Musicians Jimmy Ross and Dominic Ierace aka Donnie Iris, the latter of which has had a popular solo career as a power pop artist, formed the Jaggerz in 1965 in Aliquippa , Pennsylvania. As stated before, the 1970 breakthrough album featured the 1970 RIAA Gold record certified and number #2 Billboard Hot 100 hit “The Rapper”, a satire of 70s lounge lizards / pick-up artists that has been their ‘signature song’. They were Pittsburgh’s most popular band until they broke up in 1975, playing to numerous enthusiastic live crowds for years. They reunited in 1989 in a new incarnation led again by Jimmie Ross; the line-up released the albums ‘And the Band Played On’ (1998) and ‘Re-Rapped’ (2001).
In 1967 Philadelphia sound producers Gamble and Huff came to Pittsburgh the hear the Jaggerz perform at the Staircase lounge and signed them to a record contract. The Jaggerz released their first album, Introducing The Jaggerz 1969 on Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s label Gamble Records. The album featured the regional hit song “Gotta Find My Way Back Home” written by the Steals Brothers (Mystro & Lyric) of Aliquippa who were song writers for Gamble and Huff. The Steals Brothers later wrote the million selling hit “Could It Be I’m Fallng In Love” for the Spinners. The single received strong airplay on KQV, KDKA, and other Pittsburgh stations.
Original lineup members included trumpet & bassist Jimmie Ross, organist Thom Davies, guitarist Benny Faiella, drummer Jim Pugliano, vocalist Dominic Ierace (a.k.a Donnie Iris - who would later became a member of Wild Cherry and a successful solo artist in the early 80s).
In 1973 the Jaggerz backed up DJ artist]Wolfman Jack who sang “”The Rapper” and other songs on the album “Through The Ages”. It was released on RCA’s Wooden Nickel Records.
Around 1975 singer Franki Czuri and keyboard player Hermie Granati joined the Jimmie Ross, Donnie Iris, Bill Maybray, and Jim Pugliano for their next release. The Jaggerz released their third album “Come Again” in 1975 on Wooden Nickel Records. It featured the song “I’ll Be Okay in the Morning” co-written by Donnie and Hermie Granati, along with the Donnie Iris song “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance?” After Jimmy Ross left to join the Skyliners in 1975, the Jaggerz broke up.
After The Break Up
After the Break Up the members on Jaggerz went on to more success in the music business.
Singer Jimmie Ross performed with the Skyliners from 1975 through 1982. He recorded with them on their 1978 album release ‘The Skyliners’ In 1983 Ross and Cathy Cooper left the Skyliners to form the duo Cooper and Ross. They performed together for five years and released the album “Botton Line” on Sweat City Records / MCA.
Donnie Iris joined band Wild Cherry before he formed Donnie Iris and the Cruisers. He scored another number 2 national hit with the song ‘Ah Leah”. Donnie Iris landed 9 singles in the Billboard top 100 lists. He released ten albums with the Cruisers, five of which made it to the Billboard top 200 list.
Jim ‘Pugs’ Pugliano moved to Los Angeles where he became a session player and sideman. He recorded sessions with Leon Russell, Roger Miller, the Hudson Brothers,and Don Preston . He performed on commercials for McDonald’s, Burger King, and other firms. As a sideman Pugs toured with J.J. Cale, Tony Orlando, Willie Nelson, Mel Tillis and John Davidson. Returning to Pittsburgh he formed a Jazz Fusion band with Donny Marsico and Joe Monroe in 1989.
Frankie Cruzi formed the Silencers, who signed a deal with CBS/ Precision Records. In 1980 their single “Shiver and Shake” reached number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. They took their act across the country appearing with Hall & Oates, Foreigner, Heart, ACDC, and others. Early pioneers in music videos they were featured on the very first broadcast of MTV in 1981.
Hermie Granati join with his siblings to form Granati Brothers who released the album G-Force on A&M Records and toured the country opening 78 shows on two national tours with Van Halen in the 1980s.
The Jaggerz reunited in 1989 to perform live. The reunited band included the original members Jim Pugliano, Benny Faiella, Bill Maybray along with organist Fred Dulu, sax player Robbie Klein and vocalist Donnie Marsico. Their first appearance was at a 25-year reunion concert on June 23, 1989 at the Beaver County College Golden Dome. The band has played 20 to 25 shows a year since then.
The Jaggerz released their fifth album “And the Band Played On” in 1998. The All Music Guide calls it”Heartfelt soul music”. Performing on this release were Jimmie Ross, Eugene “Benny” Faiella, Jim “Pugs” Pugliano, Dennis McAbee, and Jamie Peck Former member Hermie Granati rejoined the band writing the orchestrations, performing on keyboards and vocals, and co-producing with Jimmie Ross. Recorded at Dave World Studio it features the Jaggerz arrangement of classic R&B tunes and Hermie Granati’s original tune original tune “Feels Good”.
The Jaggerz released their sixth album “Re-Rapped By Request” in 2001. It features a mix of the most requested songs that they have performed over their career including “Dancin’ in the Streets”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “The Love I Never Had” and a live version of the “Rapper” recorded at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The Jaggerz lost two of their original members. Guitarist and vocalist William Maybray Sr. died of cancer in December of 2004 and drummer James Pugliano passed away in June of 2010. Founding members Jimmie Ross and Benny Faiella continue performing the soulful sounds of the Jaggerz. The 2013 roster of the Jaggerz also includes Dennis McAbee, Hermie Granati, Paul Martello, and horn section Ron Levi, Rich Mansfield and Jim Sheppard
Jaggerz Official Website at http://www.jaggerz.com/.
Follow the Jaggerz on their facebook fanpage at Jaggerz Fans -Check out the new official Jaggerz Facebook Fan page for pictures, videos, and music. https://www.facebook.com/thejaggerz
Edited by promisedeyes on 5 Jun 2014, 07:41
Sources (view history)
various sources, jaggerz.com
interview with Jimmie Ross
Pittsburgh Music History
Interview with Jimmie Ross - Gary James classicbands.com
Interview With William Maybray, Jr. - All But Forgotten Oldies.Net
Area musicians rally to help sick child -By Louise Carrol Ellwood City Ledger July 14, 2012
Jaggerz Have Cut New Record -Beaver Country Times Jan 20, 1969
Skyliners Will Perform In Old And New Styles -Youngstown Vindicator - Jul 6, 1978
Reunion of Jaggerz bring back memories and fans -Doug Drown Pittsburgh Post Gazette August 18, 1989
William R. Maybray Sr. / Vocalist, musician with the Jaggerz By Nate Guidry Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 8, 2004
James Pugliano / Drummer for The Jaggerz -Pittsburgh Post Gazette March 29, 2010
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