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Senior Lifestyles

Old friends making music together

8/7/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Mick Pera, left, and Rick Maselli, both Fairlawn residents, have been friends since grade school. About a year ago, they started a band called Mick and Rick and play what they call “rock and soul” in venues around Akron.
Photo courtesy of Rick Maselli
FAIRLAWN — The long and short of it is that Mick Pera and Rick Maselli have been friends since grade school, but it took until about a year ago for their music to meld.

Now, Mick and Rick, in their 60s and both living in Fairlawn, have developed a fan base for their “rock and soul” sounds from the 1960s and ’70s.

Both near-lifetime residents of Fairlawn, the duo met in sixth grade while attending St. Hilary School, said Pera.

Both attended Archbishop Hoban High School their freshman year. Maselli transferred to Firestone High School, where his musical career began in earnest, most notably with the Chambermen, in which he played lead guitar.

Pera was aware of the Chambermen, he said, which played parties, on floats and in the middle of the mall, according to Maselli.

“My band career was nothing like his. Mine was a little smaller stuff,” said Pera. He sang with a band called the Tantrums in high school, he said, but the only people who remember them were in the band or family members of band members.

Though they both have played with a number of different bands throughout the years, the two never did anything musically together until 1987, when Maselli’s cousin, a drummer, invited them both to an informal jam session.

“Some of the songs we were jamming are songs that we do in this band now,” noted Maselli.

Despite the fact they were friends, coached soccer together and even their wives and children were friends, they didn’t, for a variety of reasons, consider forming a duo until they were asked to perform at a friend’s 65th birthday and retirement party last July.

So they played one set — all they were ready for at the time — and had to borrow sound equipment.

Since that party, they have played gigs at the Summit Senior Expo at Summit Mall, the Porch Rokr Festival in Highland Square and at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, among other venues.

They also had an original song, “Waiting in the Night,” chosen and played on 97.5 WONE radio as “Homegrown Cut of the Week” this past December, they said.

Today, they have 64 songs — and counting — in their inventory.

Their music sounds like a full band, even though it’s generally just the two of them, they said.

Each song has a dozen or so prerecorded tracks, which is Maselli’s job. When the duo is playing live, Maselli mutes one of the tracks he prerecorded and plays that part live instead, which might be guitar, keyboard or vocals, while Pera sings lead.

Some crowd favorites are “Brown-Eyed Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Glad All Over,” they said.

They also have a regular monthly gig at Sweet Pea Cafe in Fairlawn, generally held the second Friday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m., next scheduled for Aug. 8.

Other upcoming gigs include the Akron Concert Series at Shadyside Park in Kenmore Aug. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m.; the Barberton Afternoon Concert Series at Lake Anna Aug. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and the Fairlawn Food Truck Roundup, Aug. 31 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Bicentennial Park.

The duo is also available to play private parties. To reach them, email mickandrickband@gmail.com. They can be heard online at www.facebook.com/mickandrick, www.soundcloud.com/mick-and-rick and www.youtube.com/mickandrickband.

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