John Cafferty

What you think when you hear the name "John Cafferty" has a lot to do with where you're from. If you hail from Rhode Island or the nearby states on the Eastern Seaboard, you know Cafferty as the leader of the Beaver Brown Band, a hard-working combo who've been rocking venues both small and large since the mid-'70s with their tough but passionate blue-collar sound. If you're from anywhere else, you know Cafferty as the voice of Eddie Wilson, the doomed rock & roll star played by Michael Pare in the hit movie Eddie and the Cruisers. Born and raised in North Providence, Cafferty got his start in music when he was in junior high, forming a teenaged garage band called the Nightcrawlers with some friends in 1965. The Nightcrawlers evolved into the East-West Blues Band, who played a steady stream of gigs at school dances and teen clubs around the state until high school graduation broke up the band. While attending Rhode Island College, Cafferty ran into an old friend, drummer Kenny Jo Silva, who was playing in a band called the Luvin' Kynd; Silva's group had just lost their lead singer, and he invited Cafferty to become their new vocalist. By 1972, the Luvin' Kynd had broken up, and Cafferty and Silva opted to form a new group. Influenced by the hard-edged, soulful sound of the J. Geils Band, the rhythms of classic R&B, and the swaggering style of vintage rock & roll, Cafferty and Silva assembled a band from some of the best players on the Rhode Island club scene, including Gary "Guitar" Gramolini, bassist Pat Lupo, Bobby Cotoia on keyboards, and sax player Paul Jackson. Taking their name from a can of paint, Beaver Brown holed up in a makeshift rehearsal space in Providence for close to a year, honing their sound before playing their first show in the spring of 1973. They were soon gigging full-time, earning a reputation as one of the tightest and most crowd-pleasing acts in Rhode Island, and in 1977, Paul Jackson left the group, while Michael "Tunes" Antunes, a veteran of New England rock and R&B bands since the early '60s, came aboard on sax.