ARCA member Rick Hester led this month’s meeting by giving us a history of his first band, The Epics. He was assisted by fellow bandmates, Ross Gagliano and Joe Ardivino. Rick was the lead guitarist for the band, while Ross played drums and Joe was the lead vocalist. They each spoke to one of the biggest crowds we’ve had at ARCA in a while. It was a very informative and interesting recounting of their days in the early 60’s band from Phillips High School in Birmingham. The band made a total of three records, two of which were produced by Ed Boutwell. You can hear two of these songs in the player on the left side of this page.

Other members of the band included Terry Ryan on guitar and bass (whose brother Jerry was a founding member of Three on a String), Jim Anderson on Trumpet and Bob Sheehan on Sax. The Epics were probably the first Birmingham band to include a horn section, which helped to expand their playlist, especially with R&B and early Motown songs.

The band worked steadily every weekend for a couple of years. Terry Ryan then left and Wayne McPherson came aboard on bass. Rick Hester left and was replaced to Danny Chadwell. The Epics changed their name to the Soul Brothers. Rick went on to play with the Townsmen. After a short stint with the Soul Brothers, Joe Ardivino went to Fox and the Huntah’s and Ross Gagliano with the Rockin’ Rebellions.

It was great to have these three Birmingham music icons to come and speak to us. This is the kind of program that ARCA has every month, so please check us out. We also welcomed several new members this month.