Legendary Western Massachusetts group - Peter J. Newland and FAT are celebrating 50 + years of rockin’ and recording music together. Age is of no consequence with these guys…FAT sounds like a band of twenty-five year old musicians playing with boundless energy and exuberance. It’s remarkable to hear songs and lyrics written in 1970 that are still just as fresh and relevant today. Obviously, FAT has no intention of slowing down the pace. In fact, Peter just celebrated his 70th birthday with a full roster of gigs lined up.
On a recent Thursday night outside of The Waterfront Tavern in Holyoke, Mass. – FAT played to a crowd of over a thousand die-hard fans. It was amazing in the fact that everyone at the show witnessed a milestone very few groups will ever achieve. Additionally, numerous members of the audience that night have been following them since the very beginnings of the band.
FAT shows feel like coming home. Each event proves to be a family reunion where FAT fans can shed the daily doldrums to revel in good, warm vibes with a tightly knit musical tribe sharing treasured memories of both long ago and more current FAT shows.
Stories of songs, venues, & events that impacted the lives of fans in profound and lasting ways are bandied about with smiles, laughter and twinkling eyes. Introductions of children, grandchildren, friends & family members new to the scene are met with welcoming enthusiasm by those who have traveled the musical path led by FAT musicians since the beginning over 50 years ago.
The phenomena that is the FAT musical family keeps everyone hungry for more of that down home feeling that a FAT show evokes so becomes a driving force in keeping the shows well attended with enthusiastic crowds.
The powerful, timeless rock & roll music is, of course, the focal point of each & every show, but it is the feeling of unity, peace, & love that is the true testament to what FAT has created throughout five decades of thrilling their audiences with original tunes. Before & after shows as well as between songs is when one can witness the true legacy of what FAT has built - the strings that bind us all as a musical family loving the essence of all that is FAT.
-- Joyce Davis
Plenty of FAT memorabilia was being displayed going all the way back to the late 1960’s. Photos and posters of FAT opening for The Allman Brother’s – The J. Geils Band, and virtually every other major act that came through Western, Massachusetts during that time.
Everyone on stage was at full-throttle… Lead vocalist, Peter J. Newland tore through song after song sounding absolutely incredible during their non-stop three-hour plus performance. One could feel his energy pouring off the stage…Whether it be on vocals, harp, or guitar, Peter J. is a force to be reckoned with.
Guitarist Jim Kaminski puts his heart and soul into every tune. Watching him perform is an aesthetic experience… He digs down deeply into the music somehow channeling the blues from some other dimension. He really is a truly gifted musician that keeps somewhat of a low profile until he hits the stage.
Bassist Guy DeVito has been laying it down since the very beginning. His grooves hit you in the chest like a sledgehammer. Making it virtually impossible not to dance. When Guy is locked in he’s like a pit-bull who never lets go, making the bottom end unwavering.
Guitarist Mark Pappas has an arsenal of killer leads and rhythms that totally support the music…He interweaves intricate and delicate patterns throughout the tunes. His solos are a lesson in musicality, and perfectly compliment those of Jim (K) Kaminski.
In 1967, I went to Holyoke (Mass.) Community College where I first met Peter Newland, and Jim Kaminski. That was the year Jim, Peter and Mike Benson first got together and formed FAT – soon joining up with Guy DeVito and William Benjamin. I used to go up to their place in Pelham, Mass. to hang out and watch them practice. Fat played mostly originals doing numerous concerts, colleges, and big venue gigs while rocketing toward stardom. They wrote great songs… I still have their records. I’ve always been a fan and friend even when they changed members. Musicians belong to the brotherhood of music. It's in our blood and binds us for life. I keep on going to see FAT since it's their anniversary… Keep On Rockin’ It.
-- William Gumlaw
FAT : Giving The Drummers Some…
Drummer William (Benji) Benjamin is still locking it down night after night. He has always had a truly distinctive style and sound that still reverberates to this day. His vintage Ludwig drums have that sweet 60’s sound that many of today’s shells are lacking. His touch is also a key factor… Based on years of experience - Benji just knows how to get the finest sounds out of his drums and cymbals.
Drummer Chet Pasek who shares the drum chair with ‘Benji’ focuses mainly on the newer originals that FAT performs. - Tunes like ‘Scandal’s Child’ – ‘Footloose’ – ‘Living Like An Outlaw’ – ‘I Don’t Need It (I Want It)’ – ‘Nervous’ and ‘Girl You Don’t Nothin’ About Love’.
No two FAT songs have the same groove…Each is meticulously written and played making it difficult not to sing along, or to get up and dance.
I used to listen to Peter practicing with his band ‘The Ragged Edge’ in a neighbor’s garage. It must have been 1967 or so. Peter formed Fat shortly after that. I always liked the name, Ragged Edge, so I stole it! (With Pete’s blessing) - Fat was so heavy!
FAT : Other Drummers
Throughout the over 50 years FAT has been together… It is important to document the fact that four other drummers contributed to their storied history; Tim Griffin, Billy Perry, Mark Kislus and Jeff Turcotte
Fat Fans 50th & Forever Facebook Group