they gave their final performance at the Viva Las Vegas Weekender - the very same festival that helped launch their career a decade earlier! Well before the breakup the guys wrote and began recording a full-length album of original songs. Not wanting the songs to go to waste, Scotty, Billy and Mike were able to get together and finish the album so look for The Fabulous Harmonaires ...Sing From Their Foolish Hearts now available from Crystal Ball Records as well as iTunes and Amazon. A DVD documentary of their entire doo wop story is also in the works to be released sometime in the near future.
The Fabulous Harmonaires would like to thank all the singers and band members they have known and performed with throughout the years and wish the best to all of them and their families. They would especially like to thank the fans who have supported them over the years and kept the spirit of vocal harmony alive!