The Raz Band titled its 2015 album Madison Park, after the Old Bridge Township community where frontman Michael “Raz” Rescigno grew up. It’s about a half hour drive from Long Branch, where the band will be playing on Sept. 17, at theBrighton Bar.
Rescigno, who currently lives in Los Angeles, has some all-star support in the Raz Band. As a member of the British power-pop band Badfinger in the ’70s, guitarist Joey Molland played on hits such as “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue.” Keyboardist Joe Vitale has worked with artists such as Joe Walsh, The Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Drummer Jeff “Hutch” Hutchinson and bassist Jim Manzo round out the group. (Vitale won’t be in Long Branch, since he has a gig with Walsh in Colorado that night).
The Grip Weeds, The Easy Outs and Stone Baby will also perform at the Brighton Bar. I talked with Rescigno and Molland by phone earlier this week.
Q: So how did Joey end up in the band?
Rescigno: Hutch and I left New Jersey in ’78, and we went to L.A. One of the reasons we went to L.A. was because we knew Joey was living there. We figured we’d find him, he’d like us, and work with us. That was our plan.
Molland: Not much of a plan, really. (laughs)
Q: And you just found him and introduced yourself?
Rescigno: Well, I originally met him at a Badfinger concert when I was a kid, and then every time Badfinger would come to town, I’d manage to get backstage and say hello. So we went to L.A., and then at a Badfinger concert at the Roxy, I went backstage and reintroduced myself. Joey gave me his number and invited me to come over and hang out. And I went over there, and we just started playing guitars, and talking music, and getting to know each other. We had a lot of commonalities.
Q: What year was that?