One of the first big bands on the Jersey Club scene was Fate, which toured the circuit in the early days of the scene’s development. Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, they were one of the big draws in the state.
The band’s nucleus was formed in a high school band called The Click. The members were taking lessons at the Red Bank School of Music. They soon changed the name of the group to Fate when they started playing clubs.
The members of the group included brothers Emile and Vinny Talarico, who alternated with each other on drums and vocals, depending on the vocal range required by the song. They were joined by guitarist Jimmy Scott, keyboardist Nicky Soviero, and bassist John Presti.
One of the early highlights in the band’s career included a band battle at St. Joseph’s Church in Matawan. The group took top honors, over competition which included a young Bruce Springsteen in a group called the Castilles. “That’s my claim to fame,” laughs Emile. “We beat Bruce Springsteen in a battle of the bands.”
Fate became a popular band a clubs such as the Student Prince in Asbury Park, the Shipwheel in Brielle, the Tropical Pub and Reggie’s in Belmar, and the Headliner in Neptune. They also appeared at a number of the “Hullabaloo” clubs open at the time, connected to the popular music TV show of the day.
The band started out playing popular music of the time, such as the Beatles and Rolling Stones. “When Jimmy got drafted, we switched to harder stuff,” explains Emile. “Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, and Cream, stuff that was coming out at the time.”
With Jimmy Scott heading off to Vietnam, Jimmy Barr was recruited to play guitar. “He was excellent,” remembers Emile. “I remember Steve Van Zandt standing against a pole at the Hullabaloo in Middletown watching Jimmy. We were always known for excellent guitar players.
John also got drafted, and Emile then took over on bass. Nicky left, and Tim Ryan took over on keyboards. He also brought his classical training on violin to the band. “I convinced him to play country music,” recalls Emile. “He didn’t want to play country, because he was classically trained. But we played some country tunes because the people liked it.”
Eventually, Tim left, and Tommy Zvonchek took over on piano. “I never heard a guy play piano like him,” says Emile. Jimmy Scott came back from the army, and the band added a horn section, which enabled them to include material by groups such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago.
Today, Jimmy works in New York in TV production, for a company that produces Wall Street related shows, and even has a new Wall Street network in the works.
Vinny now has his own entertainment agency, VT Entertainment, and books several popular shore bands, as well as weddings. Emile, meanwhile, doesn’t play at all any more. “I want to play again,” he says.
Tim Ryan, although initially reluctant to play country, ended up taking it to full steam, and toured with Hank Williams, Jr. He started his own group, The Tim Ryan Band, and played quite a bit in the area, complete with cowboy hat and boots.
Tommy went on to do a lot of studio work, and eventually played with heavy metal legends Blue Oyster Cult.
The heady days of the heyday of Fate brings back fond memories for Emile. “It was a really great time, and a great time for music,” he remembers. “We did some area tours, signed autographs, everything. It was a big part of my life. I loved it.”
Copyright © Hal B. Selzer/The Aquarian/East Coast Rocker and transcribed with permission.