Dave Cerrone, leader of The Refrigerators, shouts a the audience during a performance at Vapors in Saratoga Springs recently. (photo: CHRIS BECK)
Dave Cerrone isn’t quite sure why he began playing the trumpet. He may have simply been pushed in that direction at a young age by his parents.
And he’s fine with that. A Scotia native and a resident of Brunswick, Cerrone isn’t complaining. In fact, he loves it, and he continues to play the trumpet sometimes three or four times a week (including rehearsals) as the leader of The Refrigerators, one of the Capital Region’s longest-running and most popular party bands.
On Friday at the Empire State Convention Center in The Egg, The Refrigerators will hold a 20th anniversary performance on behalf of the Children’s Hospital in Albany. The nine current members of the group as well as 25 past members will join forces to provide live music for more than three hours. Tickets to the event are $20.
Along with his love of music, Cerrone played soccer at both Scotia-Glenville High School and Siena College. He graduated from Siena in 1989 with a degree in computer science and soon began working for the General Electric Co. He currently works in Albany as Knowledge Management & Sharing Leader for GE Power and Water.
‘The Refrigerators 20th Anniversary Concert’
WHERE: Empire State Convention Center, The Egg, Albany
WHEN: Friday; doors open at 6 p.m., music from 7:30-11 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $20 (proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center)
MORE INFO: http://fridge20.com
He started The Refrigerators in 1994 with Paul Zeh and Eddie Frank. Zeh and Frank have both left the band but are expected to take part in Friday’s concert. Lead guitarist Rob Istorico quickly joined the three men back in 1994 and continues as a band member, while the other musicians currently in the group include Todd Hanhurst, lead singer; Chris Gentile, bass; Chris Haley, drummer; John Costello, keyboards, Kevin Barcomb, saxophone; Greg Mataruga, lead trumpet; and Chris Beck, trombone and vocalist. Along with his trumpet, Cerrone adds percussion and vocals to the performance.
This won’t be the first time The Refrigerators have played benefit events. In fact, it’s becoming quite a routine occurrence as Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings alluded to in an Oct. 18 press conference with Albany Medical Center officials promoting the concert.
“Not only do I applaud The Refrigerators for their longevity and great music, but also for their continued commitment to our community,” said Jennings. “Their willingness to assist the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center is further evidence of their humanitarian fabric. With The Refrigerators you get a wonderful sound played by truly wonderful people.”
Cerrone is married and has two children, both of them soccer players.
Q: Why did you begin playing the trumpet?
A: That’s a good question. I was probably influenced by my parents, and I probably didn’t have much of an opinion when I was in the second or third grade. My one sister played the accordion, another played the guitar. My dad probably came to me with a trumpet and said, “Here, play this.”
Q: What kind of music did you listen to as a teenager?
A: I think my first album was “Destroyer,’ by Kiss, so I was probably listening to heavier rock ’n’ roll when I was growing up than I’m playing now. But I definitely had two things going on. I was listening to one style, but the trumpet didn’t really lend itself that well to rock ’n’ roll, so I grew up with an appreciation of bands with a big brass section.
Q: How would you describe The Refrigerators?
A: We’re a fun, party band, and we do anything from clubs to wedding parties to corporate parties. Our music touches on a wide range of eras, so we also hit a pretty wide demographic. Any age, probably to someone in their early 60s is going to enjoy us, and we try to keep everything we do “danceable.” We put on a visual show as well, but we want our audience to come out and have fun and dance. What we’re really all about is high energy. We have a four-piece brass section and that really helps. We offer something intangible in our shows. It’s something you’re not going to get from canned music.
Q: Did you ever take some time off from playing music?
A: I played all through high school in the concert band and stage band, but at Siena I was playing soccer and between that and school I was way too busy. Then a few years later I got a call from a friend who was in a band and needed a substitute to fill in on the trumpet. I said, “I’ll give it a shot,” and it was a totally different experience than what I had been used to in high school. I felt like something clicked, and I thought to myself that I had to do more of this. So I formed this band, it seems like a million years ago now, and it was fun but I just had this itch to do something more. I was looking in the paper for some other musicians, and I came across this ad for a brass player. I contacted them and said, “Hey, you guys got something going on, and we got something going on, let’s do something together and see what happens.” That was pretty much the birth of The Refrigerators.
Q: How often do you play?
A: On the average we play three weekends on and one weekend off, and we don’t do any weekday stuff except in the summer. There are times when it gets a little stressful, and it’s a lot to juggle between work and being married with two kids. But it’s fun and at the end of the day it’s been a great experience to have been able to perform. It’s that crowd reaction that keeps you coming back. When it gets to the point where it’s not fun anymore then I’ll stop. We’ve made a few bucks over the years to justify it, and I think we’re all pretty seasoned and know how to balance our lives. We have a few issues at times, but they usually work themselves out. When it comes to selecting band members, the musical aspect is clearly very important to us. But just as important, and it’s always been as important, is how do all these personalities match up with each other. We spend a lot of time together so we need to get along and it works out pretty well. We seem to mesh well together.
Q: Does everyone have a job, and what is the age range in the band?
A: Yes. Rob [Istorico] is probably the oldest, in his mid-50s, we’ll call him the most mature, and truthfully he does bring a lot of wisdom to the group. He came on in the first four months, so when you’ve been together for 20 years that’s pretty much right from the start. I’m in my mid-40s like most of the guys, and we have a few guys who are in their mid- to late 30s.