Bobby T Torello
In 1972, Bobby’s big break came after re-locating to Laurel, Mississippi, replacing drummer Keith Thibodeaux who had just left ‘David & the Giants’. The group was touring non- stop while Bobby’s reputation kept on growing.
The following year, Bobby T joined ‘Paper Steamboat’. Steamboat was a precursor to the now legendary group, ‘Thunderhead’. At that time, Thunderhead was busy opening for every major southern rock group on the circuit. Numerous big name artists also jammed with them when they were in town. One such legendary notable was Johnny Winter, who was a big fan of Thunderhead. With the help of Johnny and Edgar Winter they were signed to ABC/Dunhill Records in 1974.
Johnny agreed to produce their first album. All was going well until company executives decided the original tracks Johnny Winter had produced needed to be re-recorded. It was not the sound Johnny and Thunderhead had originally envisioned. Although somewhat disappointed with the final product, they did have a hit single with ‘Busted In Georgia’. When their album was released in 1975, ABC/Dunhill gave Thunderhead very little backing. Due to this lack of support, the record achieved only moderate success.
In 1976, Bobby replaced Tommy Aldridge in Black Oak Arkansas. He also began the first of two stints with fellow New Haven native Michael Bolton. At the time, Michael’s career was exploding with two new RCA albums. Bobby was also touring extensively with Johnny Winter opening for Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Ted Nugent, and ZZ Top. He also recorded two albums with Johnny Winter on Blue Sky Records – ‘White, Hot & Blue’ in 1978, and ‘Raisin’ Cain’ in 1980. Bobby also recorded an album with Jefferson Starship’s Grace Slick, 1981’s ‘Welcome to the Wrecking Ball’ on RCA.
When not on tour with Johnny Winter, he kept busy gigging with Michael Bolton, appearing in two MTV music videos - Everybody’s Crazy, and Fool’s Game. The Bolton tour also found Bobby sharing the stage with numerous other celebrities including…Bob Seger, Cyndi Lauper, Electric Light Orchestra, George Thorogood, Robert Palmer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and .38 Special. In 1985, he returned to Black Oak Arkansas. Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, encouraged him to write more originals, leading to the formation of The Bobby T Band in Chicago. Later on he moved to Nashville for a two-year gig with “Tony Stample” and the “Southern Renegades”.
The number of bands and musicians Bobby T has worked with over the years reads like a “Who’s Who” of the music business. With no signs of slowing down, he appears busier than ever before. ‘T’ is presently gigging with four different groups. The Sin Sisters. 8 And Up, Fairly Famous, and the Jay Willie Blues Band. Thunderhead has also recorded a new album entitled ‘Alive Again’ with the title track written by Bobby T Torello.
Bobby’s longevity in a tough business is a testament to his dedication and love for music. Like any professional musician he has had to overcome a few obstacles along the way. None of these have prevented him from achieving his rightful place in drumming history.